Saturday, March 31, 2007

Awards for the day

I almost forgot!

Perkins Elementary Curriculum: for teaching us how to read maps! Invaluable skill, can't thank them enough.
Laine: 'cause she hasn't gotten an award yet and I want her to have one. (Better reason soon, I promise)

Also, Mommy? Did you know there is a British cooking channel?

Offical day #2

I just want to let you all know that it is a-okay with me if you comment. Really. Or write e-mails? Or whatever you want to do so that I get some outside contact? Super-peachy-keen. Don't be nervous or anything.

Right, so today: first day of the workshop! Did you know that in England, people with American accents are interesting? I was the coolest kid in town until the Icelandic kids showed up. It's a good group- about twenty people, 17 of whom are women. Or, at least, only 3 of whom are men. Whatever. It turns out the Great Britain has this whole culture of outreach programs and workshops, so that when they say that they are doing "creative workshops" or whatever- people actually know what they mean. (I have used "whatever" three times so far in this post, lets try to not use it again...) We started the day with little stretches and warm up exersises, and then we got in a circle and passed claps around, then little noises, then movements, then rhythms, etc. It was actually very dalcrozian, except not with the specific intent to teach a particular musical element. Which was a little weird for me. I felt like everything should have been to a specific pulse, and with eurhythmics you wouldn't *think* of doing something without concrete phrasing to go along with it. Anyhow, next we sang a song with various parts, had a tea break and came back and introduced ourselves. There are actually five Americans (and one Mexican, three Icelandic women (one of the leaders is Icelandic), and one Portugese guy). The other four Americans are all cellists from Cleveland Institute of Music. Two are already in the program, one is auitioning this week, and the fourth was visiting one of the first two and just managed to get roped in to coming to the weekend. People seem to be kind of amazed that I just found this program online and decided to treck all the way out here for it. The cellists found out about the program from Alison Wells- who is Peabody's new director Jeff Sharkey's wife. She went to guildhall I think is what the connection is. Anyhow, the program has been around for about twenty years, though has only been degree granting for the last three. Do you see what I mean about this whole culture around it? Julliard *just* started an outreach program this year (not a degree granting one), and the only reason Peabody has one is because a student started it. Anyhow, in America it is certainly the new, hip train to be jumping on, but no one really knows much about what they are talking about yet. Or at least, that has been my impression. I, at least, don't really know what I am talking about. After lunch we did a group composition, which was actually pretty interesting. I ended up working a lot with this girl named Jo who plays the tuba since we were the lowest instruments. During our next tea break (there were a lot of tea breaks) she and I, and this guy named Andrew from Scotland, got together and compared accents. (My internal monologue has switched to a London accent, it is irritating.) After a couple of days of not really talking to Americans it was hard to come up with a particularly American sounding sentence for them to imitate. Then we broke up in to smaller groups and each did another part of the composition. My group was bass, tuba, sax, guitar, and piano. Jo and I and the three guys. The guys sort of took over everything and I made some snotty comment about being included and Sam, the guitarist said "hey, lets not make this an us-against-them sort of thing" and I was embarrassed, but my attitude improved a lot and then we actually got some good work done and Jo and I actually participated, which was good. Apparently tomorrow we are bringing all of the elements that people created today to make a larger composition. It should be interesting.

I met up with Kateri finally after the workshop had ended for the day. She is not having the best of time out here in London, it sounds like it has been difficult for a bunch of different reasons. Anyhow, both of us have our American accents back now that we have been talking to each other. I am now a little nervous now about how easy it would be to get lost and lonely next year if I end up living here. It sounds like the early music department is kind of apathetic (something that I don't think is true of the Leadership program) and disinclined to go out and try to create opportunities for themselves. Which is really unfortunate. So I am a wee bit depressed right now, but last night I was reading through the DK guide book and discovered that there is a design museum! And how neat is that?! And the V&A had a surrealist furniture exhibit on now and the clothing/fashion exhibit is actually up now unlike in 2004 where you could see in to where they were setting things up and it looked so cool but you couldn't go in. So I'm excited about that. I haven't started going to the museums yet. That'll be good.

So I think that is all for today, love you all muchly- and seriously- think about that whole commenting thing, yeah?

