Wow! Where has the summer gone?

So, where has the summer gone?  Last time I wrote was July?  A month ago?  Sorry…I do check myspace for messages and comments more often and even have a Facebook site, too.  Forgive me, xanga friends, I think I may be overwhelmed with internet space!  Since I have the premium membership for now, I’ll continue posting until it ends.  I may posts my posts on myspace, too, and eventually just blog there.

The last month has been BUSY!  July 21-29 was my week of church camp at Oak Hill Christian Service Camp (www.oakhillcamp.org).  For those of you who don’t know, my week is not your usual week of camp.  My week is called “Music & Drama” and that is just what it is (www.oakhillcamp.org/md_home).  My campers come in a day earlier than other weeks (on a Saturday) and that evening we have audtions for speaking parts and solos for the summer’s musical.  Parts are announced the next morning at breakfast and then we have our very own church service at camp.  It is great fun and we often have the families of our staff members attend (like my hubby, Jeff).  Sunday afternoon we begin rehearsals for choreography and singing.  Sunday night, our main speaking parts go to the hosting church for a blocking rehearsal.  This is good because non-major parts stay at camp and sing! sing! sing! and then play games until we return.  Monday brings a day of rehearsal – morning, afternoon, and night.  We start the day with breakfast and then head to the host church to start rehearsing on stage.  Now, my campers do get rest time after lunch for one hour and then about an hour of free time.  Some people turn this into a two hour nap and that is perfectly okay with us.  After free time we have small group devotions and then another rehearsal.  Dinner at camp and then rehearsal at the host church again.  We get back in time for canteen and campfire.

This year, we actually had a real campfire on Saturday and Sunday!  Monday we reverted back to lampfire which is just easier since no one has been on the campgrounds to actually build a proper fire.  This year, I skipped Monday campfire because rehearsals had been rough and I needed some time sans-campers.  This was nice, since I used that alone time to call home and talk to my wonderful hubby.  Tuesday brings run-throughs.  Tuesday morning we had two rough runthroughs putting the drama and music together and still teaching some choreography!  AHHH!!!  Lunch, rest time, free time and then we returned to the host church for a rare afternoon rehearsal – this isn’t always normal, but we needed it!  After dinner, we have “dress rehearsal”, but no one wears their costumes.  Dress rehearsal to us means the staff interjects as little as possible in the program.  We did three complete run throughs between 6:30 and 9:30.  That was really good for us!  The final run-through was great and we felt ready to leave on Wednesday.

Yep – you read correctly, we LEAVE on Wednesday for a TOUR!  Are you reading this?  My teens (ages 12-18) learn an entire youth musical (45-55 minutes long) between Saturday and Tuesday night and we leave on tour on Wednesday.  Our program this year was “WAITERS” and was set in a restaurant.

Tour this year began in Bumpass, VA at Bethany Christian Church.  We got there early enough to run the entire program one more time.  The show that night was great, with very few flub ups.  I was sure proud of my kids.  I had the pleasure of staying at my friend (and co-dean’s) house that night so I slept well.  Thursday we loaded up and headed for Newport News, VA.  We had a cookout at my grandmother & great-aunt’s house and played yard games like volleyball, rope-a-dope, and bocci and some people took good long naps in the long lawn chairs provided. 

Thursday night we performed at Denbigh Christian Church.  This program was too funny to give you great detail, but here is a shortened version: one of our non-mains said a line one scene too early, confusing our mains and sending us from scene two to scene three without any break or musical number.  Most campers didn’t even catch this, but the staff immediately started scrambling.  We attempted to stop the scene, but couldn’t get a good spot and didn’t want to jump up and alert the audience to the dilemma.  Instead, I help up a sign letting campers know what song they’d be singing (they were expecting to stand and sing the one they skipped).  The one we skipped to had choreography in it that campers had elected to sit out and be customers – needless to say, due to the “oops”, these campers were standing on stage and not seated at a table.  They handled it like pros following the people around them and the audience never caught on.  We got them seated after that number and went on with the show.  Mom, another dean, starts signing “Encore” to me, but I can’t figure out how we’re going to work that out.  Once the program ends, mom jumps up and hurries to a microphone.  She, like the pro she is, say, “We’re going to give you an encore this evening with a song called “For the Lord” – our skipped song, allowing us to also perform it and feature the campers with solos.  The kids jump up and take their positions for this song and perform it like they completely understood what happened – even though most did not.  It was a classic camp flub-up and they pulled it together like professionals.

