Bastille Day and the Jazzman’s Birthday—all day long (Photo taken in Paris in May, 2013)
The first day of week three started off with rain. Enough rain and enough of a system moving in that I woke with a headache and aching arthritic knees. Skipped yoga and used the saved time after breakfast to practice. Then morning class and on to voice lessons. We had just started with the first student when someone of authority came and said to the young man, “You didn’t take your morning meds. I have to take you to Health Services right now.” I hear from other faculty and staff members that this is a real issue now. The girls who have meds to take go to one of the dorms and line up, A-M down one hall, N-Z down the other, and the line is out the door. Overmedication, anyone? The young man argued that those were his morning meds and it was afternoon now, but the messenger wouldn’t be deterred. “I’m supposed to get you and bring you there.”
The up side for me was an extra half hour in my day, so I could eat earlier and have more time before I had to go back to afternoon class.
Staging of “Consider Yourself” consumed our afternoon, followed by a couple of run-throughs for tonight’s “Collage” performance.
I was thinking about Jas’s birthday all day, wishing I could have been there. I sent him an email last night after he went to bed, hoping it would be the first thing he saw this morning. Then this morning when I got up, I called his voicemail (He rarely has the opportunity to use his phone at work, Federal Railroad Administration rules and all that.) and sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
When he surfaced this afternoon, he said his pals were going out to eat before he would get off work, so he was going to take himself out to eat at our favorite restaurant. While I finished playing the afternoon’s class, a plan hatched in my clever brain. As soon as I got back to my room, I called said restaurant and asked for our favorite bartender, who knows us by name. Alas, she was not working today, but another bartender, Benny, who sometimes recognizes me, was working. I gave them my credit card number and told them Jas would be coming in around 7:00 and it was his birthday and I wanted to buy his dinner as I was out of town. Benny was concerned that he wouldn’t know who Jas was. All I had to say was, “Wild Turkey on the rocks,” and we were set.
I ran to wolf down dinner so I could have a few minutes to relax before the evening’s performance, smiling the whole time, thinking about Jas being surprised at dinner.
The performance went so well. Contrary to last night, the kids watched Dr. Anne, they paid attention to what they were doing, they sang, they danced, the knocked ’em dead. And my comment to Dr. Anne that the kids couldn’t hear me and that other accompanists had said their kids couldn’t hear them caused the sound guys to adjust the monitors. The kids could hear me. They did a great job and—praise the pine trees—they knew they did a good job!
If you’d like to watch the Collage video, here’s the link. I’m on for about a quarter of a second at 2:54-2:55. After you watch my “Oliver!”, be sure to watch the Junior Violin Virtuosos at 6:15. Wow!!!
When I got back to my room, there was a text from Jas on my phone saying “Your boy Benny tells me my girl Jan picked up my dinner tab. You are sweet and very sly.” And smiling!
It’s officially mid-July and the temperature when I awoke was 48°!
I must have raced through breakfast this morning, as I had a little more time before my 10:00 a.m. class. Walked over to the Fine Arts building to see Leslie in her class and give her a top I had made and didn’t really like. I think it will be much better on her body than on mine.
Spent the whole morning staging, trying to finish the staging for the first act. We have three weeks left before performance, and less than that before tech rehearsals begin. If these kids could just Shut. Their. Mouths. during rehearsals, but it appears that’s an impossible wish. Or magical thinking.
Voice lessons. Race through lunch. Spend ten minutes sitting on a deck chair looking out onto the lake. Ten minutes of peacepeacepeace.
Race back to studio to practice more. Afternoon—more staging. Then an hour after rehearsal of recording incidental music. Then a half hour of rehearsing with a fellow staff member who asked me to accompany him in one song for Friday evening’s staff recital. Are you counting? That means it was 6:30 before I left the studio.
