Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Smile If You Are a Happy Musician

We enjoyed a fantastic weekend together rehearsing music, playing games, throwing rolls, laughing, and enjoying just being with fellow like-minded instrumentalists.  The committee is already making plans for next year, and we hope to see many of you there either playing in the orchestra or listening in the audience.  
Fare thee well, Anabaptist Orchestra 2018! 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Anabaptist Orchestra 2018 Live Stream

The Anabaptist Orchestra plans to perform at the Elnora Bible Institute on Sunday, August 12, 2018, at 2 pm. All are welcome! If you are unable to attend, you may live stream the program at https://youtu.be/M2ciAkK2COw.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Swiss Mennonites, a Swedish Viking, and a Ukrainian Opera Star - RAHRRRR!

We made it through our first full day of rehearsal, enjoyed a rollicking Viking dinner, and played games in the evening.  It was a great day. 

The funniest part of the whole evening was during an opera duel.  A few orchestra members paired up and sang about how their instrument was better than their opponents, etc.  Mary (oboist and soprano) and Vlad (violist, tubist, and bass) were singing about what was better, to sing soprano or bass.  Mary began singing Mozart's "Queen of the Night", and then Vlad began singing it as well.  That received a lot of laughs.  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hey Teachers, Nice Job at Art Class!

Teachers Week was lots of fun, as usual.  We were spiritually encouraged and challenged during the morning and afternoon sessions, and we learned about Anabaptist history, class management, and more during the breakout sessions.  
The afternoon art sessions focused on "history art" -- sandpaper cave paintings, coffee filter Lincoln pennies, Chinese brush painting, Lewis and Clark journal entries, Medieval illuminated letters, and ancient papyrus scrolls.  
We were so busy having fun that we forgot to take pictures of much that was going on.  (If you were there and have pictures, please share!)  The conversations at meals and in the evenings were stimulating and invigorating.  We're almost ready to get back into the classroom and get going!  (Orchestra camp awaits . . . .)  

Medieval illuminated letters -

Lewis and Clark journal entries -

Cave art on sand paper -

They also made origami swans.  Jeff said that whoever made the smallest one got a special drink.  That is a dime, by the way.

Chinese brush painting

Friday, July 27, 2018

My Hunt for Stuff That Is Not Chamber Pot-Related

So, before I found those two chamber pots, I was out looking for them, or for anything else interesting/educational/sciency or history that I could find.  At a peculiar little shop in St. Louis I found not only some really great finds, but also a proprietor who was partial to teachers and gave me some great deals. 

First, I found the geode and the pieces of Native Southwestern American pottery.  Then he showed me the shell and fish fossils.  I've always wanted a fish fossil.  They are more fun to find on your own, but this is second best.  

This summer I have also procured an egg poacher, a 1950s era aluminum mini pot, and two sock darners (one for 59 cents!)  I love to have my students guess what these things were used for.  Their answers are usually very entertaining.  

I also nabbed the brush from a celluloid dresser set and two vintage metal type letters.  There is also a celluloid dresser set which is the focus of one of our literature stories, and the students have no reference point for that either.  Here is a picture of an entire celluloid dresser set that I found at a store in Ohio, but it was way out of my price range.  

My favorite part of these is the hair collector (picture bottom left).  In the Victorian era people would make bracelets out of their loved ones' hair.  Really.  It was called mourning jewelry.  Did I also mention that I have my great aunt's braid?  


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My Hunt for a Chamber Pot -- or Two

I have made it a habit to go to thrift stores and antique stores when I am traveling.  It is sort of an obsession, but I justify it by making it part of my teaching agenda.  You see, I have lots of "stuff" that I use to show my students, and it's not just any stuff.  It is science stuff, and history stuff, and literature stuff.  I recently read about a teacher in Kansas who had over 50,000 artifacts he uses for his history classes.  I'm not nearly there, but I have hopes. 
So, every year when we read the eighth grade literature story that mentions a chamber pot, my students are always puzzled.  "What's  a chamber pot?" they ask.  And then I remember that they have no reference for this at all.  So, about a year ago, I embarked upon a journey to find a chamber pot to have in my classroom for exactly that purpose.  I know, I could just show them a picture of one.  But I think that it would be way more exciting to actually have an authentic one in my classroom.  

