August 2nd - Yesterday was still part of my weekend. Monday is a day off from the college and the teaching week runs from Tuesday to Saturday. We did head out early evening yesterday to do a little shopping. We hit a local music store and I couldn’t resist making a couple of purchases. I am looking at the stack of things in the corner of my room and hoping I can get everything in my suitcases to come home. It might be a challenge. Most of the things I have bought will fit easily but I have a couple of things that will make it a tricky packing job.
After shopping we headed to the beach. It was after dark and the beach we went is a huge place for people to go on the weekends. We found an open spot to sit and just watch the waves roll in. It was SO relaxing and as the time went by the waves got bigger and bigger and moved closer in. There were men walking up and down the shore trying to sell lighted balls, toys and gadgets. You can imagine what a magnet Ryan was for everyone of them. At one point there were three of them standing right next to us. They would hand one of the toys to Ryan. He would look at it. Abraham would quietly tell him to give it back and the seller would walk off. If that was one of my kids at 2, I am not so sure they would hand it back so easily. As we drove away, Abraham pulled over so I could go out and see the mermaid statue near the beach. It was dark and he pointed to where the statue was and I walked in the direction and was amazed at the size of this sculpture. Even though it was night, it was well lit enough I was able to get a picture. It is made out of sand!
Today I started the final week of classes and we are getting to the point where the students will need to finish up their projects and prepare for a final exam. I will be grading the projects and exam on the long flight home so I can send Abraham everyone’s marks for each class. I am starting to see more of the students composition pieces and I am looking forward to seeing the final conducting project as well. As the students have been working on their compositions, I have been working on one of my own. I have been sharing my work with them to encourage them that we all have to put in the work in order to get to the end product. My piece is an orchestral work I hope to perform with the Beatrice Regional Orchestra on the October concert. It contains original material, an Indie spiritual and the old hymn “Abide With Me.” The hymn has significance here in India because it was one of Gandhi’s favorite songs and it is used in ceremonies across India. It has been hard work to be able to notate the Indie song because there are so many bends and pitches that we in western music do not have. The good news… when I played my version of the song the students could recognize it. The bad news… it is a tune in the language of Tamil and I can’t spell the name using our alphabet. I will simple refer to the tune as “Tamil” in the score. It will also be an Americanized version of the tune since I was the one who came up with the notation for it. I wanted a Malayalam name for the piece and the students came up with “Avial” which means mixture. I think that is a good fit! There is also a popular Indie band called “Avial” but I think I will be safe using the name at home. I will explain more about the piece at the concert in October so if you are interested you can come on down to Beatrice on October 4th at 7:00 p.m. and check it out (shameless plug!)
This blog will journal my experiences as I prepare to go overseas this July and teach at the Asian Christian College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in India.