I am a founding member of the Alcan String Quartet which celebrated its 25th season in 2014-15. I have been teaching at CAMMAC for the past seven or eight summers.

CAMMAC is certainly a special place, a place that in my experience has no comparison. It is a place where music is of the essence, a place where a person, an adult, an adolescent, or a child can discover music, appreciate music, believe in music and share their love of great music with others. This is not a place where one competes with others, where some are treated better than others, where faculty are better than the students. No, here all are participants, whether you are playing music for the first time or you are a seasoned professional performer, all are equal when it comes to music and the appreciation of all it has to offer. It is a place where one can marvel at the magnificent nightly performances of the faculty as much the morning concerts by the students and the Saturday afternoon performance by children who have been working all week on their own musical projects.

It is only at CAMMAC that we find people of all ages and musical abilities interacting with one another towards a common belief. Whether it be in a chamber music group with a teenager and a retired person working away at a Mozart quartet or a teacher and a middle aged mother/housewife sitting together at the same stand at an orchestral rehearsal, all are there for pure love of music. And this symbiotic relation continues after the music making has finished at the end day and people are sitting around the table in the dining hall discussing all aspects of music. It really is amazing.

Why does the Alcan Quartet return summer after summer? There are many reasons. We know that our week at CAMMAC will be comfortable. The accommodations are excellent, the meals are exceptional; there is swimming at our doorstep, a warm atmosphere, friends and colleagues, all of which may exist in other camps to varying degrees. What it does have that no other camp has, is the ability to show us, the professional musicians, the base of why we are playing music, why we decided at a certain time in our life to become professional musicians, the real love of music. It is that aspect that I appreciate the most about CAMMAC. Once the week is over, the bags are packed and I am driving off, I feel that I have been as much a student as all participants, and I leave with the same feeling of satisfaction, feeling that I have been nourished with an appreciation and a wonder for all music has to offer for another year!


David Ellis