The Star Lake Lodge promotional flier was simple and to the point – ‘Senior Adult Music Camp,’ and it got my attention with that one word, ‘Senior.’ And then I read on, and was hooked:
‘If you long for one more chance to be a Star Lake Music Camper or just love brass banding, this event is for you! Gather with fellow brass band enthusiasts to play the classics in a relaxed atmosphere with no performance pressure; challenge yourself with some new compositions; spend time reminiscing with friends; enjoy the opportunity to hear the young musicians at Territorial Music Camp occurring this same week. And finish off the week at the Music Camp Finale. So get that horn greased up and start buzzing!’
What sealed the deal were the pictures of Commissioners Carolyn and Jim Knaggs as guest chaplains, and B/M Ron Waiksnoris as guest bandmaster. What a line up!
Across the territory, and beyond, 40 other people concurred and we were off, the inaugural Star Lake Senior Music Camp, including distinguished alumni from the New York Staff Band, Canadian Staff Band, International Staff Band and several prestigious music schools.
From the get-go we realized this would be no casual musical saunter. We were put though our paces and held accountable for intonation, volume, cadence and interpretation. All the skill and experience of Ron Waiksnoris in full-court press. Nor would we want it any other way.
Similarly with our twice daily times of devotion, where Jim and Carolyn Knaggs walked us through the Psalms in chronological order, ‘the songs of Jesus, the songs sung by Jesus.’ This meant we looked at both inspirational and imprecatory texts – so good.
With the beloved and enduringly successful Star Lake Music Camp in full flow across the lake, it was natural that our encampment intersected for some of the evening programs, and in good return some of the international guests came to our veterans’ camp and shared their quite superlative musicianship. With video taped messages of congratulations from B/M Ron Holz, B/M Steve Bulla, B/M Steve Cobb and Bruce Broughton, we saw and heard the impact of Star Lake Music Camp from these legendary alumni.
Our finale was kindly supported with generous people and included chestnuts such as ‘Heroes of the Faith,’ (Skinner) and ‘Consecration Hymn,’ (Steadman Allen), hidden gems such as ‘Finnish Suite’ (Redhead) and ‘Radiant Harbor,’ (Broughton) and even a composed piece for the week itself, ‘Star Lake Jubilee,’ by camper Ralph Pearce, who conducted.
So, after 50 years I found myself a music camper again. No curfew or pranks this time around, but the same delight and thankfulness for the genius of Salvation Army summer camping.
In some sense the boundary line of Star Lake Music Camp this year expanded to include 40 more campers.
Watch this space – razzle dazzle rah rah rah, osky wosky sis boom bah, sound a cheer for dear old SLSMC!