Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Alright. I should be going to sleep since I'm waking up at 7:00 tomorrow for work, but I'm still a bit on Camp-time, so I feel like writing about it now. For the impatient, photos are here. For more details, here follow the Camp Harmony Chronicles.

Camp started on the 27th, and I unfortunately went into it with only 3 hours of sleep, due to a long and difficult phone conversation the night before, but that's another story. It was wonderful to get to camp and see everyone. Lacey and Quena brought their boyfriends Hugo and Anselm, who were new to Harmony but fit in perfectly and were very fun to have around. Mom was there, too, of course, plus more of Quena's family and a large number of other friends. We just took over one entire cabin as a big, happy, extended family. There's nothing like being surrounded by that many people who all love one another. It's beautiful.

All the music and dance workshops at Harmony are run by the participants, so anyone can teach any sort of a class they want. That's during the day, anyway. In the evenings there are scheduled dances and concerts and everything else is pretty much a free for all -- jam sessions and whatnot everywhere. I taught a series of classes, one each morning, on "music theory for folkies," and I think it went really well. I was better prepared this year, with handouts and everything, thanks to the students I've had since last year. Lacey and I also taught one class in cross-step waltz, which we've done for the last few years. And the whole gang hosted our "Stupid Human Tricks" workshop again. It featured the crab walk and the elephant walk (both involving two people), crawling through a broom, jumping over your own leg, various kinds of whistling, and other sillinesses. This is where most of the really strange photos came from. We also discovered that Anselm is Mr. Dexterity himself, and can do all sorts of cool tricks that most of us can't manage.

The evening dances were a lot of fun -- lots of contradances. I skipped the French / Balkan night. The Swing / Rock 'n' Roll night was really good. We taught Hugo how to swing and I had a number of very nice dances. There were a number of kids in the back of the hall that night, playing with hula hoops and juggling balls and such, so that made it a bit more exciting if you happened to be at that end of the room. I mostly did the swing part of the evening, though when the rock 'n' roll started, Quena and I noticed one song that made quite a good schottische, so that's what we did. It was very tricky to steer around all the swing dancers, but we mangaged and it was very amusing. Richard would have been proud -- hooray for "American creativity and crossover". Or at least he'd have given us that smile that seems to say he thinks I'm slightly silly, like he does when he puts on a latin song and sees me polka by :-)

Also in the evenings there are concerts that anyone can sign up to perform in. Hugo sang a couple of songs Monday evening that everyone really enjoyed. Various younger members of our extended family sang with the Kid's Chorus or the Teen's Chorus, and Charlie, David and Steven sang a very funny song based on a true story about radioactive frogs. Lacey and Hugo were both in a mummer's play that also involved a sword dance. There are lots of pictures of that in the album, too.

I didn't play a whole lot of tunes, since I was more often dancing, but I did have a couple nice sessions. Saturday night there were some fun Irish tunes. I'm not always feeling very fluently Irish these days, since I haven't been practicing as much, but it was fun to play with and listen to Chris Knepper. He's one of those people who really does seem to play a tune differently every single time, which is something I definitely aspire to but still have a ways left to get to. And Lewis' guitar playing was wonderful, of course. I also had a really nice time after midnight on Sunday night, playing fiddles with Lee Anne. I don't play with her nearly as much as I should, considering how much I enjoy it. It's nice to play with just one other person sometimes, rather than a large group, and we had a nice resonant cabin all to ourselves. It was really about the most satisfying tune-playing time of the week.

On Monday, Bob Reid did a kid's concert in the afternoon, with almost as many older kids and adults as little kids attending. Everybody there has grown up on his music, or raised their kids on it. Bob hardly even has to sing anymore, since he's usually drowned out by his enthusiastic audience members, who know everything by heart. He has lots of really great songs. One of them, though, had a line in it about someone being "really old -- almost 23." That made me cringe, having turned 23 in June. Oh well :-)

Other random things: I passed an old-timey session once that was taking place inside a huge, burnt out redwood stump. That seemed particularly pleasing to me. Lani gave me a photo from last year's New Year's Eve party, of me, Miriam, Quena, Lacey and Jac. Since then, Jac (age 14) has surpassed both Quena and Lacey in height. Next year he'll probably be taller than any of us. Charlie was drinking hot chocolate like a maniac. One day I saw him on his fifth mug of it. He had basically filled it up with chocolate mix and dribbled hot water on it.

The New Year's celebration was wonderful, as always. There's nothing like being with all your friends in the concert hall, ranks of kids in the balcony poised to bombard you with confetti, and Dick Holdstock's voice booming out the countdown. Then lots of happy singing and hugs all around. There was a contradance before midnight and just lots of waltzes afterwards.

Coming home was difficult, as it always is, with the post-camp blues. I miss the constant presence of music everywhere, and especially all the wonderful people, many of whom I see only rarely outside of camp. It's lonely, driving home alone at the end of it all. This year I think there are extra New Year's blues to go along with it, too. It's been a difficult last year, so in a way it's good to let 2002 go. But it also means I have to face 2003 now, and the optimism wavers sometimes. Oh well. I'll just have to hope for the best and see what happens.

Anyway, I really need to go to bed. 7:00 AM is not looking pretty right now. To sum it all up: Camp was good. We had fun. We came home. The end.

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