Interlochen Arts Camp 2015, Week Four

Sick!Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A day of being sick away from home is no fun. Okay, sick is no fun, but being away from the comforts of home just amplifies the agony. I want my bed. I want my cat lounging on my chest. I want my sweetheart to walk into the bedroom and ask what he can get for me. Waaaah.

Took NyQuil last night, then was awakened at 1:30 by a rowdy next-door neighbor. Finally got back to sleep and woke at 5:30 with a sinus headache and stuffy nose. Smoothie for breakfast, class, voice lessons, a bowl of soup for lunch, a pass through the Scholarshop to buy Kleenex, afternoon class, a smoothie for dinner, and collapsing in bed. The day was a blur.

Mall and MaddyWednesday, July 22, 2015

Woke at 5:30 with horrible sinus headache, sore throat, and cough. Pampered myself and went to the Café Tent for tea and a muffin. Thought I’d share that morning vista with you—the view across Osterlin Mall to the Maddy Building, where the administration offices are located.

After finishing my muffin, I walked the few steps to the Fine Arts Building to spend a few minutes watching Leslie’s class. Oh, joy—she was wearing the top I gave her last week. It did my shape no favors, but she looks fantastic in it. It suited her style and is easy for her to move in when teaching dance routines to these sweet juniors who, by the way, adore her.

Made my way to class and cowered behind my piano with my box of Kleenex and my water bottle. Then voice lessons where I played poorly and felt very bad about it, lunch, no time to lie down, back to class, then to the grocery store to get soothing things for my throat, Haufbrau for chicken vegetable soup, and home to practice. After a long talk with Leslie, I sent an email to our new collaborative pianist scheduler, expressing to her my concerns about being unable to properly prepare for all my obligations because of my rush-rush schedule. Dang, it’s hard being a grown-up! (Spoken by the ultimate non-confrontationalist.)

These days are a blur. Oh, how I hope to feel better tomorrow!

Green LakeThursday, July 23, 2015

I’m feeling a little better this morning. Ran into Liza in the dining hall, and we sat down along the waterfront eating our breakfast. Liza, who is a friend of Leslie’s from academy days and Chip’s new love, and who is also a collaborative pianist, shared with me some of her experiences through the years she’s worked at camp. She was very encouraging. I tend to feel bleak about the entire world when I’m sick, so I hope my outlook will improve as soon as I’m over this cold.

I always tend to hold everything inside and obsess about it in my head. For a change, I thought I’d seek counsel from wise people around me. After last night’s long discussion with Leslie, I decided to talk to my music director this morning. She’s another wise person whom I greatly respect. I told her about my feeling of being overwhelmed and about the email I had written last night. I then asked if I should write an email to the instructor or try to talk to her in person. She suggested an email, with the caveat that I’d be available to talk about it in person if the instructor wished. Then she also sent an email to the new scheduler, supporting my statement last night that I didn’t have time to do “Oliver!” and 25 Broadway tunes. And quicker than you can sprinkle pixie dust on a difficult situation, everything turned around. I got a nice note back from the instructor; my M.D. got an email from the scheduler saying it would be fixed by tonight; then a couple of hours later, all parties received an email from the scheduler giving us the names of the two pianists who would take over for me.

Note to self: You can’t do a big show AND a bunch of other things at the same time. And I have to remember that in the fall when I take over as collaborative pianist for opera workshop at YSU. That’s a pretty busy job, plus I have the philosophy department editorial half-time position, plus I have the Joseph Badger High School, HS Show Choir and 7-8 choruses position. And I have to prepare the kids version of “Elixir of Love” for our Young Artists program in November. Yesterday I declined the position of opera chorus accompanist for “Elixir of Love”—what a big step that was for me. Now I’m thinking I may need to drop the Badger choir gig. At the age when most of my friends are retiring, I keep adding positions. And my friends are all playing while I’m working.

<P.S. On>
Wrote to the Badger High School choir director and told him he needed to find a new accompanist. Wrote to the two non-profit execs whose websites I maintain and told them I needed to resign those positions. Declined to apply for a great accompanying position that would have required late night long commutes home. This is my summer of learning wisdom! Told my Ohio house representative that she needed a new campaign treasurer.
<P.S. Off>

Got an extra hour in my day today and spent it prone on bed, resting my cough-ridden body. And tonight I’m learning four new songs to play for a master class tomorrow. One of the four singers for tomorrow forgot to bring me her music, but her cabin was going out to Bud’s for dinner, so I used that excuse to take myself to Bud’s for dinner. (Any excuse will do.)

wk4-whitecapsFriday, July 24, 2015

Went early to breakfast to give myself more time to practice for the master class. Came back from breakfast to find someone had tacked an envelope of Emergen-C, a bag of lemon-ginger herbal tea, and a bag of organic roasted dandelion root tea (!) to the bulletin board outside my room. The only suspect, after asking friends who had recommended Emergen-C, is my nextdoor neighbor. Maybe he is tired of hearing me cough all night. Now here’s the interesting part: the Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Herb Tea bag proclaims “Promotes Healthy Liver Function.” Hmmm. And that has what to do with having a cough?

We had four kids sing in the master class this morning. The “masters” were Marcy Heisler, Michael Kooman, and Christopher Dimond. The singers all did great jobs, showed no anxiety (that I could see from my vantage point behind them), and really behaved so professionally before these intelligent and thoughtful Broadway pros. Three of the songs were new to me: “All That’s Known,” from “Spring Awakening,” “Lucky in Love,” from “Good News,” and “Unexpected Song,” from “Song & Dance.” I had heard the last one before, but never seen the music. The fourth song was “Almost Like Being in Love,” from “Brigadoon.” When I was speaking with Michael Kooman afterwards and thanking him for coming, he said he wished he could stay longer. “The place seems magical,” he observed. Boy, he hit that nail right on the head! This is a magical place!

Lunch down by the lake, with strong winds kicking up whitecaps. Watched a pontoon plane practicing takeoffs and landings.

Back to the theatre for afternoon singing and staging. Then Maddy’s for the Verterra pinot grigio and pulled pork nachos. I’ve gotten the same waitress three times now. She knows I come in alone, with my iPad, and don’t want the complimentary pretzels and mustard. By my next visit she’ll automatically bring me the Verterra, just like Serena automatically pours a La Crema Chardonnay for me at Station Square. Afterwards, ran into town to grab some Twin Tip Sharpies at Staples. I need more color on my music.

Swoon Ramona crossbody bag, lacking only the adjustable strap.

Swoon Ramona crossbody bag, lacking only the adjustable strap.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rough night due to having an inconsiderate next-door neighbor. Woke late, skipped breakfast in order to enjoy a long hot shower to combat my headache, then visited HR to seek counsel on my housing situation. They asked me to call my “house mom” and tell her what’s going on in my world. She happens to be the mom of one of my “Oliver!” kids, so knows who I am, and assured me they would take care of the situation.

Great rehearsal—aren’t I lucky that making music always makes me feel better? Dr. Anne and I are at the point of refining the ink spots on the page to find the notes I don’t need to play. I think we’re up to five in the number of musicians in the pit orchestra. Whew! After lunch, an afternoon of working out all the transitions between scenes.

Everybody likes having a little breakfast on a bench in the open air.

Everybody likes having a little breakfast on a bench in the open air.

Went to Maddy’s again for dinner. Heather was not my waitress, but must have seen me come in and figured out who my waitress was, as tonight’s waitress came up to me and asked if I wanted a glass of the Verterra. Made me smile! I opted for the house chardonnay tonight and a small flatbread pizza with lots of fresh veggies and some feta cheese on top. A great end to my work week.

After this long week, I decided to treat myself to an evening of sewing. I’m doing a little mending job for Dr. Anne (in exchange for a couple of envelopes of Emergen-C) and making a Swoon Ramona crossbody bag (without the diagonal bands). I hope to finish the bag and the mending tonight.

