A blissful rehearsal week at Avaloch...

In today's hectic and fast-paced world, musicians all too often find themselves faced with needing to craft a performance on very little rehearsal time and with lots of other demands competing for attention. There is, of course, much to be learned from an efficient, snappy, rehearsal and it's always exciting to have a full plate of performance opportunities. Yet, in the midst of hectic rehearsals, there is inevitably a wistful moment of thinking, "If only there was a little more time..." In planning the first concert of our season, we were thrilled when two wonderful members of the Community MusicWorks family - Jesse and Heath - offered to join us. We had settled on a program of Haydn op 20 no 4, a great arrangement of Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine by Evan Price and Beethoven's epic op 127 - we knew we needed to carve out a serious chunk of rehearsal time.

Fortunately, Heath had learned of a beautiful new rehearsal retreat venue in New Hampshire called the Avaloch Farm Music Institute led by director Deb Sherr. Deb is also director at Greenwood where Jesse and Heath first played chamber music together) We were thrilled to be able to reserve a spot for the first week in October.

As we made the drive north to New Hampshire, the foliage gradually deepened in color and by the time we reached the farmlands around Avaloch, it was a riot of reds and golds. We were greeted by Deb who showed us the exquisitely decorated barns and comfortable lodgings. Thanks to Deb's vision and the generosity of founder Alfred Tauber, even in its first year, Avaloch seems to embody an atmosphere of generosity and appreciation for the value of the artistic process.

It was with great relish and abandon that we rehearsed in our studio that first evening and so began a fabulous week of digging into the Beethoven and Haydn. Of course, we would have been remiss in our duties not to take an occasional break to take in the full Avaloch experience...

Water Dog

...Emmy takes a dip in the nearby pond...

Mindful Heath

...Heath takes it all in from a canoe...

And the decadence didn't stop there. Our rehearsals were punctuated by delicious feasts (3 a day in fact) created by the wonderful Deborah - a true artist! I can personally confirm that the catfish listed on the menu was transcendent! (That became a word-of-the-week...)


One of my favourite experiences of the week was on our last night, when we played through our program for Deb, Deborah, Diane and Dodi, who had taken such wonderful care of us all week.

Avaloch Farm Music Institute

It is a rare and special opportunity to rehearse in a peaceful setting, where everyone has the mental space to be totally present and focussed on musicmaking and connectedness. Many thanks to Deb Sherr and all the staff at Avaloch!

e and e at avaloch