Sounds Like Camp

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IMG_9204-2We sing a lot at camp. From School of Rock class to hymn-sings after vespers, from grace before meals to hilarious sing-alongs at morning assembly, from clan cheers to joining hands for “Symbol of Serenity” at council fires, we join IMG_3372together in song. It is part of the inclusive, non-judgmental, loving environment that makes many campers and staff members think of CLC as home. Some of us sing out (like counselor Weston, the opera-aficionado) while IMG_2438others are a little more shy…at least until it’s time to sing their favorite song from mornings at the flag pole. (I personally love “Penguin Company” best. Ask a camper.)

The shy campers are my some of my favorites. After all, I know what it’s like to be nervous about singing. I’d never sung out anywhere until a school talent show when I surprised everyone by singing and playing guitar. Much to my surprise, my friends loved it! Suddenly, everyone was inviting me to join choir. I guess I was a singer all along. All I needed was the opportunity.

It wasn’t until I began writing my own songs that I really found my voice. I remember bringing my band’s first demo tape with me as a camper and sharing it with some of the counselors. They particularly enjoyed a punk ska tune that, like all my songs, was about a girl I liked. For a decade, this bottomless well of inspiration served as my principle source material until, at the urging of a church friend, I wrote my first spiritual song. This song, “The Sun Rises After the

Darkest Night,” reflects on overcoming a challenging time, one spent praying and finding inspiration in the lyrics of hymns. (One line from Hymn 64 comes to mind: “From mist and shadow into truth’s clear day.”) One of many, I’ve performed that first spiritual song in front of almost a thousand people at the Midwest Church Alive Summit and had it heard by even more people internationally as part of the TMC Youth/Time4Thinkers podcast of spiritual songs, “The Weekly Musician.” Like with singing, I guess I was a spiritual songwriter all along.

Brad performing at camp this summer

Brad performing at camp this summer

It is with that spirit of encouragement and the desire for growth that I taught a songwriting class at CLC last summer. I invited the campers to try giving their songs a spiritual slant, wondering if all my students needed was the opportunity to do so. For one student, Tammy Tuckey, class ended with a performance of her song and a recording which you can hear now, along with many other sounds from Crystal Lake, summer 2012. It’s all recorded for you to hear. Talent shows, vespers, morning assemblies, end-of-session banquets and one tune written at the most musical table the dining hall has ever known.

Click here to listen!IMG_4876

When I listen to these recordings, camp doesn’t feel so far away and all the memories of summers at Crystal Lake come flooding in. I hope it does the same for you.

– Brad Brubaker

Camp Songs 2012 – http://bbrubaker.bandcamp.com

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2 Comments on “Sounds Like Camp”

  1. Woo!Hoo! Great camp memories and great camp and spiritual music! Thanks, Brad!…never heard a “Metal” rendition of “The Scientific Statement of Being”before… it rocks!

    So which of the many songs at the link was “written at the most musical table the dining hall has ever known”??

  2. Hi Sue! The song you’re asking about was “Susie,” which was written in honor of a camper with a particularly musical name. Weston, Tori, Becca and I sang the song frequently at our table at the dining hall.

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