Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Music Festival Day

I got up at 7:30, laid a fire in the woodstove and put the coffee on, then grabbed a bit of computer time. Sophie, Fiona and Noah drifted out of bed between 8:00 and 9:00. Sophie and Noah got their own breakfasts. I got breakfast for Fiona. I went outside with the dog for a bit of training. The kids drifted to the computer. I came back inside. In the meantime Chuck had got up and headed off to work after breakfast and coffee.

Sophie decided she wanted to cook something sweet. Fiona wanted to help. I set them to work making peppermint creams (1 large egg white, whipped, combined with 340 gm icing sugar and 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. peppermint essence, divided in three, each lumped kneaded with a few drops of red, green or yellow food colouring, rolled into small balls and pressed with a fork). That kept them busy for quite a while as they're slow whippers and kneaders. Noah was settled in on the computer playing Sims2 :-P

Erin spent most of the morning in her cabin/bedroom. She's not exactly forthcoming about her activities there. She was either reading, writing in her journal, working on her novel or composing music. And of course she spent time doing her hair in one of the thirty-some-odd braid/bunch patterns that she's gradually developed skill with. How she manages to do all these complex French braids and inverted braid / ponytail things to herself so neatly with no instruction and no help is beyond me! Anyway, she came in about 11 and had breakfast, then did a bit of piano.

We wrapped up gifts (including some lovely-looking peppermint creams as an afterthought) and headed off to the fifth birthday party of a friend of ours. A low-key party, just a couple of families (comprising 10 kids, aged 1-15) and a bunch of adult friends around a bonfire and playing in the woods. After tofu-dogs and corn chips and cake, my older three started a big soccer game. That went on for a while. We headed out at about 3 pm.

On the way home we stopped off to buy radish and pea seeds for planting this weekend and some copper-pipe end-caps for our GRUBS fundraising craft. (GRUBS is our gardening/environmental club). There was some discussion concerning Noah's desire to purchase a remote control vehicle. He has the money for a really nice one, but is in the 'cooling off period' mandated before actually making the purchase. His best friend and fellow-RC-fan actually advised him against spending so much money. He's mulling it over.

At home Noah (you guessed it!) headed back to his Sims2 game with Sophie. Fiona and I did a few minutes of violin practising. We did the dishes (most of us). I started pulling supper together and got a load of laundry pulled in, folded and put away. Erin practiced her piano performance piece. Chuck came home from a busy morning/afternoon in ER.

At 5 pm Erin, Fiona and I headed out the door with a box of warm pizza, some drinks and peppermint creams for the drive to Nelson for Erin's piano performance. Noah and Sophie opted to stay home with their dad, something we've allowed them to do lately. If he gets called in, they can stay home, but they need to agree to deal with the telephone so that they can assure him that all's well. If they don't feel like doing that, they can come with him to the hospital and hang out while he works. There are lounge areas and his office computer and friendly nurses, so they don't mind that. As it turned out, they did spend a couple of hours there over the course of the evening.

The drive to Nelson is about 90 minutes. The performance started at 7 pm and Erin was playing near the end, which worked out to about 9 pm. She'd agreed to play in just one class at the music festival last week, and we were pretty sure that by minimizing her involvement (most kids play in at least 4 or 5 classes, organized by age, level, composer, era, Canadian works, etc.) she would not be asked to play in the Honours Concert but alas we'd got the phone call Thursday night. Music Festival policy states that if requested, you are expected to play. So we made the extra trip.

She played well. Afterwards they presented awards based on the in-class performances over the previous 10 days. Erin got a small scholarship. Her homeschooled friend Ian (14 and an incredible pianist) was recommended to the Provincial Festival, a competitive level in the music festival circuit, with Erin recommended as alternate. Only five students from the music festival (voice, piano, strings) were recommended as participants or alternates, and given Erin's young age (she still has three more years as a Junior) and minimal involvement in the festival I was very surprised she was one of them. The funny thing is that Erin and Ian both said, point-blank, "I don't want to compete." It's very unusual for students not to take up the opportunity to "go to Provincials" but there it is -- our self-assured homeschooled kids want no part of the competition. (The local festival is pretty much non-competitive, except for the Honours Concert, scholarships and nominations for Provincials, which are done fairly discretely at the end-of-festival concert.)

We were very late leaving to head home, so I called to let Chuck know. Noah and Sophie had practiced their viola and violin. We headed out, Fiona falling asleep almost immediately. Erin and I talked about this and that, including different approaches to music education, competitions, emphasis on listening skills vs. mechanical skills, etc.. We got home at about 11:00. Chuck was in bed. Noah and Sophie were playing with their Sims. I prodded them into bedtime mode. Erin headed out the cabin.

I read aloud to Sophie and Noah from "Eldest" by Chris Paolini. A late night. An odd day.

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