Archive for the ‘Brass camp’ Category

Here’s The Boy, hauling his stuff to the car. He’s wearing his camp shirt–all the campers wear them the last day for the concert.

Brass camp is over for this year. The House Leroy and I make the two-and-change drive up to Wallowa Lake last Saturday to pick up The Boy. As I saw him walking across the meadow, lugging his tuba, sleeping bag, and duffle bag, it hit me how very fast he’s growing up, and how empty the house is without him in it. Having him home again feels like having my heart back. And yet, we will do this again next year, not only because he loves it, but because it offers him an opportunity to hone a skill, to make friends, to stretch, to play miniature golf, drive go-carts, and meet people who share his love of music.

He went electronically equipped this year–he took his Kindle and his 3DS. However, he says he didn’t spend much time with them–he was busy, and when he wasn’t busy he was having fun.

Camp wasn’t all about music, though–he reported that, during his stint in the kitchens, he learned about why deadheading plants is good for them (shout-out to the kitchen lady who told him that).

Here’s one of the cabins where the kids stay at music camp. Lessons are held in yurts, or in the meadow.

Here’s the lodge–and the family barbecue, held Saturday. Families can eat, then drive down to the town of Wallowa, where the concert is held at the Wallowa Elementary School.

And so we started the drive back. The camp is up at the far end of Wallowa Lake. The boy was full of lake factoids, some possibly true.

Here’s The Boy, posing with Random Stuff From the Back Seat–in this case a book, “Chemorella,” a book I am considering reviewing. The bald lady on the cover seems to have inspired him–he shaved his head last night.

The concert’s quite long–a couple hours–because each camper performs in three groups–a chamber group, an instrument-specific choir, and the massed ensemble. Sorry for the crummy pictures–I was working with ambient light, in a gym.

Here’s the whole group–there are too many kids to fit onto the stage, so they spill out onto the main floor. The music is amazing. If anybody has video or audio, I’d do a good deal to get a copy (or a link, if it’s posted).

For us, the trip to Wallowa involves two mountain ranges: These are the Wallowas.

The Wallowas again…

Between the Wallowas and the Blue Mountains (the second mountain range we must cross to get home) lies a high, fertile valley full of farms, fields, horses, cows, and lovely old barns. I would have pictures, but I fell asleep, which is how I prefer to navigate the twisting roads through the Blues.

Here’s Holst’s “Second Suite in F for Military Band.” This is played by a whole band–we we just heard the first movement, played by a tuba choir–amazing.

Here’s a YouTube clip of “Hornpipe,” from “Sea Sketches,” by Ian MacDonald. The part we heard starts at about the five minute mark.

Read Full Post »

Actually, I feel a little bad about that title. The Boy plays the tuba, and though he can “oompa” with the best of them, he can also produce lovely, melting sounds that you feel in your bones. And in another week or so he’ll be making those sounds up at Brass Camp.

Last year we sort of stumbled through Brass Camp. This year, though, we’re old pro’s. It’s going to go a lot better (though it went great last year). I thought that, me being an old experienced Brass Camp mom this year, I’d write the post that I wish I’d seen last year for all the Brass Camp newbies who are where were just twelve short months ago.

1. Camp is held at Wallowa Lake. That’s high in the mountains–in an alpine climate. Nights and mornings are cold. Days can get warm enough for shorts. Pack for your child with that in mind. Layers work well–they can bundle up in the mornings, and shed clothing as the day warms. Be sure to include a waterproof (or resistant) jacket and plenty of warm socks.

2. The camp is well-run. Kids are kept busy, but there are activities and free time each afternoon. The Wallowa Lake Resort is an old one, with a number of the traditional “resort” amusements–horses and bikes to rent and ride, miniature golf, go-carts, and a little store that sells snacks (at grossly inflated prices). The camp also offers a selection of souvenir items that campers can buy. Last year I sent my camper with about $75 (the amusements are fun, but not cheap).

3. If you’re sending a gamer, consider letting them take along their favorite hand-held gaming device. There’s free time, and many of the games can be played by two or more people–it can be a way of making friends. Also, some of those little suckers take pretty good pictures. My son wished he’d had his, if only for that reason.

4. If your camper (or you) is going to need direct communication during the week, consider buying and sending along a pre-paid cell phone (or a regular one). While the camp does have a telephone and can receive emergency calls, that doesn’t cut it when homesickness strikes.

5. Speaking of which: If you’re concerned about how your camper might do that critical first night, consider getting a room at the resort, or in Joseph (which is just down the road). It’s a bit spendy, but it’s a lovely area, and it might help to bridge the gap.

6. Consider taking a few days to explore the area. There’s a fair amount of historic stuff there–Chief Joseph is buried in a small cemetery just beside the highway, for one thing. The lake is lovely and peaceful, too. And the fishing’s not bad, I’m told.

7. The last day there’s a barbecue, for which parents can pay. I suggest you do so–it’s fun, and it gives your kid a chance to sort of transition from camp. There’s also a concert. It’s about 45 minutes from camp to the concert hall, but it’s headed back toward civilization, so it’s all good. The concert is amazing–be sure you bring along some sort of recording device. I wish I had last year, and I’m definitely planning to this year.

That’s it for the moment–if I think of anything else I’ll add it in. Oh, one last thing: Brass Camp is an amazing opportunity. It not only will improve your kid’s music skills, it’ll open his or her eyes to a world of music that it’s difficult to find otherwise.

Read Full Post »

Susan Wittig Albert

NYT Bestselling Author

Linda C. Wisniewski

WRITER, memoir teacher, knitter, quilter, happy trail walker...

the BrainChancery

Or, "I Flew to Hong Kong And All I Got Was This Lousy Brain Tumor"

The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Red Tash

Teller of Tales


through the darkness there is light

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

Fabulous Realms

Worlds of Fantasy, Folklore, Myth and Legend

Someone To Talk To

Just another WordPress.com site

Heidi M. Thomas

Author, Editor, Writing Teacher

Marian Allen's WEBLAHG

This, that, and a whole lot of the other

Beneath your Covers

Paranormal books & media review blog

Pat Bean's blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Speak! Good Dog!

What's new--and news--at Magic Dog Press

Notes from Main Street

Just another WordPress.com weblog

%d bloggers like this: