Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”
This is a bit of a delayed post -- looks like I went to a camp at the same time as several other people. (It's delayed a bit because I'm in the middle of moving; I picked up the key to my new apartment literally the morning after the workshop ended.) In the last full week of July, I was at the CalCap Chamber Music Workshop here in Sacramento for the second year in a row. CalCap is mostly for intermediate and advanced amateurs, though every year there are some college-level music students and even a few early-career professionals looking for expert instruction in chamber music. Just over half are string players, and the workshop also includes woodwind and brass players and pianists.
This year was a little smaller than usual because the music building at CSU Sacramento is being renovated and part of the building was not available. There were about 60 people there this year: between one-third and half were from the Sacramento area, others came from all over California and a few from other states. Probably about 40 were returning from last year, so there were plenty of familiar faces there and some new ones.
As before: lots of fun, lots of intense rehearsing and performing. We were assigned new groups and pieces every morning, had the day to rehearse before performing the piece in the late afternoon or early evening, then it was open for "freelancing" (form your own groups to read through whatever music you want) every night. I freelanced until 9:30pm or later every night, and until 11 one night. Lots of time to get to know people, too: we had long meal breaks, and there were little late-night parties three nights of the week where we dropped in to snack and decompress whenever we were done freelancing.
Oh, and the new chin rest I got earlier in July (a Frisch & Denig custom chin rest) helped me get through the whole workshop pain-free even though I was playing 7+ hours a day.
Here's a few video clips I took from the week in a shared Google Photos album, covering some rehearsals, a bit of freelancing, and performances both involving me (Bach and Jacob) and not involving me (Dohnanyi).
I'd recommend this to anyone at intermediate level or above with decent sight-reading ability. Don't feel intimidated by the application form; they try to have a range of levels on each instrument so they can match people to others of similar ability most days. The coaches are really thoughtful about assignments and won't ever give you a part they don't think you can learn in a day. Concerts are low-pressure because almost everyone there is part of the workshop and everyone knows the ensembles performing have had less than a day to go from sight-reading to performing.
Oh, I forgot to mention: my assigned group on the first full day, playing the first movement of the Dvorak Terzetto for two violins and viola (I have a rehearsal video in the album), was coincidentally all late-starting string players playing at advanced levels! The 1st violinist in that group started at 15, stopped after two years, returned in her 40s, and is now in her 50s. The 2nd violinist started at 27 and has never had a lesson in 12 years of playing. And there was me on viola, starting at 16 and getting my first lesson at 33. I think we were the only three late-starting string players at the workshop who could be considered high-level players (there were also several intermediate-level late starters) and I think we carried the flag well on Monday.