Maths Camp Song

I worked a couple summers at Camp Winnebago, near Augusta, Maine.  (Founded 1919, long before the car was a thing!)  One of the great things about Winnebago was that they had some thirty camp songs, one for every occasion, mostly written in the 40’s I think.  The most sticky of the bunch was ‘Goodnight Winnebago,’ which the entire camp would sing every night before bed; it’s a kind of theme song for the camp.  (And a good lullabye for getting a pack of kids ready to chill out for the night!)

We’ve been thinking for most of the last year that it would be great to have a theme for the maths camp.  And after nothing happening on it for many months, I wrote a bunch of lyrics the last night of camp and performed it (with some predictable hiccups) at the closing ceremony and then again at the final assembly, before we sent all the students home.

Yesterday we managed to round up a bunch of undergrads in the Maseno music program and work the song up a bit more.  The students were really creative and great to work with; I absolutely cannot imagine getting something like this together in just a day back in Toronto.  Here’s the last recording of the day!

Maseno Maths Camp Song

Clearly there needs to be more collaboration between the music and maths departments this year.

Words:

Chorus:
Well you can’t get away from mathematics,
And once you’ve been to maths camp you wouldn’t want to try
Coz there’s a beauty in the order that surrounds us
Invisible until you find the rules of how and why.

She’s walking down a dirt path on a Sunday afternoon
Walking past the flowers neath the pale pale moon
And she’s thinking ’bout the week that’s coming towards her
About the camp for mathematics where she’s never been before
She’s gonna find a few good numbers
Find a few good friends
Learn some new ideas that she can take back home again
She’s gonna play a lot of games with messages inside
She’ll learn some secret rules by even which the moon is tied.

I dream of Fibonacci spirals all wrapped around my days
And the little strings that vibrate in the space between my brain
Holding everything together like the strings of a guitar
And remind me when we leave again it’s really not too far
Coz there’s always a geodesic leading back to Maseno
A short electron highway to the people that we know
When the week is over we’ll go home in matatus
And share the things we’ve learned until another year is through.

The Band:
Alfred – Vocals
Dickens – Vocals
Lynn – Shakers
Munene – Guitar
Peris – Vocals
Rose – Vocals
Tom Denton – lyrics, vocals, ukulele
William – Keyboard

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