Greetings from Camp
Humidity, Instruments and Pingpong: Summertime Music-Making
Monday, July 23, 2012
While it's no secret that restaurants calculate the maximum amount of time diners can spend at table to keep their business models afloat, the fact that classical music often has to make similar calculations may come as a shock. Due to financial strictures, concerts are most often produced with minimal rehearsal time. This keeps costs down for presenters as well as allows musicians to take multiple gigs a day, although it can create a harried, high-test musical environment. This way of working is probably the biggest departure from the life of a conservatory student, who often has the luxury of say 20 hours of rehearsal prior to each concert event as opposed to about six.
To be frank, I kind of thrive in this environment. It's fascinating to be able to work on so many projects with so many groups and so many composers; it is, at very worst, never boring. However, I do miss the days of diving into a score for zillions of hours -- the kind of work you do at music camp (yeah, yeah, band camp, etc). I went to music camp literally EVERY SUMMER from age 11-23 and that kind of intensity really feeds me. Ergo! I was so excited when Alarm Will Sound asked me to sub with them in Missouri for two weeks for their annual Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.
In grand summer camp tradition, we have the crazy luxury of rehearsing together for six or seven hours a day for two weeks. The boot, this first week we are rehearsing at the Sinquefield Reserve, and idyllic 1,000-acre estate that boasts lakes, forests, over 250 varieties of trees, a tennis court, pool, and that perennial summer camp staple: a ping pong table. It's such a lovely departure to really dive into scores without keeping an eye on the clock, to try out different ideas and to really pull pieces apart.
For me, summer really isn't summer without outdoor concerts, humidity-swelled string instruments and ping pong. What screams summer to you?