Enjoy a few updates on what some of the tremendous staff from last summer at Caz have been doing in their "down-time" during the Caz off-season.
Taylor Weary, Counselor
I suppose I've mostly been living out of a suitcase since my last encounter with a redwood tree. I decided to take a year off before going to Harvard University in the fall, and I wanted to fill my time volunteering abroad. Starting in September, I spent 3 months in Cape Town, South Africa working in a daycare and a children's hospital in low-income communities. When I reluctantly returned to America, this Los Angeles girl experienced living through her first real (though mild!) East Coast winter in my new home in Pennsylvania. I knew my free time this year was rare and precious, and I had caught the travel bug pretty badly in Africa, so I planned another volunteer trip. I write this right now from my bedroom in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam with the fan blasting the 107-degree heat and mosquitos away from me. I'm in the middle of a month-long stay, in which I am working with children with various disabilities in a physiotherapy clinic and a temple-turned-orphanage. If anyone is interested in finding out more about my adventures, I've been keeping blogs at www.taylorgoesglobalcapetown.blogspot.com and www.taylorgoesglobalsaigon.blogspot.com!
All this time spent entertaining and teaching children this year has made me even more thankful for my experience as a Caz counselor. Besides the fact that I was able to get a flute gig in Cape Town, I realized how many tricks I have up my nonexistent sleeves. It's really only a matter of time before I get someone to do Swedish yoga with me here. After I fly back to Philadelphia at the end of March, I'll continue playing with the West Chester University flute choir and reading to toddlers at a low-income daycare, and then before we all know it I'll be back to scheming for milkshakes.
Emily Spitz, Counselor-in-Training
Hi there! My name is Emily Spitz, and I was a Counselor-In-Training last summer at Cazadero. I will be finishing my freshman year at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development this May. I am pursuing a degree in Music Education and will therefore be certified to teach K-12 music classes upon my graduation.
Less than a week after camp came to a close last year, I moved out to New York City to begin my college life. It was definitely a big change! Nevertheless, the transition went very smoothly. After all, being a music major means living and breathing music 24/7—and we get really good at doing that while we’re at Caz! Even though it gets pretty crazy juggling thirteen music classes a semester and factoring in enough hours in the day to practice flute (and piano, the bagpipes, and whatever other instruments I have to learn that semester for practicum!), I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything I have learned so far has been incredibly enlightening and has truly opened my eyes to the wonders of music-making. As corny as it may sound, even observing classes in schools all over the city and seeing childrens’ eyes light up when they learn a new song or understand a new concept in music theory makes all the hard work more than worthwhile. It’s that same feeling that makes working at Caz so incredibly special.
As fantastic as it is being in the city surrounded by musical opportunities (Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall are only a few Subway stops away, and I’m surrounded by hundreds of jazz clubs in Greenwich Village!), I have to say that no amount of flashing neon lights can hold a candle to the beauty of the Cazadero redwoods. Here’s to hoping I make it back this summer to take in the unmatched sights and sounds of Cazadero Music Camp once more.
Danielle DiDonato, Piano Faculty
It's been a busy year for me what with applications to graduate schools, auditions, performances, and everything else. But it was also very successful. After flying to Scotland for an in-person audition, I was accepted into the Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow, Scotland to do my masters in piano accompaniment! This was my top school so I accepted! I will be leaving the United States in September to head to Scotland for two years. Hopefully I'll be back in the summers!
If you're at all interested, my senior recital is going to be at San Francisco State University in Knuth Hall, located in the Creative Arts Building at 7:00PM. Admission is free!
Jason Galisatus, Counselor
Hey everyone! Since camp, I have been doing the one thing that I've had time to do: school! I'm a freshman at Stanford (go Card, down with the Bear!) and I'm thinking of studying Science, Technology, and Society, which is basically an amalgamation of a bunch of different subjects like communications, political science, computer science, management science and engineering, or basically all the subjects I was thinking of majoring all wrapped up into one! The only thing is, nobody told me how hard college is!!! It definitely has caught me off guard! Make sure, youngins, you are developing really good study habits now! Granted that it's extremely difficult, it's also really, really fun. I'm having an absolutely wonderful time and am meeting the most incredible people.
In any case, musically, I've been having a great time as well! I am currently a member of an a capella group called Fleet street, where we sing original music around the Bay and beyond! I got to tour to Los Angeles where we got to sing with groups from Berklee College of Music (holla Emily Sherman), USC, UCSB, and many more! We've also gotten the opportunity to share the stage with "On the Rocks," a group that competed on The Sing Off! Just to brag a little bit...... my group had been ASKED to audition for The Sing Off, but we turned it down because we would have to have missed too much school. Yes, Stanford is full of nerds (myself included). It's been amazing, because we get to compose and arrange all the time, which is truly a challenging and fun music experience. Check us out at Fleetstreet.com!
I'm also coaching percussion around the Bay, occasionally subbing in at Peninsula Youth Orchestra and I coach regularly at Kennedy Middle School! Both are very fun and rewarding experiences. I also play a few gigs here and there!
In any case, college is AH-MAY-ZING! I just never sleep... I miss Caz, and cannot wait to visit next year!
Carolyn Niehaus, Office Manager
After my first summer of working at Cazadero in 2004 as a counselor-in-training, I realized I loved teaching and wanted to become a music teacher. I am currently busy student teaching and loving every moment of it with Kerr Middle School in Elk Grove this semester. I have the opportunity to work with 5 ensembles: jazz band, 2 beginning bands, concert band and symphonic band. We just had our first concert this past week and watching the students get excited about the concert and experiencing the pre-concert craziness of making sure everyone had the proper concert attire was a learning experience. I am learning so much from my incredible host teacher, Nancy Kreis, from different ways to teach a rhythm to how to organize my future classroom.
I am currently putting together my resume and letters of recommendation to start applying for jobs. I can't believe how quickly my time at the University of the Pacific has passed and that in just a few short months I will hopefully have my own job to look forward to after spending another great summer at Cazadero!