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NGI Recipient: Eleanor Glewwe

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - Harmony of Song and Dance (2012)

Dear Pinewoods NGI Committee and CDSS,

Thank you for offering me a full scholarship to attend Harmony of Song and Dance Week at Pinewoods this summer! I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity to go to Pinewoods for the first time, and I had a wonderful experience.

I chose to attend Harmony Week because I enjoy both singing and English and contra dancing. For the past few years though, I’ve mostly been singing Sacred Harp, and Harmony Week introduced or reintroduced me to a much wider variety of styles and traditions. I loved that the morning all-camp chorale and the afternoon singing sessions I went to featured so much variety, from choral works to ballads, French Canadian music to South African songs, gospel to shape note tunes beyond the Sacred Harp. In this way, camp was a truly broadening experience for me.

Discovering I could learn songs relatively easily from written music gave me more confidence as a sight reader, especially when another camper mentioned that she found it helpful to sit next to me. My time at camp has encouraged me to pursue other singing opportunities beyond Sacred Harp singing, perhaps in a choir. At the same time, many of the teachers at camp taught songs by ear, which I was less accustomed to, particularly when it came to learning harmonies by ear. This was more difficult for me, but I feel I really grew in this area during the week thanks to the amazing staff. It was also a nice feeling to be “freed” of sheet music.

The community aspect of camp was also a great highlight for me. I was happy to run into old friends again and to have conversations with many new people, all of whom were incredibly friendly. I met some fellow Midwesterners who told me about events in my area coming up this fall. I loved that every part of camp life was suffused with a humorous spirit. There was laughter all the time. One of my favorite moments was performing a parody of the shape note tune “Babylon Is Fallen” about Nils Fredland’s haircut at the cabaret.

Finally, it was a great privilege to be able to learn from, sing with, dance to, and attend the concerts of the immensely talented staff. They were excellent teachers and kind and approachable people, and they taught songs and played music that I will remember for a long time. I deeply appreciate receiving the NGI scholarship. Thank you for a great week!