The First Mountains and Music Weekends
These weekends, featuring 80 to 100 musicians and listeners, began about 30 years ago, the brainchild of AMC member Arnold Reif, an amateur pianist and then chair of the AMC Boston Chapter Ski Committee. Inspired by a combination skiing and music workshop held at Christmas time in Norway since 1959, Reif imagined that a group of like-minded people might be found in the Boston area.
At the time, the Ski Committee sponsored an annual Cross Country Carnival in conjunction with the Downhill Tuckerman Ravine Workshop, and, at Reif’s suggestion, a Music and Skiing Workshop was substituted for the Carnival. He enlisted the help of Leonard Berman, an amateur flute player, and together they came up with plans for the first Music and Mountains Weekend, which was held March 6-7, 1976, at the AMC’s Pinkham Notch Camp. The cost for the weekend was $26 with a $1 discount for AMC members. It was a big success, and the Mountains and Music Committee was born.
AMC Mountains and Music Weekends Today
Now people arrive from all over the Northeast to take part in our weekends. The playing spaces available, which were few in number back in 1976, have expanded to include all public areas of both Pinkham Notch Lodge and Nature’s Classroom at Sargent Center. The committee has amassed a formidable collection of both chamber and choral music, the whole of which is available to all during the weekend. There are two or three pianos at each site.
Conductors for the chorus and orchestra are chosen from among the many talented conductors in the New England area. Participants range from relative beginners to accomplished amateur players. Being able to read music is the only prerequisite.
Anyone who wishes to join or form a group can go to a central location to be matched with other players. The atmosphere is inclusive and enthusiastic, and a special effort is made to include newcomers in planned activities.
These weekends have inspired the creation of an annual one-day chamber music event held in March at a chosen location in the Boston area. This event starts at noon with music making throughout the afternoon followed by a pot-luck supper.