Summerfest 2014

Saturday, 21. June 2014

by Daniel Davis Wood

Upwards of a hundred visitors flocked to the Ecole d’Humanité today, joining the two hundred members of our community to celebrate the annual Summerfest. Summerfest is perhaps the most beloved and most anticipated event on the Ecole’s calendar — an extravaganza of education and entertainment — and this year we were blessed with one of the most spectacularly sunny days we have had all term on the Hasliberg.

The morning kicked off with the school directors welcoming all our visitors to the Ecole campus. Click here to download a copy of the speech delivered by Barbara Hanusa, Director of the Swiss Program. The welcome messages were followed by a selection of musical performances including some repeat performances from Wednesday night’s Music Evening. Three violins were joined by a cello as Melissa Bagg, Maya Wieser, Käthi Hänggi, and Caleb Curtis played a piece by Orazzio Vecchi; a violin quartet performed part of a concert by Georg Philipp Telemann; the Ecole Singensemble sang a selection of tunes from the Renaissance through to the twentieth century; and Annabelle Schapals and Luca Schumacher each sang a favorite solo. With Stefka Rancheva on piano accompaniment, Melissa and Caleb returned to the stage for the final performance, Rachmaninoff’s ‘Vocalise’ Op. 34, No. 14, which brought the house to a standing ovation. Click here to download an audio recording of those last few moments.

After the concert came to an end, the Ecole’s workshops opened up so that visitors could see blacksmithing, silversmithing, woodworking, sewing, and stonemasonry in action. Plenty of paintings, sketches, collages, decoupage, and other student projects were also on display downstairs in Geheeb Haus. Then, just after midday, a team of teachers and students erected a maypole on the Platz to commemorate Midsummer, and a second team led an impromptu dance around it. A selection of more daring activities were on offer throughout the afternoon — a challenge to climb to the top of a two-storey tower of milk crates, and various strength and endurance exercises — while a performance of Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Wedding’ took place in the Grossen Saal.

A dance performance and a huge Singgemeinde led into an open-air dinner buffet featuring mouthwatering food, and then, when appetites had been satisfied, the Folkdance Performance Group put on a show on the Platz before inviting everyone else to get up and join them for a few more dances. The evening’s entertainment began with a reading from William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ —

    Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
    To wear away this long age of three hours
    Between our after-supper and bed-time?

— and, as nighttime settled in, everyone had a chance to enjoy more dancing, some juggling, and plenty of acoustic musical performances. An enormous campfire in the field beside the Platz invited everyone to gather around and sing some folks songs, bringing the Summerfest to a close for another year. Now there are only 364 days left until the next one...


MelissaCalebStefka.mp3 Barbara Hanusa - Begrüssungsworte zum Sommerfest 2014.doc