We have a lot of performances coming up in the next two and a half weeks. Among them are the following all-camp concerts:
Sunday, July 21 — 1:00 p.m. at Olney — Big Groups Concert and two week camper recital, followed by camp picture and two week camper musical
Saturday, July 27 (CORRECT DATE!) — 7:30 p.m. at Mills Lawn School in Yellow Springs — Annual benefit concert, more to follow in a future post
Friday, August 2, 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 3, 1:00 p.m. at Olney — Marathon recitals for the end of camp, more to follow in a future post
What I’m feeling intrigued by right now, however, is not performance itself, but the process of getting there. Every day, campers and staff spend hours in rehearsal, working solo, with accompanists, in duets and trios and quartets, and in larger groups like band, orchestra, and chorus. I know these rehearsals are not always enjoyable; we might not know our part as well as we’d like, or we might be tired, or we might be just trying to deal with the heat and humidity.
But sometimes, rehearsals can be something to look forward to. There’s a rhythm to a rehearsal schedule and a feeling of collegiality that comes from working on the same thing over and over together. There’s almost a meditative aspect of coming to the same piece every day, like a mindfulness exercise that asks us to stay with the same thought or image in order to focus.
I personally did not start enjoying rehearsals (or practicing) until pretty late in high school, but somewhere along the line I started enjoying rehearsal even more than performance. In a performance, you have the one chance, you do it or you don’t. In rehearsal, you can keep trying, you can perfect what you are doing in a groove of repeating and tweaking. I feel similarly about editing a written piece — I could edit forever and never feel done — and I could rehearse forever and never feel the need to perform. But whereas editing is so often solitary, rehearsing often is not. Especially with a group, there can be a joyfulness in working and reworking that one doesn’t find in many places in life.