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Saturday, June 25, 2005

We prepare for our trip to New England

Zed and I are soon to embark on our great Northern adventure. I'll be teaching with Larry Gordon and Brendan Taaffe at Village Harmony Travel Camp #2. Zed is getting an immersion indoctrination into (I hope) the joys of singing, after having been turned off vocal music seemingly forever seven years ago, by a choral director trained at an evil institute who forced him and his friends to learn dinky songs and make hand motions at the same time.

There is no entrance audition for the Village Harmony music camps. Larry Gordon and Patty Cuyler, who masterminded this together, figure any kid who thinks it would be fun to spend a week rehearsing seven hours a day, and then spend two weeks on the road doing twelve concerts in twelve days - well, that's their kind of kid.

Larry and Brendan are bringing Sacred Harp (shape note) music, Irish songs via "Voice Squad," Balkan songs and tunes, and the Victoria Missa Toni. I'm bringing Klezmer/Yiddish, Sephardic, and Mariachi!

Zed and I will leave home Monday morning and spend the night in Pennsylvania Dutch country visiting relatives. Tuesday morning we'll pick up another camper outside York Pennsylvania and then drive the rest of the way, to the "Northeast Kingdom" in Vermont, right up next to Quebec.

We'll spend two days with Brendan and Larry, evidently doing a lot of shopping - we'll be cooking together and I'm guessing 24 teenagers consume a lot of food. Then we'll go meet the incoming campers at the Buddhist retreat center (no shoes, no internet, no meat) where we'll spend our first week.

We'll sing and play all day. We'll stay up late singing and dancing. Then we'll spend two weeks in hippy busses, crashing with sympathetic fans along the way.

Does this sound like fun to you? Village Harmony runs music camps for adults, too. Some are in exotic locations like walled cities in France and the Republic of Georgia.

Currently I'm trying to figure out how to pack for this experience. One of Larry and Patty's travelling music hordes stayed with me once and when they left, there were quite a few things left behind. I wondered: if they're leaving things everywhere, what will they have left when they get home?

Scribblingwoman described a similar problem perfectly:
We were only gone two weeks but we stayed in six separate places, and from what I can tell we left at least one item in each of them. My favourite blue jacket, very smart and worker-like, I believe is at Lorna and Steve's, though they are now away so I can't be sure. Our cell phone is, we think, under Lauren's bed. Our blow-up mattress is at Peter's; we left it on purpose, sort of a host's gift, as one of his cats peed on it twice (or each of his cats peed on it once, we're not really sure) but we didn't mean to leave the electric pump as well. One of the JinkerBoy's sandals is somewhere in Ontario or Qu├ębec, but we couldn't begin to guess where.

We've been warned to pack light. I'm trying...

Here are some cool things I have procured in preparation for this grueling expedition:
  • Travel towels - they were kind of expensive but they're amazing and pack very small. Aquis microfiber waffle towel is absorbent and light and so is the one by Eagle Creek.

  • I experimented - I put them in the washing machine and then hung them up on the Lewis N. Clark clothesline which I bought at the same time. Miracle! Two wet towels did not make this suction-cup clothesline fall down, and they dried really fast! So I recommend the clothesline too (no clothespins needed, mostly). Except you need glass to hang it up on and I'm not sure glass will always be available...

  • I got a travel iron but I haven't tried it yet. Pulling crinkled skirts out of a duffel bag every night to go onstage? Must have an iron.

  • I got really lovely litte travel speakers - "SI-5 Silver/Graphite Portable Speakers" from Si-Technologies. We picked them up at Circuit City, I think. They're loud, they pack together in a space about the size of a cd case, they run on regular batteries or an adapter, and they work with my MuVo mp3 player so I'll be able to play musical examples for the kids.

I'm glad that during this period of utmost chaos, at least I won't have to worry about my pet blog, which I have fed every day since mid-January. (I have no idea if there will be internet access any time during this expedition - we will be living among the happy Luddites of New England.) As promised, my daughter Melina has been storing up posts and is going to start firing them off every day when I leave. Stay tuned!

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At 7:48 AM, Blogger kenju said...

Have a great time! Write a list of everything you are packing so that you won't leave anything behind when you move on (unless you leave the list behind!).


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