Archive for the ‘School’ Category

China Roundup

Well, we’re unwillingly back to school today. We have the Festival Concert on Wednesday with both HS Bands, the MS Band, the HS choirs, & SWECC’s band. Friday is State Large Group Contest.

No rest.

I just wanted to post some final observations.  All of the posts from China will be updated during the week as I am able to post pictures here. My phone seemed unwilling to cooperate in that department while we were there.

Our Guides

Our guides, handlers, caretakers, and I think we all hope that after awhile, friends, were absolutely fantastic.

FANTASTIC!

Bus 1 (my bus) had Zhudan, who went by the “American” name of Jessica. Bus 2 (Martz’s) had Mr. Le and Chatty Kathy.

All were well-versed in the English language and used it to give us every tidbit of information about the history and culture of every place we visited.

Simply put, they were amazing.

Drinks/Beverages/Water

Water from the tap is a no-no there…including for them. Their filtration/treatment facilities have not kept pace with the waste being produced from increased manufacturing. This means bottled water at all times.

As for meals, you were given one tiny juice glass of beverage as well as hot tea. A refill would cost you 5 Yuan (about $0.75). I started taking my own drink into the restaurants.

Food

Good. Plentiful. Not much really strange except for the one night with the entire chicken (head, feet, and everything else) cooked and on a plate. Do I need to go to a Chinese restaurant anytime soon?

No. And I mean that sincerely.

Every meal was served on a “lazy susan”. Well, every meal except for breakfast, which was buffet style.

The food got better as we went along. The worst meal, and by that I mean the only one that was less than good in my opinion, was the lunch on the first day. It was a buffet of questionable quality. I believe I referred to it as their version of a Hometown Buffet. I don’t think I was too far off the mark with that.

Hotels

The hotels were of high quality, although everyone preferred the newly built Grand Noble in Xi’an of the SuperHouse International in Beijing. The basic consensus was to take the showers in Beijing and put them in the Grand Noble’s building and rooms.

I concur wholeheartedly.

Whatever the preference, they were great places to stay…well, mainly crash into unconsciousness. We were two to a room where we would normally be four. Wake up calls were already established, hotel workers were helpful, and the buffet breakfasts were good to great.

Buses/Traffic

Crazy. The buses were your typical charter style buses. We weren’t ever on them for more than an hour. Those hours were interesting, though. From the  information being fed to us by our guides to the time spent watching the buses, cars, scooters, and bikes navigate the streets of Beijing and Xi’an, we were never left for entertainment.


Again, posts will be updated with pics as the week goes along.  If I think of more, I will update each post. You will know by the [Updated: Date] at the beginning of the section.

Until next time…

What happened to openness?

There is currently a huge uproar over President Obama addressing the nation’s students on September 8th.  It seems to me most of the concern is spilling over from people’s concerns, fears, or other feelings about the state and future of healthcare in the country.

I am not wanting to get into the healthcare debate here.  That would be pointless.  It seems everyone’s minds are made up one way or the other.  No, my concern is what happened the civility and openness of debate and education. Read the rest of this entry »

NYC & Carnegie Hall

I am sitting here in my living room trying to catch up on my DVR that is 94% full.  I am tired and have already blogged the trip for the parents.  I did not include all of the things I did and my personal impressions.  That is for here.  I am not going to do it all in one post.  Too much to read, too much to ride.

Thursday, April 9

The students started arriving to school early.  I think some even took the school bus with their luggage.  We rehearsed for about 1-1/2 hours.  Then the real “fun” began.  The 56-passenger Heartland bus arrived and needed to be loaded.  We were playing pieces that used a lot of percussion, so there was a lot of little stuff to load.  We loaded all of the cymbal & auxillary percussion stands into our quad case for “easy” transport.  Yeah.  It’s real easy to carry a 250-lb case of rattling metal.

1-1/2 hours later…

The bus was loaded with instruments, luggage, and kids.  It was time to go, and go we did.  The only problem on the bus ride was the movie selection.  These kids have really crappy movie taste.  Norbit?  Really?  I had to put a stop to that.

Then there was sleep.

Friday, April 10

We arrived at the hotel at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern.  The kids’ activities that morning were cut short of necessity.  Most just chose to explore Times Square.  I went and had lunch at an Italian restaurant about 3 blocks south of our hotel.  It was excellent.  We then went and viewed the lobby of the Chrysler Building.

The bus met us back at the Grand Hyatt.  I have to say, it is a lot easier to unload a bus than it is to load it.  We got the rooms assigned and everyone was off to their activities.

My activity?  Birdland.  That’s right.  A world famous jazz club watching and hearing guys I grew up listening to:  Joe Lovano, Hank Jones (NEA Jazz Master), George Mraz, & Paul Motian.  After taking care of everyone else’s issues (my job), I arrived there too late to see the Birdland Big Band.  I and my companians got a pop around the corner and then arrived early for the first set.  We had dinner.  A very good dinner, but dessert was the best.  Peach cobbler.  The best I have ever had.

Afterward, I tried taking a large group of kids to the Empire State Building for a midnight viewing of the city, but the top was obscured by clouds.  We had to postpone it to another evening.

Bedtime.

Saturday, April 11

A very full day.

