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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Band Bash!

The combined middle and high school bands put on quite the performance this afternoon!

Breck blaring away Alea's ready to roar!

Band Concert – both kids in HS now!

Alea and Breck perform in their first HS concert together. Breck is in the Concert Band (red batik stripe) and Alea is in the Wind Ensemble (blue batik stripe)

Band Bash

Alea's all smiles! Breck a'grinnin!
At the big Band Bash tonight!
Electronic City!
The Band Bash was great, but this is my favorite shot of the night. Here was my view of the entire event – how many electronic recording devices can one section of the audience hold?!

Out-of-this-world band concert

Breck’s final concert of the year (ok, it was technically a VPA – Visual and Performing Arts – presentation) featured a fun ending. It combined a few of his favorite things – playing the trombone and Star Wars. Their last song was “Duel of the Fates,” the iconic choral tune from Episode I – the Phantom Menace.

To make the effect complete, the director used a lit wand as a baton (resembling a mini lightsaber) and clips from the movie played in the background. The choir even got into the deal, coming down to sing the vocals (which, according to Wikipedia, is part of an old Welsh poem rendered in Sanskrit. Don’t ask me, I’m just repeating what I read).

All in all, it was a pretty fun evening, and it certainly got us thinking about blasting off out of here in just a few short weeks!

The song starts off with Darth Maul on screen and the band blasting away    The choir joins the act and sings along

Swingin’ with the Stutzes

Alea and Breck with their instrumentsSo here they are, at the (maybe) last band concert of the year – Alea and Breck with their instruments in tow!

All the bands played great, and it was a super way to end a Wednesday. There’s big pressure on now to buy instruments for them this summer; we’ll have to see what the break brings.

Their band director is a fun guy from Minnesota (he actually taught at the same middle school the kids would attend if we lived in the apartment in Lakeville!), and you can see a goofy picture of him by clicking on the existing shot!

Christmas Concert


The Middle and High School bands and choirs held their Christmas Concert this evening, and we had kids playing twice tonight! Breck’s 6th grade band got things going with an especially rousing rendition of the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th! See him in the back row on his trombone with the other low brass?

Alea demonstrated beautiful embrasure as her band rocked out to “Legends of the Ghost Dance.” OK, while not really a Christmasy song, it was still pretty cool, with all the thumping percussion and swinging saxophones!

Both kids have worked really hard this year and made huge growth as musicians. Maybe we’ll have to invest in instruments for the family this summer!


And what kind of concert would end without a Stutz wave to the audience? 

Breck’s Band Bonanza

ASB 6th grade bandThe 6th grade held their “informance” today – part ‘performance’ part ‘information’ – for parents to check out the new sound. Breck’s been working really hard on learning to play the trombone, as our neighbors will attest! The trombone is tricky, as there are no valves to push or holes to cover. Instead, he has to figure out how far his slide should be sticking out from the instrument, an ‘eyeball’ method at best.

Breck on the trombone!But today, when the “lower brass” part of the band opened up, they sounded great! They provide the foundation for all of the other instruments, and their rhythm and intonation were fantastic. And to top things off, Breck got to introduce one of the songs – he is a natural emcee!

What a super afternoon get together – a perfect break in the daily routine.

The Low Brass section

Breck the Bonemeister

Breck playing his first notes on the tromboneAh, yes, the start of middle school and the beginning of another musical career. Alea joined band in 6th grade and took up the saxophone and was given a guitar by her friends this last birthday! Breck decided to pick band as well, but he was interested in a more, shall we say, ‘expressive’ instrument.

He got to bring the trombone home with him the other day, and we were all made suddenly aware of just how much power there is in it (and how LOUD IT REALLY CAN BE). Our poor little apartment will certainly rock and roll to the competing sounds of woodwind and brass this year!

Band concert

ASB MS Band

Alea warming up on the saxophone

Alea playingAlea’s band played for the school last week, and did a bang up job. It is so fun to hear her grow as a musician (and a little scary how fast she is doing it!).

She has gotten herself involved in the on-going middle school drama production, and is spending lots of time after school practicing with that club. She is growing into such a mature young lady!!

Plus she’s doing ok in her math class, but I think that’s because she’s got a great teacher!

Free verse Friday – Sixth grade band concert

Alea on the saxaphoneTrombones toot two tuneful tones
The flute’s fine fifer’s fair
A clarinet’s call cools all crowds
Drums ding dong debonair.

With ogling oboe ooh la la’s
And trembling tuba toots,
Pianos pick a plaintive piece
While silk-like smooth sax scoots.

Our Alea has made such strides
Her band was great Wednesday!
We’re proud of her, and hope she’ll let
Her old man with her play (someday?)

Alea in concert

The security situation here has resulted in an awful lot of events (that an awful lot of people were looking forward to) being canceled: community tree lighting and concert and buffet, Family Fun Day, the middle and high school winter social, the evening theater performance – even the soccer teams were not allowed to travel because of concern about airport safety. It is kind of a bummer for all the kids who have worked so hard preparing teams and songs and activities, but they are – for the most part – very understanding of the issues at stake and the reasons behind the caution.

Luckily for us, however, the band and choir were still able to hold their concert on Wednesday afternoon, and it was sure a lot of fun to see all the kids dressed up and letting the beautiful music flow. Of course we were ‘most proudest’ of Alea, who played a selection of songs with the 6th grade band. Great stuff, and she even got to pick dinner afterwards (she chose to test out KFC’s new delivery service).

Her band teacher requires students to record and submit assignments to his ‘blog,’ where he can listen to and grade them. Alea’s address is http://asbband0664.tumblr.com, so you can go there and listen to her brief song. Enjoy some music for the weekend!