Final 3 Days of Music Camp

Thursday

With the final concert only two days away, there was much preparation and many last touches to add to the music that the choirs and ensembles were rehearsing. After the previous day of fun and games, all settled down once again to practicing diligently. In the morning, Br. Liviu gave another lecture in his series and Sr. Barbara also gave her final presentation on music in the afternoon. The choir had already made the sound recording in a stoic effort, and now they were ready to film. Very soon, streams of choir members dressed in white tops and black skirts and trousers began to mill about the camp. They all headed out to a beautiful spot marked out by the media team and began taking the necessary shots for the music videos. In the meantime, the orchestra fine-tuned, and the children’s choir also enjoyed rehearsing until lunch time. After lunch and Sr. Barbara’s lecture, we held further rehearsals, and the orchestra prepared to record the audio for the music video at 8:30pm in the evening. It seemed that we would not finish everything in time, but the Lord blessed, and we managed to squeeze about twenty-six instrumentalists into the children’s Sabbath School room and record two of the songs we had prepared. Our theme song for the camp, the Reformation Symphony written by Felix Mendelssohn was a very significant piece for the orchestra to play and record. It could most easily be recognised by the hymn called “A mighty fortress is our God” and in a ‘musical’ way, demonstrates the amazing headway made by those who stood up for their faith and brought the immense change that became known as “The Reformation.”

Friday

The morning dawned with anticipation; and for the orchestra, the day began with a 5am appointment. With a successful recording session, the previous night, the orchestra was ready to shoot the music video footage at the amphitheatre, amidst a chorus of rowdy cicadas. Nevertheless, they did their best to block out the noise and concentrate on each take. The Lord blessed with a beautiful day, and the media team skilfully managed to finish filming in time for breakfast.

This was to be the final day of rehearsals, and everyone was eager to wrap up well in time for lunch, so we set to work from 10am. By the time lunch rolled around, we had polished up the choir and orchestra separately before combining for a final concert program run through.  It was very gratifying to see everyone’s hard work pay off during the rehearsals, and we all looked forward to presenting at the concert the following day. The beautiful weather also encouraged many people to go down to the Colo River and enjoy the cool of the water before heading back to camp and finishing preparations. Once the busyness of the day had subsided and dinner had been served, all gathered in the main hall for evening worship and the opening of Sabbath, which was held by Br. Peter Lausevic.

Sabbath

The camp was quickly drawing to a close, and all had worked very hard to make the presentation for the public concert in Wentworthville a success and a great blessing. Everyone awoke early and enthusiastically made their way to the Redgum Centre in Wentworthville to begin the services for the day, and the large auditorium began to fill quickly. It was fantastic to see so many visitors from near and far come to support and witness the culmination of an excellent camp, only made so by everyone’s unflagging zeal and support. As the orchestra gathered on the stage for divine service and played along with the hymns, filling the cavernous space with songs of praise, one could not help but think of the way we would all praise God together in the halls above.

The guitar ensemble, which featured over twelve musicians gave a beautiful performance just as divine service ended, and we proceeded to have lunch before the concert began. By the time 3pm rolled around, we were ready to begin, and the curtains opened to reveal the fresh, young faces of the children who had energetically learned all their songs. Much credit and many thanks are due to all the teachers and their devoted leaders, mainly Diana Szabo and Vesna Kraus, who not only taught throughout the week, but also spent much time engaging the children in crafts on a day-to-day basis. The children’s presentations were followed by the rest of the presentations which were by the orchestra, choir and special guest One Glory. It was a special gift to have so many talented musicians and artists who were able to commit to this project.

Harold Kraus narrated the concert and brought out the main characteristics of each song showing that indeed we are to show forth the praises of our God in a way that will praise Him–honour and uplift the One who has given us the best gifts in life, including music. The day culminated in the close of Sabbath and giving out certificates, gifts of appreciation and tokens of gratitude to the organisers, volunteers and supporters of this venture. Being the first concert of its kind in Australia for the Union Youth Department, we were encouraged to see the participation, engagement and unity that was displayed not only on concert day but throughout the camp as well. All had combined for nine days to “Light the Way” to Reformation in Music, and this means that we must walk in the light that we have been shown. May God help us complete this goal. “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79)

We cannot thank God enough for the gift of music in bringing so many together in unity to praise, inspire and engage one another in the service of our awesome God, Who we have the privilege to love and serve.

~ Daniela Balarezo