|Having lunch at Pho Oregon |
before going to camp
|Mom with her lunch|
During the last weekend in April, I went to women's music camp (Northwest Women's Music Celebration [NWMC]) at Camp Collins for the fifth time. Last year I was sad to miss it because it was on Easter weekend, as as much as it makes me appreciate my children more to take a break from them occasionally, I would not skip Easter! This year's theme was "Around the World with Motherlode" (the band that sponsors the camp). As always, I had a blast and took some musical risks! And here are ten of the reasons I love NWMC:
We met Lois for lunch at Pho Oregon, a highly authentic Vietnamese restaurant on 82nd. Then we headed out to Gresham and Camp Collins. Once there we registered and chose a cabin.
|Waiting for the teacher concert Friday night|
|Deciding which classes to take|
|At the final closing on Sunday afternoon|
|Song circle with Motherlode on Friday afternoon|
|The amazingly talented Crystal Reeves, |
who was my inspiration for learning the mandolin!
She can improvise on fiddle or mandolin to any song.
|Marie of Motherlode leading a song|
On Friday night, the teachers put on a concert to kick off the weekend. To go along with the theme of "Around the World," we were ready to take off in flight!
|Flight attendant Ellen, one of the camp coordinators,|
demonstrating the oxygen mask
|Captain Nan of Motherlode|
|Flight crew backstage|
|In-flight snacks too!|
|The captains singing|
|Intermediate Irish Mandolin class performing|
(I'm on far right)
|Nova Devonie demonstrates that anyone can play the accordion!|
That's Brogan, who founded the Portland Ukulele Festival.
Most inspiring was the Shy Singers class, who not only performed as a group during the student concert on Saturday, but then each one of them performed a solo...for the first time in their lives.
5. Creative movement
This year they had a delightful, talented, and enthusiastic Zumba teacher at camp, Cary Cramer, who taught a few classes over the weekend. Here she is demonstrating advanced Zumba, and some of the brave teachers are trying to follow along!
|Lois playing in the marimba ensemble|
Many of these women have been attending camps for many years straight. Motherlode was born out of the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and many women travel from Washington because of that link. (Someday I will have to try that out, too, but it's a week-long commitment!)
Women who are professional or accomplished musicians learn side by side with beginners. Many people learn a new instrument they've never tried before.
It's a wonderful atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement, with diversity of age and sexual orientation. (As a straight woman in my 40s with children, I was probably in the minority.) Each year I attend with my mom, we get lots of attention for attending together! But we're not the only family units there--besides partners and mothers/daughters, there are sisters, sisters-in-law, and grandmothers/granddaughters too.
7. To make backup band, add water
I decided to sing a song at the student concert on Saturday night, because for some bizarre reason I'm compelled to sing in front of groups. It's not even that I enjoy it that much (too nervous!), but more likely because I know it's good for me. It stretches me as a human being. Is that weird or what? So I decided to recruit some people to back me up. I asked my friend Linda (see #8, Parody, below), and then we recruited Kat Bula (fiddle teacher), Adrianne Gunn (singer and guitarist, and kick-ass sound person), and Nan Collie (from Motherlode) to play the harmonica. I sang "Jerusalem" by Steve Earle (sung by one of my favorites, Joan Baez). I can't begin to describe how cool it was for me to sing with incredibly talented back-up singers and musicians whom I greatly admire--with an accordion and fiddle bridge in the song. Too bad it passed so quickly (and the video didn't work) that I barely remember it!!!
Here's Joan's version--I encourage you to listen to the song--it's beautiful!
Parody was everywhere! Shelley Heesacker and Linda Reisser are the long-time parody champs at camp, and two years ago they did a phenomenal Sarah Palin parody that still has me hooting every time I watch it. Since then, I've joined a bluegrass jamming group with my banjo-playing pastor, and Linda's in the group, so it's been great fun getting to know her.
|Shelley and Linda introducing their parody classes|
with an English Gilbert & Sullivan parody
We missed their parody performance class later that day (since I wanted to take Crystal's Irish mandolin class), but their performance later that night was quite the hit!
In fact, the weekend was full of parodies. This was a hilarious skit about the "It's a Small World" ride at Disney going cuckoo!!
|Little farm girl (?) went wonky and had to be taken out...|
|And replaced by the newer, hipper version!|
|This woman has written a parody for every health ailment she's had--|
including one about the blood thinner Coumadin!
|We also had Amelia Earhart visit as |
one of the hosts of the concert!
|Motherlode around the world|
|Final closing on Sunday--|
look at those trees!
Most people who attend NWMC vow to return. The final circle is full of "stand in the circle if you came with your family," "...if you're a senior," "...if you're a first-time camper," "...if you performed..." and so on. It's a fitting way to end the weekend and start planning for next year. Then there are goodbyes, lots of smiles and hugs, and see you laters! And that's when I vow to practice my mandolin, guitar, and fiddle more in the coming year!!
|Motherlode and camp coordinators Linda and Ellen|
|With my creative friend Linda|