Monday, April 11, 2016

Music Camp with Kai and Christer; SA Sweden Part 3 of 4

During the two weeks we were there it rained relentlessly. There was torrential rain and thunder and everything was wet and cold. I had a horrid feeling every night as I crawled into bed cold and shivering – I thought of the beautiful bed at home ....

This was the schedule: 

A beginner brass class was conducted under Christer Åberg’s leadership; he had an enthusiastic ensemble of 15, ages 11 to 20 years old, all genuine novices who ‘blew’ through Hinrichsen and other familiar entry-level pieces. Their ‘music’ echoed throughout the bay and its surroundings. Chris remarked early on; "I get so upset! How am I expected to explain to the learners how to play when the translator doesn’t have a clue what I'm talking about ...?” 

Kai appeals to corps in Sweden: They need more instruments. Do you know of any corps in our country who have instruments they’d like to donate? Get in touch with Major Goran Larsson and Lars Cederholm in the SA PR department. I promise that the instruments will be put to good use!

Teaching was provided by the highly qualified and skilled tambourine leader from the Santa Anna Corps in Los Angeles, Helen Ridgewell. Anyone who has played the tambourine remembers the "Aha" moment – and you’re hooked. And so it was now as well; 20 children, teenagers and older men (counselors) who now ‘played’ the tambourine, that they rattled constantly throughout the camp with triumphal happy smiles on their faces. 

The Camp Chorus was under my leadership. We had rehearsals every afternoon and a mass rehearsal each evening. To my great surprise I discovered within minutes of our first gathering that there were very few who could even hold a tone/pitch. It was said to me later that many of these kids had never sung in a group setting before. There were some who sang well and these were "the backbone" of the whole choir during the camp. Those who sang well were the youngest; 6, 7, and 8 year olds. They were self-proclaimed "stars", always ready to sing a solo, with some eagerly cheered on by their grandmothers, who were counselors, chefs and talent agents!

I had previously requested an acquaintance of mine in Sweden to translate a number of Swedish songs into Russian, and of course, I had tried to teach myself to pronounce the words.... But there was also the interpreter! Some songs were sung in English and one in Swedish! We sang songs such as; "God gave us hands," "Jesus is here, though he doesn’t appear," "Before Night Comes", "It's all the same," "Shine your light", etc.

The American team
During the summer several teams from the United States visited the Moscow Central Corps. Before we arrived there was a team of 5 from the Western territory, led by Cadet Lisa Brodin. A special tribute should be given to this young cadet. She was in her 20s, attractive with charisma; sang wonderfully, played the piano and was a top leader, both spiritually and authoritatively.

They were especially popular in the evenings around the campfire. They taught us many songs and involved us all in a number of hilarious skits that had us doubled over in laughter. 

Bible studies and recruit classes
During those weeks there were also Bible studies and daily recruit classes. Bible studies were led by Vladimir, a Russian former Military Colonel, who worked for many years as a lecturer of psychology at the Military Academy in Moscow. When he was ‘saved’, he presented all his medals, communist awards and diplomas to Captain Ljungholm as he rose from the Mercy Seat. Now he wanted to dedicate his life to this new Army.

Captain Ljungholm conducted the senior soldier recruit classes, and the teaching they received was very thorough. I sat nearby as I prepared the music theory lessons and listened in on his teaching. It was extremely interesting and impressive in-depth teaching.

It was both rewarding and exciting to sit down with some of these recruits and talk about the current conditions in Russia, their problems and concerns, and questions about the Army, their new-found faith and adoption of new lifestyles!

Recorders - Woodwind instrument
In addition to the above scheduled program, we also had classroom instructions on the ‘recorder’, a member of the flute family. When I was in Dalcroze seminary in the late 60s, I was taught to play the recorder, passably, I might add. 

The SA in Moscow received a number of donated flutes and a new course of instruction was demanded of us! Twelve boys, 8-10 years of age to play, plus eleven young people 15-16 years old, comprised a total of 23 enthusiastic flautists. All who’ve worked with young boys know that it’s pretty hard to get them all to sit still. Add to that that we do not speak the same language (my Russian phrases stretched to "Quiet! Try it Again, What are you singing? What is your name?  How are you?  And – Nyet!”


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