Annnnd, about 30 stitches from completing the topstitching that would finish everything except the strap, I broke my needle. My only needle. How could I have brought all my gear from home and forgotten a pack of needles?! So glad Interquilten is open on Sundays!

It's Sunday morning, and many high schoolers slept through breakfast! This is the line at the cafe tent.

It’s Sunday morning, and many high schoolers slept through breakfast! This is the line at the cafe tent.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Breakfast with another collaborative pianist whom I met the first day and admire greatly. Honestly, I’m just wowed every time I hear her play. She’s thinking about seeking work on the West Coast and we were tossing around ideas and possible contact names. It felt great. The calibre of musicians, of artists—simply, of people—at Interlochen is just mind-blowing.

Beauty is everywhere here. This is the alumni hut.

Beauty is everywhere here. This is the alumni hut.

Went back to my room and did some laundry, then went to Interquilten for needles around noon. I was craving a big glass of iced tea, so drove to Wendy’s which was swamped with people headed west to the Lake Michigan shores. After standing in line for five minutes, I gave up on my iced tea and went back to eat in the dining room. After lunch, came back and listened to some more of John Grisham’s “Gray Mountain” while finishing the strap on the new bag and do the little mending job for Dr. Anne. And napped. :)

To dinner, which was spent with Carrie, a music composition teacher, and Elizabeth, a viola teaching fellow. The first time I met Carrie, she was dining with Chip, who always calls me “Mom.” So now, whenever she sees me, she automatically says, “Hi, Mom!” She makes me smile. We had such an interesting dinner conversation, about perfect pitch and synesthesia and Nadia Boulanger and the musician’s brain.

Later: a lovely evening sitting on the mall, listening to the World Youth Symphony Orchestra play Dvořák while knitting.

wk4-deckMonday, July 27, 2015

Quick, quiet breakfast, then a stroll down to the deck to admire the beauty for a few minutes. Back to the room for some computer work and then music preparation for the week.

Lunch with some of my favorite ladies down by the water, then back to the room to cut and file my fingernails and work on music, all the while getting close to the end of John Grisham’s “Gray Mountain.”

Quick dinner while marking music, followed by a weekend-concluding dance rehearsal. Back to my room to knit while finishing the Grisham.

And suddenly it’s the penultimate week!


If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.

Searching for the song “Lucky in Love” from the 1927 musical “Good News.” Found a 1996 cast recording from a production in Wichita. Also in the musical is “The Girl of the Pi Beta Phi.” Who knew?! (July 23, 8:01 p.m.)

The smile on the face of the student asked to lead the dance warm-up this morning could light the world! (July 24, 10:05 a.m.)

I went to Bud’s last night specifically to connect with a student who forgot to bring me her music for today’s master class. When I saw the girls from her cabin walk in, I walked over and immediately heard several voices call out, “Jan’s here!” Love these kids!! (July 24, 10:08 a.m.)

Came back from breakfast to find someone had tacked an envelope of Emergency-C, a bag of lemon-ginger herbal tea, and a bag of organic roasted dandelion root tea (!) to the bulletin board outside my room. I thought maybe Dr. Anne, as we had discussed Emergen-C. She reminded me that she doesn’t know where I live. So I thanked Leslie, who said no, not her. Trying to think who else. Maybe Tyne, who knows I’ve been sick, but I don’t think she knows where I live. Ahh, maybe my next door neighbor, or his unauthorized overnight visitor. I noticed they slept with the fan on all night, maybe so they wouldn’t have to hear me cough. Or so I wouldn’t have to listen to their, um, antics? (July 24, 12:22 p.m.)

Beautiful, breezy day. Decided to eat down by the lake. As I was walking down the path, eight or ten of my kids were eating at a table on the deck and shouted out “Hi, Jan” as they waved to me. How cool! (July 24, 12:33 p.m.)

Happy Friday Night. My next door neighbor is trying to learn the melody to the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar – by ear. Honestly, I could write that line out for him in his key of choice faster than he’s able to pick it out! (July 24, 7:48 p.m.)

Tyler Clark, will you be back up here before the summer is over? We never got our traditional picture in front of the sign! (July 24, 7:51 p.m.)

Apropos nothing I’m going to discuss here: Sometimes you just can’t explain crazy. (July 25, 12:43 p.m.)

I don’t have a tub to soak in, so I’m going to sew for a while. Then I may post a note on my next door neighbor’s bulletin board that says, “I’m older than your mother. Do I really have to listen to your nighttime activities?” (July 25, 8:08 p.m.)

Have you noticed the phenomenon of more and more people bowing their heads and praying before meals?
Oh, wait. They’re just checking their phones. (July 27, 8:34 a.m.)

Interlochen Arts Camp 2015, Week Three

July14Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bastille Day and the Jazzman’s Birthday—all day long (Photo taken in Paris in May, 2013)

The first day of week three started off with rain. Enough rain and enough of a system moving in that I woke with a headache and aching arthritic knees. Skipped yoga and used the saved time after breakfast to practice. Then morning class and on to voice lessons. We had just started with the first student when someone of authority came and said to the young man, “You didn’t take your morning meds. I have to take you to Health Services right now.” I hear from other faculty and staff members that this is a real issue now. The girls who have meds to take go to one of the dorms and line up, A-M down one hall, N-Z down the other, and the line is out the door. Overmedication, anyone? The young man argued that those were his morning meds and it was afternoon now, but the messenger wouldn’t be deterred. “I’m supposed to get you and bring you there.”

The up side for me was an extra half hour in my day, so I could eat earlier and have more time before I had to go back to afternoon class.

Staging of “Consider Yourself” consumed our afternoon, followed by a couple of run-throughs for tonight’s “Collage” performance.

I was thinking about Jas’s birthday all day, wishing I could have been there. I sent him an email last night after he went to bed, hoping it would be the first thing he saw this morning. Then this morning when I got up, I called his voicemail (He rarely has the opportunity to use his phone at work, Federal Railroad Administration rules and all that.) and sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

When he surfaced this afternoon, he said his pals were going out to eat before he would get off work, so he was going to take himself out to eat at our favorite restaurant. While I finished playing the afternoon’s class, a plan hatched in my clever brain. As soon as I got back to my room, I called said restaurant and asked for our favorite bartender, who knows us by name. Alas, she was not working today, but another bartender, Benny, who sometimes recognizes me, was working. I gave them my credit card number and told them Jas would be coming in around 7:00 and it was his birthday and I wanted to buy his dinner as I was out of town. Benny was concerned that he wouldn’t know who Jas was. All I had to say was, “Wild Turkey on the rocks,” and we were set.

I ran to wolf down dinner so I could have a few minutes to relax before the evening’s performance, smiling the whole time, thinking about Jas being surprised at dinner.

The performance went so well. Contrary to last night, the kids watched Dr. Anne, they paid attention to what they were doing, they sang, they danced, the knocked ’em dead. And my comment to Dr. Anne that the kids couldn’t hear me and that other accompanists had said their kids couldn’t hear them caused the sound guys to adjust the monitors. The kids could hear me. They did a great job and—praise the pine trees—they knew they did a good job!

If you’d like to watch the Collage video, here’s the link. I’m on for about a quarter of a second at 2:54-2:55. After you watch my “Oliver!”, be sure to watch the Junior Violin Virtuosos at 6:15. Wow!!!

When I got back to my room, there was a text from Jas on my phone saying “Your boy Benny tells me my girl Jan picked up my dinner tab. You are sweet and very sly.” And smiling!

Lunchtime PeaceWednesday, July 15, 2015

It’s officially mid-July and the temperature when I awoke was 48°!

I must have raced through breakfast this morning, as I had a little more time before my 10:00 a.m. class. Walked over to the Fine Arts building to see Leslie in her class and give her a top I had made and didn’t really like. I think it will be much better on her body than on mine.

