September 6, 2015 – A new Year begins…

Greetings!

As we are about to embark on the First Day of School, I thought I would begin by recapping my extraordinary summer vacation!  My husband Rick and I have adopted the motto, “Work Hard and Play Hard”, which, for us, means that we try to financially reward ourselves for the hours we spend at our respective jobs by spending quality time doing interesting things during Rick’s three-week  vacation time during the summer.

I started the summer by taking a week-long Level 1 World Music Drumming workshop in Middletown, PA.  Ever curious about this type of music-making, I was equally nervous about having never participated in an instrumental ensemble in my life!

If you are not familiar with the curriculum, there are seven ensembles in Level 1, each of which represent a combination of rhythm patterns played, predominantly on low, medium and high drums.  Add to that shakere, cowbell and gankogui and you’ve got yourself a whole bunch of fun!

By the end of the week, I was hooked!  So much so that I purchased 18 tubano drums and various add’l instruments for my choir and I plan on running  ensembles for my classes and workshops for my colleagues.  Here is a picture of my new “toys”! Tubano set

Back to the Summer Vacation.  Rick and I always feel so lucky because we have had experiences in travel and with friends that are very unique.  We’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower; we’ve slept in the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, (Yes, the bed is ice, the table is ice, the bar is ice, the chapel is ice, the movie theater is ice and yes….it’s cold!

Ice Hotelwe’ve taken a 12-night Baltic Cruise and spent two days exploring St. Petersburg, Russia and now we can add this summer’s adventures – a Trip to Churchill Canada on a six-night outing called “Belugas, Bears and Blooms”.  We saw beluga whales by the hundreds in the Hudson Bay;

DSCF0225bearsBears Purple

I was about six feet away from this mama and her cubs – photographing from the back observation deck of a Tundra Buggy; we went for a dog-cart ride and, BONUS(!) saw the Northern Lights!  What a week!

And now, we’l l start another school year – #36/7 for me.  I had my A Cappella Choir retreat on Friday night and the group spent the evening doing icebreakers and bonding activities so we can all start the year on the same page.  They sang a little bit and have great potential.

I am going to attempt to create a Google webpage for school.  We currently use OnCourse, which is clunky at best.  We’ll see.

Here’s to a safe and happy start to 2015-2016!

Thanks for reading!

Barbara

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