Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Off to Camp

I've been taking a little flak for my plans for this weekend. My son said, "My dad's going to camp." One of his friends asked, "Do you end with a campfire?" Slow on the uptake, I pictured us burning our scores.

What's this about camp? I had been referring to it as a chamber music weekend workshop, but "music camp" is shorter and easier to say. The Arrowhead Trio, for which I'm the pianist, signed up for this a couple months ago. We and five or six other groups begin preparing music in advance and then practice together for the weekend, 2-3 hours each morning and afternoon, with members of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet popping in to "coach" us. All the groups usually participate in a short concert on Friday evening and a farewell concert Sunday, to which the public is invited.

As you can see, it's a stressful weekend. (Right, although some of the participants will swallow their share of beta blockers before their concert appearances.) We don't stay in tents, camp out, or sit around fires, unless a fireplace is lit in the Manor House, where most of us stay. Some will occupy small cottages spread around the Garth Newel estate. All of us will enjoy private concerts by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet, read, run or do whatever else we want, and -- the hard part -- force down fine food prepared by the on-site gourmet chef.

The retreat begins Thursday afternoon, which gives me a little time to work on my Spring garden. I planted nearly 2 pounds of peas yesterday, which I'm hoping will give me something to do near the end of May. Joining the peas were onions, lettuces, beets, carrots and parsnips. I prepared the soil for some more carrot seeds tomorrow if I can beat the rain that's predicted.

"A tux at the piano on Saturday and overalls today," says Virginia. "Which is the real you?"

Some day I'll wear overalls at the piano and a tux in the garden, which reminds me of a stanza from my long poem, Conversations with a Garden, I've excerpted in previous postings:

I hope you remember the day
I wore a coat and tie to kneel
before you and wash your feet.
You, dry, tired, welcomed
the cool well water, for a moment
you seemed happy and content,
but it did not last, nothing beats
rains that too often come too late.

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