Building Character


WOW – what a busy and exciting week. We are in a huge push to finish our renovations this week. The hangup? Inspections, of course. Interesting how it’s a domino effect – one thing triggers the next task.

The new building is a beehive of activity today. We have workers installing carpet in our new rehearsal rooms, and the ceiling tiles have been delivered and will be installed tomorrow. It’s all coming together nicely, and we plan to move the Albuquerque Junior Symphony...

Read more

Welcome to the 2012 - 2013 season!

My birthday coincides with the beginning of the season, so it seemed to be a good time to make a fresh start with the blog. The summer was breakneck, to say the least, and as with most people (especially our construction crew renovating the new building), I could have used a few more weeks. But that's another story.

Our Music Director, Gabe Gordon asked me what I had planned for my birthday. I truly hadn't given it much thought (I'm at...

Read more

Early morning departure for Eisenstadt, where the AYS will perform at Haydn Hall in the Esterhazy Palace. Joseph Haydn was the court composer for the Esterhazy family, and Haydn Hall is famous for its acoustics. We arrived and unloaded, and the chaperones had a tour of the palace while the students had a quick warm up rehearsal.

I'll be honest - the audience was dreadful. It was apparently about 250 middle school students, who could have cared less about the performance. They...

Read more

First of all, I believe that we are much farther north than anywhere in the USA (except Alaska). It gets dark at about 9:30 p.m. and the sun rises at about 4:00 a.m. And Vienna was COLD today - about 58 degrees for the high, and windy enough to make it a good day for jeans and a jacket.

We had a relatively late wake up call of 7:30 a.m. and left for our guided tour of Vienna. My bus had a very handsome Viennese gentleman with a great sense of humor, and very knowledgeable and...

Read more

We were sad to pack up and leave Salzburg this morning. It was rainy and a 2 hour drive to Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic. Cesky Krumlov is a medieval town that was untouched by bombs during WWII. It has a big castle on a hill, tiny cobblestone streets lined with shops, and the Moldau frames the side of the village. We had lunch on our own (which everyone enjoyed) and a little time to shop. We walked through the castle, which has a moat around it. In the moat lives families of...

Read more

Today, we visited Hallebrun and the trick fountains. The Archbishop built this palace for his summer recreation and had trick fountains to amuse himself by getting his guests wet. Some brave AYS volunteers got soaked right off the bat, but everyone got wet at some point during the tour. It was great fun. The high point for bus 2 was the time at the beautiful park where we saw the gazebo used in The Sound of Music. There was an awesome playground and the students took full advantage....

Read more

We woke up in our darling hotel to the sound of a stream and birds singing. I really did feel like Maria in the Sound of Music - although she only had seven children, whereas we have 90 to keep track of. We had a traditional breakfast of rolls, cheese, meats, cereal and yogurt before heading out for a walking tour. It's a charming city with narrow streets, tall buildings and cobblestone streets. We attended a performance of The Magic Flute at the famous marianette theater and got to meet...

Read more

We are having a wonderful, busy tour but have not had the opportunity to blog. Perhaps it'll be easier from Vienna, where we are headed the morning. We are on our way to Vienna, and having lunch in the Czech Republic.

Read more

The AYS 2012 tour is underway! Here is the travelogue so far:
Flight one left Albuquerque without too much trouble and arrived in Dallas for lunch as planned.

Flight two, after a fairly speedy check in, was delayed in Albuquerque for THREE HOURS! We figured we'd be waiting one way or another, so we were fairly unconcerned. We arrived in Dallas with about 5 minutes to spare: disembarked, walked over a couple of gates and right onto our waiting British Airline Flight to London...

Read more

Wow – it’s finally here: this week, we leave on tour. In a few short days, we’ll be in Salzburg, walking the same streets as Mozart.

The students are rehearsing now, and they sound ready. We handed out the tour tshirts and uniform garment bags today at rehearsal. I finished the tour concert programs today – in German! That was the last thing on my to-do list of consequence. I think we’re ready to go.

Tomorrow night is the Bon Voyage concert at the new Volcano Vista High...

Read more

Saturday evening, I woke up in a panic, worrying about a very lengthy to-do list.

The things I can rest easy about:
1. We are finished with auditions, as we had our concerto competition on Saturday evening. (congrats to our three Concerto Winners for the 2012 – 2013 season: Kayla Mathes, Cello, Abby Peterson and Brian Wade, Violins! See their picture, below). Audition results for next season's orchestras will be posted after we return from the tour on June 11, 2012.

Read more

Today is the last day of regular auditions for the AYS Program 2012 - 2013 season. We held all of the auditions here in the new building, and other than one day where we had to pause for a violent rainstorm (noise issues), it went very well, and you can sense that the students are excited about the new facility.

Auditions obviously signal the beginning of the next new season. Here are a couple of things you might not know about our high school auditions:

1. All students...

Read more

This evening's rehearsal of the AYS was a real treat.

The AYS students earned the most funds for our Playathon fundraiser, and so they were served a pizza dinner. 18 large pizzas were consumed!

Then, Superintendent Winston Brooks and members of the APS Board of Education served an ice cream social for the students. Then the AYS students performed the Overture to "The Cowboys" by John Williams. Mr. Brooks spoke to the students and expressed his appreciation for their hard...

Read more

Fifteen years ago today, I started my work as Executive Director of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program. I had quit a pretty decent fundraising position with another organization to stay home with my baby girl, and after she was a year old, I thought that I was ready to start working part time. The AYS Program had been around for many years, but had undergone reorganization and had become a non-profit organization about five years previous to my involvement. The budget at that time was...

Read more

Auditions for our 2012 – 2013 season start today. I am interested to see how it's going to work in the new building, even though I am pretty removed from the auditions at this point. Too much other stuff to do, plus I don't particularly like to be around groups of super stressed out teenagers...
So yes, parents and students, it’s true: I don’t have any influence with the audition results.

Read more