I’ve just finished two summer schools back-to-back, the Northland Crafts Trust Summer Do and Summersong. The Summer Do was 8 days’ straight of singing, and I enjoyed my class very much. Kind of a brutal schedule though, 9 - 4.30 every day, so we took a lot of breaks - but in 8 days you can cover a lot of material and still have time to explore any tangential issues, listen to archival recordings and watch some DVDS. Thanks to Claire and Kristin for attention to detail, efficiency and charm.
As always, Summersong was a sensational week-long party: a reunion of old Summersong chums, and the discovery of of new voices, talents and ideas. And space to learn something new: I spent most of my downtime at camp playing guitar, working up some new solo guitar pieces, looking for new chords.
As always, I taught two classes, both exploring a variety of styles, though the morning choir worked on some more challenging songs and the afternoon choir was more improvisatory. I also ran a more informal men’s choir, and we had fun doing some quartet stuff. I also sang a couple of songs (Holy Day, Call Me Elvis) on the staff concert night, backed up by the exquisite duo of Marianne and Heidi McDermott.
The peak moment for me was hearing my vocal arrangement of Born To Be Wild - based on the string quartet arrangement I did for the Lounge Quintet - which exceeded my expectations. It’s so unlike any of the other music I teach or perform, I was apprehensive about teaching it - would the choir like it? would it work? was it singable? but they liked it and sang it brilliantly, and it was a highlight of the week.
Other highlights of the week: Carl Panuzzo’s wacky testifying on his song Cream; Doris, the duo from WA singing their song Deep Waters; Brenda Chapman’s anthemic Facing Facts; hanging out with Kristina, Alison, Catherine McEwan, Heidi, Gentleman Geoff; playing bass for three hours’ straight on the party night with Karl Farren and a succession of drummers: Carl P, Jessiah and Troy, and briefly playing lead guitar with Ivan...thanks to Alison, Kristina, Pam and Troy and everyone.