September 2005

September 28, 2005 17:16

On Tuesday I skipped school. Instead I was in New York, in the Manhattan School of Music. I was having a lesson with Patinka Kopec, a suggestion from my teacher at home. She seems very nice, has a thick accent and every other word is "darling". I was pretty nervous (I worked hard to bring the Wienwiaski back into shape; "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "March" from Love for Three Oranges didn't seem substantial enough to bring into an audition/lesson alone.) But in the end all I got to play for her was one A Major scale and the first page of "It Ain't"! She had a lot to say about my position. As I've talked about in this blog before, I've had problems with my bow arm/fingers in the past, and had trouble reaching the tip. Ms. Kopec told me that my chinrest should be more centered, bring my left arm around in front more, which allowed me to reach the tip, and that I needed to use more of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers' pressure at the frog, and the index at the tip. She showed me some exercises to do to master that "rolling" feeling. It was very enlightening. She said she would teach me, maybe a once-a-month deal or something. We haven't figured it out yet. But I'm glad I got to see her. Now, From The Top is coming up in only a few days, and we're leaving for Boston! This is going to be quite exciting indeed.

--alice

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September 22, 2005 14:43

Today was certainly busy. My mom and I were out from 9:30 to about 5. I had a violin lesson, which went pretty well considering I've been sick in bed for a couple of days. Then we headed down to Wilmington to get the violin adjusted (the harmonics weren't sounding like they should have been, because of the weather.) Then we returned to downtown Philly to look for dresses for the millions of performances I have coming up. We went to a Nicole Miller store and got a really cool blue dress that I'll wear for From The Top on Oct 2. Then we drove back to our neighborhood and picked up my blue dress I'm wearing for Andrea Clearfield's Salon Concert on Sept 25. Now I have to catch up on some homework, practicing and clean up my room. Whew! No rest for the weary. :-)
--alice

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September 5, 2005 14:30

Today I spent two hours busking in my neighborhood to raise money for Haitians in the bateyes of the Dominican Republic. There's going to be a benefit concert in Philly on Sep. 10 which I'll make a post about in a minute, so I had a poster up advertising for the concert. And the money I raised is going there too. 10% will be given to the Katrina victims (because of the strange and horrible timing!) Here's a little bit about what's happening over there (and I'll put ticket info, etc in my post)


Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR) combined have the most HIV cases in the entire Caribbean region, an estimated 85%. The "bateyes" (bah-TAYZ) are remote rural communities, housing migrant Haitian and Dominican laborers and their families in mud and split-cane shacks. There are no sewage systems, running water, or electrical systems in the bateyes. Disease is rampant, and healthcare is otherwise nonexistent. The batey population (200,000 who are mostly poor marginalized dark skinned Haitian migrant sugar cane families and Dominicans of Haitian origin) suffers disproportionately from HIV and AIDS, and the UNAIDS estimates that more than 5% of the people living in the bateyes are infected with the deadly virus.

With the help of the Bill Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative and the USAID-funded Family Health International “Conecta” Project, BRA is currently developing a comprehensive HIV/AIDS program in the bateyes of the Monte Plata province, where there are an estimated 1,300 cases of diagnosed and undiagnosed. By targeting 40 of Monte Plata’s 60 bateyes, BRA will be able to reach two thirds of the communities with its education and community empowerment programs. Through these efforts, BRA seeks to reduce the instances of new HIV cases by 5% within the first five years of the project. By offering HIV testing and treatment to pregnant women, BRA seeks to significantly reduce vertical transmission of HIV.

“BRA’s health and HIV/AIDS program, when fully operational, will offer an example of quality, comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment in the DR. It is our hope that other organizations will take after its example and initiate similar programs both inside the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries, including Haiti,” concluded Gaillard.

Last July's inaugural benefit concert, held at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove, raised raised over $15,000 in response to devastating floods on the island of Hispaniola, which encompasses both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, killing over 3000 people, leaving countless more homeless, and creating widespread water-born disease.

"The Batey Relief Alliance's humanitarian mission is to help promote equity and self-sufficiency - improve human rights conditions - raise public awareness - and facilitate dialogues and bona fide collaborative endeavors gearing towards creating a productive environment for the Caribbean's most vulnerable people. We represent a broad spectrum of organizations interested in improving human conditions. We are apolitical and unite local grassroots organizations, international aid groups, universities, and government agencies in a strategic partnership," notes Gaillard.

http://www.bateyrelief.org/archives/000142.php <-- a link to the organization that's sponsoring the concert

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September 4, 2005 10:31

I'm so tired right now. Our family has had a very hectic few days!

Yesterday we drove down to Ocean City, NJ for my viola-playing sister's first orchestra solo, with the Ocean City Pops. A family that we know from various youth orchestras in the past was there because they were soloing with the orch. as well. After the rehearsal we went to the boardwalk and did all the necessary things such as ride the ferris wheel and get cotton candy. We had a lot of down time before the concert, so when we got back I practiced a bit in a the hallway outside of the auditorium. My grandmother on my dad's side, my grandparents on my mom's side and my cousin on that side, and my sister's boyfriend came too. It was very late when we got back and I was so dead tired that I almost fell asleep with my nice clothes on.

This morning I was scheduled to play three unaccompanied Bach movements in my grandma's church (the second mvt of the B minor, the double, and the gavotte en rondeau and the gigue of the E Major). So me and my dad left the house at about 9, very hungry. There was no food in the house because we had been too busy to go shopping! So we got to the church and I warmed up, then the service started. I played my pieces okay (except my darn Eing SQUEAKED a couple of times!) but I learned a valuable lesson: never perform without eating first. Because for one thing, I was incredibly nervous for something so minor (I mean, nobody in the congregation were serious musicians) really nervous, like shaking! I believe I was just as or even more nervous for this than when I soloed with an orchestra in front of a thousand people last October! And I definitely shouldn't have been worried (I know those pieces like the back of my hand). And the performance was fine but I play them much better. We think it's because I had really low blood sugar. But, it's OK; I'd rather have learned that now for an unimportant thing than learn it later during an orchestra solo or something.

--alice

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