As a young teen growing up on the east coast, I was fortunate to be able to spend two summers at the Peabody Conservatory Junior music camp in northern Vermont. This was a 7-week adventure with 29 other teens in the rambling home on the grounds of the Lyndon State Teachers College. My days were filled with musicianship training, creative musical composition and lots of modern dance inspired by the great Martha Graham, since the founder’s two daughters both worked and studied with Graham in New York City.
Each Saturday, we would climb one of the beautiful mountains of northern New England, starting with something modest and, weather-permitting, hike to the top of Mt. Washington on our final weekend!
I credit those music-filled summers with my inspiration to study choral music in college and graduate school. American composer Ron Nelson was our composer-in-residence, and I still remember singing his Three Mountain Ballads under his direction. Many years later in 2010, Jill and I programmed two of them on our premiere concert, joining our voices with the girls of the Central Coast Youth Chorus directed by Melody Svennungsen. It was a joy for me to share those pieces that I had loved as a teenager.
As Canzona prepares to begin our 14th season, I view the summer months as my opportunity to dive into repertoire and once again become an adventurer! I try to discover something new each day, and revel in the abundance of resources available now, with women’s choirs from all over the world posting their musical selections online. I have my stack of index cards already piling up on my desk and can’t wait to share my ideas with Jill, recognizing that we might have enough set aside for the next 10 years of concerts! Rest assured that I do get outside, although mountain-climbing is not something I do regularly. I hope to see you at our fall concert on November 6th, and wish you a summer filled with your own adventures.
~Cricket Handler, Co-Artistic Director