Last weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Elnora, Indiana for the Anabaptist Orchestra Camp (AOC). It was an incredibly inspiring, encouraging, and refreshing weekend both musically and spiritually. I came back a changed person. It was a blessing to see the passion and dedication in each person there at camp. Each person put forth their best for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
Some of the highlights were: listening to a live orchestra all day (seriously, what’s cooler? 😉 ), conversations with some of the wonderful people, good food (Thank you to all the hard working cooks!), funny jokes and stories from the conductors, meeting new people, sitting in the bleachers and analyzing the music (Don’t worry musicians, I wasn’t analyzing who was making all the mistakes… :D).
There were multiple people who were happy that I was taking pictures and video. And although it at times felt a little awkward to be walking around with a camera, I hope that I was able to capture some of the feel of orchestra camp for y’all.
On the drive out. I had to share this hilarious and somewhat startling picture. No, the semi was not driving down the road the wrong way, but was being pulled by another semi with a white pick-up truck between. We saw another one on the way home.
It took us – Kara (flute), Luke (viola), and I – about twelve hours to get there. Lots of sleep, snacking, jokes, and sibling conversation.
^^The registration table in the front foyer. Aren’t those mugs awesome? They have the AOC logo on them and were given to the people who had signed up early.
This cool banner greeted us by the registration tables. Somebody (or somebodies) has a very creative eye.
The first evening, there was meet and greet in the gym (where the orchestra usually practiced). There were stations around the room where you could perform something – which varied by station- and get tickets. Those tickets went into the jar of choice on the table above for the various prizes. Three drawings were done before each lunch and supper.
The table centerpieces were so adorable. They added a nice touch to the otherwise plain cafeteria.
We had a happy conductor. Or, perhaps the balloon was there to smile for him. Jeff Swanson conducting here.
In addition to happy conductors, we also had a happy violist, Kristen Sommers. 🙂
Brass and woodwinds sectional in the chapel.
Volleyball! All work and no play would make AOC a boring place. 😉
There was often a spikeball game going on somewhere whenever there was a free moment.
… or foursquare.
Practice, practice, and more practice!
Because I play piano, I wasn’t in the orchestra, yet it was honestly one of the best weekends in my life being able to listen to orchestral music all day and being surrounded by people who are also very passionate about music. I enjoyed taking advantage of several hours with the piano in the chapel while the full orchestra was practicing in the gym.
Flute choir in the Saturday morning chapel service.
Uh oh! Our poor conductors lost their balloon! Fortunately, several of the guys concocted a way to get it down.
Saturday evening, we were all pleasantly surprised to be served a Jewish style “Bible time” meal in the chapel. After gathering in the cafeteria, we were told that “the fish wouldn’t be ready for another fifteen or twenty minutes”. So they told us to go to the chapel while we waited.
In the hallway, we were instructed to take off our shoes. I figured we were about to play a game, but quickly realized something else was happening when I stepped into the chapel. Dark plastic had been placed over the bottom half of the windows. Exotic looking throws and cloths were spread on the floor with pillows and candles on them. Tribal sounding music played setting the mood. We sat in small circles and were served a delicious supper of grape juice, bread, fish (“fresh from the Sea of Galilee”), cheese, olives, grapes, raisins, and fig bars.
^^ Note the waitress’ clothing.
The dress rehearsal went well. Because there was barely an audience, it was a lot more chill and I could sense the orchestra was more relaxed than at the program. Many were very tired from practicing all weekend. They put themselves into it and blew it away (pun intended).
Conductor Lyle Stutzman.
Douglas, you and your timpani were surely missed. Kristy Goodwin did an excellent job with the snare drum. She actually practiced on a plastic bucket until a local guy brought the snare drum by at the dress rehearsal.
There were also no double basses. If you play, please come next year! The excuse of many is “I’m probably not good enough”. Just remember that a few imperfections are better than no bass at all! 😉 You will be an automatic star.
And here’s the orchestra. Aren’t they great?!
The first violins (obviously).
The second violins.
The New Yorkers’ sign was just so cute!
Virginia won most creative. 🙂
Three Hadassahs at camp!
There was a good turn out for the 2 pm concert. No blaring mistakes (that I noticed, and if there were, it didn’t matter.). It was a beautiful worshipful time.
^^ Going over some things before hand.
Oboe! My third favorite instrument. Don’t ask what my first two are. 😉
The brass and woodwinds stood during one of their songs. It added a really neat effect.
The flute choir played during the intermission.
And then camp was over and it was time to go home. 😦 We arrived safe and sound about 4:30 the next morning. I feel a page was turned in my life and I have a renewed outlook. I was able to discover some new composing tips and hints that I’m excited to put to use.
I want to say “thank you” to everyone who worked hard to make things go smoothly at camp and to those in the orchestra. You have touched more lives than you will ever know.