This weekend is “date night” in Ann Arbor, and I want to finish a summery dress I’m making, so ran (yeah, about 17 miles away on the other side of Traverse City) to Jo-Ann’s for interfacing to finish the hem. (If you’re not familiar with my sewing blogs, I interface all my knit hems with tricot interfacing to give a cleaner edge that’s easier to topstitch.) And I thought the service at the Boardman Jo-Ann’s was slow. There appeared to be only three employees in this large store. And there were many people ahead of me with complex transactions. Could be the four 50% coupons that were on the website and expiring today. So a half-hour drive each way and probably 45 minutes in the store meant it was 8:20 or so when I got to Maddy’s. Settled down at a table on the patio with a glass of the Verterra pinot grigio, a small pizza, and my iPad. Then home, a FaceTime call with the Jazzman, some texting with Leslie, and collapse into bed.
Yes, I do have moments when I look forward to the end of camp, just to get some relaxation!!! So looking forward to the weekend in Ann Arbor just to hold hands and walk around with my sweetheart.Thursday, July 16, 2015
Wait! Is it Thursday already? Woke at 5:00, then my 9:00 a.m. rehearsal was cancelled. The Intermediate Musical Theatre Production group went together to see the Intermediate Theatre Workshop (a three-week session group) in their final performance. This was twenty-one students from ten states, Canada, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Their directors taught them acting tools and tricks, divided them into four groups, and gave them four stories from “The Weird Tales of Ray Bradbury,” charging them with figuring out how to present these stories. There were minimal props, and the work was great. Sad, happy, funny, melancholy, strange—all very well done.
Then more staging, more singing, voice lessons, lunch with interesting people, a quick trip to Human Resources, a quick trip to the mailroom (my page-turn foot pedal should be there somewhere, but there are over 3,000 people being served by this one small mailroom, and lots of parents sending tap shoes and music and art supplies to their kids), then singing and more staging, a quick supper on the deck, and twenty minutes to unwind in my room before my next obligation.
Why HR? Another staff member told me a week ago that she had been specifically told by the housing office that her husband couldn’t stay in her room when he arrived at the end of camp. The Jazzman is flying up to see my final performance and help me drive home, and I’d rather not have to rent a hotel room or impose on Leslie for a room. I saw a sign in my dorm that said, “No overnight visitors without HR permission.” So, rule follower that I am, I asked. The HR staff member smiled and said, “Of course he can stay with you.” Then she added, her voice filled with gratitude, “Thank you for asking.”
See there, you people you say apologizing afterwards is better than asking first. I AM right! And I’m patting myself on the back.
Finished the day by attending the first of the end-of-session performances for the High School Musical Theatre Workshop. I always enjoy hearing students here perform. How courageous they all are, to go through the entire application and audition process, then leave their families and friends at home and come here, where they work had and learn so much. And then get up on stage and practice their art form in front of friends and strangers.
Also in attendance were my son and grandkids, so I got to spend some time with them. Added bonus to today!
Foggy, drizzley morning. I must have slept well, as I didn’t hear the overnight rain.
Breakfasted with two theatre people. It’s always so interesting to look at my world through their eyes. I sit before a stage and see these children acting and singing and dancing. They see something I consider miniscule and find a much deeper meaning. Speaking with one of the directors about yesterday morning’s Ray Bradbury stories, my dialect coach friend, Tyne, noted that the kids really understood their space. They were neither too close nor too far. I would never have thought of that.
Sometimes I wish I could just stop playing and watch what’s going on in my rehearsals. I’d love to see the numbers performed with all the elements, but my eyes are glued to my page. Next week a video of “Collage” will be made available. I can’t wait to see the “Food, Glorious Food” number, all staged. Oh, to be able to clone oneself. (And here’s that link.)
The workday began with our entire group attending the performance of the Intermediate Musical Theatre Workshop group. Our choreographer had also choreographed this group, who performed songs and scenes from a number of Broadway shows. I laughed. I cried. It was a wonderful performance. The final line, spoken together by the entire cast, was “We are Interlochen Arts Camp, and we are just getting started.” I fought back sobs.
Especially notable of this performance was the opening of the skies in pouring rain about twenty minutes before curtain time. The production team and crew quickly shifted from an open air theatre to a large tent across the field, and the kids carried on beautifully. Professionally.
All I could think all day was how amazing was the progress these kids made in three weeks.
