Tuesday, July 28, 2009

K's Great Adventure - part 2 - The Statehouse

Four days into their rehearsals and preparations, the choir made a trip to the Ohio Statehouse. We hadn't seen K since we dropped her off, we hadn't talked to her in 2 days, so I was anxious to go downtown on my lunch hour and try to see their performance. I took D to work with me so she could tag along too.

We parked in the garage under the Statehouse and made our way to the west lawn where they were scheduled to perform. The buses were lined up across from the Ohio Theater and the risers, flags, keyboard, and other equipment was set up awaiting the choir. D and I talked to one of the AOSFYC staff that was there and were told that the kids were touring the Statehouse and would be singing an impromptu concert inside before coming out on the risers. So we headed inside.

There were the kids, looking very impressive in their uniforms for the first time, all lined up on one side of the rotunda. I scanned the section on the left that I knew were the altos, looked through everyone there, and didn't see any sign of K. Since we hadn't talked to her in a couple of days, the thought crossed my mind that maybe she was sick and didn't get to come. I finally asked one of the AOSFYC staff and was informed that they were waiting on one last group - the director's group actually. A couple minutes later, the stragglers joined the others (K included - she looked so grown up all of a sudden!) The director stood in the center of the beautiful marble floor with the choir forming a double ring around the rotunda. "The acoustics in the rotunda are amazing and the room has a 5-7 second reverberation!" They performed the Star Spangled Banner:

Then they made their way outside to the risers for their scheduled concert. All of the rehearsing was evident - it was a great concert. I can't wait to see them at the fair.

We did get to talk to K. We found out that she was having cellphone issues - it wouldn't turn on or charge so she had no way to call us. Before we left the concert, I gave my cellphone to the alto section leader to give K when they returned to the dorms so we are back in contact with her.

Opening ceremonies of the fair are tomorrow morning and the choir is performing. My husband is heading to the fairgrounds before going in to work so he can see her (and video so I can see it!).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

K's Great Adventure - part 1

In my last post (oh, so long ago), I told of K making the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir (AOSFYC). Well her adventure has begun.

First, if you want to write to her, click on this link and you can send an online message that will get printed out and given to her within 24-48 hours.

Or if you want to send an actual letter, they really like getting mail. Address it to her at:

All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir
Ohio ExpoCenter
717 East 17th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211-2698

And if you want to keep up with their daily blog with new pictures each day: All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir blog.

The fair runs from July 29 through August 9. If you're planning on going, here is their concert schedule.

Okay, business out of the way.

This has been a month of preparation. Uniforms and music ordered and paid for; took K to the doctor for a physical (and tetanus booster was overdue) which then had to be notarized. Bought a footlocker, hanging organizer, laundry bag, accordian folder to organize sheet music, new toiletries, etc.

About a week before she was scheduled to report, her music packet arrived: 70-some pieces of music for her to go over and try to learn (with about 20 more to be received when she checks in), a CD recording of maybe 30 of the songs. K had performed a couple of them in different choirs, but has since changed from Soprano to Alto so she even had to relearn those. She spent a couple of afternoons with pianist friends who helped pick out the alto parts for her. A mentor was assigned to all of the rookies - K's mentor A called to see if she had any questions and introduce herself.

Drop off day came, K was all ready to go, packed and so excited. We drove to the fairgrounds and were directed to a parking spot. Before we were even out of the van, 4 of the boys in choir uniforms from last year were standing next to our back hatch waiting to unload and carry all of K's luggage and things. Everything was so organized - the whole check-in process for 200 high school kids and their parents and all the luggage and supplies needed for their over 2 week stay. And impressive - everyone greeted K (and us) with smiles and introductions, making her feel instantly welcome and included.

After getting checked in and photo id pictures taken, we were led up to the alto dorm. It is a barracks style dorm that sleeps 50 girls along with the alto staff member and a CIT (counselor in training). Two long rows of bunks, footlockers, girls, parents, siblings - all trying to get beds made and stuff stored and organized. K's mentor A found us at K's bunk and introduced herself and showed us the lay of the land - bathroom (with communal showers), water fountain (to fill their water bottles each day), cafeteria (for their 3 meals each day), and rehearsal areas. The whole time A was introducing K to other choir members.

At 7pm the entire choir was organized by voice part on the risers and the parents got their first look at the 2009 AOSFYC. They got out a piece of music, the director introduced himself and then they started singing. It was beautiful - 200 of the best high school singers in Ohio! I can't wait to hear them after they've been rehearsing together for a week!

It was hard to say goodbye to her after the concert knowing she won't be home till the last day of the fair, but she was anxious to get to her dorm meeting and the ice-breaker activities.

They are working hard, learning their songs and harmonizing, learning where things are around the fairgrounds before it opens to the public, learning to march, etc. And if you know K, the hardest part is that she can't have her cellphone except during free time! They are having a lot of fun too - they had a pizza party and a dance the other night, they learned how to salsa dance too. The friendships they are forming and the memories they are making - this is such a great opportunity for K!

They have an extra performance scheduled for Monday, July 27th. They are taking the kids to the Ohio Statehouse for a tour, then they are singing on the West lawn of the statehouse at 11:30 - if you are downtown that day, you should check it out!