In a very simple way, our community is made up of campers and staff. Our campers come from nineteen different states — mostly from the midwest, although we have a strong contingent of New Yorkers and folks from the southeast this year — and they are taking lessons on fifteen different instruments. These instruments don’t include all the ones the campers play informally; this year, for example, the ukulele is definitely popular as a side instrument. Almost half the campers are new this year, and a good portion are campers returning for their second year, although we have a handful of “old-timers” including one student who is proudly here for his eighth summer.
Our staff are similarly diverse. Besides Peg Champney, who founded FMC and has been here the longest, we have staff members who have been here for longer than any of our campers have been alive, and we have staff members for whom this is their first year at FMC. They come from all over the US, and several were born outside of the country. They also play a variety of instruments, and many play more than they teach or even perform on here. Our dorm staff all have musical backgrounds, and many still play. Many of our staff are also former campers, many of whom have returned over and over again to contribute to the community they love.
But our community also extends beyond ourselves. Being on the campus of Olney Friends School, their faculty and staff who are around in the summer also join with ours. We see them in the halls, we work with them to clean up from meals, and they sometimes come to concerts. Some of them who have worked here for a long time have become friends with FMC staff who have also been here for a while. And further than this, the local community is important to us.
Tonight, we had our second staff recital. Because of some press in the local papers, we had a large number of attendees from the surrounding community. This great variety of people added much to our audience. We are able to tap into a music-loving group of local friends who come to enjoy our staff talents and to support what we are doing here. This gives Friends Music Camp an even greater reach and depth. We love how large our community can become.