Songfest is many things to many people; a celebration of another successful week of camp, an outlet for song and dance, a ritual of remembrance for summers gone by. What started nearly 19 years ago, during the summer of 1992, is now a tradition.
Each Friday night during the summer, Songfest concludes a fun-filled week of camp, before parents arrive to pick up campers the next day. It’s a night of music and laughter that campers and counselors don’t soon forget.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons Sarah Goslee Reed, a talented musician from Mount Vernon, Ohio, returns every summer to play at an average of six Songfests a year.
I had a conversation with Sarah today, so let me share what I learned!
Q: How did your relationship with Camp Nuhop start?
A: Almost 20 years ago, I performed at an environmental conference in Central Ohio. Jerry (Dunlap) called me after the conference to see if I’d come play at Camp. The rest is history and I return every summer!
Q: What keeps you coming back?
A: The songs are so special to the kids. Watching them sing along is absolutely wonderful. It’s so neat to see the campers and counselors year-after-year. I don’t even have to think about what to play, since a lot of them know the songs. I always get to drive home with a smile.
Q: What is your favorite song to play at Songfest?
A: The counselors love “Old Blue Suit”. A few years back they wrote a new chorus with lines about camp and Jerry. They also asked me to learn “Right Field” and that’s been a hit ever since. Campers love “Walk a Mile”, a song about looking at an argument through someone else’s eyes.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from playing at Songfest through the years?
A: The first time I played “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, it was special to see the campers and counselors crying and hugging. They have a very special relationship and the song means a lot to them. Now it’s always the last song I play, a perfect way to end the evening.
Q: When you’re not playing music, what are you doing?
A: My education is in microbiology and I love the outdoors! I volunteer at the environmental center at Kenyon College, monitoring Bluebirds. I love rollerblading, kayaking, reading, knitting, and watching absolutely no TV!
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You can check out Sarah’s website for a little more information about her, to see where she’s playing next, or to purchase one of her CDs. $5 from each CD sale of her “Songfest” album goes to the endowment fund for camp.
Please share your memories from Songfest in the comment box!