Spent the whole morning staging, trying to finish the staging for the first act. We have three weeks left before performance, and less than that before tech rehearsals begin. If these kids could just Shut. Their. Mouths. during rehearsals, but it appears that’s an impossible wish. Or magical thinking.

Voice lessons. Race through lunch. Spend ten minutes sitting on a deck chair looking out onto the lake. Ten minutes of peacepeacepeace.

Race back to studio to practice more. Afternoon—more staging. Then an hour after rehearsal of recording incidental music. Then a half hour of rehearsing with a fellow staff member who asked me to accompany him in one song for Friday evening’s staff recital. Are you counting? That means it was 6:30 before I left the studio.

This weekend is “date night” in Ann Arbor, and I want to finish a summery dress I’m making, so ran (yeah, about 17 miles away on the other side of Traverse City) to Jo-Ann’s for interfacing to finish the hem. (If you’re not familiar with my sewing blogs, I interface all my knit hems with tricot interfacing to give a cleaner edge that’s easier to topstitch.) And I thought the service at the Boardman Jo-Ann’s was slow. There appeared to be only three employees in this large store. And there were many people ahead of me with complex transactions. Could be the four 50% coupons that were on the website and expiring today. So a half-hour drive each way and probably 45 minutes in the store meant it was 8:20 or so when I got to Maddy’s. Settled down at a table on the patio with a glass of the Verterra pinot grigio, a small pizza, and my iPad. Then home, a FaceTime call with the Jazzman, some texting with Leslie, and collapse into bed.

Yes, I do have moments when I look forward to the end of camp, just to get some relaxation!!! So looking forward to the weekend in Ann Arbor just to hold hands and walk around with my sweetheart.


Favorite pic of the day: Little girl, big horn. Look at the studs on those shoes.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wait! Is it Thursday already? Woke at 5:00, then my 9:00 a.m. rehearsal was cancelled. The Intermediate Musical Theatre Production group went together to see the Intermediate Theatre Workshop (a three-week session group) in their final performance. This was twenty-one students from ten states, Canada, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Their directors taught them acting tools and tricks, divided them into four groups, and gave them four stories from “The Weird Tales of Ray Bradbury,” charging them with figuring out how to present these stories. There were minimal props, and the work was great. Sad, happy, funny, melancholy, strange—all very well done.

Then more staging, more singing, voice lessons, lunch with interesting people, a quick trip to Human Resources, a quick trip to the mailroom (my page-turn foot pedal should be there somewhere, but there are over 3,000 people being served by this one small mailroom, and lots of parents sending tap shoes and music and art supplies to their kids), then singing and more staging, a quick supper on the deck, and twenty minutes to unwind in my room before my next obligation.

Why HR? Another staff member told me a week ago that she had been specifically told by the housing office that her husband couldn’t stay in her room when he arrived at the end of camp. The Jazzman is flying up to see my final performance and help me drive home, and I’d rather not have to rent a hotel room or impose on Leslie for a room. I saw a sign in my dorm that said, “No overnight visitors without HR permission.” So, rule follower that I am, I asked. The HR staff member smiled and said, “Of course he can stay with you.” Then she added, her voice filled with gratitude, “Thank you for asking.”

See there, you people you say apologizing afterwards is better than asking first. I AM right! And I’m patting myself on the back.

Finished the day by attending the first of the end-of-session performances for the High School Musical Theatre Workshop. I always enjoy hearing students here perform. How courageous they all are, to go through the entire application and audition process, then leave their families and friends at home and come here, where they work had and learn so much. And then get up on stage and practice their art form in front of friends and strangers.

Also in attendance were my son and grandkids, so I got to spend some time with them. Added bonus to today!

wk3-rainFriday, July 17, 2015

Foggy, drizzley morning. I must have slept well, as I didn’t hear the overnight rain.

Breakfasted with two theatre people. It’s always so interesting to look at my world through their eyes. I sit before a stage and see these children acting and singing and dancing. They see something I consider miniscule and find a much deeper meaning. Speaking with one of the directors about yesterday morning’s Ray Bradbury stories, my dialect coach friend, Tyne, noted that the kids really understood their space. They were neither too close nor too far. I would never have thought of that.

Sometimes I wish I could just stop playing and watch what’s going on in my rehearsals. I’d love to see the numbers performed with all the elements, but my eyes are glued to my page. Next week a video of “Collage” will be made available. I can’t wait to see the “Food, Glorious Food” number, all staged. Oh, to be able to clone oneself. (And here’s that link.)

The workday began with our entire group attending the performance of the Intermediate Musical Theatre Workshop group. Our choreographer had also choreographed this group, who performed songs and scenes from a number of Broadway shows. I laughed. I cried. It was a wonderful performance. The final line, spoken together by the entire cast, was “We are Interlochen Arts Camp, and we are just getting started.” I fought back sobs.

Especially notable of this performance was the opening of the skies in pouring rain about twenty minutes before curtain time. The production team and crew quickly shifted from an open air theatre to a large tent across the field, and the kids carried on beautifully. Professionally.

All I could think all day was how amazing was the progress these kids made in three weeks.

And then my day continued with two hours of “Oliver!” rehearsal, voice lessons, lunch, and more rehearsal for the evening’s staff recital.

Chip and TylerI had agreed to accompany a singer in a musical theatre song. I had not heard the song before, so learned it amid all my “Oliver!” work. But when I got the theatre at 6:20 for the 6:30 performance, we performers all learned it was really at 8:00. And I had planned to spend the evening after the recital with my kids. Another pianist was in the group of performers and said he’d play in my stead. Yea!

Met Tyler, Leslie, and my grands for ice cream (Life is short. Eat dessert first.) and went to Hofbrau for dinner. Afterwards, I had finished sewing the hem in my dress and just started a load of laundry when Chip texted and asked me to join him and Tyler and the kids at a friend’s house where we have an intimate karaoke party. I went over for 20 minutes, then begged off, as it was way beyond my bedtime. How do these 40-year-old guys keep up this incredible activity level?!

Rain Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday began with gray skies, which quickly turned to black skies. As I came out of breakfast, the first isolated drops were falling. I ran to the mailroom and suggested they look in the Pianists box, which existence I learned of yesterday. Sure enough. There was my new PageFlip pedal. I was beyond relieved. I rushed back to my room and then to the studio, and five minutes later the sky opened. We had a good two-hour rehearsal, attended by some parents who were in for the weekend. Then I had one of the two voices lessons, grabbed my bags and schlepped them to my car, heading out for the 230-mile drive to Ann Arbor.

Here’s the thing about a drive where the first or last 74 miles cover two-lane roads: they’re l*o*n*g!

I made a couple of stops, and was thrilled to see the Jazzman when I arrived. I got in right at 5:30, and we had 6:30 reservations, so I quickly showered and changed and we drove downtown to Main Street.

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair was just coming to a close, artists and vendors dismantling their booths as we walked four blocks to the restaurant. I’ve been wanting to come to this fair for probably 20 years, and as Jas and I ate dinner, we talked about “maybe next year.”

GratziThe restaurant, Gratzi, was wonderful. Situated in a movie theater dating from 1911, there were tables and booths on the main floor, and the balcony held another 12 or so tables, overlooking the action below. Jas noticed the juxtaposition of old and new, the cable box for the TV over the bar positioned on a 100-year-old cabinet.

Our waitress was a percussionist with a bachelor’s degree from Eastman, a brand new master’s degree from Michigan, and she’s on her way back to Eastman to begin work on her doctorate. Now that’s credentials!

AppetizerWe started with a plate of fresh mozzarella covered with warm cream, served with pickled diced tomato and toasted slices of baguettes (or the Italian equivalent). That mozzarella with the warm cream melting it—my gosh, that’s good stuff.

