Wow! What a fun, yet, highly productive day and a half.
Day 1 – 16 March
The camp started in the rain with all hands on deck moving all the equipment and bags from the trailer into the hall. Once that was done and dusted, and in an incredibly efficient manner, the children gathered in the hall for a rule briefing by Mr. Garner. Each dorm group had a leader and this leader had the responsibility of the dorm keys. Once everyone settled and unpacked in their dorms, Mr. Garner rang the gong and the children rushed out with their cups in hand to go grab some refreshment before the work began.
The work started with sectionals for 1h30mins, 45mins for the Junior Band and 45mins for the Senior Band. While the respective teachers (Mrs. Canter-clarinets and saxophones, Mr. Koopman-brass, Mrs. Warneke and Mrs. Simons-keyboard, Miss. Transel-percussion and Ms. Fowlds-flutes) were rehearsing the one band, the other band was rehearsing by themselves in a dorm; this gave the students a lovely bit of responsibility.
The sectionals went very well and the students work well together. Even though each band had a piece they had never seen before, they pulled through with remarkable skill. These new pieces will, of course, need some additional work in their individual lessons.
Straight after the sectionals (the sun had come out by now), we had lunch, and what an entertaining lunch it was. Mr. Garner created a game in which he would walk around and tell random tables to freeze right where they are. Then he tried to make them laugh and move by putting tomato sauce on their noses or balancing things on their heads, even stealing a few chips, this made it highly entertaining for both student and staff.
Straight from lunch and a bit of free time, we flew straight into a tutti rehearsal; Mrs. Canter rehearsed the Junior Band, and Mr. Koopman the senior band.
This highly intense sectional rehearsal was well rewarded with two hours of free time. The students used the first hour to swim and jump on the trampoline. In the second hour, they were led by Mr. Garner to the obstacle course, and the students had a great deal of fun. A few of them had to change as they had fallen in the mud; one student fell in three times! The students were then blasted, at full force, into another 1h30min sectional.
Finally, suppertime, and this was another highly entertaining meal. Mr. Garner made random tables freeze again and had a word he shouted after which the students would have to respond with some type of action. While the staff, all except Mr. Garner, were still eating, the students were outside receiving an explanation (by Mr. Garner) on what they had to do for their big activity of the day. The students had to get into their dorm groups and pretend they were an African tribe who made weapons very well and they could build well, but, they did not know how to use the weapons and they were very bad at making friends. This tribe was landing in South America for the first time and met the American Indians. It was a rather lovely evening outside and the teachers sat near the fire and kept an eye on the students and their progress while discussing various topics of interest. After about an hour the groups were called up one by one in order to present the act, and the war cry, they had come up with. All of them were very funny, but it was also quite entertaining when they portrayed American Indians from South America as having an accent like the Indians from India. A geography lesson is needed, I think. Mr. Garner then did a very funny skit in which he was an Indian shop owner and various students could come and buy stuff, it was more like a long joke which had the most hilarious punch line, I think your children can explain it better than I could.
After this a bit of free time was given while the teachers discussed which group they thought was the best. Mr. Garner, at around 21H00, took the students for a night walk along with Mrs. Warneke. This walk was a 30min walk in the dark with torches where the students remain as quiet as possible, Mr. Garner, of course, gave them a few scares but it was highly enjoyable and educational for all the students. When they returned, they had time in their dorms to shower, brush teeth and chat amongst themselves until the 10h30 lights out time. Mr. Garner, of course, slept on the trampoline in order to keep an eye on the students. I think everyone was highly exhausted after a fun and work filled day.
Day 2 – 17 March
This day started with the most beautiful weather, Mr. Garner woke the students up at 7am and breakfast was at 8am. What a lovely breakfast, cereal and French toast…mmm. Mr. Garner and Mr. Koopman noticed that we had not allocated any free time for the students on the 2nd day so we shortened the rehearsals in order to allow for an hour. The sectionals straight after breakfast were, therefore, 45mins long and the tutti rehearsal was the same.
The sectionals moved more smoothly this time as the students had at least gone through the new piece a few times now. The tuttie rehearsal was also just to polish the pieces for the small concert we were going to give at 11h30.
After these two rehearsals, the students were given some delicious biscuits and juice and sent to change into their costumes. By now, the weather had turned and become rather chilly. All the students lined up next to the pool and Mr. Garner shouted...5...4...3...2...1 and everyone jumped in. There was so much screaming and shouting as the water was apparently a bit cold. Of course, there were a few scared students who decided not to jump in but most of the students joined in the fun.
After everyone was dressed and warm once again, the teachers began preparing for the concert. We had Mr. Harris join us, as well as the manager of Sumcay.
The concert was a lovely addition to the camp, and, even though not all the pieces were perfect, the students thoroughly enjoyed it. Both bands performed and the camp was a highly successful event.
Of course, now we had to pack everything back onto the trailer, both equipment and bags and head on over for a quick lunch. This meal was a rather sad meal as Mr. Garner announced to the students that from next term onwards he would no longer be working at Herbert Hurd. There was not a dry eye in the house.
Once lunch was done, we all piled into the buses and headed home.
This camp was a huge success with a lot of headway achieved. The students also had a great deal of fun in this light, yet working, atmosphere. I do believe with every year we can endeavor to make every camp a much bigger success than the previous year. Thank you Mr. Garner for having such a huge helping hand in this camp, organizing all the fun activities for the students and making the students laugh every step of the way. All who know you will sorely miss you and I do hope that you go on to thoroughly enjoy all of your future prospects.
Thank you to Mr. Harris for joining us for the concert, it was lovely for the students to see you there supporting us through all our endeavors.
A big thank you, also, to all the parents and staff for all your support, our music students need all the support they can get.