Every May, ten to fourteen senior staff members meet for a weekend of planning and goal-setting for the summer ahead. During this most recent gathering, director Danny Kerr led a lively conversation on the role of music at Pemi. Below is a compilation of the wide-ranging input that resulted…
I. Music is at the center of the Pemi experience both enhancing and creating our sense of community.
Music is inclusive at Pemi; everyone can participate and feel a part of the Pemi community, resulting in a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself, even for our newest campers.
We enjoy music as a community in a number of venues: in the Messhall, at Campfire, at Sunday Meeting, in occupations. In each of these settings, campers and staff make music together, no matter what their background in music might be.
Music is spontaneous; it allows the community to “gather” at any time of the day or night. On trips, in cabins, on the lake, music always has a seat at the table.
Music is a part of Pemi throughout the year, not just in the summer months; countless stories are told of campers singing Pemi songs during the winter: parents singing Pemi songs as lullabies to their children and Pemi music being a part of significant events, weddings, tributes, alumni gatherings both formal and informal, within Pemi men and women’s lives and family.
Music is part of the shared language at Pemi, be it words to camp songs, the hand motions that go along with these songs or melodies we all recognize and love.
II. Music is a vibrant example of presentations for the community at Pemi.
Offering music is a gift to the Pemi community. It honors and celebrates our commitment to, and belief in, excellence at Pemi, showcases expertise at the highest level and reminds us what commitment to one’s craft can allow.
Musical presentations are diverse; we are exposed to a wide variety of music at Pemi, which accentuates our varied backgrounds, interests, eras and tastes in music.
Musical presentation at Pemi is another opportunity for individuals in the community to shine; we rejoice in accomplishments in all areas of the Pemi program, music offers a chance to appreciate campers and staff alike from many places, walks of life, periods of time and interests.
III. Music at Pemi helps us connect generations and celebrate the history of Pemi.
Music, be it Messhall singing, lyrics to tunes written by early founders at Pemi or G & S performances, connects young and old, new and veteran, grandfathers, fathers and sons, grandmothers, mothers and daughters.
Lyrics to Pemi songs tell the story of Pemi’s founders, its athletes, its characters, and the world in which previous generations of Pemi boys lived and grew.
Singing of the Rahill triplets, the Fauver twins, the Land of the Boston and Maine allows for images of those who came before us.
Music at Pemi is timeless in a way that few things are, it rarely changes; it affects and creates the same emotions for us as for our forebears.
IV. Music brings joy to the Pemi community; we celebrate with music.
Be it hand motions, the humor we find in song or ways to greet each new summer or bid adieu at summer’s end, music is always at the center of Pemi celebration.
Music at Pemi has a humorous side to it; it’s a vehicle for healthy camp humor and a chance to laugh at ourselves, or with others.
V. Music is one of the many ways that the boys and counselor staff gain confidence and independence during the summer.
Music empowers us to express ourselves artistically and as individuals.
The collective voice is greater than the individual one. Being a part of a greater effort enhances one’s confidence in whatever musical undertaking we are a part of.
We take risks musically at Pemi, and the supportive community encourages us to take our music to levels we weren’t aware we could reach.
We find our own direction when performing, define ourselves as individuals, and grow in ways we never knew possible.