This was our last year of having Camp Harmony at its long-time location in the Santa Cruz mountains. The new location will probably be very nice, I'm sure, but this year's camp was tinged with a bit of sadness at the thought that we won't be back again. Aside from the fact that I inherently like redwood forests, there are 13 years of memories there for me. But moving on from that thought, this was a very good year, so I'm pleased that Camp Campbell is going out on a good note. I think I got a good mix of everything I usually want out of camp, plus the weather was beautiful and nobody got significantly sick.
Music-wise, I played a lot for the Irish dance and classes again. This was mostly fun, though there were some interpersonal frustrations with the pickup band on the dance night, but we worked those out. Had a good session after that dance, too, and in general I felt that my fiddle playing was in surprisingly good shape for the modest amount of practice I've had recently. I learned another awesome Liz Carroll tune, and wrote down a gorgeous waltz that I haven't had a chance to actually learn yet. I also resurrected a number of Québécois tunes at a workshop, though most of them have left my head again already. Quena and I experimented with two-person, one-fiddle duets, which was amusing.
With the singing, I was lucky in that there were two shape note sessions, since I missed the first one. I experimented with singing tenor this time, which worked fairly well considering how we pitched most things fairly low. I need to try that again when I start going back to the Palo Alto sings (soon). I was unluckier in that Madge and Tom weren't at camp, so there was no Balkan or Barbershop, which I really wanted to do again. But Katherine did a Weird Al songs workshop, and that was fun.
For the dancing, there were some very nice contras (thanks partly to Quena's calling). I also had some nice waltzes, mostly in the post-midnight New Year's dancing. Cass had hurt both her ankles recently, so she hadn't been dancing. So on that last night Quena and I picked her up and carried her through a waltz, so she wouldn't be left out. No swing this year, but there was some Scandinavian dancing, which was a nice change, and even included a couple nyckelharpa players.
I did some more teaching again this year. I didn't do a whole series of music theory classes, but instead just went for a single class trying to explain the concept behind music theory itself, rather than just giving people the rules that result from it. That might be an interesting thing to do another blog post on. Lacey and I also did an intermediate waltz workshop, mostly focusing on rotary waltz technique and a couple of moves (underarm turns and canter pivots).
I even got some good artsy-craftsy time in. Quena led a mask-making workshop, and we made some fun masks for the New Year's Eve party. I was quite proud of mine. It's cut out of a large manila folder, with a collage of cut-up origami paper on it. The paper had a fade-out on the colors, which added a little extra dimension to it.
Bob Reid's concert was a high point as usual. He jokes that he doesn't actually get any kids at the kids concert anymore, but he does. There are just a lot of us 20-somethings mixed in there as well. Some of those songs will never stop being wonderful, or bringing the occasional tear to my eye or grin to my face. Lacey and I came up with a new verse for the Foolish Questions song as well, which we wrote entirely on the walk between the dining hall and the concert, and Bob let me sing it for everyone at the end of the song.
The New Year's Eve celebration was exactly the way it always should be, though we cut it closer than ever, running in from the dance hall at the 12 second mark in the countdown. Singing with and hugging so many of your best friends and family is the best way to start a year, I think. And then a good two or three hours of waltzing, of course. We drew Angel Cards that night, rather than waiting until morning. Mine is especially appropriate for the way this year looks like it will unfold: Adventure.
On New Year's Day, after leaving camp, Lacey and I came back to my apartment and invited along Quena, Cass, Jonathan, and Antonia. We called Mom and Rowyn and had them come over to join us, making 8, which about maxes out the chairs here (including piano bench, though there was still the couch, I guess). Then we improvised a tea party with various snacks Rowyn and I had left over from different parties, gingerbread Antonia had made, a gingerbread house Quena had made, a bit of stuff we brought from camp, and of course, tea (I at least had plenty of that). This was a very satisfying way to end camp, easing the transition much better than a cold, empty apartment. It was still a bit of a wrench to go to work the very next day, but at least I was in good shape for it.
Happy New Year!