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Coming Together in Music and Spirit

When we plan a gathering that is really special, why not turn it into a yearly tradition? This coming weekend, members of the Music for People community from Canada and the US will come together for an improvisation retreat at CAMMAC. This will be the second year that I am organizing this retreat. It started as a dream, that dream came true, now I want to continue living the dream.


a group of musicians of the Music For People CAMMAC Retreat posing for a photo
MfP Improvisation Retreat May 2023 CAMMAC Quebec, Canada

Most of those attending are people I have improvised a lot with over the years. We travel far and wide to be together, and we keep doing it, just because we love it. There is no set goal except to nourish our spirits through music. The idea of a retreat was inspired by Harold McKinney (Gypsy Harvest), a longtime member of the MfP community, who began hosting gatherings at Wildacres in North Carolina. The idea is for friends to come together and play heart centered music.   


This group is not defined by age, culture, or gender. We are life musicians.


Belonging


Finding a group of people with whom you feel a sense of belonging is essential to well-being. I spent much of my adolescent and teenage years trying to fit in. When I finally gathered the courage to follow my heart and go deeply into music, that need to fit in began slipping away. I then started letting go of people who brought me down. 


Dr. Brené Brown has a lot to say about belonging. She defines belonging as “being part of something bigger but also having the courage to stand alone, and to belong to yourself above all else.” In that case, belonging is actually the opposite of fitting in! Fitting in means that we are changing ourselves to make other people like us. Fitting in means that we betray ourselves. 


I am grateful for my family, my longtime friends, my colleagues, and my music friends. 


At my first Music for People “Art of Improvisation” workshop in 2013, I was deeply touched by the quality of music and human connection. I knew right away that I found  “my tribe”. What does that mean? It is when we connect with a group of people who just “get each other”, We bond through music and a desire for personal growth. We thrive on creativity and human connection. We come together and create - we play music, we sing, we sometimes dance, move, act, write, and draw. We talk about the creative process and living an inspired life. We held each other online through the pandemic. We laugh till we cry, and cry till we laugh. We play with a sense of childlike awe and wonder. 


a group of musicians sitting in a circle with a guitar player, CAMMAC 2023
Musicians at CAMMAC 2023

The Place


The location is perfect, CAMMAC is a beautiful music center in the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montreal. It sits on the shores of Lake MacDonald. It is a music camp surrounded by nature. There is a piano in every room, and everywhere you walk you hear music. CAMMAC stands for the Canadian Amateur Musicians, Musicians Amateurs du Canada. Founded in 1953 CAMMAC was intended as a gathering point for music lovers of all kinds, no matter your age or your skill level. Many professional musicians continue to support the organization through concert offerings and teaching. It carries the same core belief as Music for People that everyone can choose to enjoy the benefits of playing music. 


A group of musicians seen through a window at the CAMMAC Retreat 2023
Another moment at the retreat - CAMMAC 2023

My Wish for You

Friendship and Belonging


Surround yourself with people 

Who allow you to be your authentic self

With whom you feel safe to cry 

With whom you can laugh heartily

Who encourage you

Who see you

Who hear you

Who you feel good with




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