Monday, August 19, 2019

[47] Final Faculty Concert at Kinhaven Music School, Weston, VT | #1Summer50Concerts #ConcertGetaway


Top: My first day of Kinhaven, 2010
Bottom: Home at last, 2019 (the one to my left used to be the scrawny 11-year-old described below)

WHO: Faculty of Kinhaven Music School
WHAT: SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 3; TURINA Piano Quartet in A minor; MILHAUD La création du monde
WHERE: Concert Hall, Kinhaven Music School, Weston, VT
WHEN: July 27, 2019 at 7:30pm

Disclaimer: this is not a review.

After seven summers, I left Kinhaven Music School for the last time in August 2017. But Kinhaven certainly hasn’t left me. In fact, it seems that Kinhaven follows me wherever I go.

I could write a few paragraphs of cliché about what Kinhaven means to me, but I'd rather not. Feel free to buy me a drink sometime and I'll tell you how Kinhaven changed my life and why it's a unique, formative environment that I believe makes every teenage musician who's lucky enough to spend the summer there a better human.

But for the time being, let me just share a few warm-and-fuzzy Kinhaven anecdotes with you, in no particular order.

  • In 2016, I applied for the librarian position with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. They were a day late releasing the results. After 24 hours of nerves, I finally got the email saying I hadn't gotten it. I cried tears of joy, because that meant I could go back to Kinhaven.
  • The madrigals and Bach chorales we learn at the beginning of each summer are etched into my brain forever. You thought the St. Matthew Passion's recurring chorale was heart-wrenching? You ain't felt nothing, honey.
  • If you pick a piece at random from the canon, chances are it reminds me of Kinhaven in one way or another. Not exaggerating -- seven years of marathon concerts will do that to you.
  • I want my final assignment from Kinhaven played at my funeral. For the record, if I die tomorrow: that's the third movement of the third Brahms piano quartet.
  • The hardest I've ever cried was after I finished playing that movement on my last night at Kinhaven. It was ugly. The snot stains never really came out of my concert-white shirt.
  • I'm still in touch with BOTH of my Kinhaven cello teachers.
  • At an amateur chamber music conference a few years ago, I was talking to a woman who was probably about 70. I mentioned Kinhaven and her eyes lit up: "I went to Kinhaven in 1970, before (late long-standing married directors of Kinhaven) were even dating!" Instant friendship.
  • For me, the highlight of Yale Glee Club's tour to the UK was getting to see one of my best Kinhaven friends, who now goes to University of St. Andrew's, for approximately five minutes.
  • My final year at Kinhaven, I organized a sunrise Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil listening party on the large hill that serves as the center of Kinhaven's campus ("The Sitting Hill"). People actually showed up. The tradition lives on even though I've aged out.
  • In 2011, I walked into my cabin on the first day of Kinhaven and found a scrawny, awkward 11-year-old trumpet player sitting on the bunk across from mine. He's been one of my best friends ever since, through six summers together at Kinhaven.
  • Vermont air has a special smell. Trust me.
  • At the Yale Glee Club banquet, we go around in a circle toasting each other until we finish a *large* goblet of some unidentified fruity drink. One of my Kinhaven friends, who happened to end up in the Glee Club with me, made his first toast to me, "because you were there when it all started." He sang for the first time next to me at Kinhaven. Have I mentioned I'm really terrible at holding back tears?
  • I learned my first Kinhaven folk dance on my first day of the 2010 session. Nine years later and all the steps are still second-nature.
  • I still have Kinhaven dreams at least five times a month. My mother, who went to Kinhaven in the early '80s, does too.
  • Whether you know it or not, this summer project has been peppered with Kinhaven people, from Caroline Shaw, to the umpteen people I randomly ran into, to all of the unnamed "friends" with whom I went to concerts.
"There is no such beauty as where you belong."
-- Stephen Paulus, The Road Home

PC: My former counselor Marty Jacobs

2 comments:

  1. Funny, I’m not great at holding back tears either. Beautifully written.

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