7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 6 - March 2007

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CLASSES & LESSONSSummer Registrationbegins in March!• Over 40 different instruments & genresranging from classical to rock, folk, worldmusic & hip-hop•••Over 230 professional faculty dedicatedto excellence in music educationClasses for beginners (newborn to adult)Choirs and ensembles for all Royal Conservatory of MusicToronto:416.408.2825 (Dufferin & Bloor)Mississauga:905.891.7944 (Cawthra & Lakeshore)IConfessions of a SummerMusic Camp AddictBy Lola RasminskyI spent the days leading up to my summer vacation in a state of quietdesperation. Back in January it all sounded glorious - a week makingmusic with kindred spirits and some bonding time with my older brother.An accomplished and devoted pianist, Michael divides his time almostequally between practising neurology and practising piano. I hadpromised to accompany him to Music Camp for the first week inAugust - and now I was sorry. After fifty years of playing piano, mydream of performing chamber music had turned into a nightmare ofshame, disappointment and self-recrimination.It's not that I didn't have time to practise. I'd had the musicthat I was to prepare since April but I was over-committed at work andmy son was getting married in early July. Once the wedding was out ofthe way there would still be time to work up the three Trios I had beenassigned.With familial festivities over and houseguests departed, I readthe music and wept. I had committed myself to three giant hairballs ofblack notes that I could barely read, much less reach with my smallhands. The Bach Cantata for oboe and voice was manageable, but theSchumann and Beethoven Trios were well beyond my capacity. Itwould take me months to umavel the killer runs, the diabolic arpeggios,and the impossible tempi. But I had only days.I had gained admission to the chamber music camp by leaningon the "trusted six-year veteran" status of my brother. Even thoughnew 'campers' were required to audition, Michael vouched for mycompetence and my tests were waived. Participants were expected toperform their pieces after just six hours of coaching sessions. I debatedendlessly with myself about whether to come clean before starting toplay with my trio-mates, or to just wait to be found out. All I could thinkwas: How can I get out of this? I'm going to make a total fool ofmyself! Everyone will hate me for letting them down.Unfortunately, divorcing my brother was not an option. Nor wasreneging on my commitment. Instead, I spent the remaining two weekspractising eight hours a day. My back ached, my fingers throbbed, andwaves of anxiety washed over me as I ploughed through ninemovements of music, trying to make sense of the notes.After five or six days of putting in the hours, a strange thing startedto happen. I began to think more about the music and less about myself.As I listened endlessly to the CDs, I began to master one passage at atime. I would go to sleep with the melodies in my head and wake upwith the arpeggios in my fingers. After practising a passage fifty orsixty times, it began to sound okay, and I gradually turned up themetronome trying to play at an ever-increasing tempo. I was stillapprehensive about disgracing myself and failing the others. But I washoping for a miracle.When my brother and I arrived at the scenic Wellesley Collegecampus in Massachusetts, we were greeted warmly. I felt the way I didwhen I entered Lisgar Collegiate in Ottawa and all the teachers said,"Oh, you 're Michael Rasminsky's sister!" - which, in my mindtranslated into, "Oh, you must be quite something! " And, of course, Iknew I would never meet expectations.What struck me immediately was how spiked everyone was to bethere - despite the 100-degree temperatures in our unairconditioneddorm rooms. People of all ages, includingjudges, tool-and-die makers,and a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, had become a community with anall-consuming passion for chamber music. They loved nothing morethan playing together. Even those who hadn't been coming every summerfor thirty years considered themselves 'lifers'. They were alladdicted.Our first coaching session was soon upon us - the dreadedmoment of truth. The coach was a dynamic flautist with a wickedWWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM M AR CH 1 - A PRIL 7 2007

