An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Isabelle Q. '20

It’s always funny to hear the ninth graders ask if there’s going to be working bathrooms and clean drinking water on the music retreat. I remember my own surprise when I stepped into my Sleeping Lady cabin for the first time; my roommates and I were completely enchanted. It wasn’t just the working bathrooms or clean drinking water. Nor was it the coffee-maker, perfect to boil hot water (an essential for a singer like me), or the cozy, much-coveted loft bed. It was the feeling that we were doing something new and exciting, away from the stress of school.  Already, we could sense that this would be something special.

As a junior, this was my third year on the music retreat, the annual three-day trip which all orchestra, jazz band, and choir students take to the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts. The days are filled with lots of rehearsals, as well as activities designed to help Lakeside’s musical community - usually so divided between the different classes - to mix. This includes a talent show (Tenors won this year with their rendition of Adele) and the posters activity, during which each music section (altos, violin 1s, percussion) is given time to make a poster that represents the section. There is a very specific bond that forms when you share both the trials and joys of the same instrument. Someone simply watching a performance might have no idea what the dynamic of a section is like - how much fun we can have together. And I think that might be one of the points of the music retreat: it allows us to better understand our fellow musicians - across instruments - and to see in what surprising ways music has made us similar. (Plus, it’s always great to hear all the awesome music jokes. Question: What's the difference between a violin and a viola? Answer: There is no difference. The violin just looks smaller because the violinist's head is so much bigger)

But the best part of the retreat will always be the rehearsals. The retreat allows us to focus just on music for long periods of time, which we can rarely do at school. We get ahead in our music, yes, but it’s not just that. I’ve sung in multiple choirs before, and I know the feeling when a choir just clicks. It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world. It’s the feeling of being one body of multiple voices - great and very powerful. And I find that most years, the first time the school choir really clicks is during the retreat. I don’t know if it’s the extended rehearsals or the beautiful mountains, but something about the retreat allows us to become a real choir, and it is that feeling that reminds me why singing and why music has been one of the most important things in my life.