The Orchestra Music Program at Oklahoma Camp Meeting is always a highlight, but you may not know how it all comes together. After all, musicians travel from 7 different states to be a part of the orchestra this year, so how do they practice together in preparation for camp meeting? Easy answer... They don't. In fact, this was the 6th year that Pastor Harvey Gil has organized the orchestra at Camp Meeting, and to this day, their only practice time is the 2 1/2 hours before they perform!
Here are the details: Pastor Harvey being the music artistic director/Jesus lover that he is, started a ministry called the Festival of Lights. The goal was simple. To bridge the community members and church members in a night of sharing holiday joy and Jesus. He led this program for almost 20 years! This is where he met some of the musicians that were in this year's music crew.
Through the years he has kept a list and does his best to stay in touch with the musicians from "back in the day." But he also relies on friends bringing friends! The musicians this year came as far south as Houston, as north as Lincoln Nebraska, from the Carolinas, Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, and a good handful from Oklahoma.
Pastor Harvey selects the music, musicians, and conductors for the weekends! The first weekend, a Texas woman named Lanice conducted the concert. The second weekend Giovanni, a 2nd Year Choral Director Doctoral candidate from University of Oklahoma led the orchestra.
"We get together 2 1/2 hours before the worship service and that's the only time we get together to practice - so you better know how to sight read!" said Pastor Harvey when he shared about this experience.
World Renowned Musician Jaime Jorge popped in for the concert, sat down, and joined in with his violin! When Pastor Harvey chatted with him later that day, Jaime said, "This is very rare. This is very rare indeed."
To have people from all over come and practice together for 2 hours and perform such incredible music is a true heaven-like experience. Sometimes, musicians don't get the appreciation that God calls us to give them. But at Oklahoma Camp Meeting, they are more than just their instruments. We pray for them, their families, their personal ministries, and their future. They have purpose, names, and needs. They need direction, correction, protection, and love. Remember that like David, the one who used to play for you, may one day be your leader. Love them well.
"From Gas Cards and meals to purchasing the sheet music and mailing it out to each musician, this orchestra wouldn't be possible without the help from our sponsors.”
As we start planning for Camp Meeting 2023, Pastor Harvey is ready to meet some new young musicians who want to join this pick-up orchestra! If you'd like to join the orchestra or support it financially, please reach out to Pastor Harvey Gil. He's anxiously awaiting your call.