WOW I can’t believe we’re already finished with Week Six! It seems like it’s flying by, but I still can’t wait to be home. I definitely miss everyone and as much as it’s amazing to make music every day, it’s a stressful environment! It’ll be so nice to relax at home with Will and Maggie 🙂 We have a fun week after graduation planned! We’re going to Williamsburg for Friday night and most of Saturday, and I saw some winery packages that looked really cool. And then we’ll go to yoga and church Sunday morning out at my parents’ pool on Sunday! Since I don’t have to rush back to school, I have all the time in the world now! We’re going to hike with Maggie, go on easy bike rides, and hopefully go miniature golfing!
Speaking of graduation, we ran through our Concert Band program for the cadre concert. They were working on the sound and lights and video production, and it was so exciting to think about how close we are to graduating! August 18! We graduate in the theater, and we put on a little concert for everyone. The band is really starting to play well together! I can’t wait for Will and my parents to hear us.
This course is really starting to wind down AND amp up at the same time! It’s been go-go-go- lately, with overnight guard duty, 8k ruck marches, dentist appointments… lol. A bunch of us had dentist appointments on Monday, so we had to miss the first block of training, Concert Band. While I was waiting, I was pretty productive…
We do most of the medical stuff at Fort Story.
Sondelski wanted to get some coffee and breakfast after our appointments were over and we were waiting for the platoon sergeants to pick us up. This is a pretty sweet machine!
And I probably should have bought this Snickers bar… SNARKY!
I found these awesome gluten-free peanut butter crackers at the gas station!
Anyway, back to our training! Monday was dentist appointments, and in the afternoon, we had MPT workshops. Each group performed one piece for the rest of us and some cadre, and we offered suggestions to help with staging, But the workshops were on Monday AND Tuesday for three hours. So that means we only had one hour of Individual Practice on those days. And if you had a lesson scheduled, that didn’t count as practice. So it really made for a long evening, having to go back to practice for two hours. In addition to that, Tuesday was also field night. I packed my dinner, so I ate at the schoolhouse and got an extra 45 minutes in before we had to start cleaning. We also had the Star Spangled Banner memorization test on Tuesday. I passed, thank goodness! If you didn’t pass, you got a counseling 😦
On Wednesday, I met with Staff Sergeant Davis, the piano instructor, to figure out what I needed to do to audition on piano and score extra AMPA points. I was in for a surprise! Brahms, Mozart, and Bartok don’t count as contrasting styles. I can keep the Brahms, but I had to find a jazz solo and another piece that has a backing track, so I can prove that I can read a lead sheet and function within an ensemble. I was so thrown off-guard! But then I realized that I can use a Christian song that I’ve already played at church – too easy! The app IRealPro has the backing track, so all I have to do is play along with it. And the music library had ONE jazz solo piano book, so that’s covered too! I audition on Monday, so I’ll let you know how it goes! I’m hoping for 2 points 🙂
The weather here has been INSANE. This is from yesterday, but today the real feel was 103 degrees!
Even though it is absolutely sweltering, we still had to practice Ceremonial Band outside. That’s what the course is about – marching outside! We’ve learned a ton so far: the left turn, the right turn, and we nailed the countermarch this week. But it’s a lot of repetition, repetition, repetition! Because of the heat, though, they let us out early on Wednesday. They do have hearts! Just kidding. The cadre here are phenomenal. The saxophone instructor just became a master instructor, and he’s one of 57 people in the ENTIRE army to have that title. He’s the first person in the band world to receive it. You have to complete 800 teaching hours all in one duty station, so it’s really hard to accomplish. What an honor for him!
I packed my lunch on Thursday, so I got in extra practice time during the duty day. Now that I have to practice horn AND piano, I need to take advantage of any extra time I can get! Since I got my practicing out of the way during the day, I was able to go to the beach with Helfrich and Russert, yay! It was sooooo nice to float around in the ocean and relax for a bit – and work on my farmers tan, ha! We saw this awesome Navy destroyer ship come into dock!
Sondelski and I saw this helicopter yesterday, too – it was flying super low!
Rhody and I had overnight guard duty from midnight to 2 AM this morning. Gross. I don’t remember much from it, and I even practiced for half an hour – whoops! I practiced my MPT music, so at least I remember something? But anyway, since we had overnight duty, we were exempted from PRT this morning. This morning was an 8k foot march, so we really lucked out! The other soldiers had a 0400 formation! It was already really hot and humid, so they marched in their PTs (physical training uniforms) with their boots and rucks! And then they had the normal duty day, too. I did a TRX workout before chow instead. We did a LOT of playing today: Ceremonial Band, Concert Band, MPTs, and I also had a lesson this afternoon. I feel prepared for the AMPA, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off any time soon! I’ll be at the schoolhouse 8 AM tomorrow morning for sure.
It was a ridiculously long and intense week! We don’t have any training this weekend, thank goodness, but the AMPA is riiiiiight around the corner! We’re going to be pretty stressed until that’s over. Tonight, Heggs and Willette and I are watching West Side Story and going to bed early! Tomorrow, Sondelski, Barr, Hettema, and I are going off-base to the three-story mall and an awesome restaurant called Taste. It has picnic tables and cornhole outside 🙂
Check back tomorrow and Sunday for more updates – otherwise this post would be even longer! No time to update more regularly, unfortunately.
Verse of the Day;
-“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will be room enough for it.”
To me, this means that I need to give everything over to God and trust that he’ll bless me with me what I need and even more than what I have in mind. It’s really scary to do that right now, but I need to get over it and stop trying to control it or worry about it. The fear is holding me back from life to my fullest potential.