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2006 SFFMC Camp Harmony, California

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sadie damascus 19 Jan 07 - 04:04 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jan 07 - 04:15 PM
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Subject: SFFMC Camp Harmony, California
From: sadie damascus
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 04:04 PM

(Camp Harmony happens each year for five days at New Years, in the Santa Cruz mountains, and is open to all SFFMC members.)

Harmony was small and wonderful; I knew everybody, and there were fewer workshops, so we got 10-25 people at a workshop; one even ran out before all had had a chance to sing. Crying songs, it was; our group also led ballads, scots songs, funny songs and stories, outrageous songs, songs of disguise and transformation....lots of good singing. finally learned "on ilkey moor ba'tat" or however it's spelled.
The concerts seemed generally low-key, not much energy; much of the usual instrumental talent found jamming in the registration hall didn't come, so the younger folks made themselves at home there and sounded wonderful. We were told that it was generally the older folks who neglected to come back to camp this year, so the average age might have been 40-45 instead of 45-50. Last year we had 220 campers, this year 150....we lost money, and apparently next year plan on renting just camp campbell, which is reputedly going to have upgrades and a new dining hall soon. What a shame: possibly we will be moving tables in to the dance hall three times a day for meals next year at least. And I will miss gorgeous camp harmon and its trees and space and in-cabin bathrooms.
This year there were only about eight young kids, so debby fed them in the line instead of at the traditional kids' buffet. But, mysteriously, there were dozens and dozens of older kids and teenagers, many of whom apparently used to be the children, but are transformed. (They all knew me.) At three in the morning, there was still tetherball being played. One soulful young man I know apparently slept in a cabin with seven girls.

Special moments for me: singing "bells, bells, bells!" interminably on new year's eve, arm in arm with faith; having to kick a dear friend every time his snoring got too loud in workshops; calling home, only to realize that I had nothing to say, I was so happy. Talking a lot with the young people, in small groups. Talk ranged from the economy of England vs. America to painting pants, from anne rice/orson scott card books to dealing with bad teachers and picking a school.
   
And I loved the workshop on "Kids' Gruesome Songs" led by a six-year-old ham, who has grown up performing and recording with his mother, and has never missed Camp Harmony. The kids who attended his workshop found that, not only did they have slightly geographical differing versions of most of the familiar killed-my-teacher-type ditties, but so did I and another adult or two who were there. We taught them a verse or so and a song or two, and heard some spine-chillingly gross newer stuff, warbled mumblingly by some of our community's most trained and touted younger prodigies.

       Those who chose not to come this year missed some wonderful intimacy and chances to take workshops that, for once, did not conflict with other important scheduling. Of course, if they had all come, those factors would have disappeared, so....huh. Anyway, there was no rain, some sun, room to move around between the dining hall tables, great cabin jams, and radiant health all around, all around. Come back next year, and bring your friends!

Sadie Damascus
Monte Rio, CA


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Subject: RE: SFFMC Camp Harmony, California
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 04:15 PM

I had a good time, too, Sadie. Lots of sun - but very cold - and no rain for the first time of the 8 years I've attended Camp Harmony. The smaller attendance made my kitchen work easy, so I had time for more music.
Be warned that I may ask you to sing The Two Sisters every year, from now on.
-Joe-


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