Ah, where to begin as to the wonderful people that I have met over my five years of teaching at CAMMAC? How to describe them, their energy, their depth, and their inventiveness? There are so many to include, I simply cannot do them all justice, but nonetheless, I shall try.
My starting point, I guess, will be the most famous person that I have met at camp, none other than Santa Claus. Yes, I met the great white bearded wonder during Choral Week (Week Six) in my third year of teaching. Rosy cheeks, full beard and all, I guess it makes sense that he would like both Vocal and Early Music. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to see him there, but I was! Really, he is a wonderful man and to think that I had to go to CAMMAC to finally meet him (perhaps it was the milk and cookies that attracted him to the place).
Oh, I must not forget, I also met Queen Elizabeth herself. She stopped by the camp one year to visit the children of Week 6 during their final show on her way to the Olympic games. Funny though, she had a striking resemble to our beloved Director Patricia Abbott, but I am sure it was Elizabeth in the flesh as that wave could never be copied – it was the genuine thing.
Who else have I met that have been so memorable? Oh yes, my fans, the devoted ladies who keep coming over and over again to my sight-singing and ear training sessions, hidden away, very fittingly I might add, in the Messian studio. I love them all (you know who you are) because each day it is wonderful to watch how they unabashedly soak up whatever I throw out. They are such amazing students, faithfully coming back each year for more solfege, sight singing, rhythm dictation, harmonic analysis and, yes, even dancing.
Who else has made such an impression on me at CAMMAC? Ah, yes, I mustn’t forget all the wonderful people that you meet every meal at the outdoor table, be it raining, windy or pouring sunshine. Old or young; French, English, Portuguese, Italian, or even Japanese speaking, many the meal has been spent comparing secret ingredients for pasta, understanding the theory of relativity or detailing exactly how to best execute an Eskimo roll in a kayak. On other days, the conversation may shift to where to locate my chakras, highlights of Quebec’s foreign policy, contemporary Canadian art history or how to make the most scrumptious cappuccino. Each and every person has some interesting story to tell.
And what about exciting music conversations you may ask? Well, there simply are too many to mention—from Aretha to Bach on through to Vivaldi and Zappa , these conversations are some of the best ever had on the deck of the new eco-friendly Main Lodge. Everyone at camp has one of these conversations burning inside of them, ready at any moment to come out and it is so joyful when they do.
There are young babies, rocking in their mothers’ arms, no doubt securing their musical development for life. So too are there seniors, well into their 90s, who follow such a rigorous schedule that I can hardly keep up with them. One can easily find those who love to cook over the campfire and yet others who love to sing over the smoking embers. Some like to swim, others open up the most beautiful sketchbooks to reveal the wonders of nature in ink and pencil. I have seen masters on the tennis court, teams of exuberant youthful soccer players, or sailors basking in the wind. So too have I even seen adolescents masterfully turning mere drinking cups into fine percussion instruments.
In sum, the people at CAMMAC simply are the best. They are so wonderful in fact that I truly consider them to be my extended family. From the silly adolescent cousins jumping around on the dance floor, to the fun “aunties and uncles” who constantly play tricks on one another, to the grandmas and grandpas who exude energy and excitement, CAMMAC is home. It is a joy to be a teacher at CAMMAC and I, along with my husband and children, look forward to a new “family reunion” every summer on the shores of Lady Lake MacDonald. Come join the fun, you will love it.
Theory and solfège at the CAMMAC Music Centre