Friday we left for Winston-Salem, NC to perform at Pinedale Christian Church.  The music minister at Pinedale is Jeff Marks, who was the creator of Music & Drama 22 years ago so this was a GREAT treat to perform for him.  I was a camper under his deanship when I was 12,13,14, & 15 and now I’m directing the show.  How cool!  This program was excellent and Jeff let us use some stage mics that made my severely outnumbered tenors sound magnificent!  Go boys!!!  Saturday brought a play day at Lake Gaston.  We invade some friends of my family’s house and take over their little portion of Lake Gaston.  They have family and friends who also live on the lake who bring their boats and our kids get to tube and ski-bob.  It is really fun.  We eat lunch there and it is always so good!!!  Saturday night, we performed for our lake hosts at their church, Pleasant Hill in Gasburg, VA.  Minus one camper who got sick from the sun, it was an excellent show!  That evening we headed back up the road to Chester, VA where we spent the night with families from the Chester Christian Church.  Bobbi, Christie, Missy and I had a house with no host so we got to make ourselves at home and really relax.  Christie even fell asleep on the couch next to me during conversation.  Our hostess showed up the next morning in time for coffee and to give us a ride back to the church.  This was our best Sunday a.m. performance ever!  The kids had energy and the audience really got into the show, often talking back to the kids with “amens” and “you said it”s.  *More info about personal fun at Chester below*  After lunch at Virginia Center Commons (where hubby Jeff joined me and got to see my new haircut – which we’d all kept a secret from him), we headed back to Mechanicsville Church of Christ for our final show for 2007! 

A quick run-through with just blocking reminders – no music or lines – and it was time to chill and get ready.  This show was absolutely the best in Music & Drama history – hands down – no questions!  Doug Gross from MCC provided us with stage lighting that we’d never had and it really completed the look of the show.  The kids were on and they gave their all.  Seriously – this one will go down in history as the show to beat!

*Extra note about Chester – I got to see two friends that I never get to see!  Scott Preston, who was a M&D camper with me, visited us that morning during rehearsal before he went to work.  It was great to see him & hopefully we’ll keep in better touch with each other.  AND I got to see my friend, Jeff Ward.  Now, let me tell you – if there had been a “dream man” back in the day – he was it.  He called me teeny bopper and changed my world when it came to music preferences.  I was all NKOTB and he was Ride.  He played bass and I loved to sit on the edge of the stage and watch.  Talk about ga-ga, girls.  I guess we know where my taste for bass playing Jeff’s came from (my own hubby Jeff plays bass).  Though he was actually friends with my friend Amanda, he let me believe that he and I were best buds.  He let me tag along on all his camp adventures – like hiding in the woods during Capture the Flag senior high weeks and making Elephant Titus come to life (his brother and friend actually kidnapped Amanda & me during a serenade one night).  In the last year, Jeff Ward and I became “friends” on myspace and we actually message back and forth like real friends do.  Once my work schedule settles down, he and I are going to grab lunch and at some time I’m taking hubby Jeff to see Jeff Ward play.  It was a lot of fun to introduce him to my girls from camp and now I’m scheming to set him up with a dear friend (though I’m not telling who yet!).  What would I have done had he ever shown any real interest in me?  Sometimes I wonder…  The currenly listening band is the latest musical influence he’s had on me.  Their song “Ashes” is his myspace song.

Now I’m back at work and missing my campers (will, most of them).  It was so much fun, but I’m glad it is only one week a year.  It is so high stress that I’m not sure I could do it more often!!!  It is good to be back to life with hubby – I really miss him while I’m gone and apparently he and our furry children miss me too.

Thanks for reading…I’ll try to get back to posting more regularly.

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