The clinic went well today. It's a challenge to do all the rehearsing in a single day, because, even if they do practice the rough spots tonight, there will only be a brief soundcheck tomorrow for us to run things. But even though some of the usual problems happened (fix some spots, have everyone mark the music, then come back from lunch and the spots are un-fixed again), I really enjoyed working with everyone, and they were rather responsive and attentive for having to start out so early (9 a.m.) on a Saturday. Oh, and they laughed at my jokes (though there was a bit of groaning after the "Miss Dakota" one...but hey, if you miss the coda, you're gonna hear the joke). The drummer even responded with a well-placed rim shot.
It was really interesting being in Highland Park. Even though the school is only five minutes from my church, it really is, for a suburban guy such as myself, like being in a different world. Getting to Inwood Village for lunch put us on a road that had only one lane of traffic in each direction so that the businesses on either side could have double lanes of parking. (In the 'burbs, the road would have been six lanes wide and the parking lot would have gone on for acres, but out here, they would have had to knock down a whole block of houses to pull that off). We actually saw the mayor of Dallas at the place where we had lunch. The two tony suburbs known as the Park Cities prohibit fast-food restaurants within their borders. But the most fascinating thing was the school itself.
Where can I start? Probably out front, where there actually is a set of steps leading up to the school. Every high school on TV has those steps, but you never actually see them in my neck of the woods. There are plaques on the wall dating back to 1937. A four-story parking garage sits across the street to one side. Perhaps the most interesting thing was when, while giving myself a little tour of the school, I hung a right from the back of the auditorium and the first door on my left said SWIMMING POOL. For real--they have an on-site natatorium. Swim teams in my part of town have to go to a completely different suburb to practice, and these guys can just slip across the hall from their math class or something.
So while I was in the neighborhood, I decided to be a city-ite for a bit longer. After pricing some Birkenstocks (the winter variety; I already have the sandals) at a store I always see advertised but rarely get a chance to visit, I decided that I really needed to eat at someplace different. I chose someplace that's very new to the area: Cheeburger Cheeburger (yes, it's named after the classic SNL skit). It's a full-service burger joint that allows you to build your own burger from a whole bunch of choices of cheeses, toppings, etc. I have to say, it was pretty good stuff. Oh, and it should go without saying that I ordered their smallest offering (5.5 ounces); their biggest one is a whopping 20 ounces, but I would've had to walk home to counterbalance that one.
And now I'm back here in the boring 'burbs...but dangit, they're my boring 'burbs. Still, it's always cool to have a little cultural exchange so close to home. I'll report back after the concert tomorrow.
My website is a little less lame now: The guy in charge of the region jazz bands needed a bio from me for the program, and he asked me if it were available anywhere online. It wasn't at the time, but his request prompted me to revamp the entire frontpage of my website. Honestly, I've spent way more time on this blog the past year and a half, and my website was showing its age. Eventually, I'm going to do an even more massive renovation which will include the artwork for which I was a model a few semesters back. But for now, the front page looks way more professional; it pretty much just has the links to everywhere else on the site...including, yes, a bio page. Check it out.