Music and laughter soared through the crisp fall air to join the rustling leaves and crackling twigs at our fall retreats. Our young musicians from Sinfonia East, Camerata, and Concert Orchestra journeyed to Camp St. Croix and packed rehearsals, sectionals, and team-building activities into one gorgeous day.
Retreats are a unique chance for our students to dig into their music and to build relationships with each other. One minute they might be focused on playing eighth notes together, and the next they’ll be facing their conductor in a game of pick-up basketball. Babette Lume, a cellist in Sinfonia East, says “retreats are a fun time to get to know everyone in your orchestra, and to have fun playing music!”
Set in beautiful greenery at Camp St. Croix, retreats also give our students and conductors a chance to breathe. A day at camp takes you out of the busyness of life and pinpoints your attention to music and community. Concert Orchestra conductor Mark Gitch particularly enjoys the beauty of the space. “I love the setting that we’re in. There’s something about having this much green and fresh air around us that makes us work better.” Our orchestras spent the morning digging into their music. Playing in lodges amongst the scattered trees, their music floated across camp. Inside, conductors and students were engrossed in their notes and artistry.
After a morning full of music-making, our students spent the afternoon outside to grow as a community. Rope swings, wooden planks, and balancing beams sat nestled between towering trees. An energetic counselor and eager kids transformed these simple materials into pits of lava and winding mazes. Working together, our students built bridges and hoisted each other over ropes. More importantly, they became leaders, planners, helpers, and listeners.
Our students have grown so much since our first rehearsals a month ago. Spurred by an energizing day at Camp St. Croix, their artistry is shining through and friendships are blossoming. Camerata conductor Kent Musser emphasizes the importance of our fall retreats for the growth of every GTCYS orchestra. “We get a lot done musically with our rehearsals, but what it’s really about is kids getting to know each other and finding some commonalities they can bring back to rehearsal.”