And then my day continued with two hours of “Oliver!” rehearsal, voice lessons, lunch, and more rehearsal for the evening’s staff recital.
I had agreed to accompany a singer in a musical theatre song. I had not heard the song before, so learned it amid all my “Oliver!” work. But when I got the theatre at 6:20 for the 6:30 performance, we performers all learned it was really at 8:00. And I had planned to spend the evening after the recital with my kids. Another pianist was in the group of performers and said he’d play in my stead. Yea!
Met Tyler, Leslie, and my grands for ice cream (Life is short. Eat dessert first.) and went to Hofbrau for dinner. Afterwards, I had finished sewing the hem in my dress and just started a load of laundry when Chip texted and asked me to join him and Tyler and the kids at a friend’s house where we have an intimate karaoke party. I went over for 20 minutes, then begged off, as it was way beyond my bedtime. How do these 40-year-old guys keep up this incredible activity level?!
Saturday began with gray skies, which quickly turned to black skies. As I came out of breakfast, the first isolated drops were falling. I ran to the mailroom and suggested they look in the Pianists box, which existence I learned of yesterday. Sure enough. There was my new PageFlip pedal. I was beyond relieved. I rushed back to my room and then to the studio, and five minutes later the sky opened. We had a good two-hour rehearsal, attended by some parents who were in for the weekend. Then I had one of the two voices lessons, grabbed my bags and schlepped them to my car, heading out for the 230-mile drive to Ann Arbor.
Here’s the thing about a drive where the first or last 74 miles cover two-lane roads: they’re l*o*n*g!
I made a couple of stops, and was thrilled to see the Jazzman when I arrived. I got in right at 5:30, and we had 6:30 reservations, so I quickly showered and changed and we drove downtown to Main Street.
The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair was just coming to a close, artists and vendors dismantling their booths as we walked four blocks to the restaurant. I’ve been wanting to come to this fair for probably 20 years, and as Jas and I ate dinner, we talked about “maybe next year.”
The restaurant, Gratzi, was wonderful. Situated in a movie theater dating from 1911, there were tables and booths on the main floor, and the balcony held another 12 or so tables, overlooking the action below. Jas noticed the juxtaposition of old and new, the cable box for the TV over the bar positioned on a 100-year-old cabinet.
Our waitress was a percussionist with a bachelor’s degree from Eastman, a brand new master’s degree from Michigan, and she’s on her way back to Eastman to begin work on her doctorate. Now that’s credentials!
We started with a plate of fresh mozzarella covered with warm cream, served with pickled diced tomato and toasted slices of baguettes (or the Italian equivalent). That mozzarella with the warm cream melting it—my gosh, that’s good stuff.
Jas ordered the penne with Amish chicken, sun-dried tomato, and cream. I enjoyed risotto con funghi, with asparagus and truffle. There was nothing left to take home! Then for dessert we ordered the crème brulee, which was made with limoncello. Interesting, different, but not what we’re used to and love in a crème brulee.
After dinner we went a few doors back towards the parking place and stopped in very authentic-looking Irish pub. Jas savored a beer but we left as soon as he was done. The restaurant’s air conditioner was turned way down and there were few patrons to counteract the a/c setting.
We explored the city a little more on the way back to the hotel, admiring the campus and the eclectic city. So many beautiful old homes in impeccable condition.
Once back in the room, I fell asleep quickly after the long day. But I was able to fall asleep cuddled up to my main squeeze—ah, how I’ve missed that.
Every morning at home, when he first wakes up, Jas sits up and reads some news and checks his work schedule on his iPad, and I lie there stroking his back. It’s some of the most wonderful moments of each day for me. And that’s exactly how we started the day. Ah, bliss. Only three weeks until we’re back to that routine.
The only downside was my waking with a sore throat. All the kids—truly, it seems every single kid—in camp has been sick with cough and sore throat and other respiratory crap (technical term!). And now I appear to have taken it for myself. My fingers are crossed that it’s gone by tomorrow.