RisottoJas ordered the penne with Amish chicken, sun-dried tomato, and cream. I enjoyed risotto con funghi, with asparagus and truffle. There was nothing left to take home! Then for dessert we ordered the crème brulee, which was made with limoncello. Interesting, different, but not what we’re used to and love in a crème brulee.

PubAfter dinner we went a few doors back towards the parking place and stopped in very authentic-looking Irish pub. Jas savored a beer but we left as soon as he was done. The restaurant’s air conditioner was turned way down and there were few patrons to counteract the a/c setting.

We explored the city a little more on the way back to the hotel, admiring the campus and the eclectic city. So many beautiful old homes in impeccable condition.

Once back in the room, I fell asleep quickly after the long day. But I was able to fall asleep cuddled up to my main squeeze—ah, how I’ve missed that.

wk3-zingSunday, July 19, 2015

Every morning at home, when he first wakes up, Jas sits up and reads some news and checks his work schedule on his iPad, and I lie there stroking his back. It’s some of the most wonderful moments of each day for me. And that’s exactly how we started the day. Ah, bliss. Only three weeks until we’re back to that routine.

The only downside was my waking with a sore throat. All the kids—truly, it seems every single kid—in camp has been sick with cough and sore throat and other respiratory crap (technical term!). And now I appear to have taken it for myself. My fingers are crossed that it’s gone by tomorrow.

wk3-gritsI wanted Jas to experience Zingerman’s Roadhouse for brunch. I called for reservations and we quickly showered, dressed, repacked our bags, and headed across town. I had first experienced Zingerman’s last year when Tyler and I brought the kids up to Interlochen for a few days. I had the Georgia Grits n’ Bits Waffle (of course!) and Jas ordered the Eggs Benedict. And of course we had to share a cinnamon roll. I think we both had more carbs for breakfast than we’ve had cumulatively in the past month. But, boy, was it good eating.

wk3-parkWe weren’t sure how to spend our last couple of hours together, as the weather was hot and humid after an overnight thunderstorm. Should we walk around downtown? Should we find a coffee shop and just sit in the air conditioning? We finally ended up at Parker Mill County Park, exploring the paths and startling a doe in our wanderings.

At about 11:30 we said goodbye and headed in our opposite directions. I stopped for gas and drove through Birch Run Outlets to see if any shops were calling out to me. Chico’s did call me, as I have stained one of my blue “uniform” tanks that I layer with blue shirts during the week. Picked up a replacement, then drove through Victor & Merek’s Deli Bakery for a smoothie to soothe my throat. At 4:15 I drove onto campus, grateful for the drive to be over.


Dinner on the deck

I think nothing of driving back and forth from Youngstown to Hendersonville, and that drive really doesn’t phase me. But it’s interstate highways all the way. This two lane driving, for some reason, just does me in.

And what a wonderful break from the hectic camp schedule to just hang out with Jas, walk around holding hands, catching up on everything we forget to tell each other in our short FaceTime call each night.

And now back to routine for three more weeks.

Monday, July 20, 2015

(She who feels awful takes no pictures!)

By Monday morning, my sore throat had morphed into sinus congestion and a dripping nose. I met Chip and his daughter and Liza at Bud’s for breakfast. For me it was a smoothie and toast to soothe my throat. Then Leslie joined us and we said goodbye to Chip, who was headed to visit his parents and family in Virginia. I went back to my room and napped.

Got up for lunch, determined to come back to the room and practice all afternoon. But I felt so bad I just lay on the bed until about 4:00, when I did actually practice for a couple of hours. Got a smoothie for dinner, practiced a little more, and was asleep by 9:00.

And number three is complete, the new three-week campers are tucked into their cots, and it’s a slippery slope downhill from here to our performances in three weeks.

If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.

Such a good performance tonight by our Intermediate Musical Theatre Production kids. They watched, they listened, they sang, they danced, they projected. When it was over, they knew they had done a good job and they felt very good about themselves. Isn’t that want it’s all about? Oh, the power of the arts. I love the banners hanging from the light poles as one approaches the Interlochen campus, “Art Lives Here.” Yes, it does! And these kids will leave here in four weeks better for what they’ve learned. (July 14, 8:50 p.m.)

Snippets heard on my walk to breakfast – convo between two teenaged boys: ” Yes, because Strauss …” ‪#‎loveInterlochen‬ (July 15, 8:04 a.m.)

Hearing Reveille outside my window with no idea what instrument was being used. Not winds, not brass, not strings (ooh, there’s an interesting thought!). Something kind of tinkley. A percussion instrument? (July 16, 8:43 a.m.)

Fun to sit with Boston Clark watching and listening to High School Musical Theatre Workshop at their end-if -session performance tonight. When they started singing “Not A Day Goes By,” he leaned over and whispered, “Didn’t you do that in the [Sharpsville] Sondheim Revue?” Thrilled at his musical memory! (July 16, 8:59 p.m.)

Morning ear candy while walking back from breakfast: WYSO rehearsing “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” Wow. That D major chord on the organ? Just wow! (July 18, 8:33 a.m.)

You know what makes me smile as I leave the dining hall each morning? Hearing most every diner, leaning over as they slide their dirty dishes through the dish room window, shouting “Thank you” to the staff members dealing with the detritus of our meal and the heat and steam and smell as they make everything clean and sanitary again for our next meal. It is generally agreed that food service is the hardest job on campus. (July 18, 8:52 a.m.)

I would like to thank every one of my Intermediate Musical Theatre Production kids who has been sick with throat/cough/upper resp. crap for the past two weeks. I’ve got it now. (July 20, 8:42 a.m.)

Interlochen Arts Camp 2015, Week Two

Doobie Brothers - in concert!

Doobie Brothers – in concert!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The week started off with an extra hour added to my workday. My music director, Dr. Anne, and I met at 9:00 a.m. to tape much of the incidental music to “Oliver!”. That included scene change music and music that would underscore dance sequences, chase scenes, fight scenes, and so on.

Here I need to say how much I love the technological advances that have made musicians’ lives easier. When the focus of class turns from music to dance or acting and I have just-sitting time, I can plug my headphones in to the keyboard and practice my music until it’s time for me to play again. Genius! Dr. Anne has a recording app on her iPad; she placed it on the piano and recorded all my music we needed. If I goofed, we just picked up where we were, and this evening she will sit in her dorm room and edit out the parts we don’t need. Genius! But best of all is the app she told me about for my music scores. I have installed “forScore” on my iPad. It holds PDFs of musical scores. You can “write” on it, annotating the music as you would a hardcopy score. My next investment will be a pedal that connects to the app via Bluetooth and allows me to turn pages with the tap of my left foot. Genius!

The rest of the day was rehearsal, voice lessons, lunch, a stop by the mailroom (where an opera aria was playing on the sound system—at what post office can you hear that?!), my afternoon rehearsal, and then dinner out with Leslie at a Mexican restaurant (I just needed to get off campus for an hour). Now I’m on my way to hear the Doobie Brothers in concert. How lucky am I? Very!!

<And later …>
Great concert. Sold out house. Lots of old geezers groovin’ to the music. My people!

The "Oliver" score on my iPad.

The “Oliver” score on my iPad.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Started my morning finishing last week’s blog post (while I should have been practicing). 😮

Yesterday Dr. Anne and Peggy finished up a projected schedule for us. Now I know what to have prepared each night before the next day’s rehearsals. We spent the morning on music, then had a Lockdown Drill at 11:30 that lasted until about 12:15. Do you have any idea how much noise 13 junior high girls can make in a closed room with a locked door! And they don’t have their phones with them, so all they have to do is talk and giggle and talk louder. (The first part of the lockdown, before our building was checked by security, they had to be quiet. But once we were told we were unlocked but had to stay in place, the decibels rose.)

