I sit on the rickety, creaky bed in my cabin with reasonably reliable hot water and I plan for rehearsal. I want to be my best self for these students—these amazing, bright, talented, funny, unique, kind, musical students. These young artists who have made the trek to the north woods to sing while their counterparts act, dance, paint, sculpt, draw, play—create.
“The opposite of war isn’t peace—it’s creation” – Rent (Jonathan Larson)
These words seem apropos as I walk through the woods back to the faculty village. Behind me, drawing students are working on still life outside their building. In the jazz bowl to my right, I hear phenomenal young jazz musicians learning to play as a big band. In the unit to my left, two young violinists practice a duet. The cacophony of sound around here is music to my ears. Beautiful a-synchronicity .
Today I told the students once again how much I love that they are so dedicated to their art and to creativity. They are “my people.” I wish I had had the courage to go to a fine arts camp when I was young. As the scared, shy, gay kid from small mining town, I could have used a good dose of arts camp. I thrive here. My heart is full and my senses stimulated.
Yesterday I was getting a ride to rehearsal and practicing my princess wave out of my colleague’s car window. As we drove past the art colony, one of the boys shouted, “I love you!” “I love you more!” I shouted back.
Yesterday in the middle of rehearsal two boys were showing each other some dance moves.
…Only at fine arts camp…
…a place where these kids can just be themselves. They can be creative. They can be fabulous. They can be a bit “out there.” And they’re OK. They’re sheltered. They’re protected. They’re loved.
This camp is a near perfect amalgamation of my past and my present. This part of Michigan is gorgeous—not unlike the north woods in which I was raised. The natural beauty of the place is too easy for me to take for granted. I write this on the beach on Blue Lake. There’s light cloud cover and a lovely breeze coming at me. Having this incredible collection of artist-teachers and students in a rustic setting not altogether far from my hometown is such a strange and fabulous anomaly.
My heart is full and a strong dose of my belief in humanity is restored.
I sing. I conduct. I teach. I read. I love argyle. I wear mismatched socks. I drink a lot of coffee. I run. I want to make beautiful music always.