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Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Charles River Tent Flaps: 1974

[“CHARLES RIVER TENT FLAPS – THE FIRST TEN YEARS” is made up of interviews with past and present staff members and campers of the Charles River Creative Arts Program of Dover, Massachusetts and of articles from The Daily Double.” -from “Tent Flaps”, published for the CRCAP tenth-anniversary celebration, summer 1979 (David Downing, editor). We begin as CRCAP begins to see weird moments become everyday occurrences …]

 

1974

The Happy-Go-Lucky Janie Papps starts in as director of The Daily Double. She was alleged to have enjoyed it …

 

During THE FREELANCE KID when they were putting the fire out that was part of the end of the play, they took blankets and tried to smother the fire. Dana Berger said, ‘Good, every spark out.’ The girl who played Judy just totally broke character and said, ‘It’s not! It’s not!’ The blankets and stage had caught fire. Maureen went running off to get some water. They eventually did put it out. Well, the next night it happened again! This time they had a fire extinguisher.”

 

Anne Matthies made the body puppets for THE FREELANCE KID. The frame stood on the shoulders of the person inside it. They were eight feet high. On clean-up day after the show, we were lying on the lawn when all of a sudden we saw the body puppets walking across the field and right over to the Drug Store. They went in and sat down. Those people at the Drug Store gave them what they ordered; nobody asked any questions. And then with their food they walked back across the field.”

 

You know how the kids get so noisy around the tent stage? Besides the obvious reason that no one will forget a President resigning, you wouldn’t have believed what it was like at Charles River. There was a TV on the ten stage and everyone was quiet. I mean, we were all there watching Nixon talking about his parents and he was crying. The whole scene was unreal. All the kids were glued to what was happening. Then, when it was over, everyone cheered. It was really weird.”

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June 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Charles River Tent Flaps: 1971

[“CHARLES RIVER TENT FLAPS – THE FIRST TEN YEARS” is made up of interviews with past and present staff members and campers of the Charles River Creative Arts Program of Dover, Massachusetts and of articles from The Daily Double.” -from “Tent Flaps”, published for the CRCAP tenth-anniversary celebration, summer 1979 (David Downing, editor). We pick up the story as the CRCAP that we know begins to take shape…]

 

1971

Prime Time was done as a sequel to The Mouse in the White House because the latter was so successful. I remember going in the big tent and watching a rehearsal. It was really the first time that I was aware of Kippy who was directing Prime Time. This person was so enthusiastic, jumping up and down, waving her arms. I really wanted to be part of the show.

I got involved with the tech crew. It rained one night, maybe both nights. I can’t remember. There was a scene where there was a waterbed. Anne Matthies was the head of the tech crew. She was the one who initially really made me feel involved, really made me love it. There was a blackout and I was supposed to get the waterbed which was really an air mattress filled with water. I went charging across the stage, grabbed the waterbed which naturally weighed a ton, gave a good tug, and fell right on my rear end.”

 

‘Anne, where’s your whale?’”

 

I think it was under Nissy that Noontime Shows changed to each person being responsible for one a summer. Before that, each department had a day a week. In those days people felt that if it was a Music Department day, it had to be Music Department Noontime Show. The entire department would take part. The kids took part very little until Nissy took over.”

There was a group, the Greasy Spoons, a takeoff on Sha Na Na. It was basically what the Freelancers and Musical Parody are now. Greg Sandow was in charge of it. Jamie Walker, Steve Wright, Jimmy Phillips were in the group. They had groupies: Jenny Farrington, Julie Matthies, Sarah Morrison, Meg Vaillencourt, Gretchen Jones. They were practically the only kids who were involved in the Noontime Shows.”

 

It was also a summer of disasters, naturally-caused and human-caused…

They had a tent now instead of the long stage that Peter built. It was a huge circus tent with a stage at one end of it. It was in the middle of the lawn in front of the middle building. It was when [Kippy] was getting married that it blew down, during Hurricane Dora. We ent back the next day and it was all over Dover. We tried to put the pieces back together but it was useless.”

It was also the year that the tennis bubble deflated. It was stabbed actually. If I knew they were going to do it, I would have come over and helped them. It was so ugly.”

June 9, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Charles River Tent Flaps: The First Ten Years … Introduction

In the summer of 1979, the Charles River Creative Arts Program of Dover, Massachusetts published a volume to commemorate a decade of providing a summer arts experience for children aged 8 to 15.

Writing Department counselor David Downing compiled and edited “Charles River Tent Flaps: The First Ten Years”, a collection of quotes drawn from interviews with CRCAP staff and articles from the camp’s daily newspaper. The title recognized the tenth anniversary of the summer arts program, cheekily supposing that there would be more summers to follow. One wonders if anyone anticipated four more decades…

So, we’re pleased to be presenting “Tent Flaps”, a year at a time, from 1970 through 1979. A new segment will be posted every few days between now and CRCAP’s 50th-anniversary celebration on July 13 – in the spirit of “you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from”.

= = = =

The Calm Before the Storm: Thoughts During Staff Orientation

I thought of all that had happened and all that had changed in the past year, yet how this place remained rather constant – and timeless.”

 

Sat on the top level of fire escape … multi-media sound/light/senses/corrugated seat – Al talking in the Art Room – disembodied radio – sun, Andy’s camera click – no flag on flagpole – Coca Cola – the tent – stage coming to life with favorite friends scaling the heights … a setter … is he a sandwich eater? – storing up energy – distance before close-up, intense personal involvement – excitement, rewards, hazards, fulfillment, etc. ahead.”

 

Who would I get to know, who would fade away at the end of the summer? In the end it came down to that I was going to be related to everyone at this camp by the end of the summer.”

 

I was sad that last summer was over and would never happen again but I was also glad that I now have an opportunity to start fresh. I was also glad to see a number of familiar names in the camper list.”

 

Uncommonly dirty for a kitchen. Plenty of ice tea mix for summer, stale roll and turned-brown broccoli, looks disgusting. The kitchen made me realize that it is not only ‘arts’ that make the camp run. Rather, a combined effort from varying sources. Rather hot, would not like to work all summer in there. Felt sorry for whoever does.”

 

The usual insecure feeling of can the old creative juices run again? Will the energy be there?”

 

Walked out to the stage and sat there by the lighting booth.

-How beautiful to be outside.

-Thought about past shows – all the kids who’ve been on that stage and love it.

-I love that spot (stage).

-I probably won’t have another peaceful moment like this until the end of the summer and then I might get a chance to sit out here – but it’ll be with different emotions.

Walking Back – talked with Susie C. about work to do – lots – But what fun it’ll be – I can’t wait until Monday…”

June 1, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment