This Hollowpallooza Was An Amazing Special Event!August 3, 2014
This Hollowpallooza was an amazing special event for everyone at our summer camp in NH
What a day to remember at Camp! This afternoon and evening our community came together for our 13th annual music festival called Hollowpallooza. Over the course of 5 hours our campers demonstrated every skill that we work on during the summer. In performing in front of their friends they took healthy risks, showed off the skills that they had spent the summer honing, and received overwhelming support in response. They were in charge of selecting their songs and arrangements, putting together their own bands, and flexing creative muscles that many didn’t even know they had. In their band practices and on stage tonight we saw many of them take on meaningful leadership roles. We also saw them learning how to collaborate in groups, and how to take in the opinions of others without compromising their artistic visions. We also had 55 different acts where campers worked on a project over the course of five weeks, and saw it through with a glorious finish. What an incredible event!
I will remember so much about this particular Hollowpallooza. This was the first time our amazing musical festival had a professional DJ spinning tunes between the songs. One of our counselors, Dan Dixon, is a club DJ back at home, and today he had his rig set up adjacent to the main stage. All afternoon and evening, during breaks between acts, he pumped out fantastic dance music that got the whole crowd moving. Towards the end of the second act, as the sun was going down, the musicians took a break so that DJ Dan could create a dance party for everyone. There were glowsticks and lasers, and as you can see, everybody got really into it.
This was also the year that our head of photography, Naomi Elson, added a whole new layer of visual arts to this event. She designed an official logo for Hollowpallooza 2014, and had it made into temporary tattoos for the campers. When they weren’t performing they were able to stop by a booth that she set up and get one applied to an arm or face. She also had paint pens on hand in case the kids wanted to make the design look more elaborate. Naomi also set up a photo booth so that friends to capture a moment from today and have it forever.
This was also the summer that our head of arts and crafts, Leah Armstrong spent a week working with about 3 dozen campers creating a 20 ft wide backdrop for the concert stage. After sketching out the design she and the campers added a layer of paint, and then a layer of glitter so that the stage lights would create a brilliant shimmering effect. Simply amazing. Even our head of the woodshop went the extra mile. Vinny Jacklin-Idczak spent much of his free time over the past week designing and carving a wooden Hollywood-esque sign to hang over the entrance to the Hollow! This was truly an amazing special event, and I haven’t even described the music yet.
The opening act was led by a new Kenwood Sophomore who is love with all things Beatles. He was wailing on the drums while Music James and I played bass and guitar. A group of 5 Evergreen Freshmen who all learned their instruments this summer, and got up in front of 500+ and blew the doors off of the crowd. We heard classical, jazz, showtunes, hip hop, country, pop, and rock.
I had the Evergreen sophomores join me to sing John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery”. Scott closed the show with the song “Home” by Philip Phillips (the unofficial theme song of this summer at Kenwood and Evergreen). He was accompanied on stage by every Kenwood and Evergreen freshmen. He sang lead and they sang the choruses.
Our Juniper girls worked on a song together and made a whole lot of us tear up. Hut 6 got up and did a hysterically funny a cappella rendition of “Twist and Shout”. There were the many, many, many musicians who had never before played in front of an audience, let alone an entire field of people. Or the many campers and counselors who wrote their own songs.
Tonight we had acts of girls who not only sang but danced choreographed numbers that they had put together themselves. Towards the end of the night a group of Evergreen seniors put on a dance performance set to music. This was by far the most varied set of performance in this amazing special event’s history.
All night we watched campers of different ages and genders sit in with bands that needed something extra. For some it was a keyboard player, for others it was a drummer or some to play bass guitar. And in every single act they worked together, gave it their all, and walked off the stage feeling a true sense of triumph. Every performer tonight should feel incredibly proud of what they accomplished this evening. I know that the rest of the community is that proud of them.
One of the ways that the festival ran so smoothly was that we had a lot of help. A group of campers volunteered throughout the event and ran security and the back stage. They moved microphone stands, plugged the different guitars to the right amps, and helped make sure that each act was ready for their performance with their instruments tuned. They also made sure that things never got too chaotic in the waiting area or on stage. As you can see, they took this responsibility very seriously. I love that at our Camp there is always a role like this for our kids who enjoy the technical side of things, or who want an added layer of responsibility.
I’d like to say a special thank you to our head of music, James Manigley. James has run the music program at Camps Kenwood and Evergreen for the last three summers. Each year he travels over from the UK with fresh ideas and more enthusiasm than most crowds of people. Most importantly, James isn’t just creative: he always finds a way to make his ideas a reality. This was our biggest, longest, most complicated, and best sounding Hollowpallooza ever. And somehow James ran this entire event while always keeping a level head and having a kind word for everyone. He possesses an especially rare set of talents and we are quite lucky to have him at our summer camp in NH. As both a source of creativity and someone who is so gifted at producing amazing special events like Hollowpallooza he is a really powerful role model for our campers. Cha-hee, cha-hah James!
Deena and I took a couple of hundred photos and videos today, and in the coming days we’ll put them up on campintouch, the facebook wall, and the camp youtube channel. Sheila has somewhere around 800 photos that she took, and she will have them up on our website as early tomorrow as possible. What a night at Camp to remember!