A little over a week ago I was privileged to attend Anabaptist Orchestra Camp in the sleepy little town of Elnora in Southern Indiana.
It was an extended weekend filled with lots of music and rehearsals. This is a unique camp for various reasons and has been functioning for about 7 years. Traditionally orchestral music has not been popular among Anabaptists and many conservative strains would prohibit musical instruments in the worship service while some prohibit them all together! Because of this history, many Anabaptists/Mennonites have little or no exposure to orchestras, so this camp is somewhat of a ground-breaking endeavor.
For those of us Mennonites who play orchestral instruments it can be frustrating to find outlets to use our skills, and so this weekend is often a highlight for Anabaptist orchestra and band nerds! I attended the very first camp 7 years ago and then hadn’t attended again until last summer and now it is becoming a highlight of my summer.
This year it was especially neat because there was some Jewish flavor to the weekend as well. One of the pieces the orchestra played was Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, and Friday evening the staff put on a “Shabbat meal” for us. The setting was supposed to be in Biblical times in Israel. While it wasn’t all completely accurate, it was fun and the food was great! ????
On Saturday morning in chapel I was also privileged to sing Ose Shalom with a small ensemble. It isn’t the traditional melody, but the setting is still beautiful!
I didn’t record it that morning but here is a video of an orchestra I played with last fall that did the same piece.
Despite spending the weekend schlepping around on crutches and attempting not to injure myself further, it was a good time! Rehearsals, workshops, good conversations, and connecting with old friends. Not to mention getting to play some lovely music!
The concert on Sunday was live-streamed and you can still watch it here…
And here is the link to another blog post of the weekend by a fellow musician.