Parents - the camp
The camp begins on a thursday in the second half of juli and lasts two and a half weeks. The children are brought by their parents or come by train.
Everyone is expected to attend the camp from beginning to end. To play chambermusic well a number of rehearsals are necessary, not only to learn to play ones own score, but also to learn what the others play and to get used to them. You simply can't miss a rehearsal.
To be always present is also important, because a process takes place in the course of these weeks in which communal sense and togetherness can develop, the whole intention of the camp is directed to this.
The first days
The first days are used to get aquainted (again) to one another and - for the new ones - to learn how things are going. For example the first evening a big game is done in the woods.
New children are given extra attention by the leaders to see that they integrate well and don't get separated. Because a large part of the children already participated previous camps this process of integration usually takes little time and effort.
Children are expected to take responsibility for their own choice of music and with whom and when they want to play and rehearse. Nothing is obliged, but leaders do take care that everyone gets it's fair share. If necessary children are helped. Leaders (most of them onetime participants of the camp and amongst whom professional musicians) often take part in the ensembles or accompany solo pieces. In this way they hand over their knowledge and love of music.
At the end of every afternoon a number of pieces that have been rehearsed sufficiently are presented to one another in a little concert. The level of a child is not important, both talented and nontalented children and both starters and advanced children participate. Most important is to hear and see how others deal with music and play their instruments. And also to learn that music can be beautiful, mostly because pieces of music are played that a child normally doesn't hear during its lessons.
The two weeks are in some ways structured as a piece of music, with highlights, longer spans and moments of rest. Somewhere in the second half of the first week there is a fancydress ball: in 18th and 19th century costumes the whole evening everybody dances on and makes waltz music. For those children who haven't brought one a costume can be made during the camp or choosen from the "costume cupboard". There are several balls during the camp.
Somwhere during the camp something larger is undertaken with a group or with the whole camp: a combined boat-, walk- and/or swimtrip or something like that (to island, mountain or nature reserve).
The purpose of the camp is not only to make music, but also to have a holiday. Children therefore are always free to do what they want, something creative, something for themselves, go to the woods, swim or do nothing. Still there are a number of general rules to which everyone has to adhere:
- Alcohol, cigarets and drugs are not allowed (also for the leaders).
- Only selfmade music is allowed, with the exception of (not audible) walkmans.
- The Jolimont (estate and woods) may be left only with consent (e.g. to the village).
- Swimming takes always place under accompaniment.
- Everyone sleeps in his/her own bed until the morning music.
- Attendance at the general meeting in the morning, at the concerts at the end of every afternoon and about one hour before bedtime is obligatory.
- The peace of the neighbours is respected (the farm and the manoir).
At the end of the second week - on thursday night - a final concert (the "Serenade", also in fancydress) is given for parents and friends. At the beginning of the night usually a joint theatre production is being done: a play or a childrens opera or something like that.
The basic idea of the Serenade is that every child (and every leader) may do a wish. Because 45 pieces of music would make a very long night three simultaneous concerts are given at different places. After these a buffet is served with sandwiches and sweets. The evening closes with the "larger" chambermusic pieces in the "salon" and finally a ball.
On the final (friday) night again there is a ball this time only with the participants of the camp. As part of this scetches and the like are performed.
Some parents think the camp has ended after the final concert (and think they can already take their children away on friday), but a last communal evening with only participants is essential for a final (re-enforced) sense of togetherness.
The camp ends on saturday at noon. Most children travel by train (preferably), some are collected by their parents. The farewell is always very emotional. The first days at home feel very empty and small.
Philosophy - aims