After so many stories of chamber music, idyllic cabins, and legendary dances, I was ecstatic to finally get the complete Apple Hill experience this summer. It delivered on every promise and more.
The friendly, inclusive spirit of Apple Hill was apparent upon arrival. It’s a refreshing expectation there to take time and make sure everyone is comfortable and happy. It was also apparent in the friendly, supportive, cross-generational music making.
My cabin was set deep in the woods, which allowed for extreme quiet – the type of quiet rarely, if ever experienced in Boston. Even for a “city boy” like me, the lack of amenities was overshadowed by incomparable charm. However, before I went back to my quiet cabin, there were frequent dance parties. It’s pretty well known that I am a sucker for a good dance party, and in true Apple Hill form, I felt right at home.
Everyone should be lucky enough to experience the magic of Apple Hill. I can’t wait until our musiConnects students are old enough to attend along side the BPQ!
I first began attending Apple Hill after a friend recommended it to me in 2003. They needed a violist (or violinist impersonating a violist) to fill out a Borodin quartet and I was excited to experience what looked to be a wonderful change of pace from my conservatory training and its aftermath of trying to make a living teaching and playing in Boston. (Interestingly, that same summer I met Marji Gere for the first time, right before she was headed on a Playing for Peace Fulbright to Cyprus!). That first summer, and the following five were incredibly transforming for me as a musician and a person. It was actually at Apple Hill that a rush of ideas flooded my awareness – the idea of chamber music as a model for peace-making and community building paired with an urban string quartet performance and education residency – an idea that leaped out at me from the pages of an article on Community MusicWorks in a Chamber Music America magazine that was floating around the Apple Hill Barn in 2005…
Attending Apple Hill with the Boston Public Quartet was one culmination of the dreams I had had while walking down that tree-lined dirt road. I couldn’t have imagined also attending with my husband, nine-month old baby girl and my mom. I was not only surrounded by my esteemed colleagues while we undertook the challenge of intricately preparing a full quartet program, and surrounded by the amazing Apple Hill faculty who helped us realize every nuance, I was surrounded by everyone I love. I definitely felt a sense of coming “home” when the BPQ played our first notes in the barn. It felt so wonderful to perform after a meal for the most supportive, diverse collection of musicians in the world, and finally for the Apple Hill patrons who magically transform that old dusty barn into a first-class concert hall by filling it with palpable intensity through their enthusiastic listening summer after summer.