WRITING - GRABBING WHAT'S ALMOST OUT OF REACH
I LOVE THE ACT OF WRITING. It doesn't matter if it's text, songs, or tunes. I know many folks hate writing, but I find it delicious - a lovely process where I gain access to some layer of inspiration that most times floats out of reach. I could even say that it's physically satisfying; I feel really good after I've done some writing.
THIS YEAR AT LARK CAMP, I got a nice dose of that feeling in Danny Carnahan's songwriting workshop. The class is the same every year, but it works for me; I always come away with a tune, some lyrics and the germs of ideas for other songs. For homework we lurk, listening and jotting down things we hear. Lark Camp is a goldmine of interesting snippets of conversation. Out of their original context, these phrases can act as metaphors that may become the jumping-off point for a song. I find I often get the chorus of a song this way. This year, the "lurked" bit that grabbed me was, "Which of these should I forget?" The speaker was asking a pal for advice on which of the myriad classes to omit from their schedule. But it led me to this:
Which of these should I forget? The day you left, the night we met? Which of these should I forget - My broken heart or you?
On the way home, I had to pull over four times to record the melodies that were suddenly popping into my head for this song that is growing, from an unrelated something overheard, to a something that I might be happy to perform one day.
LARK CAMP, AGAIN - EVER AMAZING!
ANOTHER LARK CAMP HAS COME AND GONE. When you drive down the road that leaves the Mendocino Woodlands, you aren't quite ready to leave. But the old adage is "leave 'em wanting more!" and Lark Camp does just that. This year's highlights were the wonderful social scene - catching up with folks I only ever get to see at Lark - and teaching a workshop to new, enthusiastic students. I loved the two evening song circles, where folks share songs they've learned or polished up since last year. Shira Kammen's wonderful "Larkelbel Canon" was performed by an assembly of instruments that included three different kinds of bagpipes, interwoven snippets of songs like Let It Be and One Tin Soldier, plus Fluff, the Tragic Drag Queen (to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon) performed by Holly Tannen. It was a conglomeration of the sort of silly-yet- brilliant-wonderfulness that can only happen at Lark Camp.
DATE CHANGE FOR NEXT HARMONY WORKSHOP
LIBBY MCLAREN AND I HAVE CHANGED THE DATE FOR THE FIRST OF TWO workshops in the fall. The first one will be an intermediate level workshop on Saturday, October 28; we're calling this class, One Song Learned Well. We'll structure our lesson on a single song to illustrate what you need to know about singing harmony. The second workshop will be for beginners, and is still scheduled for Saturday, November 11. It will be like the one we offered back in March, but with a slightly smaller group of singers. In spring 2018, we'll have organized an advanced workshop for you to try out, too! We'll announce when we open the class registration for the October 28 workshop, which will start on September 15, 2017. You can send me an email if you want to be at the top of that list!