Walnut Hill Summer ’16

I don’t quite know what to say, yet there’s so much for me to tell. My summer in Natick, Massachusetts was life changing. I don’t know where to start, so I’ll try the beginning.

I left for Boston Airport on 6/19/16 and arrived that same day. Luckily family friends lived near, and were able to pick me up from the airport. They drove me to Natick and we stayed in a hotel for the night. The time change was rough for me, and I ended up sleeping 12 hours that night. I went to Walmart and picked up all of the things I hadn’t wanted to travel with (shampoo, laundry detergent, etc) then drove to Walnut Hill. I checked in at noon, and I was terrified. My family friends helped me move in and get settled, and then they left. I had met my roommate, and introductions were awkward. I went to the dining hall for dinner and we ate together, I soon discovered how amazing she is. Everyone seemed as if they already knew each other, and I’ve never been good at making new friends. I was in the common room that night and I decided to start talking to people. It was a good choice to make, because all the girls in my dorm are the most stunning people inside and out.

Auditions were the next day and I practiced and practiced, yet still managed to screw it up entirely. We could probably classify it as the worst audition I’ve ever had, however I got cast in the two shows I wanted to (all 40 kids were separated into four shows). Classes started soon after that, and I had dance, musical theater, and acting class. All of my teachers helped me in so many ways. I did a ab workout everyday, worked on acting out a song, and I did a improv scene. I had never been in such helpful classes.

Musicals are my favorite, but let’s be real for a second. Music rehearsals aren’t my favorite thing ever. I love dance rehearsal, I love a put together of the show, and I love scene work, but music rehearsal is rough. Sitting in a chair with sheet music listening to parts for 3 hours isn’t fun, I don’t mind it but ugh. However, the fact that everyone had their harmonies nailed by the first rehearsal got me excited, and stunned at how talented everyone is. Not to mention the wonderful musical director who helped us so much.

Dance rehearsal is by far the best. The sweat, the joy, and the music brightened up my already bright day. The choreographer for Curtains expected a lot, and let’s keep in mind I’m not the best dancer, he was demanding and pushed me hard. I gained so much from being held at such a high standard. I had a reason to work at something harder than I had ever before, and in the end I got to feel proud that I knew what I was doing.

The rehearsals for the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, were fabulous. I got to play a fairy, as well as a mechanical. Both parts entirely different, and both extremely fun. The fairies were sassy, and annoyed. The mechanical I played was slightly stupid, and terrified on stage. The director yelled at us in Polish, made people run laps, re worked scenes for hours, and expected a lot. He taught us about intention, listening to our scene partners, and so much more.

Dorm life was limited because of our crazy schedule, but we had movie nights, field trips every Saturday, a talent show, a 1980’s themed dance, and a huge 4th of July celebration. One of my favorite nights was having a dance party in the common room, and once curfew hit we all went into one dorm room. We talked for hours, and I didn’t go back to my room until 3am. It was right before tech, but it was worth it because I got to know all of the girls so much better.

Opening for Midsummer went quite well. The show only got two performances, but we made them count. Everyone was and still are immensely talented, they brought so much to the parts and I couldn’t have been prouder to be on the same stage as them.

Opening for Curtains was slightly rocky for me because I stepped into a new role with one dress rehearsal left, but went smoothly for everyone else. The show was over flowing with talent. Everyone knew what they were doing, and made the show so darn strong. It was the biggest blessing to work with them. I couldn’t imagine doing the two shows without anyone else.

There is no way for anyone to understand the level of support I felt from everyone during camp, but especially when I was learning a new role. I am so grateful, and so stunned at how many hugs, sweet words, and kind reassuring smiles waited for me at my exits off stage. My heart is so full of love for each of you.

The last night of camp (7/23/16) came too fast. We had built a home away from home for each other that I couldn’t imagine leaving. I couldn’t imagine not having my roommate to say good night to, or having rehearsals with such beautiful people every day. I cried while watching the other casts show of Pippin backstage, and I cried during the slideshow and ceremony. I finally pulled it together for the lock in, where all 40 of us piled into the girls dorm common room. We ate tons of snacks, cuddled, watched movies, and got less than an hour of sleep. At 5am we wrapped ourselves in blankets and went out to the hill where we watched the sunrise. It got too cold, and we all booked it back inside after a while. I went back to my dorm and finished packing, then went back to the common room and fell asleep on the carpet. I woke up again and we all went to breakfast. My mom came to pick me up at 8:30am and saying goodbye to everyone broke my heart. It was a room filled with crying people, and very hard to endure.

The flight back home was long, and once I was home we all snap chatted constantly, and still are. This experience is the best one of my life yet, and I can’t wait to see the careers each person will have, because I know they will.

 

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4 thoughts on “Walnut Hill Summer ’16

  1. My sweet Grace…you made me cry…I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone that made this experience possible for you. Thanks for taking the time to write all this down…so honestly…so humbly…so deeply reflective. I love you very much and am extremely proud of you. Nana

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