Saturday, July 27, 2013

Choral Panorama 2013

I have just returned from a 2.5 day whirlwind trip to Choral Panorama and the Florida Vocal Association's Summer Conference (affectionately dubbed "pre-school").  The first half of this conference is sponsored by Head's House of Music (Tampa, FL) which has been hosting this event for 43 years.  Head's is a family-owned and operated music retailer who specializes in vocal music (as opposed to band/orchestra music).

Panorama is basically a choral educator's reading session "on steroids."  I attended all TEN reading sessions which covered all genres of vocal music for both middle and high school choirs. This means that in the past few days, I have read through 127 pieces of music from 14 different publishers. 38,100 pieces of music were collated and stuffed into 2700 teacher packets which were used during the sessions.  I sat and read through music for approximately SIXTEEN hours from 9:00 a.m. on Thursday to noon on Saturday! My brain is absolutely fried.  My voice held up fairly well, for which I was extremely grateful.  I am also very grateful for 127 reading copies of newly published music from which I can build my choral library.  Heads House of Music hosts this free event each summer and sends us home with bags of free music.  We love Heads!!

Late night session with Dr. David Childs from New Zealand

Our clinicians this year included Laura Farnell, Mary Goetze, Mac Huff and David Childs.  Dr. Jeffery Redding shared his insights as a choral educator in a fabulous interest session Thursday night.  He was awesome and is someone I could only hope to emulate in my classroom at some point in my career.

At noon on Friday, the Florida Vocal Association began their portion of the conference with interest sessions on the All-State audition process, the "End of Course" exam project for "hard to assess" content areas (Race-to-the-Top) and, yes, more music reading - middle and high school All-State music for the FMEA conference in January, 2014.

Did I mention that it was a whirlwind of a weekend? I do believe that my summer break has come to a crashing halt.  If you're looking for me next week, you will find me in the chorus room at Fletcher doing my best to be ready for students on August 19th.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cleaning My Classroom

Anyone who knows me knows that I have respiratory issues and cannot survive long around dust and dust mites.  My former classroom was spit-spot.  I "swiffered" and vacuumed everything in my classroom several times a year.  I tackled dust like it was my worst enemy.  You could have eaten off of my floors!

When I walked into my new classroom several weeks ago, an invisible hand grabbed me by the throat and I knew I had entered a space that was occupied by high concentrations of dust.  It was unbearable and I began to hack and cough.  My throat closed off and I knew I was in trouble.  Upon further inspection, I realized that the room had not been adequately cleaned or dusted in at least a decade.  I also knew that I would need reinforcements.  There was no way I would be able to tackle this project alone.  Thank God for my family who was willing to put their own health at risk to assist me.  I owe each of you a huge debt of gratitude.

Last week, my sister (who is on vacation from New York, my husband and I) armed ourselves with Zyrtec, masks and cleaning supplies to enter the "Dust Mite Zone."  We worked in there for four hours.  I paid the ultimate sacrifice and am still sick because of it.  That was "Operation Deep Clean - Phase 1."

Denise scrubbing away in my office

Steve vacuuming the carpet on the walls

This is me, knowing I would pay dearly for this later

"Operation Deep Clean - Phase 2" happened yesterday.  My sister returned for Round 2 along with my son (we needed his brawn to move furniture and filing cabinets).  We spent two more hours in the "Dust Mite Zone" trying to finish what we started last week.

This was the room before we began.
That gray stuff on the walls is not the light reflecting on the carpet.

Every photo collage on the wall was removed and wiped down.  Every chair was wiped down.  Risers were swept and mopped.  Filing cabinets were moved and wiped down.  Equipment was rearranged and wiped down.  Furniture was moved and wiped down.  My office was vacuumed and baseboards were wiped down.  Never had I seen so much dust in one room before.

It is hard to believe, but there are still areas that need to be wiped down in this classroom.  However, Phase 3 will have to wait...  My respiratory system needs time to recover from Phase 1 and 2.  

Until next time...