songspinner: (zonked)
Exhausted from two new units in my classroom today (YAY - Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Medieval European history) and then taking an extra paid hour after school to cover someone's enrichment class, and because opening night of the show was last night. One more show this weekend. It's a mixture of live singing/percussion (us), dancers (a group and choreographer with whom we've worked several times now), and a local, very eccentric chef who is cooking as a performance around the other things. There is a whole bit which is a parody of" Chopped", the cooking competition show. The dancers don't know what song we're doing; they're given a kitchen tool as a prop, a set of steps, and an mp3 of the music at that moment, and are then given minutes on the clock to create a piece that interprets the music!

But there was a glitch in the sound and my solo mike was on longer than it should have been, so the rough recording we did to see how it was going turned out to have my voice heard over the rest of my section. And I screwed up a bit on a song when the person next to me who had not practiced her part messed up and it threw me off. And there was a song we dropped in pitch by the third verse, although I'm not sure if the audience could tell. So I'm feeling sort of bad tonight after our debrief and rehearsal, although I keep telling myself that crap happens in live performance and that there were professional musicians in the audience who liked the show and what we did. That didn't stop the anxiety attack after rehearsal though. My brain needs sleep and a reboot.
songspinner: (Default)
So today was the culmination for my daughter of two weeks of Celtic Music Camp. They had a concert, and the kids had a sort of orchestra playing all together and some of the older kids, including mine, had solos and duets. She went as a voice student originally, but the teacher in charge wasn't having any of her insecurity and said she was good enough to play basic guitar as well, so she did that class. And for the concert, she played the Bodhran drum for the first time...she's watched me play it her whole life, and got REALLY excited. Figure out all the basics in less than a week and kept near-perfect time in the big pieces, which made me really proud. Guess I know what she's getting for her birthday. :) She also sang a solo in Scots Gaelic! The silly part was that this year, the camp's theme was Vikings, so a lot of the kids and teachers had costumes. One girl I saw even disguised her fiddle bow as a sword! There were sword fights with weapons my friend's boys had made with PVC pipe, foam, duct tape, and paint, and this was a good place for it as it was at a site run by a former physics teacher who built a castle with water cannons and such for kids to play in and around (with catacombs) and a guillotine that was used after the concert to behead a poor watermelon.

A long and pretty good day. 24 hours from now I'll be getting ready for the first day of school.
songspinner: (Default)
Ugh. Alarms and all again and back to school on Monday. I spent today trying to get my classroom ready, and still have to do some stuff at home this weekend before Monday morning. Sigh. An of course it's my classroom tech that's not working properly today, so part of my weekend will be rearranging lesson plans for the first day in case I don't figure it out by then. Excited to meet my kids for this year, though! I sometimes wonder about my school district, classroom budget turned out to be $303...and 3?! How on earth did they get that extra $3?

My daughter's Celtic Music Camp concert to end the two weeks of classes is tomorrow, so that'll be fun. I have to cobble together a Viking costume tonight, as apparently that's the theme for this year's camp. :) And since it's my kid, she wants close to historically accurate.
songspinner: (pomegranate)

Feeling disgustingly domestic this afternoon. I spent my free time on my last day of teaching before spring break sewing (and yes, my students were amused/impressed that I could do that) - a pouch to attach to my belt onstage to carry my drum tippers (the bodhran stick) and a sort of protective pad for my arm so I won't get bruises when I drum in a standing position. Used one of my husband's old t-shirts, so all I had to buy was the upholstery padding and some bits of elastic. Not bad.

Could have done without the smoke from a local warehouse fire this morning - burned the eyes and made us all stay in the building during morning break.

Once this weekend's performances are done, I get most of a week to myself. Husband and daughter are back at school and I'm off for the week, so it'll be nice and quiet. I see a walk on the beach in my future. And some writing and reading. Only a little paper-grading.

Off to get stage-makeup and costuming ready. Rehearsal until 11:30 p.m. Ugh. Now I remember why I didn't go into theatre for a living...


Apr. 5th, 2011 06:48 am
songspinner: (borage/garden)
The dregs of an early spring cold slowly going away...bleh.

Prepping kids for the giant state TEST they take each year. High stakes testing and all that, so a lot of reviewing of the basics in language arts class and me reminding them that if they are bilingual English/Spanish, that might be an advantage with regards to knowing Latin roots of unfamiliar words. Sigh. And still no word yet on our jobs, of course. The district will drag that out.

Kind of having fun with the dance piece I'm drumming and singing for in a few weeks. The director asked me to do some things onstage that involve interacting with the characters, and I haven't done anything like that in a long time. There are some very enthusiastic and creative people involved in this thing, and it's sweet watching the three young women with Down Syndrome who are in one of the groups - they're so caring and so silly.

