Friday, March 18, 2011

MUSIC: aloha!

Fairmont Music is back from Hawaii with many honors that we would like to share with you. What an amazing trip we had! You can view a number of photos from the trip on our Fairmont Music Facebook fan page.

March 9 – We arrived at school at 4 a.m. to load all of the equipment and head to the airport. Once we arrived in Hawaii, we were able to settle in then squeeze in rehearsals before taking in the views of Waikiki. Our hotel was right across the street from the beach. 

March 10 – First thing in the morning we put on our shorts and tennis shoes and hiked Diamond Head Crater. It was a strenuous hike – about an hour hike up plus 5 flights of very long stairs – but the view from the top was just breathtaking. We definitely got our workout in that day! We returned to the hotel in the afternoon to shower and change for more rehearsals and night events. We were very surprised when we were suddenly on tsunami watch. With such a great group of students, we easily prepared ourselves for the worst and hunkered down in our hotel rooms – not much sleep was had.

March 11 – Around 3:21 a.m. was when the tsunami hit us. Though our hearts and prayers went out to Japan we were fortunate that the projected seven foot waves dispersed greatly along the way. This allowed us to continue with our schedule which meant that we were off to music clinics at the Convention Center. Each of our groups was able to perform for and receive critique from master clinicians in preparation for the next day’s competitions. We also met many of the other groups who were so welcoming. After clinics it was time to get ready for the luau. This is where our first honor was given. One of the songs that was required of the choirs is Hawaii Aloha – a very important song for the Hawaiians, much like our national anthem. Our guide – Cousin April (we were told that we are all cousins) – asked us to sing it for her on the bus. She was so moved by our choir’s rendition that we were asked by the head of the luau to please sing it for the audience at the luau (we were told that this is absolutely never done – no outsiders are ever invited to sing at a luau especially not such a sacred song). As we took the stage and began singing their beloved song – all Hawaiians stopped what they were doing and gathered around the stage with tears in their eyes. What a special honor for us all. The rest of the evening was filled with many of our students on stage learning many of the dances.

March 12 – Competition Day! This was a very long day for us and the first day of our “rock star” status (we heard many cheers from the audience – they were people who had seen us at the luau and decided to come watch us at competition. We would continue to be recognized throughout the rest of the trip – people approached us everywhere we went to include Pearl Harbor and screaming our names on the parade route). Our Show Choir kicked off the entire choir competition. We were very different than anything else that they have ever seen and we were received very well. In fact, Show Choir received a 98 out of 100 for a Superior rating. Concert Choir was the second of our groups to go. With our powerful soloists we earned a few standing ovations and a 96 for a Superior rating. Last of our groups to compete was the Concert Band. This venue did cause some difficulties for us from the borrowed instruments to the stage that moved with every drum tap and every conducted beat. Even with those difficulties and the hard judges, the band earned a 82 for an Excellent rating. The most precious moment for the students was when Headmaster Mendoza stated how proud he was and treated the students to a well deserved Pizza dinner.

March 13 – Parade Day. We actually started this day with a tour of Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. As a Marine Corps Veteran with family members who served as well, I was able to share with the students the importance of this event and the sacrifices of the fallen. After our tour of Pearl Harbor, we returned to the hotel for band and show choir to prepare for the parade. I knew that it was a competition event but knowing how small we are and how inexperienced, we decided to just have fun with it. I designed and taught moving street formations to the band and the show choir did a dance routine right behind the band. Our goal was just to go out and have some fun – try something new. Imagine my surprise when, out of over 50 marching bands, we earned the 3rd place trophy with a score of 94! Another milestone for Fairmont Music – our very first legitimate Marching Band trophy! That night we all went for Puka Dogs and a jump in the ocean before going back to pack for our 4:30am departure.

March 14 – home, and very proud of these amazing students and their accomplishments. 

- Contributed by Ms. Stacey Barta, Prep Music Teacher

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