NGI Recipient: Dan Reid
Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - Early Music Week (2016)
To the Staff of CDSS and PCI,
I wish to take a moment to both speak about my time at the CDSS Early Music Week at Pinewoods Camp this past August and to thank you for the generous scholarship that was provided to me to enable my attendance at this program. As a young musician who sees early music as a vital part of his repertoire, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to spend an intensive week with other such musicians.
I attended Pinewoods during the week of August 13. At that point in time, I was only two weeks removed from returning to the United States after spending two months in Nicaragua as part of the requirements for my Master of Divinity degree. When I arrived at the camp, I can remember feeling slightly anxious since I was travelling to an unfamiliar place in which I knew no one, but I told myself that I had done the same thing in Nicaragua. Thus, I could do it again here. However, I quickly realized that my experiences in Nicaragua were not really necessary at Pinewoods. The community of musicians that Pinewoods assembles and keeps drawing back to itself is so warm and welcoming that, even on the hottest days of that week, their spirit drew me toward it just like any campfire. Furthermore, the pristine environment of the campgrounds themselves was enough to make anyone feel welcome by itself. The (often several times) daily swims in the clearest lake water I have ever seen; the miles and miles of forested trails, and the (usually) cool climate combined with the CDSS community to make a very welcoming week.
Of course, the primary reason that I wished to attend the camp was for the chance to immerse myself in High Renaissance and Early Baroque music, and the week afforded me the opportunity splendidly. One of the most tangible results of my participating in this experience is my increased prowess as a sight-singer. I really appreciated the sight-reading sessions that happened several evenings throughout the week and in fact wished that such sessions could have been offered every evening. Either way, though, I now notice an increased sense of ease at encountering and processing new music in the Yale and New Haven ensembles of which I am a part.
A less tangible but no less valued result of the experience is my increased endurance as a singer, and I gained this ability through my time working with Michael Barrett. His coaching throughout the week has proven to be invaluable toward my ability to sing for extended periods throughout any given day, and I would not be the singer I am today without his help.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention my work, although limited, with Francie Fitch on figured bass accompaniment. Although I have yet to realize any concrete benefits from working with her since I have not had any opportunities to work on the harpsichord since Pinewoods Camp, she opened a different door to approaching musical structures about which I only had vague awareness. I wish I could have had more opportunities to work with her, and if I attend next year, I will seek to come specifically as a harpsichordist, but I am very grateful for the time that I did spend under her tutelage.
All of the above could not have been possible without the financial help of the NGI Scholarship, and so I owe the whole staff of CDSS and the Pinewoods Camp a debt of gratitude. I look forward to future contact with you, and I wish you all the best.