Friday, February 06, 2004

The Big Push Is Over...

No, nobody had a baby here. The "big push" is the week before Solo & Ensemble Contest for the high-schoolers, and it's always a mad frenzy. Three of my teaching days this week have gone for 15 hours *shudder* as I put in some extra time to get the ensembles ready and give a few elite soloists a little extra attention.

The way it's set up, there really isn't time to do this properly, especially in a year like this one with a really late Thanksgiving. When All-Region isn't until early December, that gives everyone two months (on paper) to prepare for this contest. In reality, however, it means they'll get a solo picked before Christmas (I'm not in school, so I don't have to use the term "winter break," dangit), then totally forget about it over the break. Thus, they'll come back to school in total "oh crap!" mode as they realize they only have a month before they have to perform it. Also, since they reinstituted the memory requirement to go to State a few years back, not nearly so many people do that anymore. The end result is a contest that doesn't always live up to its potential but usually turns out OK anyway.

So while the overall level of the contest may not be as high as it would be if we had, say, another few weeks (maybe switch with the middle schools, whose solos are easier, yet they have more time to prepare), most people end up coming through in the clutch, and I'm happy to put in the extra hours to help make that happen. But I'll be even happier to go back to my "normal" 12-hour teaching days next week too.

Last night was a cool diversion from all that as we once again donned the hat of Supersax Jr. in Combo PM. I found a chart on "Groovin' High" last week that should be more than playable. We also added depth to the ensemble by bringing Jazzy G's tenor into the mix this week. Collin was out playing a concert, so I played lead alto, which was fun to do with Halfling on second. It will take a whole lot of work to perfect this, but if when we pull it off, people will be talking about it for a long, long time.

Lee-gol (or would it be Gollee?): For reasons unknown, Fizban just did an entire post in the character of Gollum (how preciousss).

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