Tonight, we had our third camper recital – and the first of two this week. As usual, there were many wonderful performances. It’s always astounding to me the amount of talent, passion, bravery, and love that our student recitals bring out in the campers. The first two – talent and passion – are probably obvious for budding musicians. Time and time again, our campers bring everything they have to these recitals. Many are already outstanding musicians. Many more are clearly on their way. All of them clearly are passionate about music, even if getting up there on stage is new or scary.
That’s where the bravery comes in. For some campers, FMC is their first public performance – ever. Getting up in front of an audience to perform can be intimidating at best – and terrifying for some – but every week, they do it. Many campers find that performing at FMC gives them more confidence on stage (and even in lessons!) when they go home.
That confidence is built from the practice and discipline of performance. But it also comes from the sheer support of the audience here. Most campers feel that this is the most supportive place they will ever get to perform. The audience of campers and staff cheers on both talent and effort, perfect performances and less-than-perfect ones alike. In my time at FMC, I have seen much remarkable musical talent, but perhaps the most remarkable effort I saw was many years ago: a younger camper came on stage, completely messed up the piece, and went off embarrassed –but the other campers applauded and cheered him on anyway. That same student came back several pieces later to try it again – and got it. I confess at this point I can’t remember who or even when it was, but the beauty of the experience stuck with me. This is a place where the whole audience is rooting for you, and where it’s ok to fail and try again. The love that our campers show for each other’s music is part of what sustains us here.