Friday, May 15, 2009

Concert Winds Spring Concert 2009

Last evening we enjoyed the Ramstein High School Concert Winds Spring Concert 2009 and as always, the program didn't disappoint (Alex is pictured second from the left). We were tremendously fortunate in landing an assignment at Ramstein Air Base: first, because we're an Army family and being stationed on an Air Force base is not a common occurrence, and secondly because the high school on Ramstein has a phenomenal music program. The concert last evening was proof of just how great the program is, headed up by the dynamic Mr. Jeff Pellaton. Mr. Pellaton brings a passion, energy and enthusiasm to the Music Department that
you don't find in many teachers. He never seems fed up with the students and always has some interesting "Pellatonism" to throw out to the students when things aren't going well that always translates his frustration, etc. without alienating them. No small feat when dealing with teenagers! Here's the Pellatonism printed in last night's program, "Please set your cell phone to stun or electrocute for the duration of the program. Thank you. JP" What a hoot! Alex's confidence in her musical abilities has grown by leaps and bounds since joining the program and while she'll probably never play on a professional level, I appreciate all that Mr. Pellaton has taught her just by being an outstanding teacher.
We've also been fortunate to have the USAFE band located in our area. Jordan just started lessons with a guitarist from the USAFE band this week and Alex began lessons with the wife of the percussionist from the band two months ago. It's been awesome to see the kids develop an interest in music and see them develop a little more self-discipline as they are both required to practice daily, with Alex practicing both school and solo pieces. Our biggest challenge right now is purchasing a new clarinet sometime this year. Two months ago, Alex's clarinet was permanently damaged (the band above the bell and a huge chunk of resin completely snapped off when Alex was twisting the pieces into position. Big oops!) and she's had to resort to playing one of the school's instruments. The clarinet her instructor recommends is around $3,000 (cough! gasp!) but the same company makes other wood clarinets that are a bit less expensive. With her 16th birthday approaching, I'm hoping to find her a quality wood clarinet within my price range (cheap is good) so we may drive to the Buffet factory in France this summer to check out what they've got. In the meantime, I'm thankful for the school loaner! If you want to see last night's performance, check out the website and it should be posted sometime this month.

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