Sunday, September 23, 2012


The group visiting South Africa landed home today, earlier than we thought we'd see them. Its interesting to note that even though they've been gone a week, I really missed them. I think feeling of being connected is from all the work that we've put into Spirit together.
Welcome Home!

Return from SA

Our group of 12 just cleared US Customs 15 minutes ago! It was a very productive week of teaching, and it was really exciting to see the progress that they had achieved with their new Resound donated instruments since last year when they were received. More later about the long term realizations of the week...overall a fantastic trip!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I love Fall

There is something so refreshing about the first days of fall on the Cape. Its before it gets all damp in your bones and you can't seem to get warm til the cheer of  Christmas...Its the time of year when we turn our fresh fall energies to Fife and Drum, Winter Percussion and Wind Ensemble. Thereof is always something happening in Spirit of America Band- just ask the people who are on their way home from South Africa ! 

Today is the last day

I am sure that our people in South Africa are packing with a mix of excitement to come home and wishing they could just tie the two halves of the world together.  I look through all the photos and see smiles and experiments on brass both trumpets and trombones, clarinets, and silks.  If you have a face book account you can click here and see some of the pictures......

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Give back to Giving

I heard today that there have been between 40 and 50 kids at the music classes every day in South Africa.  I have to say I'm not surprised because Spirit of America members are known for their energy, kindness, and infectious excitement. How super cool that must be to just share the joy of music. We all hoped that this would be the result from the overwhelming hours that all the members of the band worked to make this possible.  What an exciting thing to see happen.  Well, off to Wind Ensemble....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thrilling ! Seriously...

I'm so psyched.  I just read one of the posts on the Spirit of America blog from South Africa and they are having a blast.  Its so exciting to hear that they are encouraging the students to want to do more...That is what we wanted when we went over the first time and its really happening !! (I knew it would)  How cool is that ?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"On the Other Side of The Globe..."

Back at home, we had our "normal" Monday night rehearsal- but it was pretty out of the box! While the woodwinds rehearsed the Finzi Romance for the upcoming Wind Ensemble recording, the brass and percussion sections helped build and paint a set for Elements Theatre Company! We got to run chop saws, nail guns and table saws... and splash some paint around too- what fun! One of the unique things about Gloriae Dei Artes Foundation is that each group helps each other out, making the work load a lot more manageable - and a great time in the process!

Hello from the Drummers in South Africa!

It’s only Day two, and it’s already been an incredible journey with the drummers at the Enkaya Arts Center in Durban. This morning we had the same percussion group we’ve had every morning. It’s a really small group or four or five, and they’re older and really catch on to all the concepts we’ve been throwing at them. Two of them are already moving around the different drums on the tenors quite confidently. They’re quality of sound and rebound is pretty impressive! We got to show them our WP Final performance this morning which they really loved also. We hope to show it to the rest of the kids tomorrow.
They all have a really strong interest in learning to read and write music- a big step from learning about how to play music last year. We’ve been able to take them and work with them in small groups, or even individually to understand how music works and how to read it. A lot of their music training has been based on solfege, so traditional written music is a whole new concept for them. Plus we've had to brush up on our English theory to make sure they understand us- everything is quavers and crotchets, semi-quavers, and so on!

Workshops Day 2

The second day at Ekhaya ended with a bang! As theory, and technique had worn down the kids patience a little, we decided to do an expo and general jam session. The african drummers showed off there new repertoire and the SOA battery and Ian played a challenging but awesome exercise written for a DCI corps. The kids were thrilled as they took up the chant "we want more!" We didn't have much choice, so we gave them an encore.
After the percussion, it was the brass' turn to let loose. We played a bunch of South African tunes...kind of a jazz improv session...Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, God Save the Queen, and the South African National Anthem. A lot of these kids play really well by ear, so they excelled as they improvised on these songs they have heard for their whole lives. It was really fun to let loose and play for the fun of it.

Why South Africa again?

Barbara de Angelis is quoted as saying,  

"Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible - it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could."

While I know very little about Barbara de Angelis, I can tell you that she has captured the essence of the reason we went and will continue to go to South Africa.  When our group arrived a few days ago there were South Africans looking for their friends from the visit last year. Think about it... a year later they heard some of us were coming and came to see if by any chance their friends were in that group.  That is a strong connection for both sides. The joy that Barbara is taking about is what is shared between the South Africans and us. 

Drumming of my Heart

Something happens when I am practicing drums together.  The joy of creating a sound together feels awesome when its just how it was written.  I feel like I'm a tiny puzzle piece from a big puzzle that fits just right in its spot.I'm starting to understand the reason Africans have used drumming for centuries to communicate with each other...

Todays fun Photos from Durban

Today after a jam session in Durban

A few of the Students at Durban