After release, I had one of my two noon voice lessons, then lunch and back to my room for ten minutes and then back to the theatre. As much as I enjoy meeting and talking to new people at lunch, I need that time in my room. In my perfect world, I eat quickly and then go back to my room where I can close my eyes and unwind for ten minutes. Not so today—met an interesting woman who is visiting here and has many of the same skills I have (and is just a few years younger than I). She wanted to know all about how I got here and asked for my contact info for future conversations.

In the afternoon, Jody worked on staging for the songs “Oliver” and “Consider Yourself.” I love watching her work. I would love to live inside a choreographer’s brain! She works for a while, then we run those dance routines with music. What that means for me is the gift of time to work on my music. As I’m trying to load everything in my iPad, I can sit quietly and mark my score. Or I can plug in headphones and actually practice.

When camp starts, it seems like six weeks is such a long time. But we’re already halfway through week two. It flies by!

After work I drove into Traverse City to Best Buy, where I bought a stylus to use with my forScore app. And I treated myself to a great salad and real iced tea at Panera. Then back to my room, a little relaxing, a little work on scores, and a little visit with my third son, Chip. I’m so lucky to be able to share this summer time with him. He’s only here for three weeks, and I’ll miss him terribly when he leaves for his North Carolina gig in late July.

The highlight of my day was the new stylus. The score I have for Oliver! doesn’t have measure numbers. (Are you kidding me?!) To insert the measure numbers into the score, I’ve been doing all the clicking, typing, and placing with my right index finger. It’s a slow process. Having the stylus cut the time requirement in half. Such a timesaver!

My favorite studio to work in. Nicknamed "The Fishbowl", it's filled with light, and lots of great images are visible outside.

My favorite studio to work in. Nicknamed “The Fishbowl”, it’s filled with light, and lots of great images are visible outside.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How does a 65-year-old woman feel old and young simultaneously? Take a yoga class. On my way to class, I heard loon calls—multiples!—and wanted to run down and see them (have heard, but never seen), but a girl must have her priorities. Mine was arriving at the yoga classroom in an unstressed state! Mission accomplished.

Breakfast with a young doctoral candidate from Kansas City who is teaching theory. I told her if I knew then what I know now, I would have majored in theory and become a theory teacher. She noticed the “Cleveland Orchestra Chorus” insignia on my fleece jacket and we talked about the magnificence of the Cleveland Orchestra. Now to shower and class.

Raced to class and went to the wrong building—of course, the one farther away. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, we rehearse in the Phoenix Theatre on the far north end of campus. On Thursdays and Fridays, we’re in Harvey Theatre, which is much closer to my dorm. Both are ridiculously cold, all the time. I take a light wrap and a heavier jacket every day, knowing some part of me will be some degree of cold.

As soon as I sat down at the piano, I noticed the signs of a migraine aura. How glad I was that the first 10 minutes of class are vocal warm-ups. I only had to stumble through twenty minutes with spotty vision. The day continued with class, voice lessons, lunch, and racing back to class. After class I drove to Best Buy again, where I got a price adjustment on my stylus. And then I bought a new iPad.

My existing iPad had 16G of storage and was three years old. The new one has 64 (!) gigs. No more running out of space and having to delete things off the device. That’s definitely a good thing.

The highlight of my day? I want to say my new iPad. But, no. The highlight was when the department secretary came in and complimented me on how well I play.

Three hour set-up process on the new iPad. Not good, Apple. But now it’s done. The Apple help desk was not helpful, so I just used my common sense and logical thinking skills and did it my own damn self.

Toasting our friend's birthday

Toasting our friend’s birthday

Friday, July 10, 2015

Woke feeling stressed to practice before another recording session, so showered and dressed, headed toward the dining hall. Texted my MD to see if we could delay the recording session, and she told me I could take the morning off. Yeayeayeayeayea!!!! I came back from breakfast and sat down at the computer, then laid down and slept until 10:00!

Lesson of the day: Never go to breakfast before 8:00. The place is crawling with teenagers. But most of them have a class beginning at 8:00. It’s so much easier to get my bowl of cereal without so much traffic.

Voice lessons, lunch, drop ticket I can’t use off at the box office so they can resell it, class, some recording during class, lots of staging for “Consider Yourself,” then a brush-up on our routine for Collage. We still don’t know if we’re to be appearing in Collage, but we’re ready and able to do so. We should find out tomorrow.

After class I just wanted a drink and a table on a patio. Went to Maddy’s and had a glass of a Michigan pinot grigio from the Verterra Winery in Leland, not far from Hudson’s Bay, where I visited last Monday. Had an appetizer with my wine, then back to the dorm to practice. Except for the back-to-back migraine aura attacks. I cease to be amused by these frequent auras and would be happy for them to stop. Now!

Today’s highlight was easy—another visit to our studio from the department secretary, who told me again how good my work sounds.

Oh, and first payday. That’s always a highlight.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Woke to a text from Leslie that Tyler had arrived at 4:00 a.m. Yea!!

Another skipping-yoga morning because of 9:00 a.m. recording session. Two of the pieces I was to have prepared weren’t. Prepared, that is. They’re tough and very fast, and I lost an hour of work last night to migraine auras. My MD is kind and thoughtful—she knows when to nudge me and when to just let me be.

Honestly, the more I work with Dr. Anne, the more I learn from her. This is another of the people I wish I could spend a lot more time working with. She has so much knowledge and musical common sense inside her skull. Plus, she’s just really nice, and you know how much weight that carries with me!!

This morning we learned definitively that we will be performing in Tuesday night’s “Collage.” Much of today was spent working on the staging and dance sequences for our final performance, but we spent a lot of time also making sure we had everything ready for Monday night’s open dress rehearsal.

After work, I drove to Maddy’s again and sat at the bar with a taco and another glass of the Verterra pinot grigio. Back on campus, decided to take in “As You Like It” at the beautiful outdoor stage. Our choreographer had a role in this play, and I always enjoy seeing my friends perform. Alas, Shakespeare and I do not have a love-love relationship. (Shhh – I left at intermission and went back to my room to read and go to sleep early!)

Drizzley Sunday morning along the waterfront behind Kresge.

Drizzley Sunday morning along the waterfront behind Kresge.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The baby geese are teenagers now.

The baby geese are teenagers now.

Woke up feeling blue. I goofed up a couple of times yesterday in rehearsals—couldn’t understand where Dr. Anne wanted me to start and started in the wrong place—and I’m hypercritical when I cause inconvenience to other people. Must learn to ask for measure numbers when I’m confused. Determined to get some practicing in today and lots more tomorrow. Don’t want to repeat yesterday’s feelings of inadequacy.

Morning fishermen in the distance.

Morning fishermen in the distance.

Adding to my blueness was the fact that my sweetheart’s birthday is coming up and I won’t be there to celebrate with him. His best friends birthday is on the 10th and his is on the 14th, of the same year, and they always celebrate together. A small circle of our friends took the two birthday boys out to dinner on Saturday night and posted a couple of pictures on Facebook. And I wasn’t there. I’ve been away from home sixteen days now, and was definitely feeling homesick.

Although I knew I needed to practice, but decided to do something I really wanted to do—something that really brings me joy. I dug into my basket of sewing projects and pulled out a dress that is ¾ complete. I attached the bodice to the skirt and then started trying to straighten up the hemline, without help from anyone. Just about the time I realized I didn’t bring the tricot interfacing I need for the hem, my phone rang, Tyler wanted to know what I was doing and said they were going “up the peninsula” (Leelanau Peninsula between Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay) and would love for me to come with them.

View from our table on the patio at The Cove.

View from our table on the patio at The Cove.

