Ghost of Music Camps Past

This spring, I registered for Mimi Zweig’s summer pedagogy seminar, and now, the day has has come, and I am here. It’s going to be an amazing course of study, and look forward to the cocky level of self confidence I anticipate leaving with. After all, I am here to gain method to my teaching madness, but I already love teaching. Isn’t that half the battle? (It better be…)

It is true that this course will be a wonderful thing for me, but the biggest, bestest thing is that I get to stay with a very good friend. And second to that, I met another friend when I got to orientation.

Standing there, face to face with another violinist, I suddenly remembered everything about the day that we met. It was not a good day. I was going off to Meadowmount, for the second summer to be a counselor. That, of course, meant that I had to be about a week early. So I arrived at the tiny Burlington airport alone. The taxi man took me to the wrong ferry, and I crossed Lake Champlain too far north, landing some 45 minutes from the camp in the middle of absolutely nothing. I was freshly college graduated (…penniless) and in the Adirondacks (…no cell reception). Eventually, I was able to get JUST enough cell reception to the head counselor to call, but she didn’t answer because she was off doing counselor things (…looking for me at the wrong ferry stop). It took 2 hours to get in touch with someone and of course, another hour and a half to get to Meadowmount after they dispatched two other, more reliable counselors in a van to come get me.

They’d saved me some dinner. It was roast beef and potatoes. I sat there, eating while everyone watched. I was very animated and may have been waving my cutlery erratically. Throughout the vasty saga, I was staring into the intense but unmoved gaze of a man with very blue eyes. He was so unamused by my tale that I began to spin it like a demented spider attempting to weave a web to catch a mackerel (… crazily). I don’t think he ever laughed. By the end of camp, we’d spent enough time together to understand that I was trying to get a reaction, and he was worried about getting stabbed.

That was four years ago yesterday. I know because it was my birthday. Today, I saw the blue eyed man again, and we greeted each other affectionately. I met his lovely pianist wife and she said the scary phrase. “Oh yes, he has told me all about you.”

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The Bug in my Violin

The inside of a violin is a magical place. A silent, holy hall with skylights in its vaulted roof. The curved walls and the bare floor, the maker’s tag a rug in one corner. A brilliant photographer for the Berlin Philharmonic captured the resting glory of this chamber of sound. See.

Yesterday, I played my violin for my church as a sort of farewell since I am moving again. Since the zippers and clasps can be noisy in reverent moments, I did what I always do and got the violin and the stand and the music all set up well before worship began. I left it in the back, unattended. I can only assume that is how the BUG got in.

Yes, when I opened my case today, there was a huge and hideous BUG of the family of YUCK and the genus of GAH calmly sitting beside the shoulder of my Sleeping Beauty (aka, super loud obnoxiously high noise maker).

I’ve heard stories about bugs and violins. All of them involve the bugs eating the violins and/or the bow. Steeling myself, while shrieking, I rescued my violin and my bow and threw the case and the bug onto my brother’s porch. He can deal with the interloper when he gets home from work.

Panting and shivering, I reached for my violin when suddenly it occurred that the bug Might Not have Been Alone. What if this wasn’t a scout, but an invasion? What if my all of tranquility and harmony was Infested? What if the hoards of vileness had come to stay!?

I hid in the bathroom and called my mother. She says I have to put some pants on and confront my violin. She says I should shake the violin and listen for any exoskeletal buzzing. Then, if there is none, all is well. If there is, I should flee the scene, go to the movies and wait for my brother to come home and turn the evil ones out.I think I’ll do what she says.

Any minute now…any minute…