It was, quite literally the hottest day of the year, with temps topping out at a steamy 97. It was also the first day of the new school year for my sweet kiddos. I can’t quite wrap my brain around summer ‘ending’ and my babies entering second and fourth grades and yet it seems to be happening, ready or not. The kids, on the other hand, are thrilled. The first day of school was an overwhelming success and both are pretty sure this will be the best year yet.
You know when you do something, and it is wonderful – darn near perfect – and you can’t wait for the chance to do it again? But at the same time you think . . . maybe it won’t be as good this time? I worried about that a little going into our second year at the O’Connor Method Camp in Charleston. But camp did not disappoint. In fact, it was incredible.
There are so many things I could say about what makes this camp so amazing, but honestly for me, it comes down to one thing that makes all the difference in the world: one thing shared by all the energetic, caring teachers; one thing taught and encouraged across every single class in the camp; one thing seen night after night in the recitals and jam sessions, and seen morning after morning in the eager faces of every student. There is a deep sense of ownership of the music, of the shared history of the songs and the fluidity of their interpretation. And with that sense of ownership the students discover artistic freedom. They are encouraged to change, mold, adapt the music – to improvise, to make it their own. And they do. From the very earliest beginners all the way up to the most accomplished professionals – the energy is unbelievable, and it comes from that one important thing that makes this camp so special: creativity. It is a beautiful thing to witness, and I have to believe that the creative thinking they are developing here will help them throughout their lives.
Not to mention, it’s a LOT of fun. We are already making plans for next summer!
This year we went to Charleston a few days before the start of fiddle camp for a mini-vacation and to enjoy the pre-camp fiddle festival featuring camp instructors. Friday night’s lineup included Fletcher’s group class teacher from last year, Michelle George, who was also Lola’s master class teacher this summer as well as Lola’s favorite teacher Hazel Ketchum and Fletcher’s favorite teacher the amazing Ellen Lee. It was so neat to see the teachers perform with their bands, doing what they do when they aren’t in the classroom!
Saturday we visited the Charleston Museum, with it’s odd collection of taxidermy, war memorabilia and textiles. We had a great lunch at Five Loaves Cafe, visited the farmers market and the old city market with it’s sea grass baskets and tacky t-shirts, and caught a River Dogs baseball game. (It happened to be Christmas in July, thus the odd Santa pictures.) It was a nice lead-in to the week of fiddle camp. We had plans to visit the aquarium but ran out of time – something for next year!