AYO Blog

AYO National Music Camp 2024: Blog 3
By Victor Arul

A young man smiles at the camera while holding an AYO sticker.

Fervour. Elation.

This is the aura at National Music Camp’s outset.  

All the ensembles’ first rehearsals have the task of solidifying bedrocks for later ones; these rehearsals also foreshadow ideas to be crystallized by the end of the fortnight. As the groups coalesce for the first time, the participants explore the musical peculiarities and possibilities within this novel environment.

The chamber orchestra is settling into the various speeds for their pieces, each player assessing how their own parts mingle with others. It seems a dull activity at first sight, but it is gripping to witness this preparation for the shapings and dialogues to come.

The dialogues which follow are not merely those of sonic interplay but also of a social dimension. The environments unfolding here are crucial for the compelling set of concerts at the end of the week, but this atmosphere will continue its effects far after camp, cementing substantial and cherished relationships.

The Bishop Orchestra are also creating their own bedrocks, playing through movements of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No.7. Beethoven’s music often energises one beyond description, so it’s no surprise that the players seemed beyond themselves in the finale.

Once again, it is motivating to sense the musical shapes about to emerge. There is a raw intensity with the build-ups and climaxes, an intensity which will be refined over the week. The atmosphere is further heightened by the physical space enveloping the orchestra – chairs positioned close together, violins angled nearby, each breath and body temperature experienced communally.

This is not the only instance of space influencing the interactive conditions at camp; the Alexander Orchestra are also impelled by their rehearsal surroundings. The pinched space for the Bishop Orchestra morphs for the Alexander Orchestra into an expansive space – the topological marvel that is Elder Hall. The orchestra is invigorated to fill their acoustic domain, almost as if they were challenged to do so. The rehearsal is permeated with jolts and intermittences between various sections of the music, the musicians eager to continue playing at each halt.

The beginning of National Music Camp 2024 has a dual focus – laying bedrocks and cultivating beginnings. Both processes are important for propelling the musicians towards the concerts at the end of each week, but also for creating friendships both now and beyond this camp.