PACO’s annual chamber music workshop, affectionately known as PACO camp, marks the beginning of the musical season for members of Debut, Sinfonia, and Senior PACO. It is an intensive week of great music-making (and great friend-making) amidst the towering redwoods of Monte Toyon in beautiful Aptos, California. All PACO players who are placed by advancement or audition into one of these “top three” ensembles are required to attend the workshop; no late arrivals or early departures are allowed.
At the camp, students are housed in bunk rooms and supervised, socially as well as musically, by a staff of Chamber Music Fellows, conservatory students and recent music school graduates from around the country. Running the program is Ben and our Senior Faculty comprised of top professional chamber musicians from the Bay Area and across the country. This summer’s faculty are Kris Yenney, Eugene Sor, Michel Taddei, Ariana Kim, and Heidi Yenney.
Each day includes at least two chamber music rehearsals, a master class, three delicious meals, and plenty of time to hang out with friends. “Fright”-reading sessions, the PACO Festival Chorus, a hike to the beach, and nightly campfires keep everyone busy enough to stay off the climbing wall.
Every PACO student is placed in a chamber music ensemble and given the music well in advance of the workshop. This music is expected to be learned reasonably well before showing up at Monte Toyon. If there is any reason why this cannot be done, Ben Simon must be notified in advance.
The workshop ends with every ensemble performing in our private, “in-camp” concerts on Saturday afternoon and evening, and a public performance of selected works at 11:30 on Sunday in Helgesson Hall.