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NGI Recipient: Keegan Loesel

Session Attended: Folk Music Society of New York and others - TradMaD (2018)

I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone who helped me attend this year’s TradMaD camp at pinewoods. This includes the directors Joy and Heather, my friends Armand and Ben, and the people at Pinewoods who help give free room and board to scholarship winners.
I come from almost exclusively Irish traditional music, and have only started incorporating singing into my repertoire, so this experience was quite a shock in terms of encountering new things. I tried new things, and heard new things all week including some Tanzanian singing, blues singing, and instruments like the lap dulcimer. When I arrived I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since it was a lot more secluded than I ever thought, so as I pulled in it was pleasant to be greeted by friendly faces who quickly accommodated me since I was a first timer. I was showed to my cabin and helped with my things and told where I could find everything so that I would know how to operate in this new setting to me. Since dinner was soon, I found my way to the dining hall and found some people that I already knew and met some new people right away. The food was amazing! I had been told that it was good compared to other camp foods, but this was better than some things I’d order from a restaurant. After dinner was a big introduction meeting at the Camphouse, I met at least 10-15 people on my first night there, and some I could already call friends due to the welcoming nature of this group.
My first day of class I went for the strangest thing possible, Tanzanian singing/jogging. I figured if I started with strange nothing else would phase me. That was the best decision I ever made. This class was my favorite all week and had a lot of new friends in it. It got me up and moving and feeling like I could really fit in here even though everything is so different. I tried a couple dancing classes and a blues singing class and all sorts of new things during the week and I loved every class I went to.
The days were spread out wonderfully, it never felt too full of classes but it didn’t feel like there weren’t enough. There was ample free-time to swim and explore the area. Long pond was so refreshing everyday, and it was relaxing as well. Swimming and hanging on the docks and having songs and tunes everywhere around me felt like a paradise. I knew very quickly that I was going to have to return the following year, just to see all my new friends if nothing else.”