It's 6:45 am, Saturday morning, at the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. The sound of two flutes, or recorder and violin, gently wakes the musicians and friends gathered here for the weekend. It’s one of the two AMC Mountains and Music weekends that happen every year. The October weekend is at Pinkham Notch and the February weekend alternates between Pinkham Notch and Nature's Classroom at Sargent Center near Hancock, New Hampshire.
Musicians and listeners arrive Friday afternoon with all kinds of outdoor gear and an assortment of orchestral instruments – everything from violins to French horns – eager to join together in making music and hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing (depending on the season). Musicians have the opportunity to practice larger pieces in advance, and to bring chamber music to augment our large music library if there is something special they’d like to play.
After dinner and a rehearsal, some participants opt to stay up and play chamber music or sing madrigals before turning in for the night. Saturday morning might feature a Beethoven string quartet in the library, winds romping through a Reger serenade in the room below, and singers rehearsing for that night’s performance.
Then it’s time to get outside into the mountains! In the fall, the middle of the day features hikes of various lengths led by AMC-trained leaders, such as a morning walk to Lost Pond, a full-day trip up Mt. Monadnock, or a steep climb to Lion Head to view the summit of Mt. Washington. In the winter, participants enjoy skiing, both cross-country and downhill, snowshoeing, and tubing. However, curling up with a good book by the warm glow of a fireplace is also popular.
After the day’s activities, all return to the lodge for more music making and then supper, followed by an informal evening event featuring the orchestral and choral pieces that have been rehearsed the night before — perhaps a Schubert symphony and a Mozart Mass. After a reception with luscious desserts, most are ready to call it a day, although some hearty souls make music well into the early morning hours.
Sunday features more music, more outdoor activities, and a fond farewell until the next AMC Mountains and Music Weekend.
Please join us at an AMC Mountains and Music event soon and add music to your mountain recreations!