I sat as first chair in the Honors Band, ready to play an unbelievably difficult saxophone solo. Well, that’s what I visualized in my head at least, but things didn’t turn out exactly that way.
I traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona for a second summer at the Curry Music Camp, housed at NAU (Northern Arizona University). My initial experience last year was great, and I really wanted — no, needed — to return again. The camp’s instructors were so knowledgeable, and fun — teaching at different colleges and universities around the U.S. during the school year; and so we (high school) students were challenged by the music presented and learned a good deal from our time there. Throughout my freshman year, I took private lessons and managed second chair in our school’s top band, Symphonic. Now an eagerness possessed me to how I had progressed by auditioning – into Honors.
Standing in line with my sax in hand and reed in mouth, I waited my turn. Quite a few saxophones stood ahead of me, yet my confidence did not waiver. Though looking back, maybe a few more butterflies would have been beneficial. After three and half hours of waiting with no practicing allowed in the hallway, my playing sounded unprepared, scratchy. I managed second chair in one of the standard bands, just a few chairs away from the desired honors placement. While I was disappointed, music was music; and the experience would prove challenging anyway.
Next came the Jazz Band audition. I entered the room again feeling confident until I saw the other six saxophones. The butterflies feebly fluttered in my stomach; however, my try-out placed me in the second chair of one of the jazz bands, which added the much needed icing to the cake of my day. Playing jazz was, and is, most important to me. The day ended as each day would: eating at the HotSpot, socializing with my friends, and playing some games before bedtime.
The next fourteen days immersed me in various classes as well as rehearsals for performances held mid-camp and the final day. A routine slowly emerged: waking early to get ready, eating breakfast quickly to then walk across campus to classes and practice.
The schedule was simple and very comfortable. Each evening all students attended planned activities, such as recitals, a talent show, field trip to the Grand Canyon, and a Fourth of July trip to a concert. The camp organizers and counselors made certain there was not a minute of boredom.
Besides the music, another important aspect was reconnecting with friends, including several from my high school. Having a group of people to hang out with was crucial and made my time at Curry all that more fun. The dances and game nights were amazing, and provided an opportunity to make even more friends. As I talked with my friends, I suddenly realized they were just like me: passionate musicians with a love for the fine arts and overall great, caring people. Driving home from camp, I felt immensely satisfied with the music learned and performed, new friends’ emails in my pocket, and great stories of an awesome time.
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