Friday, March 30, 2007

London: Official day #1

I found Guildhall! That was my goal for today: to get down to the Barbican and find where I am supposed to be tomorrow morning. I wanted to know how long it would take (roughly 45 minutes door to door) and figure out a route from the flat to the school. Good thing I did too, I walked all the way around the Barbican (I think I found the restaurant that we ate at after the Philly concert when we sat one table away from the conductor-man whose head-shots were all pretentiously arty and of his hands) and wandered around a good deal of that section of London as well. I ended up going up a level somehow, over a super cool water feature (there is this sunken section in the water that is dry and covered in wire and ivy domes-I want to go play in it), past an annexed section of Guildhall administrative offices, and back down again. But eventually I found it by hearing a soprano warming up and following the sound.

Now for the awards for the day:
Grammy pulls ahead of the competition once again for her e-mail titled "Look Right!" which has been very helpful to remember when crossing streets. Mommy gets an award for telling me to get some sleep when I called her last night, crying (I slept for 16 hours, think I needed it?). Andy gets an award as well for his suggestion of tiffinbites- which is this chain of Indian fast food restaurants, one of which I ate at tonight. You choose from a series of meals named things like "pride paneer" and uh. other stuff. (That was the only one I committed to memory because I thought it was amusing, but they are all alliterative or rhyme-y.) Anyhow, each meal is a set of three plastic tubs stacked together that you can microwave either at the shop or at home. I had something-or-rather mumbai. I think. Anyhow, there was a tub of potatoes in a tomato sauce, a tub of eggplant in tasty sauce, and a tub of rice. Anyhow- it was nice and everyone who worked there was very polite and helpful when it became clear that I had never been there before and didn't know how the whole set up worked. Actually, the guy who helped me out was very unobtrusive in his help, I didn't feel like "hey, you're a doofus for not understanding" which is always nice. Nobody likes being a doofus.

Speaking of other nice people-(this time on the tube) a woman got her hands and bags, but not her body, on to the tube before the doors closed, so she was very stuck. About four people went to go and try and get the doors to open, and when they finally at last did- another fellow jumped on right as they were closing again. The whole car laughed while the fellow looked around, confused.

All in all Life is good. I'll let you know how the first day of the workshop goes tomorrow.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lets all try not to get stranded in a foreign country, yes?

Okay, well, I'm not actually stranded. Now. But that is due in large part to a lovely couple named John and Laura Hardy. But lets go back to the beginning, shall we?

I arrived in Reykjavik-lovely airport, lots of bare wood. We flew over the Atlantic, and when we got close enough to see the water I thought to myself gee, that's a lot of boats. But they weren't boats, they were giant floating blocks of ice. Which I guess is appropriate considering that it is Iceland and all. Right, I wasn't really awake for this portion of my trip- but I did take pictures of a particularly snazzy ad campaign ('cause I'm a dork like that). Onward to London!

I arrived in London, and guys? Customs is a little bit awkward when you're trying to explain that you're going to go stay in this guy's flat-and he's friends with your grandparents. Kinda. And no, he isn't here- he is in Singapore. And how are you getting in? The nanny has a key. Right, he's married and has kids, much less sketchy that way-sorry for not saying that at the outset. And are you here for Easter break? For a month? Sure. Why not. I guess so. It's a miracle she let me into the country considering how vague I was being.

But enough about that- congratulations are now in order for Grammy and Grandpa: winners of the most helpful package ever! The tube trip instructions were perfect, and I never would have been able to find the flat without those copies of the A-Z. You guys rock, thank so much! Second place goes to Nancy for suggesting that I pack in a rolly suitcase. That came very very much in handy for this next part of my story.

So. My cell phone didn't really work. Or, at least, at that point I hadn't figured out how to use it. So I couldn't get a hold of Andrea, the nanny in order to pick up the keys in order to get into the Alexanders' flat. So I went searching for 50 Belsize Sq. But instead I found 50 Belsize Park. A subtle, but important difference. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to notice that the address wasn't quite making sense before I walked through the open door in to some random person's flat. So I asked the closest passer by if Belsize Square and Park are different. They are, of course. There are about 5 different "Belsize" whatevers in the general vicinity. So she helped me find the Sq. one. But the street only went up to 17. Because it is a square, so I had to turn the corner. I think, all told, I ended up walking about two miles. Just going around and around various blocks. See? Rolly suitcases are a godsend.

