I hope things are well out there in BloggingLand. I know I keep saying that I will update with more regularity, but unfortunately time is not allowing it. Life here in Fairbanks is still fantastic. School is going well (I cannot believe there is only 4 weeks left) and the weather has been fantastic. It had to be in the 60's today!! I went out and shot some disc golf at UAF and had a good time reading in the sun.
This weekend was the 22nd annual Jazz Fest at the University of Alaska Fairbanks(UAF) and it was awesome! There were moments of extreme frustration and I cannot remember longer work days...but it was worth it because it is really all about the kids - and the kids LOVED it! Jazz fest started Thursday. The kids showed up this first day and attended jazz workshops and listened to various performances. When not at workshops or concerts, several kids found places to hang out and just jam on their instruments. There was some frustration when the middle school kids showed up for an afternoon session and nothing was planned. There were 100 middle school kids (give or take) with no planned activity and no structure...this is a VERY bad situation waiting to happen. Luckily Dr. Vince Cee (the professor I work with at the Alaska Summer Research Academy)took a group of kids and created an improv workshop and I demanded a drum set, a keyboard, and an amp and helped set up a huge jam session. It was rough...but it worked. That evening, there was a concert were several guest artists from around the country (who helped give some of the workshops during the day) performed and it was AMAZING.
On Friday, Randy Smith MS had the opportunity to play in front of two of the guest artists for an adjudication/master class. They played VERY well. The adjudicators had very positive things to say about the kids...and about me. It was very nice to hear. The kids finished the day by going to workshops and or performances. Friday evening, there was a mass concert where all of the schools attending Jazz Fest played two or three pieces. Randy Smith NAILED their performance. They received the first standing ovation of the night and possibly the loudest applause all evening. After they played, I was stopped SO many times by people congratulating me on how amazing the kids sounded. People could not believe how in tune, balanced and FULL the band sounded. The kids earned every bit of praise they received because they truly were amazing. I am so proud of them all!! Another amazing thing that happened at Jazz Fest was the announcement of honor jazz band members. During the adjudications earlier in the day, the guest artists got together and selected students from all of the school to play in the honor group on Saturday. The students they selected were the best of the best on their instruments. There were a total of 17 students (out of about 150 middle school kids) chosen to perform...Randy Smith had SEVEN students make the band!!!!! Last year, I felt great that three of the RS kids made it...when I heard that RS had SEVEN kids in the band this year, I was blown away! WOW!
Saturday was the honor bands and they were great. I also performed in a last minute director's combo playing some jazz guitar. It was a lot of fun, but I need a lot of practice. It has been a while since I've played in any jazz ensemble and my jazz chops are very rusty. It is kind of sad how little a music teacher actually get to play!
Ok...I gatta get going to bed here pretty soon. Jazz Fest was amazing, but it was SOOOO long. I was at the university on Thursday from 7:30am - 10:00pm, on Friday from 7:00am - 12:00am (yes...that is 7 in the morning to midnight), and on Saturday for another 5 hours...so I am beat. I hope this blog post makes sense, I feel like my head is a little foggy from lack of sleep and to many dominant 7 chords.
Take care everyone!