Day 1: Camp is Finally Here!

Ecco Camp started bright and early on Friday morning when our little Ecco Family for the week gathered at the bus in Piedmont. As soon as we piled into the bus, you could feel the choir energy starting - stories from tour adventures were shared, songs were sung, and before long we arrived at Walker Creek Ranch. We were greeted warmly by the rest of the staff, who helped us unload our things and showed us to our cabin Eucalyptus, our home for the next week.

After a few moments to choose rooms and bunks, we again gathered to hear about safety rules from our wonderful camp director, Alice. Then it was time for everyone's favorite part of choir camp: the infamous Theory Test! Artistic Director Eric then led campers and staff in some fun ice breakers and games. We had fun silently organizing ourselves in order in terms of birthday, first name, eye color, and more. We played another fun game that involved concentric circles, during which we had fun discussing questions with various partners (What is your ideal dinner? If you could go anywhere for choir tour, where would you go? Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? What solfege syllable are you?) Conductor Eric does a wonderful job of fostering inclusion, openness, and closeness among the singers. 

Following a yummy lunch of chicken nuggets, tater tots, and salad, singers had Voice Checks and Medical Checks. We then all took the short hike to Turtle Pond to have Swim Checks, and some free time at the lake. Some singers dove right in to the water, while others kayaked, or stayed on shore to make friendship bracelets. After a couple hours, we all headed back to camp to shower and prepare for our first recital of camp. The counselors and staff performed most of the pieces, as it was the first night, but brave camper Mia did a beautiful rendition of Gia il sole dal Gange by Allesandro Scarlotti. She did a wonderful job of breaking the ice for other campers to perform during recital, and we immediately had two other sign-ups for tomorrow's recital! Following dinner, the Ecco campers had their first rehearsal of the season with Eric. We then gathered around the camp fire for our traditional Chip Ceremony. This one felt particularly special given how small and close-knit the group is. This is the first year that Ecco is alone at camp, and the intimate quality of the camp allows for a very relaxed feeling - it's also a lot quieter, which means we had the privilege of watching wildlife get very close to us, including a curious fox that appeared to check us out! After the chip ceremony, we ate S'Mores, sang some traditional camp songs, and Eric led us in a moving activity during which we had the opportunity to answer the question: "Where do you see yourself in ten years?" 

The first day of camp always goes by in a flash, and before long, it was time for lights out!


(Click to enlarge)

Beth Beauchamp