'11111111111111sense of humour. She instantly put us at our ease insisting that wewere at music camp to have fun and that we shouldn't worry aboutmaking mistakes. And she plied us with lots of jokes. ("What's thedifference between a seamstress and a flautist? A seamstress tucksup the frills") . I felt better already. And then we began to play andsomething magical happened.Having never played chamber music before, I was bowledover by the intensity of the experience. Playing with other people is awonderful, intuitive conversation - there 's give and take, support,intense listening. It's not about you any more - it's about the ensemble.The sounds we made together were, at times, exquisite. Mistakesmattered so much less when playing in the group setting. We were allthere for each other and delighted in what the others had to offer.We agreed that we would perform at the Musicale. As weworked on perfecting small details and listening more closely to eachother, the music began to sound more and more refined. By thesecond day we were playing with complete abandon. We were flying.Experiencing this 'high' made you want more of it. Finally Iunderstood what a narcotic this was for my brother and why he hadwanted to share it with me. Some people played with seven or eightdifferent combinations of players each day. It was an orgy and it waslegal.On the day of the Musicale the air was charged withexcitement and energy. The many physician/musicians cheerfullydiscussed how many milligrams ofDeprenol they planned to take -the beta-blocker of choice for performance anxiety. Most playerswere less concerned about making mistakes than about massacringthe music. They didn 't want their performance to be an insult to thecomposer.My group managed to start and finish the Schumann Trio in arespectable manner. I played with a newfound freedom, sensitivity tothe others, and unbounded joy. I actually forgot about the audienceand truly grooved on the music. The audience cheered supportivelywhen it was over and we bowed deeply.An array of activities filled the rest of the week - a groupreading of the Faure Requiem, madrigal singing, concerts by theremarkable faculty members, and the opportunity for brave souls toplay one movement of a concerto with the other campers reading theorchestral parts. This gang was beginning to feel like family. My fearshad been replaced by the sense of joy that everyone was experiencing- including me. I forgave my brother. Like him, I hadbecome hooked.Now that it's over, I miss the pleasure of bringing beautifulmusic to life. I've decided to go back to camp next year where I planto perform part of a Mozart Piano Concerto with the campers 'orchestra. I will probably make lots of mistakes - but for me it will beten glorious minutes that I will grow old thinking about. And mybrother will be in the audience applauding his kid sister.Summer Music OpportunitiesA SPECIAL FEATUREcompiled and edited by Carolyn McGeeOpportunities for musical growth abound during the summer, andWholeNote's SUMMER M u sic EoucATION DIRECTORY sets out the longand the short of it all! That's day-camps , overnight camps , retreats,courses, institutes and workshops, all in the program presenters'own words. It's in the city, or by the lake. It 's all ages, from childrento youth to life-long learners - and it's all stages, from beginnersto music professionals.Typical feedback from summer program participants: "arare chance to venture outside your comfort zane, in a supportive andrelaxed environment, in the company of the like-minded and the likespi rited .. . and with the promise of gaining new skills and wonderfulnew friendships"; "I'm so glad I took that first step . What/ learnedwill be with me throughout my whole life." "Music camp is euphoric!"So check out the options described here and on our website(lovingly updated!) - and then dive in!Ar.GOMATRAD: Ar.GOMATRADITIONAL Music AND DANCEFAMILY CJ\Mp {Desbarats, ON)August 20-27AlgomaTrad is an annual, weeklong,residential camp that begins2 weeks before Labour Day andoccurs at the rustic Algoma MusicCamp on beautiful St. Joseph Islandby the North Shore of LakeHuron. Workshops, concerts,dances and other social and recclasses,ensemble classes, and musicianshipsessions. There will benumerous opportunities to performin a courtyard setting and in the fabuloussanctuary of the church. Freetime can be spent exploring TheBeach. Contacts to restaurants, spafacilities, summer theatre programswill be provided. Eight singers willbe selected for each session.416-282· 7 460mheitshu@sympatico.careational activities are lead by CAMMAC: LAKE MACDONALDhighly qualified musicians andartists of traditional culture rootedin the Ontario and Canadian historicalexperience. Programming isavailable for all ages and levelsand families are welcome. Thewebsite contains fee structures,staff bios, registration forms andphotos from previous years.705-782-4311Administrators:Julie Schryer and Pat O'Gormanjnotes@vianet.cawww.algomatrad.caTHE BANFF CENTRE -SUMMERRESIDENCIES, MAsTER CLASSESJune 11-August 18 800 _ 565 _ BEACH SUMMER SCHOOLFoR AnuLT SINGERSJuly 5-15This new and innovative programoffers a dynamic course for intensivevocal development and performance.The dedicated singerwill receive instruction from expertteachers both individuallyand in small groups. A typicalday will include private voice instruction,master classes withguest teachers, individual AlexanderTechnique sessions, actingMusIC CENTRE {Harrington, QC)June 24-August 19Voice, winds, jazz with Karen Young- folk harp with Sharlene Wallace,Akan Quartet in residence. Manycourses including chamber music,Early music, choir, orchestra, jazz,Gypsy music, Latin percussion anddance, Broadway, theory andsolfege, Tai chi. For amateur musiciansof all levels. Lodging & campingon site - Bursaries available -Bilingual instruction. Tennis, naturetrails, boating, swimming.Programs for adults, teens and children.Families welcome! Cost: from3 to 59.85 chemin CAMMACHarrington, QC J8G 2T2888-622-8755national@cammac.cawww.cammac.caCAMMAC: ONTARIOMusic CENTRELakefield College SchoolAugust 5-19NEW THIS YEAR: Work with membersof True North Brass {Week 1)and Quartetto Gelato (Week 2).For amateur musicians of all agesand levels. Programming for childrenaged 5 to 12 and some specialcourses available for adolescents inM ARCH 1 - A PRIL 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLEN OTE. COM 59

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