On Friday, I went to Texas A&M University at Commerce to particpate in a conducting symposium. I had prepared for this symposium for quite some time and so I was both nervous and excited about being evaluated on my conducting skills. Although the symposium wasn’t until Saturday, I went ahead and did the 4 1/2 hour drive on Friday afternoon. Thank goodness. The drive was quite uneventful except the few people who decided to just STOP (with no one ahead of them) on Loop 635 trying to merge into the lane that takes them onto IH 20. I know every city (including ATX) has their share of traffic problems but drivers in larger cities seem to be larger idiots!! And, of course, larger cities have higher odds for more of those larger idiots….
So, I made it to Commerce quite a bit earlier than the pre-symposium concert so I checked into my hotel. Commerce basically has one hotel – the Holiday Inn Express. I stayed there this past summer when I taught at that jazz band camp so I knew right where it was. Well, that and it’s right there as you hit the “edge” of town. (If you blink or look away from the road, you’ll hit the other “edge” of town!) When I made my reservation (on the University’s guests’ rates), I knew from this summer that a suite had some special features so I went ahead and reserved one for this event. Wow, what an awesome room!! Not only did it have LOTS of room (you could easily fit a small drum corps in there) but in the bedroom area, there was HUGE tub!
I headed to the campus for the concert (which was lovely) and as fast as I could, headed back to the hotel so I could get myself settled in for the night (in other words, soak in that tub!!). I’ve either gotta have one in whatever house I buy or there has to be room to put on in! It was magnificent. I didn’t even bother thinking about going to the hot tub which we spent so much time in this summer….
The next day, it was time to conduct. Registration started at 8:30 so I had plenty of time to get up, get ready and get my mind set on the task at hand for the day – create somc music! The piece I had prepared to conduct was the first movement of Holst’s “First Suite in Eb”. I was really scared that I hadn’t learned the piece well enough. I was second to conduct and when it was my turn, I got up there, opened the score (the conductor’s part for all the non-band folks out there) and conducted until I was stopped without ever turning a page!!! I had the piece memorized!! Mr. Whitwell said I was very musical and just gave me a few minor issues (for that session) to work on changing so I can be read easier by the ensemble. I had two other sessions to conduct the wind ensemble and didn’t do as well (or so I thought) because I was thinking a lot about what I should do to improve my patterns and gestures. Regardless, I got a lot of very helpful information and was surrounded by a lot of very talented musicians. Mr. Whitwell was so kind and gentle with everyone, we couldn’t help but learn something with every word he uttered. So cool.
[Damn camera…a lot of pictures are coming out fuzzy. I have to get that looked at!]
The drive home wasn’t nearly as long as the drive up there seemed to be. I talked with one of my very closest friends for a good chunk after IH 35 came back together so that was helpful in making my drive a little less tedious.
Today, I did some chores and couldn’t help but going to purchase a new DVD-R for my home. I had a Circuit City gift card that was just waiting to be spent (if I didn’t the amount on the card would start going away soon) so I took that and some of my own funds and purchased a Sony DVD recorder. Not nearly as much as I was looking at purchasing but I think it’s going to be well worth it. Kelly, I think it does have a tuner on board…but it’s not necessarily spelled out as such in the manual. (Yes, I read the manual some. I am female and like the right answers before I completely screw things up.) So, I’ve got that all hooked up and am now seeing how well the copying of shows & movies from my DVR to the DVD-R is going to go. I’m excited.
Another busy week next week including the Blinn Jazz Festival for my top jazz band on Thursday. Spring Break and house shopping the week after that.