I’ve had piano lessons for eleven years and have worked on developing my voice. I always go around the house singing, but never had any formal training. When I auditioned for the All-Cape and Islands Festival, I received a perfect score and was ranked the number one alto on Cape Cod and the Islands. After that, my parents and I decided that it would be a good idea to go to a music camp, so I could do what I enjoyed most all year round.
At the end of our search, we chose the Encore Music Camp of Pennsylvania. Not only did it have a prestigious reputation for its staff and curriculum, but it also gave campers a selection of the length of their stay. If I liked it, I could extend my stay.
My first day at camp was an experience I will never forget. As I climbed up the stairs of Sullivan Hall, I saw reflections of myself everywhere, in the form of other campers who were new to Encore.
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I entered my room and saw my roommate’s name tag and luggage, but not my roommate. I heard the music of a viola waft through from the room next door. Suddenly the music stopped and a girl appeared, complete with a big smile and a viola and bow in hand. “I’m Lilian. Do you want to go around and knock on people’s doors and meet them with me?” I hadn’t been at the camp long enough to realize that this friendliness was characteristic of Encore-goers. I met the campers in my dorm that night, and learned that Encore was definitely the camp for me.
Two weeks later, I was working on my employer at home, to get her to let me stay longer. My parents had willingly gone along with the plan, but she was not so readily swayed, and my solitary wish was not granted.
One week later, I was crying hysterically. How could I leave all these people I had come to love, and whom I had learned from?
I haven’t seen any of my friends from camp since July, but I have kept in touch with them. I write and receive letters frequently, and occasionally I’m surprised by a call from New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania. The times and memories of my first year at Encore are ones that I will not soon forget, and I can barely wait to experience more next summer, when I return to Encore for the six-week session. L