Ah, to be wanted. We went to Mawby Winery, then our friends Chip and Liza joined us for the visit nextdoor to Big Little Winery. As we were getting hungry, we decided to head to Fishtown in Leland, where we sat on the patio next to the river at The Cover and enjoyed delicious fish. Most unique drink I’ve ever seen? The Cove’s Chubby Mary.

The Cove's "Chubby Mary." You want one, don't you. No, me neither.

The Cove’s “Chubby Mary.” You want one, don’t you. No, me neither.

[When the waitress brings your Chubby Mary, she also brings a fork and a plate. When you’ve played all the games you want with the chub (picture kissing the chub; stick straw in chub’s mouth …), you remove the chub from the glass, placing it on the plate, removing the skin and savoring the delicate smoked chub. Drink and appetizer all in one!]

After dinner I went into the Verterra Winery tasting room and bought a case of my new favorite: Verterra’s 2013 Pinot Grigio. And then we headed back to Interlochen, via many scenic roads.

Thought I was going to a piano party, but it seems my ride forgot to pick me up and I was too tired to call and remind him. So I spent the evening sewing while watching a movie and then was early to bed.

What started as a sad day slid easily into a happy day with my son, my adopted son, and their ladies.

I’m lucky.

My name. On the program. At Interlochen!

My name. On the program. At Interlochen!

Monday, July 13, 2015

More early morning rain. The afternoon is to be filled with thunderstorms, if one believes the weather forecast. Breakfast with a favorite breakfast companion, Kate, and then back to the room to practice before our 12:15 mic check for tonight’s “Collage” dress rehearsal.

Great mic check and rehearsals. Lunch with my director and stage manager, then an afternoon of practicing. Dinner with Kate—we always seem to hit the dining room at the same time. Then “Collage” dress rehearsal.

These sweet kids—some with lots of experience and some green as the new-mown grass—got a little cowed by the audience. The performance didn’t go as well as it could have. But Anne and I were together, so I don’t feel bad about my performance! (An awesome statement for me to make, right?!) I feel certain they’ll perform better tomorrow night. And if not tomorrow night, then the next performance. It’s all about learning and growth.

Now to bed. I pat myself on the back for finishing this week’s blog on Tuesday night. And I share with you my favorite photo of the week: my younger son and his lady love, enjoying time together.


If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.

Went to the campus post office to mail a birthday card to Michael Alexander. An opera aria was playing on the speakers. Probably very few post offices in the world where that would be the case! (July 7, 2:56 p.m.)

Lockdown drill. Nothing is left to chance here. (July 8, 11:49 a.m.)

Well, that was nice. The department secretary (you know the department secretaries are the real bosses, right?) walked into our afternoon rehearsal to say something to the director and music director and said, “Jan, you really play well.” Made my day!! Trust me, that woman has heard a lot of collaborative pianists. (July 9, 7:09 p.m.)

Reveille by saxophone today! (July 10, 6:40 a.m.)

Our choreographer, Jody Burns, has included this song on her daily dance warmup tape that she uses in the Intermediate Musical Theatre Production group. To see these talented and dedicated young actor/singer/dancers doing floor exercises and singing along at the top of their lungs thrills me. I feel lucky to know each of them. [#‎NowPlaying‬ “Kaleidoscope Heart” by Sara Bareilles from Kaleidoscope Heart] (July 11, 9:29 p.m.)

Had mic check and quick rehearsal this noon for tonight’s open dress rehearsal for Collage. My MD just texted me that I don’t get any bonus points for playing all the notes. (I guess the harder notes can be dropped.) (July 13, 2:59 p.m.)

My first performance at Interlochen Arts Camp. “Food, Glorious Food” (July 13, 9:30 p.m.)


Interlochen Arts Camp 2015, Week One

Kresge FlagsI had such good intentions!! I started off last Monday morning telling myself that at the end of each day I’d synopsize that day’s activites. Then when the following Monday rolled around, I’d throw in some photos and be ready to publish the post. Alas!

By Saturday night (our “work week” runs Tuesday through Saturday), I was admitting that this had possibly been the longest week of my life.

My team: Dr. Anne, Peggy (director), Jody (choreo)

My team: Dr. Anne, Peggy (director), Jody (choreo)

This week, being the first, began on Monday. My team—a director, a music director, a choreographer, a stage manager, a collaborative pianist, and several acting coaches—are working with campers in the Intermediate Division, who are in grades 6 through 9. The age range is roughly 12-15. You might enjoy reading this page about the Intermediate division. To be accepted into the program, students must submit a video of them singing a song and performing a monologue. In case you’re interested, the tuition for the six week program is $7,750. Some financial assistance is available, but it’s an enormous commitment for the student’s family to make. And yet the calibre of instruction the child gets, and the talented kids he or she associates with—the life-long friendships that are formed—these benefits are invaluable!


My commute to the office

Monday, June 29, 2015

Each morning when I walk from my room in Hemingway Hall to the Stone Student Center Cafeteria for breakfast, I pass Kresge Auditorium, where the World Youth Symphony Orchestra is rehearsing. Hearing these talented musicians makes every day, whether gray or sunny, brighter. After breakfast, I always pause a few minutes to soak in some more of their beautiful music.

Today I went back to my room for forty-five minutes of editing. I retain my research associate position at Youngstown State University while I’m here, and have two more papers to edit before the end of the fiscal year tomorrow night. I do as much as I can in that time period, then head for the north end of campus to the Phoenix Theatre, 0.2 miles from my dorm.

My Office

My Office

We’re auditioning the 25 students for roles in “Oliver!”. For the two hours before I arrive, the choreographer has been teaching them a couple of short routines, and then trying them out in different small groups to determine their dancing skill level. I arrive fifteen minutes before my start time to watch some smile-inducing dancing. My music director, Anne, and I start teaching them some of the music, and then run them through it, over and over, until Anne is certain she has a feel and understanding for what these kids are able to accomplish.

Break for lunch, then back for more of the same. The director, music director, and the choreographer put their heads together frequently as they’re trying to determine how best to cast the show. At 4:50 we’re done for the day, and they tell the kids to check back later in the evening when the cast list will be posted on the theatre door. They also give a small, humorous lesson in how to behave when reading the cast list. (Don’t scream and shout and make your castmate feel bad that you got a speaking role and she didn’t. Be gracious. Be a good sport, whether winning or losing.)

I quickly eat and return to my room to continue editing. And then fall into the sleep of the completely exhausted.

A storm rolling in - how beautiful!

A storm rolling in – how beautiful!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today was the anniversary of the death of my “Good Husband” seventeen years ago. I had moments of reflection throughout the day, grateful for his life and for his love for me.

Breakfast, class, voice lessons, lunch, ten minute nap, class … every spare minute was spent editing and preparing invoices to be submitted before the close of the fiscal year. To bed after 11:00, when I had no oomph left.

I did make time to have dinner at the Flap Jack Shack with Leslie, her mom, Maggie, and her daughter, Miss C. The lovely Miss C caught a funky bacterial infection causing painful sores in her mouth and on her feet, so they decided Maggie would take her back to Amarillo a week early. This was our summer farewell dinner, where Maggie and I tried to cover all the ground we intended to cover in our was-to-be leisurely time together this summer. Oh well, there’s always next summer.

The hardest part of the day was getting a migraine aura attack halfway through the afternoon class. These auras always last exactly thirty minutes. I lose portions of my vision in a specific pattern. And in the midst of losing my focal point, then a ring around my focal point, then various portions of my peripheral vision while trying to read the music and play for the kids … not easy. Fortunately I have memorized most of the piece we were working that afternoon, so I was able to stumble through.

Will there ever be a point in my life when I will no longer have headaches?!

Favorite sign of the week

Favorite sign of the week

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Today we began working on preparing the vocals and the movement on one song, “Food, Glorious Food,” to audition for the summer Collage program. Collage is a fast-paced program that includes representatives of all camp divisions and programs. Dancers, singers, instrumentalists, painters, and so on all perform in fast succession and performance attendees get an overview of all that makes Interlochen such a magical place.