Eventually I found the correct spot, and proceeded to alternate between ringing the bell and continuing to try and call *anyone* on that cell phone. It started to rain. Then an elderly gentleman came down the street with some mail that had been mis-directed (the Royal Mail Service screws up all these Belsize businesses, it isn't just me!). And I thought here is a good person to ask if they've got a mobile. And he was, a very good person to ask. This is our new friend John Hardy. We're all big fans of John Hardy. He didn't have a phone on him, so instead he walked me back to his flat and let me use his phone there. The mobile number I had for Andrea turned out to be a wrong number, and no one ever answered either the house phone or the mother's mobile. So after about an hour of sitting there in his front foyer, trying to be unobtrusive, it becomes rather clear that we're going to have to try another track. They even offered to let me call America, but since I had printed out all of the information that I had- that wasn't really going to help. So I ended up calling the building manager who told me that I could get a key if I came down to their office next to the Turnham Green tube stop and gave them a twenty pound deposit. So that was going to be a pain in the butt, getting down there, but I was totally prepared to do so when Laura told John that he should drive me. So he drove me down there and gave me running commentary about what we were driving through and about his son who currently lives in Cleveland, OH and embarrassed me with how much more he knows about American geography than I do even though he has never been there and we just generally had a good time for the hour and half that the trip took.

At which point I was very hungry. And tired. And relieved to finally have a key. So I said thank you again so very much to John and Laura (whose house, by the way, is decorated with intensely patterned wall paper, tons of seashells, and Laura's paintings.) finally got in to #16 Buckland Crescent and have now purchased a sandwich and some internet time. Life is good.

But I still haven't been able to get a hold of the nanny.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Off on my way, now.

I am packed in one suitcase, and with a bit of room to spare. I am amazing. I have sent off my application for the Horniman position, I have updated my portfolio/press packet and I have copies of all sorts of informative things. And my passport. And my bow. And my music. And I successfully uploaded a photo! There is hope yet!

So I guess I'm ready? Time to get in the car and go to the airport?

I never did get around to practicing... this may turn out to be a problem.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How 'bout now, can you see this one? I certainly hope so...

I'm leaving for LONDON in seven and a half hours!

ps. this is the same picture as the one nobody could see.


Okay, people. Every computer I have tried it on can see the picture...I'll try it again tonight when I am at my computer and not the school's. On the other hand, I've got just about everything else that I needed to get-I've made a detailed packing list, my laundry is going and getting done, and I'm going to yoga again tonight. Life is good.

Oh, and it is about 80 degrees outside so I have spend all day walking around. Whee!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Attempting to post a picture...

Yay! Look! It worked! This picture is from Thanksgiving this year at Emma Shubin's house. It was a good time, bunches of fun. I helped her dad dig for potatoes. (This apparently held no interest to her, since she grew up with a vegetable patch, but was new and maybe a little overly exciting for me.) Also, they have a deaf dog named Uma. They call her "Uma bear" which it occurs to me may have been the origin of my adding "bear" at the end of everyone's name...
London in two days (or one day if you consider that I am posting this at 11:30, which is very nearly mid-night which means that it is very nearly tuesday)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Jim Root 1948-2007

I just got the newest issue of Crescendo which is Interlochen's alumni magazine. On the last page they have those people who have died in the last year, and Jim is one of the people who actually got an obituary instead of just their name and when they were at Interlochen.

Jim was the guy who helped me out so much whenever I was traveling with the bass. He hooked us up with a trailer at one point, and was always very sweet about making sure that a van was going to the airport that would be able to carry the bass in its flight case. I made him a paper crane one time to thank him. The second summer I was a counselor I had to go get a parking permit sticker from the security office. The desks were in different places and everything was painted differently; they had completely remodeled everything.

My crane was still sitting on top of his monitor.

Aneta of #16 Buckland Crescent

I finally talked to Aneta (Bill and Lucille call her "Ani" and I never got a chance to ask how to pronounce her name, which is yet another reason why blogs/email/etc. are such a good medium- I can spell correctly that which I have no idea how to say) and she is very nice, though quite harried (the kids are 2 and 6 and were screaming quite literally the entire half hour that we were on the phone.) She also has this great accent with all sorts of rolled Rs and Ls. I think she is from Bulgaria?

