An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Hannah L. '22

The annual Lakeside music retreat occurs in mid-November: the perfect time of year for all of Lakeside’s music students to spend a long weekend at the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth, rehearsing their repertoire, making posters, and watching movies. Even though the weather was frigid, the music retreat never failed to keep us warm — not only taking place inside heated buildings, but also by providing us with the company of musicians from other ensembles.

Without many other chances to interact across ensembles, we music students have the opportunity to build friendships throughout the entire trip. This includes a talent show in which all students gather in their sections to demonstrate their lesser-known skills. For example, this year, the second violins led the students and teachers in a short round of meditation, all while trying to swallow their insuppressible giggles. A new activity was added this year: a spoken song to be learned by all 100 students on the retreat — “Geographical Fugue” by Ernst Toch — complete with a four-part divide. We broke into grade levels to learn our parts and after a mere 17 minutes of rehearsal, we all reconvened to perform. No, it was nothing close to perfect, but it definitely brought each grade a little closer together.

During rehearsals, sections and ensembles tightened their relationship. We tried new music, failed, and tried again, building a unique bond you can only achieve through the epic highs and lows of learning a piece of music. From sight reading it for the first time to polishing it by adding dimension with phrasing and dynamics, this connection between individuals in an ensemble lasts through the rest of the school year and extends beyond.

Last year, I attended this retreat for the first time as a freshman and, in retrospect, I don’t think I took full advantage of the opportunity. I stayed close within my social circle, avoiding reaching out to those in other grades and students new to the Lakeside community. After the retreat had ended, I felt that my peers between ensembles and friend groups had established a stronger bond without me. To be honest, I felt left out. This year I was determined to branch out. I joked around and socialized with new students and others that aren’t in my grade or ensemble. This made the music retreat experience a lot more memorable.

I drew closer to friends, old and new, all while getting ahead in our repertoire. For the choir, this resulted in our sound blending, and our teamwork improving. This year that sensation was stronger than last year’s, and I have a feeling it will only grow exponentially from here. After expanding my social circle and learning from past experiences, I cannot wait to see how the Lakeside concert choir blooms together in my next two years before I graduate.