25 Days!!

Hello, Happy Campers!

That’s right, only 25 more days until Camp, 2012! On June 11th we fold up the drop cloths, put away the paint and hammers and kick off a new season of magic.

WT is EXCITED about camp!

There is so much going on. Seriously. Not clowning around at all.

(Well, maybe just a LITTLE clowning around.)

This summer we will hit the ground running and we won’t slow down for 7 weeks. The first week marks the return of Elementary camp, but it also includes 3 brand new camps: Circus Camp, Elementary Strings Camp (in partnership with the Sitka Summer Music Festival), and the one I have been waiting for, Adult Camp!  The dust won’t even settle before we switch into Middle School camp, beginning June 17th. They will have final performances on June 27th, 28th and 29th.  Next up is, of course, High School Camp, starting July 1st.  Those campers will finish out their stay with performances beginning on July 13th,14th and 15th.  Finally we are introducing a new pre professional program, Musical Theater Camp. This is open to high school and college students and offers tracks in performance or stage and tech. Final shows are July 27th and 28th. What a season!

As if this line up wasn’t enough, we are planning to begin the summer with a giant PARTY!

We are hosting  Bands, Beer and Barn Raising,  a kickoff to summer, on Sunday, May 27 th at 7pm.  Please come to this celebration of community spirit  as we open the doors of Allen Hall to the public               

for the first time in more than a decade! This is a wonderful chance to thank our neighbors, admire the transformation and  gear up for the season ahead.

In the meantime, there are still two more Saturday work parties to go. If you have the time, please grab some friends and spend a few hours polishing up the campus. Lunch is on us!

One more bit of news, we launched our new camp video by Hannah Guggenheim last week. So far this little gem has had 5,438 views! Please take a look at the movie, “like” it and share it with everyone you know. Let’s get the word out on this AMAZING project!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3mVmsld7Ic

I am always on the lookout for camp stories. This week I want to share one from a man who learned some valuable life lessons during his early years at camp.

Sitka Fine Arts Camp…circa 1983

By Brian Hope

As a child growing up in Sitka, with my dad as the High School music teacher, each summer Sitka Fine Arts Camp was simply an inevitability, and one that I greatly looked forward to.  And so, as an incoming 6thgrader, I had arrived at the age of privilege and enrolled for a week of music, drama, and a horde of students from around the state…maybe even some from the legendary land known by the locals as “DOWN SOUTH”,

Brian Hope, SFAC camper of the ’80’s and all around nice guy.

meaning any place south of Ketchikan.

Now, I’d like to say that I possessed an unusually deep appreciation for fine and performing arts and how they expressed the artist’s soul while simultaneously connecting with the souls of others in a metaphysical union of individuals…or something like that. But I didn’t.  I liked playing my trumpet loudly and goofing around with friends.  Fine Arts Camp was advertised as a place that would allow me to do just that. They even put me up on a stage and a character to portray!  What luck!

So off I went, with my friend and fellow trumpet player, Marc Harnum, riding our bikes with our trumpet cases across the handlebars. Two happy local boys off to a faraway land and new adventure…across town.

I sat, horn in lap, in some kind of jazz group where I was first introduced to improvisation.  The guy made it sound easy enough: “Just play a song you know and make it sound a little cooler.  Take Mary Had a Little Lamb and put some notes and rhythms here and there and you’ve got it.”  Sheesh…and I thought this was going to be tough.  So, when he asked who would like to come the next day with some hip new form of Mary’s Little Lamb, I shot my hand up knowing full well that by that time tomorrow I’d pretty much be the Fine Arts Camp hero…girls flocking me, High Schoolers admiring me – the whole deal.  My friend Marc just looked at me and said, “You’re an idiot.”  He was probably jealous.

I learned a valuable lesson the next day…a few lessons actually.  First, don’t forget what kind of stupid commitments you make.  Yup, I completely forgot to practice, let alone create something that would make Dizzie Gillespie call me personally and thank me for the inspiration.  I sat, oblivious, in class the next day when the instructor looked at me and said, “Well, Brian, let’s hear what you’ve done with Mary’s Little Lamb.”  I sat dumbfounded.  My friend Marc snickered mercilessly.  I launched into my best excuses and reasons why it just didn’t work out, but the instructor would have none of it.  He simply cued up the rhythm section and said “go.” Which taught me the second valuable lesson: the music rolls on.  I bombed.  It wasn’t cool at all. And certainly no one was as impressed as I had imagined…quite the opposite actually.  The whole bike ride home, and really the remainder of the week, my “friend” Marc reminded me of my colossal flop.  But the lesson has stayed: the music rolls on.  Which brings me to the third valuable lesson of that week – you gotta just start, even if it bombs.  Fortunately for me, and the other students in that fateful jazz class, I improved and went on to absolutely love jazz improvisation – vocal and instrumental.

Thanks, Brian. The music rolls on!

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One response to “25 Days!!

  1. Brian, there was true love and concern behind “idiot”! Did I really say that? Some of my fondest memories are of Sitka Fine Arts Camp! I’m simply amazed at the hard work and dedication of so many volunteers! It doesn’t surprise me that this camp goes on! A gem!

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