Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Back to music camp!

Entrance to beautiful Camp Collins
At the end of April, I returned to Camp Collins with my mom, friend Lois, and Lois' friend Ruth for the Northwest Women's Music Celebration. I believe it was the fifth time I've attended--I went a few times BC (before children) and in 2010 and 2012 (click the link for "10 reasons I love music camp"). As usual, it was a weekend of amazing music, hilarity, excellent eating, and creativity. 

As women arrived at camp to check in,
others had an impromptu outdoor jam session
Camp kicks off with a fantastic song circle led by the members of Motherlode, the band who founded and runs the camp. It's the best song circle ever...led by crazily talented musicians and accompanied by other great musicians.

After the song circle, we had a bit of free time so Mom and I explored the camp and walked down to the Sandy River...and wondered how they keep all those kids away from the river during the summertime!

It was the best weather we've ever had for camp!!

It's always fun to hang out with my mom at camp

Sunglasses and hat at the end of April--nice!
After dinner the first night we had a teacher's concert, which is always completely entertaining and side-splitting.
Camp leaders Linda and Ellen, our river rangers
Motherlode, the "dangerous" creatures in the river
On Saturday we have many choices for classes...it's always so hard to choose just one during each session! Right after breakfast we had a fun camp choir, where we sang, among others, "Tony Chestnut," and I decided I needed to teach it to the kindergarteners (which I have done since then).
Motherlode's Kathleen Fallon leading a song
I went to a "repertoire" class led by roots/Americana/folk singer-songwriter Coty Hogue, a really fun "Great Camp Sing-off" class led by the hilarious parody goddesses Linda and Shelly (our team won!), and intermediate mandolin with my mandolin and fiddle idol Crystal Reeves. Not only has Crystal been my inspiration for the mandolin, but she also is a supremely nice person and an excellent teacher.

Linda and Shelly at the Great Camp Sing-off
Crystal and her fiddle
After the classes, you can find women all over camp practicing for the student concert after dinner on Saturday night. 
Lois practicing her harmonica (she took beginning harmonica that day)
Outdoor rehearsals everywhere
I usually perform in the concert, but this year I felt like relaxing on Saturday afternoon instead. I get nervous before performing before all those phenomenal musicians, and even though it's truly good for me to perform, and they are an amazingly supportive audience, I decided to purely enjoy the concert this year. The only piece I performed in was a multiple-class rendition of "Jambalaya," with several intermediate classes performing together.

That afternoon I took a nice long shower and poked around the camp store...and we bought a few CDs. I coveted the ukuleles (they seem so fun and easy!), but I can't buy any more instruments until I master the ones I have, right?

The student concert is always inspiring, as women who have just learned an instrument or who are not accustomed to performing get up on stage and sing or play their hearts out...alongside professional or highly experienced musicians. This year was notable because the stage held five or six stand-up basses playing at once! And one person played a keyboard line on an iPad.

It's a very supportive atmosphere overall...each act is met with thundering applause. Sometimes the less experienced or certain the performer, the more applause she gets!

One of the funny concert emcees

Lois performing with the beginning harmonicas

These two young women were camp staff--who performed a gorgeous song, Wanted,
in the concert and later they got a name and a Facebook page!
Check out the video here. They are way better than the original (by Hunter Hayes)!
There I am! (Crystal Reeves is standing at the mike)
Closeup of the mandolin player!
One of the funniest moments was Shelly's debut with the cowbell

And this pirate skit was pretty funny too!
The next day I took a "up-the-neck-chords" guitar class with Linda Waterfall, whose music I've long admired...and I won something in the raffle--this African finger piano!
When I won, Marie Eaton of Motherlode announced my name as "the other Marie"--
I love going places where I'm not the only Marie!
Then it was time for closing circle.

And time to say goodbye!

Camp buddies
Another successful year at music camp. Think I'll practice my mandolin or guitar more in the next year? I learned some great new tricks--don't want to lose them!


  1. You're so lucky to have such a cool mom.

  2. That's so cool. It makes me want to go to camp with my mom too. :)