I wanted Jas to experience Zingerman’s Roadhouse for brunch. I called for reservations and we quickly showered, dressed, repacked our bags, and headed across town. I had first experienced Zingerman’s last year when Tyler and I brought the kids up to Interlochen for a few days. I had the Georgia Grits n’ Bits Waffle (of course!) and Jas ordered the Eggs Benedict. And of course we had to share a cinnamon roll. I think we both had more carbs for breakfast than we’ve had cumulatively in the past month. But, boy, was it good eating.
We weren’t sure how to spend our last couple of hours together, as the weather was hot and humid after an overnight thunderstorm. Should we walk around downtown? Should we find a coffee shop and just sit in the air conditioning? We finally ended up at Parker Mill County Park, exploring the paths and startling a doe in our wanderings.
At about 11:30 we said goodbye and headed in our opposite directions. I stopped for gas and drove through Birch Run Outlets to see if any shops were calling out to me. Chico’s did call me, as I have stained one of my blue “uniform” tanks that I layer with blue shirts during the week. Picked up a replacement, then drove through Victor & Merek’s Deli Bakery for a smoothie to soothe my throat. At 4:15 I drove onto campus, grateful for the drive to be over.I think nothing of driving back and forth from Youngstown to Hendersonville, and that drive really doesn’t phase me. But it’s interstate highways all the way. This two lane driving, for some reason, just does me in.
And what a wonderful break from the hectic camp schedule to just hang out with Jas, walk around holding hands, catching up on everything we forget to tell each other in our short FaceTime call each night.
And now back to routine for three more weeks.
Monday, July 20, 2015
(She who feels awful takes no pictures!)
By Monday morning, my sore throat had morphed into sinus congestion and a dripping nose. I met Chip and his daughter and Liza at Bud’s for breakfast. For me it was a smoothie and toast to soothe my throat. Then Leslie joined us and we said goodbye to Chip, who was headed to visit his parents and family in Virginia. I went back to my room and napped.
Got up for lunch, determined to come back to the room and practice all afternoon. But I felt so bad I just lay on the bed until about 4:00, when I did actually practice for a couple of hours. Got a smoothie for dinner, practiced a little more, and was asleep by 9:00.
And number three is complete, the new three-week campers are tucked into their cots, and it’s a slippery slope downhill from here to our performances in three weeks.
If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.
Such a good performance tonight by our Intermediate Musical Theatre Production kids. They watched, they listened, they sang, they danced, they projected. When it was over, they knew they had done a good job and they felt very good about themselves. Isn’t that want it’s all about? Oh, the power of the arts. I love the banners hanging from the light poles as one approaches the Interlochen campus, “Art Lives Here.” Yes, it does! And these kids will leave here in four weeks better for what they’ve learned. (July 14, 8:50 p.m.)
Snippets heard on my walk to breakfast – convo between two teenaged boys: ” Yes, because Strauss …” #loveInterlochen (July 15, 8:04 a.m.)
Hearing Reveille outside my window with no idea what instrument was being used. Not winds, not brass, not strings (ooh, there’s an interesting thought!). Something kind of tinkley. A percussion instrument? (July 16, 8:43 a.m.)
Fun to sit with Boston Clark watching and listening to High School Musical Theatre Workshop at their end-if -session performance tonight. When they started singing “Not A Day Goes By,” he leaned over and whispered, “Didn’t you do that in the [Sharpsville] Sondheim Revue?” Thrilled at his musical memory! (July 16, 8:59 p.m.)
Morning ear candy while walking back from breakfast: WYSO rehearsing “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” Wow. That D major chord on the organ? Just wow! (July 18, 8:33 a.m.)
You know what makes me smile as I leave the dining hall each morning? Hearing most every diner, leaning over as they slide their dirty dishes through the dish room window, shouting “Thank you” to the staff members dealing with the detritus of our meal and the heat and steam and smell as they make everything clean and sanitary again for our next meal. It is generally agreed that food service is the hardest job on campus. (July 18, 8:52 a.m.)
I would like to thank every one of my Intermediate Musical Theatre Production kids who has been sick with throat/cough/upper resp. crap for the past two weeks. I’ve got it now. (July 20, 8:42 a.m.)