And in my noon voice lessons I was attacked with an aura again. This time I was playing new-to-me music, so stumbled a lot while waiting for the half hour to pass so my vision would return.

In the evening I finished up the previous days editing, inserting corrections that a Norwegian author had sent.

Took strong headache medicine and was asleep by 9:15. (Woke up feeling normal in the morning.)

Something for everyone!

Something for everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

For the first time ever, I attended a yoga class. This is offered free to faculty and staff members, and is held from 7:30-8:20 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during the summer session in the Dance building on the shores of Green Lake. The lakeside classroom has a wall of windows that overlook the lake. I loved the class, almost dissolving into tears a couple of times. I rarely do things just for myself, opting instead to always take care of everyone else. What a comforting experience this class was. The teacher, Matt, has a wonderful manner and is always encouraging his students to take care of their particular needs. (“Musicians, modify this exercise as you need to, to protect your wrists.”)

Class lets out about the same time the dining room closes, so I went to the coffee tent and got a smoothie for breakfast. Alas, a muffin called unto me. Oh well, I’m walking over a mile a day just to and from class. I probably have already walked off the muffin!

(And now, writing this post five days later, I can’t remember anything significant about the day. Class, lessons, lunch, more Collage prep, dinner, something something in the evening. Can you tell I’m quite tired from the fast pace?)

Grand Traverse Bay from the top of the ferris wheel.

Grand Traverse Bay from the top of the ferris wheel.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Oh, supreme joy. My son and grandchildren arrived on campus around midnight. I’ll get to see them sometime today and I’m very excited.

Breakfast, practice, class (with the wonderful view of my son and granddaughter outside the glass classroom door), lessons, lunch, ten minute nap, class with more Collage audition prep. In the evening, dinner at Maddy’s with the family and then a trip to downtown Traverse City to enjoy the National Cherry Festival.

Sweet grandkids seeking yet another thrill.

Sweet grandkids seeking yet another thrill.

To illustrate how overloaded my brain is this week:
At dinner my son (who is both a camp and an academy alum) was telling me what all he had shown his children during the day. He mentioned the hallway outside the Harvey Theatre, where I was working that day, that contains large photos and names of many Interlochen alums who have made it very big in the theatre world. He said my granddaughter had noticed a picture of Anthony Rapp, whom she knew and loved from “Rent” (the movie), and was surprised that he had attended Interlochen. At least that’s what I think he said. What I heard was that she had seen a picture of Anthony Rapp, and that he was singing in a club in Traverse City tonight. Conversation ensued about our attending and I said, Sure, I’d like to go. Fast forward through finishing dinner, deciding who would drive, and driving the 20-or-so minutes into downtown Traverse City. Leslie had said it would be hard to find parking, but we easily found a spot about three blocks from where they said we were going. Fast forward through a little more conversation about is this thing really happening tonight and some fast googling. And I’m still thinking we’re going to hear Anthony Rapp sing. As we walked and walked, I asked where this place was. They pointed ahead of us and said, Right there. See all the lights and the rides? Somehow my brain had completely skipped over the part where they said, “Let’s go downtown to the National Cherry Festival and ride some rides.” I laughed almost unto tears. I would never have willing chosen to attend the National Cherry Festival, but I got to spend time with the grands and watch them having fun on the rides. All is well.

Note to self: must listen more carefully, even when tired.

Morning walk to pick up Ridley for yoga class.

Morning walk to pick up Ridley for yoga class.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

But it’s not a holiday for these campers, whose parents paid lots of bucks (or euros or Canadian dollars) to send them here to camp.

Classes as usual, plus our Collage audition in the afternoon, then to Leslie’s for an evening cookout and some family time and new friends. I was happy to get to spend a little more time with my dear grandchildren.

There was talk of us all driving to a town on the coast of Lake Michigan to watch the fireworks, but I begged off, opting to listen to fireworks from my bed. I confessed to a couple of people that I felt this had been one of the longest weeks of my life. Tomorrow will be my first day off since my drive up nine days ago.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

It looks like Sundays will be my laundry day. I went to breakfast, then came back and took care of household chores, thinking I would be the only one running laundry at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday. Nope. I snagged the last of the four washers in the laundry room in the basement of my dorm. Then I started preparing the music for the voice students—scouring my notes to associate student with day and song. Once I had as complete a list as I could make from my sketchy notes, I emailed the voice teacher asking if she could fill in the blanks. She basically said (very lovingly), “It’s the weekend. Get a life.”

So I did.

The Jazzman’s brother, Ron, and his wife, Barb, were in Sutton’s Bay, north of Traverse City on the west shore of Grand Traverse Bay, visiting her brother and his wife, Bill and Maggie. They called and said they’d like to drive down to the campus, as Ron and Barb and never seen Interlochen. They arrived around 2:00 and we took a guided tour of the campus. I learned lots of facts I hadn’t known and we all enjoyed the tour. Barb told me later that her mental image of what the campus might be was a small city-type campus with three or four tall blocky buildings. She had no idea there would be so many acres and so many trees and all the rustic buildings. I was very happy they were able to see the place for themselves so they can report back to the Jazzman, and maybe convince him to come visit.

After the tour, I changed into civilian clothes and we headed back up to Sutton’s Bay. We went to Bill and Maggie’s home and had an al fresco drink in their beautiful backyard, then drove down to the village for dinner at Boone’s North Country Grill and Pub. Immediately after dinner I left and drove the forty-five minutes back to campus, where I got my first taste of parking on concert nights. Concerts on this campus draw in the people from miles around, but I can be pretty sneaky in carving out a parking space when I need to.

What a nice day!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday may have been Virtual Sunday, but there was little relaxation to be found in my universe.

Breakfast, then return to room to organize the music for the voice students I accompany. Because I have to carry a heavy backpack with two musical theatre scores, I didn’t want to be carrying three more music books every day. I spent the morning organizing the music of the voice students, buying online whatever I didn’t have, and loading into the forScore app. I tagged each piece with the relevant student’s name and the day of that student’s lesson. This way I can either click the name or the day and pull up whatever I need during each voice lesson. And all I have to carry around is my iPad. Oh, joy!

After lunch, it was “Oliver!” time again. In preparation for a taping session on Tuesday morning, I spent the afternoon practicing all the incidental music—scene changes and underscoring for fight scenes and chase scenes.

Supper, a little more practice time, then a Pink Martini concert! I had heard this “small orchestra” in 2007 in Tucson, courtesy of my friend Jill. They have a unique sound. It’s like they’re a genre all their own. They play a little classical, a lot of international, some French cabaret, and some great story songs that they’ve cleverly composed. How can we spread the word about their greatness? I was sad that the house was so small last night. In fact, throughout the day as I mentioned to fellow musicians at breakfast, lunch, and dinner that I was going to this concert, most of them said they weren’t familiar with the group. I sang their praises! And to top off all the wonderful music, three of the musicians on stage were Interlochen alums! And they invited the campers in the audience to come up on stage and sing backup. Brilliant. Those kids will never forget this orchestra and will never forget that experience!

And with that account, I say good night to the first week of camp.

If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.

Life skills learned today: You know that milk machine (No, not a cow) where you press the glass against the curved bar in the back, under the spout, and then lift up the handle to dispense the milk? Today I learned how to use my wrist to lift the bar so I could fill my glass with one hand. By watching a teenager do it. (June 29, 11:13 a.m.)

Today’s definition of success: Arriving at the cafeteria before WYSO (World Youth Symphony Orchestra) rehearsal lets out!! (June 29, 12:44 p.m.)

