Monday, August 07, 2017

Studio2Stage 2017

From Swannanoa Gathering, we drove home, did a load of laundry, slept for the night, then got up early to head to Kean University for Studio2Stage. Studio2Stage is an Irish dance camp where they bring non-professional World Champion level dancers from around the world along with a few musicians and put together a full scale Irish dance show in nine days with all live music.

This was Haley's 4th year playing fiddle for this camp/show and  my first year as an official production assistant so I was able to watch from Day 1 until the final show on Day 9 and even though I saw it all unfold, I was still blown away by the final performance and how everyone came together to do their best to put on a fabulous show. The staff from the production staff to the choreographers to the music directors do a wonderful job creating a positive, encouraging atmosphere while demanding each person's best effort.

Haley had a wonderful time. She made fast friends with the show's singer/ukulele player from Dublin, Shauna. They were inseparable from the first moment they met.

Haley and Shauna sharing a joke prior to the performance

Haley and Shauna dressed for S2S Oscar's Night.

All the music magic happened here...kinda funny they were put in the Human Performance Lab...

The music directors, Anton and Sully, are a lot of fun and do a great job putting the musical part of the performance together in a fun way. They send most of the music ahead of time so they can spend their time at camp arranging and working out harmonies. Anton and Sully also put up with the girls' ideas for band movie and snack nights, band facial night (see photo below) and band meals...usually Indian food.

On Friday, the entire camp takes a train into Manhattan to do a dance flashmob in Times Square. 

Shauna, Sully, and Haley in Times Square NYC!!

After all the hours of rehearsal and the fun, there were two shows on Sunday, a matinee and a final performance. The week went by way too quickly!!

Haley even did her part to encourage the next generation of Irish fiddle lover...

Another week gone too quickly...we had one week at home and in a couple days are flying off to Ireland.

Hanging out with her "tribe."

For the past nine years, Haley's favorite week of the year has been her week every July at Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week. When she was little, she took a full load of classes during the day and player tunes in sessions all night. For the past few years, she has helped out by playing tunes for the beginner's accompaniment class and taken classes to fill up her schedule...and played tunes all night.

This year Haley decided to help out for Beginner Guitar Accompaniment plus Accompanying Tunes on the Fly and she also helped out at a few different instructors' potluck sessions. She spent her free times practicing her classical and fiddle music and working on a few projects from home. She hung out with the musicians during concerts and every night played tunes in amazing sessions until the wee hours. I don't think she went to bed before 3:30am the entire week of camp. According to Haley, "the musical magic happens after midnight." The sessions this year were legendary and she got up on her own without complaint every day for the next morning's classes.

As a mother, it was heartwarming to watch her in action with a group of people who love, know, and are passionate about the music she is passionate about...her "tribe." Even though most are more than twice her age, they "get" her on another level that even I am not on and I love them all for it and for encouraging her.  Haley had a gig with John Whelan and her brother, Dylan, the day before camp so John (and our friend, Kira) rode with us to North Carolina. Haley and John did live Facebook feeds in the car on the way there and with a few other musicians while at camp.

The thing I love the most about the musicians who teach at Swannanoa is the fun they have together. Here are a few videos demonstrating that fun...

Here are a just a few pics....

Haley with her "guitar master" Alan Murray.

John Whelan, Haley, and Kevin Crawford

Haley with her one of her favorite fiddlers to jam with, Colin Farrell.

Haley was also very lucky this week to get a chance to meet and spend hours talking to Janis Ian about her experiences as a talented, young musician, as an author, and about college options as Janis has been a guest lecturer at a number of schools Haley is considering.

Haley with Janis Ian.

We are always sad when the week is over and Haley has to wait another year to have this large a group of colleagues to make music with at one time.