Singing & Swinging in the Treetops

Here at CMVic, we love hearing your stories and experiences of our events and workshops! Here’s one reflection of the weekend at the Treetops 2015 Music Camp, to get the ball rolling.

Blog3What do you get if you combine 150 people, two marquees, marimba building, singing and music workshops, mulled wine, giant bubbles floating skywards and tasty food? Why, Treetops 2015, of course! We arrived home from camp in the dark on Sunday evening, happy, tired, and muddy. It was a similar feeling to the one I’d have as a student after Glastonbury festival, only this time round, there was a washing machine on hand to take the strain, we hadn’t jumped the fence to get into the weekend and we’d been encouraged and welcome to participate in all the music making going on around us.

Treetops was a success in so many ways, it’s impossible to capture it all here. It was brilliant to see so many kids and adults of all ages mingling, singing and playing together. For the most part the threatening grey clouds behaved and during the day there were so many great workshops, the weather faded well and truly into the background. Volunteer firies stepped up and kept the wood stocked and burning. The heat encouraged people to pull up a chair and strike up the jams, and when the little coffee van rolled into camp on Saturday afternoon, life couldn’t have got much better.

My teenagers took part in strings and horn workshops, something I was quietly chuffed about cos it’s increasingly uncool for them to show interest in anything I’m around or involved with these days. Younger children got stuck into marimba playing with Dani Roca and Adam Burke, and hovered around the sessions and workshops, watching the leaders and just soaking up the general vibe of musicality. For the real littlies, Katie Hull Brown was up with the kookaburras leading a Sunday singing and music session before I’d even had my morning muesli.

It’s always good to have the opportunity to try something new so I gave Indian singing a whirl in two separate sessions led by Parvyn Kaur Singh, a totally new experience for most of us in the group, and one I found very moving.

I think it was the combination of new sounds, the beauty of the tone and the singing blended with Parvyn’s harmonium, that unlocked something in me. I was still trying to pull myself together to focus on lunch, half an hour later. (My second new experience of the weekend.)

As the sun emerged from the clouds and finally set, the two marquees strung with coloured lights offered refuge from the evening chill and for those inclined to indulge, Jess and Oli’s mulled wine was available from the bar, banishing further thoughts of pesky draughts.

Saturday night’s Jam Dance Party with The Scrimshaw Four and members of The Horns of Leroy was a whole heap of fun. I didn’t deliberately set out on a one woman mission to inflict ultimate embarrassment on my kids with decidedly dodgy dance moves, though the thought did occur to me that I was toast if they clapped eyes on me at any point in the evening. Turned out I was safe as they’d been too busy having a good time to notice. Maybe it’s time to head to no lights, no lycra and be a dancer in the dark.

The all in ensemble with Aaron Silver and Matt Sheers was a rambunctious riot of fiddles and strings, horns and voices, and the song, ‘Warm heart of Africa’ by Architecture of Helsinki, became a definite ear worm and one we’ve downloaded since being home.

Sunday afternoon rolled around and the procession swept through camp. Everyone congregated with an assortment of instruments, percussion, coloured hats, streamers and flags, all spilling out into the autumnal afternoon light. IMG_0594

This musical stream of people wound its way through the trees and across and around the unsealed road of the camp, led by Declan and The Seduceaphones, with Matt bringing up the rear still wearing the white dressing gown he’d won in the raffle the night before. I bet any lyre birds around Riddells Creek have been singing ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyonce ever since.

Andy Rigby and Dave Paxton’s marimba builders all emerged from their shed in time to join in, proudly sporting beautiful, freshly built marching marimbas ready to go out into the world and be played. What a great thing to be able to take home from an absolutely awesome* weekend and how cool to be able to build a playable instrument from scratch! (*I read on the internet the other day that we shouldn’t use that word anymore: it’s kinda like my style of dancing all over again.)

There was a stash of fantastic sounding stuff in the program that I didn’t make it to but I got to connect with people I haven’t seen for ages, play my accordion and sing and soak up so much inspiration. Another year, inspired by the fat happy sounds of the horns, I’d love to join the buddies for beginners program and get to grips with the saxophone.

That’s enough reflection for now, but we’d really LOVE to read about what YOU made of it all. Drop us a line or too below if you came to Treetops 2015, and if you’re feeling really motivated, write something about a workshop you attended that we can use on the CMVic blog, over the coming weeks.

See y’all again next year, Treetoppers!

Article by Deb Carveth

3 thoughts on “Singing & Swinging in the Treetops”

  1. I just loved the great mix of ages at the camp. The high energy of the band and the young dancers on Saturday night had to be seen to be believed, and I am SO happy with the ‘marching marimba’ I made with Andy. What a great positive feeling the whole weekend – and so much good music-making.


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