I had looked for a chamber pot for over a year in at least four different states to no avail.  Then, I was in Hutchinson, Kansas, waiting to leave for Wichita for my afternoon flight when I happened upon an antique store.  "Do you have any chamber pots?" I always ask when I enter.  I get so distracted that I often feel I could overlook the things.  Besides, chamber pots aren't exactly your showcase window items.  The proprietors always give me a strange look as if I want one to use it for its original purpose, and that is when I explain that I am a teacher and my students have no clue what one is.  Then they jump up and help me.  

So it was that I finally found three chamber pots, but two of them were ironstone and very expensive.  Besides that, they wouldn't travel well in my suitcase and on the plane.  So, I forked out a little too much of my saved-up birthday money for a decently priced porcelain chamber pot, and I was quite happy about that.  Until I got home.  "Mom, gross!  Why did you get one of those?" my children wailed.  I was undeterred.  

The next week I stopped by my favorite thrift store -- the one in which I'd been looking for a chamber pot every week for over a year to no avail.  And, not only did I find a pristine vintage chamber pot, but it was ironstone, and it was only $8.  I call that a Teacher Score.  My children still call it gross.  

And, here is a funny chamber pot fact.  In 1805 a company in England was selling these chamber pots with Napoleon's bust in them after the Napoleonic Wars.   

Monday, July 23, 2018

OC Tour Memoirs - That's Nice, Now Go Back and Mop the Floor

I believe that this post would turn into a short novel if I wrote about all the wonderful times we enjoyed the past two weeks while singing and touring with the Oasis Chorale.  So, I offer instead a few highlights and a brief commentary.  That should suffice.  
After the first few days of rehearsal we relaxed at a park in Hutchinson one evening. We decided that the basses should be the horses pulling our wagon.  

And, it had been exactly thirty-two years since I was last in Hutchinson, Kansas, loading a bus to go on tour with the Sky Ryders Drum and Bugle Corps.  So one evening we drove around and visited the old practice field at Hutchinson Community College and the infamous Landmark Hotel where I actually stayed one summer. 

After recording Hymns of the Church, Volume 3  and giving a concert in Hutchinson, we boarded a bus with these delightful people and embarked on our tour of the midwest.  

This interesting contraption was in the ladies' dressing room at one concert.  The next morning we found out that it contained twenty-two urns with the remains of twenty-two inviduals.  Opppps.  Sorry!  

  We had a day off in St. Louis in which we went to the top of the St. Louis Arch, of course, and visited the amazing City Museum where we could've spent hours.  After dinner with the choir atop a hotel, we walked a few blocks to get rolled ice cream.  The ice cream was great, but Jeff was tired.  Really.  

Our amazing tour manager Jason Martin kept everything running smoothly and kept us laughing with his hysterical comments.  One morning he and Jeff had what I called a "bad talk show" at the front of the bus over the microphone.  That was quite entertaining.

It is always fun to meet up with friends old and new.  Here is Jeff with Eldo Miller-- who held the same position teaching music as Jeff does now at Terre Hill Mennonite High School.  

    Former OC bass Nelson Martin came up with these creative sound projector thingys that worked amazingly well.  His new bride Hannah cooked us the MOST delicious international meals.  We were treated very well by our hosts in Hutchinson.   
The next evening found us in Wichita for our final evening singing together.

The last concert is always so bittersweet.   The people, the music, the conversations, the friendships-- these all create such a rich experience that it is difficult to say goodbye and have the experience come to an end.
Most of us met for breakfast the next morning, and then, one by one, the flights left, our group dwindled, and the last person went home.  We and our choir folders returned home, tired and happy, with rapturous melodies ringing in our ears. 

And to explain the title - In 1986 a group I had the privilege to teach (Odyssey Winter Guard from the University of Texas at Arlington) won the Winter Guard International championship.  We all  had medals hung around our necks at a grand celebration in Dayton, Ohio, and basked in the glory of the moment. Then we returned home.  A wise clinician had warned us about this.  She told us that after her group had won the national championship she returned home and went back to work.  Her boss asked her, "How was your trip?"  She told her all about winning nationals and how great it was, and then the boss replied, "That's nice.  Now go back and mop the floor."  It's just reality.  :-)  

1986 Odyssey Winter Guard from the University of Texas at Arlington