Raise Up Your Voice
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to sing, write songs, and perform my songs (and cover songs) at things like local open mic nights and just when hanging out with friends. I’ve even had the opportunity to open for a couple of bands in in my college town — Charlottesville, Virginia — and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! That was nerve-wracking at first, but really, I loved it!
But as fun as all of that is, I’m not sure anything can beat being away from it all and back on the Greenbrier River, seeing longtime camp friends, and working with a summer full of happy campers just as my counselors at ‘Ghany once worked with me! And especially to do it all around singing!
One of my favorite movies as a kid was The Sound of Music. Was anything better than Maria in that opening scene twirling around and belting out, “The hills are alive with the sound of music?”
Well, at ‘Ghany we have our own hills and dales to capture and echo our songs. Now, I’m not comparing myself to Julie Andrews BUT…I do play acoustic guitar, I have been known to sew oddball things from scraps of fabric, and I LOVE TO SING! Does that count?
I think so!
Get Out Your Songbook
This summer I want to continue the revival of Alleghany Singers that has been a focus of recent years. It’s so sweet to hear some of the most beautiful and classic songs from our Songbook, and it’s very inspiring to know that campers (and everyone at camp) have been singing many of these songs since the first campers moved into their platform tents in 1922! I love being part of such a long and meaningful tradition.
In the activity itself, I’m looking forward to exploring beautiful harmonies with the campers who take Alleghany Singers, crafting lovely and inspiring performance for Babies’ Boats and Candlelight Campfire, and to working with the Blue/Gray Mentors for Songfest. I’d also like to build up camp spirit for camp songs in general since singing is such a timeless part of the camp world.
And then there’s the little matter of trying to trip up Assistant Director Elizabeth Shreckhise by beating her at The Songbook Challenge from time-to-time! Can we do it? She’d better study up because we’re going to try!
Let’s Make Beautiful Music Together!
I’d like as many campers as possible to join me for Alleghany Singers this summer. Many voices make for powerful songs! If you’re a new camper, you should receive your own Camp Songbook before camp starts to help get you familiar with the songs. And previous campers — remember to pack your Songbook (or plan to purchase one at the Camp Store). You’ll need your Songbook whether you take Alleghany Singers or not.
As for the Alleghany Singers, we’ll explore performance techniques that I’ve learned from working in a Songwriter’s Circle for many years, and from some coaching I’ve received for live performance. And there are also things like campfires, Sunday church services, and talent shows and other entertaining camp activities where I hope we’ll all be able to share songs, and cheer others on when they take to the stage.
So warm up your voices and get ready to sing your heart out this summer. Who knows, one of you may be the next Taylor Swift!
— Chloë-Ester Cook, Alum and Counselor, Camp Alleghany for Girls