Monday, August 27, 2012

"Art Lives Here"

This is Interlochen's motto, and for good reason. There are literally hundreds of events that take place during the camp season. No matter your interests, there's something for you at Interlochen. Below is a list of what I was able to experience this summer :)

June 17: Drum circle
June 18: Advanced Oboe Institute: Preparing for College Auditions
June 19: Advanced Oboe Institute: Etudes master class
June 19: Flute faculty recital
June 20: Advanced Oboe Institute: Etudes master class (x 2)
June 20: Cello faculty recital
June 24: A First Gathering
June 26: Los Angeles Children's Choir
June 27: All woodwind master class: The ins and outs of breathing
June 30: Interlochen Symphony Band and World Youth Wind Symphony
July 1: World Youth Symphony Orchestra
July 4: Faculty recital
July 5: Shakespeare Festival: A Midsummer Night's Dream
July 6: Junior ensembles: Choir, Band, String Ensemble, and String Orchestra
July 7: Interlochen Symphony Band and World Youth Wind Symphony
July 8: Interlochen Philharmonic
July 8: World Youth Symphony Orchestra
July 10: Collage
July 13: Intermediate ensembles: Concert Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Symphony Orchestra
July 14: Interlochen Symphony Band and World Youth Wind Symphony
July 15: Interlochen Philharmonic
July 15: World Youth Symphony Orchestra
July 18: Faculty recital
July 19: Staff recital
July 19: Styx
July 20: Junior ensembles: Choir, Band, String Ensemble, and String Orchestra
July 21: Interlochen Symphony Band and World Youth Wind Symphony
July 22: Interlochen Philharmonic with the World Youth Honors Choir
July 22: World Youth Symphony Orchestra
July 26: Faculty/Staff Big Band
July 27: High school repertory theater: Midsummer/Jersey
July 28: Interlochen Symphony Band and World Youth Wind Symphony
July 29: Intermediate Choir and Intermediate Vocal Arts Ensemble
July 29: Interlochen Philharmonic
July 29: World Youth Symphony Orchestra
August 1: Faculty recital
August 2: High school musical theater: Children of Eden
August 3: Junior ensembles: Choir, Band, String Orchestra, and String Ensemble
August 4: Interlochen Symphony Band and World Youth Wind Symphony
August 5: World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Les Preludes
August 11: Adult Band Camp chamber music recital
August 12: Adult Band Camp concert
August 13: Sheryl Crow
August 14: Mauchley Piano Duo
August 18: Dukes of September

Not bad at all, I'd say :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adult Chamber Music

Adult Chamber Music followed the Adult Band Camp.

I was responsible for two small string orchestras, a small wind ensemble, and about 25 chamber groups, each consisting of two to six players. Oh, and every group had new repertoire every day... so there was a LOT of music flying around!

This week was different in that I didn't have to stay for rehearsals, and that I was expected to work the reference desk. I began every day at 8am, delivering music to the two string orchestras and the wind ensemble, and then I would work the reference desk for an hour. After those rehearsals ended, I would go back to pick up that same music.

When I returned to the library, I would spend the next hour or two working in the back, preparing music for the larger ensembles for the next day or putting away music from ABC the week before. At this point, the participants were in rehearsals with their small chamber groups.

After lunch, the list of repertoire for the next day's small chamber groups was available. I would spend the next hour pulling those pieces and solving problems. The most common was when a piece, such as a Haydn quartet, was checked out, so I had to find another edition of the work that was available. In some cases, this wasn't possible and a new piece had to be assigned.

I stayed in the library until close (7pm) every day, alternating between working in the back and at the reference desk.

There was a TON of music read and performed during this week so it's impossible to provide a full repertoire list, but I can give a sampling. String quartets played lots of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. Winds played repertoire staples like the Mozart Serenade, Gounod Petite Symphonie, and Beethoven Octet. Winds and strings combined for readings of the Beethoven Septet and Bach Brandenburg No. 2.

Fortunately, we had multiple copies of the most popular pieces. For example, these are all Beethoven quartet books:
The Enso String Quartet, the Mauchley Duo, and other faculty members performed recitals every night. The faculty held daily master classes and pedagogy classes, in addition to coaching small ensembles, so the participants were able to spend a lot of time learning from them. It was a great week :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adult Band Camp

Adult Band Camp was, first of all, a lot of work.

As you can see, there were quite a few pieces. The camp only lasted a week, so all of those pieces weren't actually performed. Every rehearsal concluded with some sight-reading practice, which was a lot of fun.

There would be a full band rehearsal in the morning, sectionals and chamber music in the afternoon, and faculty performances in the evening.

With eighteen band pieces and some chamber music in the mix, there was a lot of music to keep track of. It was further complicated by the fact that the brass section rotated piece by piece, so each musician had a truly unique part assignment.

However, I'm very happy to say that I made it through with zero mistakes! The coordinator of the program later told me that a lot of the musicians had told him that I was the best librarian that they had ever had. Being an ensemble librarian is often a thankless job, so it was truly touching to receive such a compliment :)

As always, I'll conclude with the repertoire from the week.

The band performed:

The Star Spangled Banner - John Stafford Smith, arr. Jack Stamp
Untitled March - John Philip Sousa
El Camino Real - Alfred Reed
Suite of Old American Dances - Robert Russell Bennett
Sleep - Eric Whitacre
Scenes from the Louvre - Norman Dello Joio
America the Beautiful - Samuel Augustus Ward, arr. Carmen Dragon
Florentiner March - Julius Fucik
Winter's Eve March - Loren Kayfetz

The band sight-read:

Lincoln Portrait - Copland
Abram's Pursuit - Holsinger
On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss - Holsinger
From Dawn to Dusk - Lloyd
Lord of the Rings - de Meij
Rushmore - Reed
Chester Overture - Schumann
Through the Vulcan's Eye - Smith
Salvation is Created - Tschesnokov

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Les Preludes

Les Preludes is so important at Interlochen that it deserves its own post.