Tired pianist played the same 32 measures over and over and over again today and just wants a bath. But is living in a dorm with only a shower. May have to go rent a hotel room just to take a long hot soak! (June 29, 7:43 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: A high school clarinetist practicing his part in Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to ‘Candide'” (June 29, 9:11 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: Reveille played at 6:45, and now Pharell Williams’ “Happy” is waking the girls up with a beat. It make me happy! (June 30, 6:54 a.m.)

Today, seventeen years after his death, I am feeling grateful for the life of John Ross. My life is far better for having known him. Our marriage, though short, was everything a marriage should be. The man sure knew how to dispense love and acceptance! (June 30, 8:30 a.m.)

Yippee! Just realized the clock I bought on Friday for my dorm room is a clock-radio. Now I can listen to Interlochen Public Radio without having to stream it! (June 30, 8:46 p.m.)

You know it’s going to be a good day when you wake up before Reveille. (But that particular trumpeter needs to practice it a few times before his next performance. Just sayin’.) (July 1, 6:43 a.m.)

The conversation around my breakfast table was best practices in practicing. What was yours? (July 1, 8:36 a.m.)

Walking to class listening to big band jazz being played live by very talented high-schoolers. (July 1, 9:46 a.m.)

Oops. Should have packed gloves. (July 1, 12:03 p.m.) (Very cold day.)

I am one happy camper. My DS#2 and my sweet grands are on campus for a couple of days. (July 3, 7:51 a.m.)

MQOTD (Musicians’ Quote of the Day): We’re going to observe the train tracks, but not enough for the train to go through. -Dr. Anne Lewis (July 4, 9:53 p.m.)

Ahhh, a cafeteria where you walk in and hear someone whistling “Overture to Candide.” My kinda place! (July 6, 6:04 p.m.)

Enjoyed every moment of the Pink Martini concert tonight. Very special to have three Interlochen alums on stage. You might enjoy this video, featuring an oboist/english horn player who was a few years behind my son at the academy. (July 6, 10:54 p.m.)

Prelude to Camp

IMG_0090Thursday, June 25, 2015
After an eight-hour drive that seemed much longer, I arrived in Interlochen and got the key to my room. As I walked out of the Stone Center with my key, I ran into my dearest son #3, Chip Miller, on his way out of the cafeteria. How exciting that I get to spend three weeks in close contact with this brilliant young pianist, who has been my son’s best friend since the day they met on these hallowed grounds in 1989. An hour later I had unloaded everything and settled in enough that I could sleep peacefully for the night. And I had a long shopping list of items that would make my stay more comfortable.


Love her so. Leslie is my son’s partner and one of the most dynamic women I’ve ever met. Last year she suggested I apply to work as a collaborative pianist at Interlochen—and now here I am!!

Friday, June 26, 2015
Breakfast, followed by check-in. Those two activities consumed a couple of hours. Then a trip to Target and Staples consumed another couple of hours. Back to campus in time for lunch, then more settling into the room and practicing my score—”Oliver!” Mid-afternoon all-staff meeting to make sure we all knew what we were doing. (As I didn’t know about the meeting until the last minute and was 10 minutes late, I clearly don’t know what I’m doing!) Dinner at Boone’s Long Lake Inn with my camp family. Back to camp and a long sit by Green Lake with my iPad and my thoughts. Received a call from my “boss”, Dr. Anne Lewis. She walked down to the lake to meet me, and a few minutes with “Dr. Anne” (so dubbed because there are two faculty members named Ann/Anne in the Theatre program) made me hope we’ll be working together the rest of our lives. This is going to be such a great summer! Then to my room, a little more practicing, and to sleep, accompanied by the sounds of diligent kids working in practice rooms. Heard my first loon call of the season tonight while sitting by the lake. The mosquitoes finally chased us away. Anne took me in to see the building where she’s staying, the DeRoy Center for Film Studies. Great state-of-the-art building, which includes some very nice “dorm” rooms.

Chip & Miss C

Son #3, Chip, with Leslie’s daughter, the Divine Miss C, who knows how to dress up any occasion! Chip and Tyler have been best friends since their first day of camp at Interlochen in 1989.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Breakfast; practicing; working on editing for YSU; lunch, where I picked up an accompanying gig for a singer who will perform at the Staff Recital in late July; 1:00 Theatre staff meeting; 3:00 Collaborative Pianists meeting, where I picked up a daily voice lesson to accompany; editing; dinner; practicing; bed. The Intermediate and High School kids arrived today, and I heard taps played at bedtime for the first time this season.

Sunday, June 28, 2015
Quick breakfast, then editing, then Sunday Brunch with Anne at Hofbrau Steak House for a final celebration of my birthday. See how I stretched that into a two-week celebration? Pretty smart, I am. Next was a meet-the-students gathering for the Theatre program, followed by auditions for our 25 Intermediate Musical Theatre Production students. They had each submitted a soliloquoy and song on tape for admission, but had to audition again in person. That took the entire afternoon, then dinner, then the opening gathering for the entire camp population. There are students from 48 states and 38 foreign countries. And by the sounds of things, each one is very happy to be here.

Tomorrow the real work begins. I smile constantly. I am so lucky to be here!

If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.

On the road again! — feeling excited. (6/25; 9:49 a.m.)

Since the very first time I visited Tyler at Interlochen Arts Camp, I’ve felt it was an absolutely magical place. Now I listen at my dorm room window as I hear the last 10 minutes of flutists and clarinetists and harpists practicing before the magic 10:00 hour arrives. I feel incredibly blessed to be working here this summer. Thank you, Tyler and Leslie, for encouraging me to do this. — feeling happy at Interlochen Center for the Arts. (6/25; 9:54 p.m.)

I think the last time I drank milk out of a plastic cup was in about 1962 at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, FL. It tastes exactly the same – fresh and new. (Somewhere there’s a photo of me sitting on a chair under a pine tree practicing my oboe.) (6/26; 8:48 a.m.)

I fight back tears as I think how lucky I am to have this opportunity. — feeling honored at Interlochen Center for the Arts. (6/26; 10:37 a.m.)

I guess everybody has to do it at least once. First full day and locked myself out of my room. Sure am getting my exercise walking back and forth to Stone Center to get and return the spare key! (6/26; 10:29 p.m.)

Two wildlife moments from my first full day in Interlochen:
-Was driving up the highway to visit the gas station, and had to stop for a mama duck and her 12 ducklings following her across the road.
-Last night I was sitting down by the lake observing the sunset and enjoying the beauty when I heard my first loon call of the season. (6/27; 8:52 a.m.)

Overheard in the library: “I’ll go get an LP for the Dvorák.” I’m in some wonderful, artistic alternate universe. (6/27; 9:39 a.m.)

Sounds outside my window:Intermediate Girls going around the circle, getting to know each other. “Hi, Elizabeth; Hi, Margaret.” Sweet sounds. (6/27; 11:29 a.m.)

Just stood for ten minutes with four other collaborative pianists discussing audition techniques and page-turning tricks. Died and gone to pianistic heaven! (6/27; 3:17 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: 7th-9th grade girls singing at the tops of their lungs. In tune. (6/27; 5:09 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: Taps.
So the first edition of “Taps” came at 9:00 for the Junior Girls. Just now I heard a second edition, at a much closer range. That would be for Intermediate Girls. This will be my nightly serenade for the next six weeks.
Accompanying those trumpet sounds are the tones coming from practice rooms. These are soloists preparing for concerto competition. Tonight I have heard two different horn players and a pianist. (6/27; 9:32 p.m.)

This morning’s ear worm:
“I shall scream! I shall scream!
For the safety of my virtue I shall scream!” (6/28; 9:38 a.m.)

And it begins! Here we go, 25 7th-9th graders heading off to auditions for Oliver! (6/28; 1:50 p.m.)

Audition True Confession: Music I’ve never seen before intimidates me. — feeling stressed. (6/28; 3:45 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: Taps. Followed by applause. (6/28; 9:35 p.m.)