At this morning’s collection, one of our staff members (who is also a former camper, as so many staff are) spoke about her vision of collection as a fire. In this metaphor, we feed the fire and it burns throughout camp. At the end of camp, we each take embers home in our “little clay pots,” as she described it, and keep them safe and glowing until the next summer when we can bring them all together again, to create a new fire. The next summer’s fire is different, yet it has pieces of the previous fire in it, reaching all the way back to the earliest days of FMC.

I loved this vision and this metaphor. This led me to think in turn about the literal celebratory bonfire we have midway through camp, and how we could see that as the manifestation of the metaphorical one. I’ve never been at a bonfire where everyone around wasn’t fascinated with watching or poking the fire, feeding it new fuel, or focused on soaking up its heat. Really, we do all these things with our silent collection time too — observing it, seeing what it’s all about, trying to understand the shifting light shining out of it, or simply absorbing its warmth and force.

It is almost time to pack up our embers for another year, but I hope we will feel the anticipation of bringing them back together next summer.

– Drea

Monday morning — a snapshot

The picture of FMC on a Monday morning:

Street band is practicing in the Music Box. Their melodies and rhythms drift all over campus.

An acting class is playing “Night at the Museum” on the lawn. Other campers are outside practicing 10 minutes of mindfulness for a different class.

The strains of flute music waft out of a 2nd story window as a staff member practices.

Inside buildings, out of sight but buzzing away, campers and staff are in lessons and ensembles, making all kinds of music.

The morning’s mist is burning away, and the sun is coming out — a hot, beautiful, musical day here at FMC. We are immersed in our final week and enjoying each other and the music we make together.

– Drea

What a weekend!

Dear loyal blog readers — sorry it’s been a few days. The weekend was so very full! But we had a wonderful time.

The middle weekend has traditionally started a little early, with Friday’s canoe trip on the Tuscarawas River about 80 miles north of here. We lucked out with the weather when a passing storm only sent down one thunder-lightning combo before moving out of our way and letting us get on the river. With the water high, it was a fast and fun trip.


Feast setup

Then on Saturday, we had our annual feast and good bye to the two-week campers. One of them performed the very poignant “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” — which we all do, for sure.

For the first time in many years, we were able to have our post-feast campfire outside! For those of you who have been following past years, we’ve had some very clever inside setups involving fans and tissue paper, but it was very nice to be able to be outside and have a real fire.


Outside campfire. Hooray!

On Sunday, we had our second week big groups concert, followed by the two-weekers’ musical. They did a wonderful job — it’s hard to believe how much they can accomplish in just 10 rehearsals!

Now everyone’s getting ready for our benefit concert in Yellow Springs next weekend. If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll come see us. We’re making so much good music and really enjoying each others’ company.

If you want more frequent photo and video updates, be sure to find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!


Our yearly benefit concert

Although it seems far away in “camp time,” our yearly benefit concert in Yellow Springs is coming up at the end of next week. It will be Saturday, July 25, at 7:30 p.m. at Mills Lawn Elementary School. If you’re in the area and would like to attend, you can purchase tickets through the Glen Helen Nature Shop, which you can reach through their website at www.glenhelen.org (under the “about” tab).

I believe that just the existence of music is central to our lives. The arts in general, and music in particular, remind us of the beauty of life and bring us together as a community. At our pre-camp staff meetings this year, we discussed “how would you define FMC?” and “what is essential about FMC?” The answers all came down to the idea of making music in a community — the double enrichment of knowing each other as people and making music together.

At our benefit concert, we get the added pleasure of making music in the service of others. Music as service and activism has a long history, and one that we love to be a part of. We like being able to connect to environmental causes by benefiting Glen Helen with this concert.

If you have a few extra minutes in your day, you might check out this great TED talk by Abigail Washburne about a type of musical activism — using music to cross cultures. It’s one of my favorites. When she talks about “the power of music to connect hearts,” I feel most strongly that is what FMC is really about.


A weekend full of music!

We had a wonderful weekend, full of music and performances!

Our Friday night recital featured a lovely mix of music, from many styles and time periods, including one student composition. The program was rounded out by pieces played on many different instruments, from piano and violin to voice and guitar, and even more unusual instruments like bass trombone and ukulele. As usual, FMC proved to be a great place to perform, with much audience love and support showered on the performers.

On Sunday, we had our first big groups concert, featuring band, orchestra, jazz band, street band, and chorus, which every camper is in (and some staff as well). The wind ensemble, a newer group that is an even mix of staff and campers, also performed. The big group concerts are so much fun to see because every camper performs in them. It is amazing to see them all up there working together. Check out our YouTube channel in the next few days to see the choir’s performances once they are uploaded.

We’re now embarked on our second full week together, ready to make some more music and build even more community!


“Do you know how lucky you are?”

Tonight at dinner, founding director of FMC, Peg Champney, asked the campers this question: “Do you know how lucky you are?” She asked this tonight, as she has for many years, because tonight was the first staff recital.

We truly are fortunate at FMC. We have astoundingly compassionate, thoughtful, and musical campers AND staff. All of our teaching staff are professional musicians, and everyone who works here is musical in some way. To hear the adults in our community perform at each staff recital is a highlight of each summer.

Tonight we heard seven varied performances that spanned many musical genres and time periods, from jazz to folk to classical (to klezmer!) and with composers ranging from J. S. Bach to some playing their own works on the program. It is wonderful to be able to witness such talent right in front of us – and yet more amazing, in my opinion, to know personally the people who are playing and to live with them in community. This makes their music even more compelling, which was clear from the amount of loud applause and cheering that followed each performance.

That we know and support each other as people at FMC gives our musicmaking depth, just as making music together deepens and sustains our relationships with each other. We ARE so lucky!



A few quick pieces of information from the FMC front:

1) We now have an Instagram account! Follow us at @FriendsMusicCamp, of course! And you can use the hashtag #friendsmusiccamp2015 or just #friendsmusiccamp for any photos you have. (We don’t recommend just #fmc — this seems to already be in wide use by others.)

2) Upcoming staff recitals are as follows, in case you’re in the area and would like to attend:

  • Wednesday, July 8, 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 28, 7:30 p.m.

3) Our benefit concert, Musicians for Justice and Peace, will be held in Yellow Springs, Ohio on Saturday, July 25. The concert takes places at Mills Lawn Elementary school at 7:30 p.m., and it benefits Glen Helen.

4) Parents of two weekers should expect a detailed schedule from us soon about Sunday, July 19th; in the meantime, please note that students may depart in the late afternoon, usually by 6 p.m.

5) Parents of four-week campers should expect a detailed schedule for the final weekend early next week; in the meantime, please note that there are concerts and performances beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, and running into the evening. Campers may leave anytime in the morning of Sunday, August 2, before 11:00.

Please email us at friendsmusiccamp [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions!