Monday, August 27, 2012

Sforzando String Festival

God is truly faithful!  If you ever wonder, just commit to more than you can realistically stretch yourself to do in following God's direction, and you will find out just how much He cares about His purposes.  You will also discover how much He sincerely desires to use us - just normal people - to accomplish His ways.

I had a refresher on this truth as I decided to organize, produce, and launch a brand new string festival this year.  It was scheduled to begin only two days after piano camp climaxed to the end.  But I was not alone. My violin teacher from New Zealand added more ideas and sent some great music, an amazing local violinist came in to do a Master Class, Mom taught the theory classes, Analisa taught violin classes, Michael was the camp accompanist, Benjamin led some of the games and activities as well as being our cellist, and Dad provided the use of the "camp lodge" (our home) and acreage and recorded the final concert.  God's faithfulness shone in many ways, but seeing Him orchestrate a camp involving our whole family was such a blessing.  The students were a blessing as well.  Oh, how I love those kids!  I had all 11 of them for 4 whole days.  Then, they were gone.  But they still have a place in my heart ~ and most of them are still "mine" (they are in my regular studio throughout the year).

I think that I learned more from camp than "my" kids could ever have.  Some of it was found in the preparation, some of it from their needs, most of it from who they are.  The joy of discovery.  The art of expression.  The need for laughter.  The importance of age integration.  The fuller story in life.  The need to press on toward an "impossible" goal to accomplish your dreams.  The desperate desire to learn and grow.  The necessary cultivation of camaraderie. The adrenaline rush of the "moment"~ when the challenge is overcome.  And I learned about life ~ zest for life, love of life, enjoyment of the moment while forgetting the future.  Thanks to all of you who invested in my life those four completely awesome days of camp!  I care so much for each of you!

 Thanks also to my faithful parents who pursued this journey with zeal beginning early on in my life, and continue to support these endeavors; to God who is fulfilling His purposes in my life; to my family who have joined in and supported these "big ideas;" and to my violin teacher, Dr. Thomson, who has believed in me and given me the tools necessary to release my heart to dreams great dreams in life and in music ~ with the technique needed to make them a reality!  Soli Deo Gloria!

If you would like to "get in" on the fun, check out the videos below.

This is the "Tornado Twirl" (Song of the Wind) led by Analisa's group
Here is the Twinkle Variations and Theme - each section is led by a different student
The Can Can!  Correographed by the group, and learned strictly in those four days.
La Rotta ~  a piece sent in from my teacher in New Zealand just for camp :)
Pirates of the Caribbean ~  a full orchestral score reduced to work for the older group allowing for only one or two people on each part.
The whole group put together the Orange Blossom Special

Monday, August 20, 2012

Young Artist World Piano Festival

Summer has been in full swing, and is just starting to wind down.  During this 10 day intensive piano camp, Michael was practicing hard and soaking it all up while I served as a full time "camp counselor," and the rest of the fam enjoyed attending some of the events.  It was a fantastic time of basking in music in a great "musical sleep over" and building new skills and relationships. 

Michael worked up a fantastic concerto for the camp.  Before camp began, he gave an excellent casual performance.  Check it out!

With tons of active grand pianos being diligently practiced upon, intense competitions, musicianship classes, masterclasses, and inspiring performances, the activity was full. But as a counselor that most kids seemed to think was their age - regardless of what their age was - I had a unique and incredibly fun time interacting with them. :) This included everything from straightening collars and fixing hair before they walked out on stage, to see God clearly at work providing for our needs, to reviewing the steps to a proper bow, to talking through the difficult things at any time of day or night, to sharing my faith, to playing ultimate Frisbee and 'round the world ping pong - which was affectionately called the "heart of piano camp" :)

But piano camp was more than piano - though the students often did not leave their musical discussions even on our outing at the zoo!

Me with one of my girls - one of the youngest there - 7 years old.

Michael and a friend in the bus en route to the zoo.  Piano was hard to stay away from - so it was brought along - via the Piano Guys...
Collaborating with one of the students - with all of those fantastic pianists, it was a great opportunity to jam a bit in our tiny amount of "free time."

Subway made some dough on our picnic...

A properly dressed and might bit silly (or shall I say excited?) group of ushers...

The students interacting with a group of older folks that attended their concert

Forum - a game of competing in musical history and listening

More of my girls enjoying a treat

The group of 'round the world ping pong champs.  I guess this time my competitive nature found me in this group...  How I loved their company and fun spirit!

My team for Ultimate Frisbee

Michael's team for Ultimate Frisbee

An example of the perfect way to "wind up" for the night!  It became the  routine.  We would start with about 25 kids, and it always gets exciting when you get to the last few...

Finish your summer strong!!!