Les Preludes is an event in which all of the students in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, World Youth Wind Symphony, Interlochen Philharmonic, and Interlochen Symphony Band get together to play Liszt's tone poem Les Preludes. It occurs on Sunday of Week Six, following the weekly WYSO concert, and is the final event of the camp season.

This year, we had 435 students crammed onto the stage of the Bowl. Dancers are also involved.

Les Preludes comes with two additional rehearsals -- Tuesday evening and Saturday morning at 7am. I took these pictures at the 7am rehearsal, which is why there isn't much of an audience :P

Although this is the last time that the students play together, the piece also represents new beginnings. It's an extremely emotional event, and afterwards it's incredibly common to see students crying and hugging one another, all while trying to take some last minute group photos.

For the ensemble librarians, it's one of our biggest challenges of the season. Getting music back from 435 students is difficult enough, but doing so in the midst of the chaos following the performance adds a whole new level of difficulty. 

Because we did need to work the event, we got the perk of reserved seating in the front row. It made it a lot easier for us to spring into action once the piece was finished. 

The entire event went incredibly well, from planning to performance to music collection.

This year's performance was, as Les Preludes always is, an incredibly special moment in Interlochen's history, and I agree with those who say that it becomes more emotional each time that you witness it.

The end of Les Preludes means the end of camp.

To the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week Six

Week Six, the busiest week of camp.

It was an even week, which meant that there was a lot happening with Junior Band. Members of the Intermediate Wind Symphony joined them in rehearsal on Thursday to fill out the instrumentation, and then the combined group performed their final concert on Friday.

WYWS had their final concert of the season on Saturday. The program consisted of:

Through the Looking Glass - Jess Langston Turner
Emblems - Aaron Copland
Lux Aurumque - Eric Whitacre
L'homme arme: Variations - Christopher Marshall
The Stars and Stripes Forever - John Philip Sousa

It was an ambitious program, but I couldn't be more proud of the students. They improved so much over six short weeks, and they really came to play well together as an ensemble.

My final listening recommendation from WYWS's repertoire this summer is the Marshall.

All music students know the famous L'Homme Arme:

Now, check out Christopher Marshall's Variations for a new look at an old melody. There are several different recordings available on his website:

The highlight of Week Six, of course, was Les Preludes. But more about that to come!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Instrument Exploration Class

At Interlochen, junior and intermediate campers can take an elective class called Instrument Exploration. In this class, students get to learn a bit about and try a bunch of different instruments. Some instruments are only given one fifty-minute class period, so it can be quite a challenge deciding how to make the most of that time.

I was given the opportunity to teach oboe to this class. We spent some time talking about the reed, how to crow the reed, and how to form a good embouchure. I then had the students try some exercises along with Smart Music. I'd never used Smart Music before, but it's a really neat tool. The exercises in the method book I used were very simple (four quarter notes and a whole rest, then repeat). However, Smart Music made them more fun for the students because there was background music.

With such little time to give students their first exposure to the oboe, my main goal was to make it a positive experience. The students seemed to really enjoy playing along with Smart Music as a group, so I thought it would be a good idea to have each student play individually and "solo" along with the recorded track.

I asked who wanted to go first.


And suddenly....

This got quite a few laughs from the students, and one from me as well.

But after one student successfully performed alone, they all wanted to do it. In fact, they wanted two or even three times to do it.

At the end of the class, I asked what the students thought about the oboe. A lot of them said "it's really hard!"

But one girl said, "I really like it! It's my favorite!"

I was really glad that even one student had such a positive experience that she would consider playing the oboe in the future. These moments are what make teaching truly worth it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week Five

Week Six (and core camp) is over, but it's been so busy here that I'm a bit behind with my posts.

Week Five began with a new batch of juniors, as well as new repertoire and a new conductor for WYWS. I got to see a few great performances, including the Faculty/Staff Big Band concert that I mentioned in a previous post. I was also able to attend the opening night performance of Midsummer/Jersey, which was a modern take on A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was great because I had seen the Shakespeare Festival perform the original play earlier in the summer, so I was able to make the connections between the two plays.

WYWS had their weekly concert that Saturday, with the program consisting of:

Partita - Robert Linn
Symphony in B-flat - Paul Hindemith
Galop from Moscow, Cheryomushki - Dmitri Shostakovich

The Hindemith is an incredibly difficult band piece, but the kids did a great job with it. It's not very commonly performed, so definitely give it a listen if you have the time! Here's the first movement to get you started:

Sunday was my day off, but I spent most of it on campus. Even though it was my day off, it was wildly productive. In between concert hopping, I spent a few hours in the library putting away WYWS music and preparing music for Adult Band Camp. In the span of about seven hours, I attended three concerts: the Intermediate Choir and Intermediate Vocal Arts Ensemble concert (I worked with those groups last summer so it was great to see them again!), the Interlochen Philharmonic (last movement of Mahler 1), and the World Youth Symphony Orchestra (Elgar Cello Concerto with soloist Anthony Ross and Sibelius 2). I even found some time for myself to clean my room, paint my nails, and walk the mile down the road to Bud's to get a coffee!

Things are starting to calm down here now that Les Preludes is over and almost all of the campers have left. I'll catch up with my Week Six post in the next day or two :)