We’d like to say thank you to the many Friends Music Camp and Glen Helen supporters who came to our concert this past Saturday or who wished us well from afar. Though it was a lot of traveling, we felt good about our benefit concert in Yellow Springs. We had a great and enthusiastic audience and we all felt proud of our campers.
In a concert full of talent, two specific moments stood out to me as particularly wonderful. The first was right before intermission, when the street band performed. Their second piece, “It Ain’t My Fault,” has a refrain with simple words — just those in the title — and Jesse Metzler, the director, encouraged the audience to sing along with the campers when they got to that part. With a little encouragement, the audience did just that. It was a really fun and spirited way to end the first half of the program, and I saw many audience members dancing in their seats. (The street band had also paraded around downtown Yellow Springs earlier in the day!)
The second stand-out experience for me was when the chorus was singing. Chorus is a really important part of FMC in large part because it is the only group that every single camper is in. Several staff — many of them former campers — have now joined as well because the experience is that exciting and important to them. This large ensemble ends each of our big groups concerts, including our performance in Yellow Springs. In this particular performance, I was struck by what a community endeavor our choir was, especially in light of the truly phenomenal soloists who had played earlier in the program: no matter how stunning the few individuals were who played solos, there they were, working with equal intensity and joy as everyone else, in the choir that in some ways symbolizes our whole community. As I picked out the soloists’ faces in the sixty-some person choir, I could only see a commonality of purpose with everyone around them.
To me, this is one of the most important parts of Friends Music Camp, and it has been since I was a camper myself. There is a feeling of community here that values, but transcends, individual musical talent. You can come here if you are a phenomenal musician, and you will be celebrated and challenged. But you can also come here if you are not there yet, if you are trying to figure out who you are as a musician, or if you are just beginning, or if you think you will probably teach middle school science but you still really love music. We want all our campers to be challenged, and all to feel loved and encouraged. For everyone to be in choir together is one way of showing our belief that no matter our talents, or our strengths and challenges, we all can work together towards a common musical goal.