Aneta had sent me an e-mail with this giant, two page list of things that I should know about. It was very helpful. Now that we have talked too-this is what I know:

She thinks that a weekend in Amsterdam (or longer) is a great idea, but reminded me that Easter weekend is probably not the smartest time to try to travel. She is lending me a travel card and a phone card. I have all sorts of phone numbers for any number of contingencies, and I now know how to recycle in London. Nice, huh?

We tried to say "see you soon" but of course, that is not the case. They are returning from Singapore on April 18th. I should probably put that in my calendar...

OTHER news:
Renaissance ensemble concert this afternoon, actually, we have the final dress in an hour. I should probably eat lunch before that. The renaissance ensemble is playing first and then the Baltimore Baroque Band (which is another Peabody ensemble. I played Violone with them last semester), Musica Pro Rara, and the Baltimore Handel Choir. (Whenever I try to actually say "Baltimore Handel Choir" I say "hand bell" instead.) Apparently it is a benefit for all of the groups, or at least that is what the rumor is. I have no idea because I am oblivious. Ooo, ooh! There is this awesome natural horn trumpet player who is playing Brandenburg whatever, the one that uses trumpet and is at the beginning of every. single. teaching company tape. Anyhow, Julia (one of the singers in Ren ensemble) and I stayed after rehearsal yesterday in order to listen and he was amazing. Of course, I have no idea what his name is. Because again: I am oblivious.

If I, and everyone else I know who is trying to live in London next year, actually manage to accomplish our goals- I will know four people from Peabody alone. Well, five including me. Kateri, who is already there for transverse flute at Guildhall. Kevin, who is trying to go to Guildhall for composition (he is already in, but is currently working on financial aid things in order to pay for it). Julia, the singer whom I referenced earlier, and her partner Debbie, who plays violin with the Baroque band but whom I think is actually a teacher somewhere. I dunno. (They just want to live in London, they aren't trying to go to Guildhall like the rest of us.) And Mike is wanting to take a year off and live with his sister in Lyon in France. Which is really just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Wouldn't that be cool? Watch us all end up there and then never manage to actually spend time together... I can totally see that happening too.

okay, hungry.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

John Watson

Remember that fellow from Williamsberg? The one that I went and met with and cooed over a derelict, but historically interesting spinet with? I called him today about this whole Horniman thing. (It was really scary, I much prefer e-mail.) Here is what I found out:

*Galpin Society: society in Britain of people working with musical instruments: curators, researchers, historians, etc.

*The Horniman is either the most important instrument collection in England, or one of the most important. (I don't remember exactly what he said, I wasn't taking notes at that point.)

*I would have a better chance if I had any sort of museum studies, but it is certainly worth a try applying for the position.

*The guy who started Target is retiring and with his retirement is starting a new music museum that will be in Phoenix, AZ. It, cleverly enough, is called (The?) Musical Instrument Museum. (As far as I can tell, it doesn't yet have an online presence.)

*The National Music Museum in Vermilion, SD is apparently the fastest growing museum in America and all sorts of important instrument societies are having their conferences there and such. The downside being that it is in the middle of nowhere. In South Dakota.

So anyhow- I'm glad I called him, he told me to keep in touch and to definitely go for the position (Even though he thinks that what I should really be doing is more along the lines of museum education. Eh, probably.) So there you go. If you're supposed to do at least one scary thing a day, that totally counts for today. Now I'm off to go hold keys for Eliot at the Basilica (my first time working there, apparently the organ is huge and it is quite possible to get lost inside of it. Circuitous donchaknow.) And then Andrew has his gamba recital at 6:30, so that should be really cool.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Okay, so comments should now be available to everyone, and not just people with gmail accounts. Go ahead, test it and lets see if this works...

One week left

I leave in a week. Is anything ready? No, of course not. How silly of you to ask. Orbitz just sent me an e-mail asking "Are you ready for your trip to London?" which I thought was really just rude. Maybe I should cut them a break, all they wanted to do was have me rent a car.

In other news, it has been agreed by everyone I have talked to that it is a-okay to bring my bow overseas. So do that I will. And I have a passport- so worse case senario at least I can get in to the country. Ag.