After only two years of hosting our Choir Camp, I feel myself looking forward to it each year now like a kid waiting for Christmas. It's such a unique opportunity - to come together for an entire week, our permanent choristers together with visiting non-members, to share in the experience of making great music and building community. Every year, new campers seem to come with excitement but also a little anxiety, and every year they leave feeling as if their lives have been changed for the better. But one thing they may not realize is that they change us, too. The staff, those people who work tirelessly to make camp the best experience it can be, who spend weeks poring over every detail and planning meticulously for a fun, smooth and productive week, who are the ones expected to show up and impart their knowledge and experience to a hundred young singers who are eager to learn about music and polish their skills: yes, the staff learn from the choristers. We learn how to renew our passion for what we do, how to nurture our friendships, how to stay playful and enjoy life, and how to be an inspiration to others. I look forward to Choir Camp every year not only to inspire, but to be inspired; not only to teach, but to learn.
Last year's campers absolutely blew me away with what they were able to accomplish not just in a week, but in a day! Our theme was "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and we learned music from several different mountain regions around the world along with extensive choreography for our performances throughout the week. Although I had not planned to do the full program until the end of the week at our Gala fundraiser, our singers were not only performing the full program by day 3, but performing it from memory, and completely choreographed! Although some were nervous about the moves in particular, and others were simply exhausted because it was one of the hottest weeks of the summer, I was still so impressed with how much the campers clearly loved the music and were willing to rise above the obstacles in their pursuit of excellence. (By the way, on the subject of heat exhaustion, did I mention we will be staying in an air-conditioned dorm this summer?)
The week of August 8-13, we will host the 3rd Annual Summer Choir Camp on the beautiful campus of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Although embracing challenge is a part of the YPC Erie identity, we tend to choose a slightly lighthearted theme every year to give ourselves a break from the heavier repertoire we learn during the rest of the year. This year's theme will focus on music of television dating back from the 1970s to today. I am having so much fun selecting the music and planning the schedule of rehearsals, performances, and activities for the week Over the next few weeks, some of our staff members, as well as some of last year's returning counselors, will be sharing their thoughts on our blog about why they are looking forward to this year's YPC Erie Choir Camp. We hear choristers talking about camp all year long, and we thought it was important to let you know that WE get excited about it, too!
Remember that the registration deadline is July 8 and you can download the camp brochure at ypcerie.org/choircamp. Scholarships are available.
I can't wait to see you all in August! Are we there yet?!