First up was the American Museum of Natural History.  That’s right.  The museum from that Ben Stiller movie.  It was amazing.  We were to also stroll through Central Park, but it was raining heavily.  It gave us more time in the museum, so all was good.I was able to hit the Asian section, the dinosaur bones up on the top floor, and the crustacean exhibit with the the huge whale.

It was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for rehearsal.  That rehearsal started off really bad.  Nearly two days without rehearsal or even for the kids to practice.  By the end of the two hours they started to sound better.  Only started, though.

Once back at the hotel, we got ready for the evening.  For me, it consisted of a prix fixe restaurant and a Broadway show.  I have to show you the appetizer:

That’s right.  A sausage tree.  Then filet mignon and a mediocre dessert.  Avenue Q was the show for the evening  I would describe it as Seseme Street meets South Park meets Rent without all of the AIDs.  It was a laugh riot.

Finally by the second act, the headache I had been fighting all day.  At the beginning of the day, it felt like I had drank a bottle of tequila the night before.  I hadn’t.  That was a fun, but very rough day.

It was then time for bed, as it is now.

More tomorrow depending on Parker’s soccer tournament.

Day 2 in NYC

Where is day one?  Gone on another blog.  What I didn’t mention was what I have done today.

I went to a great restaurant where the appetizer was a sausage tree (you heard me correctly).  I had filet mignon for dinner and a creme caramel for dessert.  I then saw Avenue Q on Broadway.  Holy crap it was great!  I got my picture with a cast member, Lucy the Slut and her handler Cary Anderson:

[pics coming soon]

It’s time to sleep now.  Night-night.

Getting Excited for NYC

We leave in 36 days.  While the first day gone will be a full day on a charter bus with 52 other people, I am hoping (and we know what I think of that) that if I bring enough stuff to do I won’t totally go out of my mind.

I have noticed that the Travel Channel has been influencing my travels.  More specifically, the television show  Man vs. Food.  If you have not seen this show, watch it.

Anyway, I have finished what I believe is my itinerary for our trip to New York, New York.  Students will be joining me for parts of it as well as other adult-types.  Anyway, I present it for your perusal.  If you see soemthing amiss, let me know.  This may include logistical improbabilities (you never know, I could develop teleportation abilities) or other activities/sites that I should do instead of the ones listed.

Bata’s Carnegie Hall Trip
LCPA Wind Ensemble
April 9-15, 2009

Thursday, April 9

7:10am         Rehearsal
10:30am       Depart LCPA

Friday, April 10

11:30am       Arrive at the Grand Hyatt in NYC

12:00pm       Lunch at various street vendors as I tour Times Square yearning for the days before it was
cleaned up

12:00pm       Times Square
M&M Store (avoid Martz to keep from getting mugged)
Hershey store (to make own children happy upon return)
Various other stores and attractions
4:00pm         Check-in at hotel

5:15pm         @ Birdland for dinner & Big Band

8:30pm         @ Birdland for Lovano/Jones Quartet

11:00pm       Empire State Building

Saturday, April 11

5:00am         Students allowed out

5:30am         Breakfast where available

6:30am         Central Park

9:45am         Ready for Am. Museum of Natural History to open

12:45pm       Lunch at Grand Central or street vendors as time allows

1:15pm         Return to hotel

1:30pm         Set-up & Warm-up

2:00-4:00pm Rehearsal

5:00pm         Dinner at Les Sans Culottes

6:15pm         Travel to theater via foot/subway (cab if dinner is late)

8:00pm         Avenue Q

11:00pm       Curfew

Sunday, April 12

5:00am          Students allowed out

6:00am          Breakfast where available

7:45am          Empire State Bldg in daylight (possible)
Chinatown/Canal Street

11:30am        Lunch at Katz’s Deli

1:15pm          Return to hotel

1:30pm          Set-up & Warm-up

2:00-4:00pm Rehearsal

5:00pm          Dinner at Brick Lane Curry House (Should I do the Phall Challenge?)

6:00pm          Travel to Times Square and peruse until show

8:00pm          Iridium Jazz Club

11:00pm        Curfew

Monday, April 13

5:00am         Students allowed out

5:30am         Breakfast

6:00am         Finish perusing Times Square & Central Park

11:00am       Lunch at Junior’s in Grand Central

1:15pm         Dressed in concert attire and ready to move to Carnegie

2:00-5:00pm Dress Rehearsal

8:00pm         Concert in Carnegie Hall

10:00pm       Dinner Cruise

Tuesday, April 14

1:30am         Return to hotel

8:00am         Wake-up

9:00am         Check out of hotel and load bus

10:00am       Depart

11:00am       Lunch

12:00pm       Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

3:00pm         Depart for what will now seem the barren wasteland that is Kansas City

3:01pm         Sit down, shut up, and leave us alone

Wednesday, April 15

3:00pm         Arrive at LCPA

3:01pm         EVERYONE helps unload bus to band room

3:30pm         Go away. Please, just go away.
Really, just leave.
Now.

Thursday, April 16

Unhappily arrive back at school for class. Shut up and just do it.

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Scrapbook Photos10/2/11
Man U VisitNew Grill 2009

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Thanks for visiting my site. Posts have been infrequent, but should become more regular in the upcoming weeks.