Chamber Players
Posted by Fiona Goodhew
Saturday 17th January, 2015

It is hard to believe that only two weeks ago, we were all descending upon Adelaide, our home away from home.

This amazing camp – where we’ve achieved so much musically, socially and personally –has some mysterious sort of magic. It sees music camp veterans (both students and tutors) plus an enthusiastic new generation amongst the ranks.

So what is it that makes camp so special? Is it the supportive environment? Is it the intensity of being fully immersed in music all day every day for these two weeks? It could be that we are surrounded by like-minded people who ‘get’ us. And who get our jokes, the kind where you almost roll your eyes, but then vividly retell a moment later. In a sense we are ‘home’ – doing what we love with people who appreciate the same things. We don’t have to explain ourselves; we don’t have decline a social event with the explantation that we have to practice, or that we have to leave early to go and tune a harp. And whilst there are friendly rivalries beweens teams (brass vs strings, for example) we really all come together in this musical world.

There are sights that would otherwise create some puzzled looks in the ‘real world’; here, nobody bats an eyelid. Such as people wearing headphones, breaking out swooping arm movements as they conduct the sounds they hear, or hugging an unknown cello case as you sit in the crammed minibus, or spontaneous singing where randoms will join in and sing along, or that bone-rattling foot rumbling applause with deafening screaming at concerts (and that’s just when the performers are walking ON to the stage). We are an enthusiastic lot, and whilst shenanigans form a great part of the bonding and experiences, we also appreciate great music and musicians. And there are a lot of both here.

The conductors ignited our passions with ideas. They highlighted the differences between rehearsals and performances, being prepared and then ‘giving your all’ during the performance, as if it were both your first and perhaps last time ever. They talked about the importance of ‘taking risks’, going beyond the art form itself: music expresses deeper emotions, builds trust and communication, encourages dedication and gives hope. Music, more than any other form, reflects what it means to be human.

It has been a full-on, intense fortnight, with long and demanding days practicing, performing and composing. The one ‘free time’ day was greatly appreciated! Spending up to 17 hours a day rehearsing, eating and living with the same people very much creates great camaraderie, and life-long friendships.

All of the campers are looking forward to this final concert. It’s a chance to show how far we’ve come and blow the roof off this place!

Whilst the sounds and musicians will fade, the memories will last a lifetime. I predict some massive withdrawal on Sunday, after we all leave Adelaide and return home to the ‘real world’.

 – Fiona Goodhew

Words About Music participants have been blogging from National Music Camp.

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