Before leaving for the European leg of the tour, the choir, orchestra and soloists all meet at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp property in secluded western Michigan for what is affectionately known as “intensive week” for days upon days of rehearsals and meetings. The natural, open setting seems even more appropriate this year as we are performing a piece directly centered around the creation of, well, nature itself.
In the Biblical telling, God begins with molding heaven and earth and ends with humanity’s creation in the forms of Adam and Eve. With all this maker-ism on the mind it wasn’t hard to start seeing things around camp through a similar lens.
A performers eye view from the stage of the Stewart performance shell during our 8am dress rehearsal
“And God said: Let there be Light, and there was Light. And God saw the Light, that it was good; and God divided the Light from the darkness.” (The Creation, movement 1a.)
A shadowy self-portrait on the steps outside of Merrick hall
“Outrageous storms now dreadful arose… By heaven’s fire the sky is enflamed, and awful rolled the thunders on high.” (The Creation, movement 2a.)
The night before leaving for Europe we had a mighty storm pass through western Michigan, as is evident by the lightning struck tree. Mind you, this is in the middle of faculty village, where multiple cabins are located.
Donner und Blitzen, indeed!
“And God said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together under one place … and it was so.” (movement 3a.)
Admittedly, this is a bit of a stretch, but I couldn’t quite figure out the most organic way to work this picture into the post.
I’m pretty sure this is more acurately known as the creation of diphtheria
“And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after his kind … Unnumber’d as the sands in whirl arose the hosts of insects.” (movement 9a.)
Meet Theodore and Howard! The former, Sabrina and I found while on a walk one morning and the latter landed on her leg during our dress rehearsal, hanging out for a good twenty minutes to enjoy the free concert
Unfortunately we did have one entomological incident during a rehearsal. On the page directly after my singing of the “hosts of insects” I looked over and saw this poor little guy.
He’d be hard pressed to find a more appropriate page in the score. HARD PRESSED, I SAID!!! *groan*
"And God created man in his own image. In the image of God created he him. Male and female created he them. He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” (movement 10a.)
So speeeaaaaking of the ‘breath of life’… I was wandering through one of the buildings one day and came across this myriad of lifeless bodies staring up at me. They had been stashed in a side room in preparation for the regular summer camp’s health staff arrival but were quite disconcerting nonetheless.
I’m pretty sure that if they aren’t already, a group of CPR dummies should be known as a “chorus” … or maybe I just have a bit too much music on the brain
“And God saw ev’ry thing that he had made; and behold it was very good. And the heavenly choir in song divine thus closed the sixth day.” (movement 11a.)
Throughout the whole of my Blue Lake experiences I have had the great pleasure of becoming dear friends with Sabrina, Leah and Zach. Without hyperbole I can say they are a large part of my continued return to this gem of western Michigan, and any tour without their involvement would be intensely diminished as far as I’m concerned. Before leaving for the airport, it is customary for the parents and family members of the campers to see their children off, and I’m so glad that Leah and Sandy, one of the other international staff members, were there to act as our send-off squad!
And behold it was very good!
Artist: Joseph Haydn / Album: Die Schӧpfung (The Creation)