When the idea of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp (OMMC) was pitched to me at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, I was immediately excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I got there, I knew it would be awesome.
In the hallway, there was the plan for the two weeks of camp, describing what we’d be doing every hour of every day for the next twelve days. Each day started with a chapel full of all the best hymns. After that came an hour and a half of masterclass, where I had my first experience of musical improvisation. There I got to learn so much about different kinds of music, not only from my instructors, but also from the incredibly musically talented campers at OMMC.
We’d later have lunch in the Grebel cafeteria, where I had my first Grebel cookie. It did not disappoint. After that we had recreation, where we did activities ranging from classic tag, to having to chase our counselors around and try to smash an egg taped to their arm. We got practice time after that to practice our own music or for the upcoming concerts, either by ourselves or with friends.
One of my favorite parts of camp though was the groups that we met up with after supper. We read some scripture and then discussed it with a small group of maybe five or six people. In those groups were some of the best conversations I’ve ever had. Campfire time was always a great experience, where we got to sing these wonderful songs that most of us knew by heart. Occasionally the counselors shared reflections on their own lives, which we, as young teenagers, had the opportunity to listen to and get good advice for our own lives, spiritually or socially.
But OMMC is not just advice and scripture. It’s also a whole camp lip dub! We learned the lyrics to “You make My Dreams Come True,” and later that day we filmed the whole thing wearing our 80s outfits. The video ended with a shot of all of us in the Grebel chapel full of balloons everywhere! It was awesome!
We had many performances, the best of which was the final performance. We performed Jesus Christ Superstar, my favorite musical, and it was so fun! I also got to perform a musical improvisation, only about eight days after having done it for the first time.
Now, I say hi to all the people I met at OMMC, if I see them at church or choir or school, or maybe at the store. I still talk with my friends about all the fun things we did at OMMC, and I’m planning to go back every year until I get too old.
Aidan Morton-Ninomiya is a grade 9 student and attends St. Jacobs (Ont.) Mennonite Church.
To learn how camp alumni have continued developing their gifts, see “Music Camp keeps the tunes playing.”
—Corrected March 6, 2018
Young musicians practice during the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp. From left to right are Anna Tyas-Petrik, Hallelujah Tezera, Aidan Morton-Ninomiya, Isabelle Netherton, and Jayden Liu. (Photo courtesy of OMMC)