Day 3: Lots of Nature and Maestro Tuan's Birthday

After a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, and potatoes, we had our morning warm-ups led by Alice. We enjoyed the start of warm-ups with a much-needed massage train. Rather than our usual morning rehearsal, we had an amazing Nature Hike led by one of the Nature Guides here, who goes by the nature name Moon. The hike took us through the Turkey Vulture Canyon loop, which is a beautiful trail, shaded by trees. Campers had the opportunity to stand quietly and enjoy the sound of nature, which they seemed to really appreciate. We also learned a lot about the local plants, mushrooms, and animals. Some of the campers (and all of the counselors) enjoyed making up our own nature names! Some of the names included Sage, Buck, and Twig (feel free to ask your camper what name they chose!) We wrapped up the nature activity by playing a teamwork/bonding game, during which we worked together to get a golf ball into a bucket, using small pieces of PVC pipe - please see the included pictures and videos to fully appreciate the fun we had!

After our morning in nature, we were all pretty hungry, and enjoyed a lunch of pizza, caesar salad, and pineapple upside down cake. Following lunch, we had a successful rest period, followed by a bit of free time. Because we had missed our morning rehearsal, Eric led the campers in a two-hour afternoon rehearsal from 2:30-4:30. They've been working on two Bach Cantatas that they will sing with a Berkeley-based Cantata Collective. During free time, a few recent Ecco Alumni, Gavan, Theo, and Emily, snuck up to surprise the campers!

After another small bit of free time, we had our nightly recital, which was extra special because it is Eric's birthday today! We started the evening off by doing our usual birthday songs, to Eric's surprise and pleasure :). The recital was beautiful as always, with vocal performances by camper Mia, in addition to Tim and Alice. Eric performed another beatuiful piano piece by Grieg. It was a treat to have the three alumni, and one of their parents, join us for recital, dinner (hamburgers and hot dogs!), evening rehearsal, and evening activity. Towards the end of rehearsal, Bob and Sue called in on Alice's iPad to sing Eric a happy birthday song! That also gave us the opportunity to wish Sue a happy birthday (Happy Birthday Sue!). Eric and Sue are birthday buddies, and have had a few opportunities over the years to share brithdays either on tour or at camp. 

Our evening activity tonight felt particularly special. We called it "Night in Nature," during which we took a lovely stroll up the hill to the water tower, and gathered on a lichen-covered rock overlooking camp. After everyone was situated on the boulder, Eric directed us in a few minutes of silence, during which we appreciated the sounds of the cicadas and birds, the view of the sunset, and the rolling fog. After a while, Alice encouraged us all to share one thing we felt, heard, saw, or experienced during the silence. We were all very impressed by the campers' thoughtful answers. Next, Eric read "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver, which provided us all with some food for thought. As an extra special treat, Eric also read us the first chapter of The Golden Compass. Eric explained that being read to is something he really misses, and we could all see why. Eric's melodious voice carried us all into our imaginations, as we listened to the words and looked over the rolling hills. To round out the evening, Eric led the campers in singing an Estonian lullabye, which was the perfect "goodnight" to nature.

We all helped one another down the hill with flashlights, and some sliding down hills. Campers had some time to debrief the night and play a few rounds of cards before lights out. Tomorrow we look forward to being joined by the rest of the camp staff, including Concert Choir and Ensemble counselors and the rest of the voice teachers! We will miss our intimate group, but look forward to welcoming more of our choir family to lovely Walker Creek Ranch.


(Click to enlarge)

Beth Beauchamp