Well, off to finish my coffee and get ready for school...
songspinner: (pomegranate)
One of my students, when asked in a test the other day (about ancient Rome) what Germanic tribes invaded that empire? He answered "Invisigoths." That will always be my favorite answer to that question, truly. Forever. *giggle*

I am currently still on a nice creative buzz - we recorded most of an amazing album track today. Our sound tech is a guy who's arranged stuff for us, so he knows our voices well, and he added a tabla drum track (those are tuned drums from India) that made it a truly infectious thing to hear and to sing to. I can't wait to get the final mix, and it was nice to have something work that well. Also, my voice didn't get any little annoying burrs in it from allergies today for a change.

I did, however, spend my day in our hot, fall weather (95 degrees or so) being irritated by a bite from a river gnat of some sort that gets me this time of year. On the eyelid, this time, oh joy. So I look like I got socked in the face. I told my students that no, I hadn't been in a fight, except with a bug. Several of them suggested really over-the-top skateboarding or surfing stories I could use instead. :)
songspinner: (oak)
Well, the first half of the big concert I was in is now up on the community television
website. (second part will be posted next week)

If you are curious and weren't able to be there, for reasons of oceans between us or
illness, or whatever, go to

click on the "A Gaelic Christmas Concert" link, and listen and watch. It is alive performance...

I am, for reference, the blonde woman with glasses, playing Irish drum.
I sing and drum with the Gaelic choir and then am part of the guest group, Zambra, that finishes
this half of the concert...and for those of you who care to know, when Zambra begins our first song (one of Mary's arrangements in Gaelic), and when we begin the last song with a trio, I'm on the LOW part. :)
songspinner: (oak)
Well, the marathon is over. Two days, three shows. The gig with the Celtic band was awesome, more fun than I've had in ages - I've really missed playing with those guys, and it was definitely in both senses of the word playing. :) Our vocal group had a lot of people comment to us that we had tight harmonies and great balance of sound and voices, so we're feeling like all the hard work we did paid off. Of course, we'll see what we think in several days when it airs on television... *YIKES* We'll be getting video of the Celtic gig as well, which will be fun to watch - wall to wall, standing-room only pub performance. We got the audience singing with us at the end, so that was fun, too. Singing with one of my vocal teachers was a little intimidating, especially following her solo work with a solo of my own, but she complimented me about my technique, so I feel really good about that. I'll put the word out if we get any clips up on youtube or anywhere else...

Now that it's done, my body is definitely demanding a couple of days of relaxation, though. My hands are really stiff and my calf muscles are noticing now much stress I put on them, so I think a visit to my mom's hot-tub is in order today if I can find my swimsuit. And at least I waited until Sunday morning to have a reaction to something - I managed to stop being doubled over in pain on the drive to the family thing, and seem to be well enough to bake something sweet and eat the results today.

My niece was totally adorable yesterday evening, and it was fun to get down on the floor and play with her dinosaurs (her current obsession).

And now I can actually start my vacation.
songspinner: (menorah)
Staff lunch was fun today, as we got to share goodies and find out who our "secret pixie pal" was for the last week. It's been nice at this stressful time of year for teachers to get little surprises in one's box each day. And tomorrow, I get to give away hundreds of books to students at my school who've worked hard on their reading - I got donations from four people (myself, the public library sale - free books for teachers, an anonymous person who kindly gave me three bags of books from Freecycle, and books that were being cleared from our school library). I'll be getting a little help from a few kids who want to set it up in exchange for first pick, of course... :)

My darling daughter does not, thank goodness, have strep throat, just an irritated throat from sinus stuff. I got her a berry shake at the juice bar that's at our favorite health food store on the way home from the doctor's office, and she and I had pancakes for dinner. Soft, gluten and dairy free pancakes with carrot and zuchini grated into them.

I was sort of freaking out there for a bit - between it being the last week of school and having three performances in 48 hours this weekend. Our director got back from Ireland several days ago and I was panicking in the back of my head - what if she didn't like the bodhran drum lines I'd come up with for the concert? What if I wasn't as good as the guy we had last year? But she loved what I did, so that made me feel WAY better. Now, everyone send health vibes my way at least until Sunday morning. In what is probably girly TMI, at least I have cramps now and not during the concerts!
songspinner: (triskelion)
Oh dear. I just put a cooking show on the tv at daughter's request (she's tired from a cold and wanted to just veg), turned around less than five minutes later to see her curled up, sound asleep on the couch. My husband is upstairs now, getting the heater going in her room, and then I guess he'll have to carry to her upstairs to bed. It's too darn cold tonight for a California town in March. Hail yesterday (3 times!), rain this morning, and all my students are going cabin-feverish due to having to stay indoors most of the day.

Something cool - got to go hear and see Niamh Parsons live on Sunday. :) One of the two Celtic singers from whose recordings I've learned the most vocal techniques. She has the most amazing, deep, husky alto voice, and a really twisted sense of humor. A couple of songs in the second set were about war, and kept giving me the shivers with how much they applied to current events this weekend. And the last song she sang was one I've sung to my little one many, many times at bedtime. (except I change the name "Sally" in the first verse to my wee one's name :) Got Niamh's autograph on a little poster and chatted for a moment. A nice way to charge myself with energy for the week...

My brain is apparently back on track, and I seem to have two or three stories going at once. Sigh. Typical.


songspinner: (Default)

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