Tuesday, July 15, 2014

River City Women's Chorus

I have always believed that "actions speak louder than words" and that one should "practice what you preach."  That being said, I auditioned for the River City Women's Chorus back in April and have been working diligently for the past 8 weeks preparing for several concerts that will be taking place this week and next.

This is the first year that there has been an option for women.  The River City Men's Chorus is in their 5th season.  We are raising money for a local charity called "Dreams Come True."  This non-profit organization grants wishes to terminally ill children and we are privileged to donate our time and talent for such a worthy cause.

River City Women's Chorus - R. Wayne Bailey, Director
(I'm the tanned one in the center of the back row)

If you would like to enjoy an evening of quality choral music and support Dreams Come True, you may do so at one of the following concert venues:

Tuesday, July 15th
Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church
4001 Hendricks Avenue

Friday, July 18th
Lakewood Presbyterian Church
2001 University Boulevard West

Tuesday, July 22
St. John's Episcopal Cathedral
256 East Church Street

Friday, July 25
Riverside Presbyterian Church
849 Park Street

All concerts are in Jacksonville, Florida and begin at 7:30 p.m.  A donation will be collected during the concert.  All proceeds will be given to Dreams Come True.

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Teachers Do During Summer Break

So many people ask me what I do with my "free time" in the summer.  I don't really have free time in the summer.  Summertime is when teachers take care of everything around their house that they couldn't take care of during the school year.  Summertime is when you make every doctors appointment you were unable to make during the school year.  Summertime is when you get a crown on a tooth that has 3 cracks in it because there is not enough time to sit in the dentist chair during the school year.  Summertime is when you trade the "tools of your trade" for an automobile and chauffeur your own children to and from their respective jobs.  Summertime is when you attend teacher trainings so you can earn points for "continuing education" and re-certify every five years. Summertime is.....well, almost as busy as the school year, but not quite.

I decided to spend what free time I had this summer on several things.  My greatest priority was to get back to the gym on a regular basis.  I have succeeded my own expectations in that area over the past several weeks.  I've run on the treadmill, run intervals between the telephone poles on the boulevard, swam laps, lifted weights, taken spinning classes and Zumba classes.  My body is responding in a positive way and I am grateful.

Another idea I had was to eat my way through the produce section at my local Publix.  I put on a few pounds last year and needed to regroup with diet and exercise.  I started with weird stuff like kale.  I hear it's really good for you.  From kale, I moved on to Red Swiss Chard.  From there, it was Bok Choy, etc.  I wanted to experience new flavors and I have time to cook during the summer, so this has worked out pretty well.  My diet is very clean now and I am feeling much better these days.  Stress really takes a toll on your body and your outlook on life after so many months of it.

One of my famous salads

For fun, my sister and I went on a dolphin safari.  We didn't see any dolphins, but there were lots of jelly fish, a couple of sea turtles and a manatee.  We capped off our day at Cap's Seafood and it was most enjoyable being out on the water and breathing fresh air.  I live in a cave 10 months out of the year and it could not have been a better day for dolphin-hunting.  Tip from the captain....never book a dolphin safari after June 1st.  Shrimping season opens that day and they all leave the inlet to follow the shrimp boats out in the open ocean where they can eat their fill of by-catch.  Who knew?

Dolphin Safari in St. Augustine

Castillo de San Marco from the inlet side

I love reading novels in the summertime too.  I visit my local library and load up on books.  My goal is to finish one a week before they must be returned.  That means I have three weeks to "git r done."  I love reading anything set in the Victorian Period and 300-400 pages suits me just fine.

Next week is the annual Abdullah Family Reunion.  Folks are flying in from CA and driving down from NY.  We will eat together, laugh together, fish together, ski, play mini-golf on Anastasia Island, do a water park, hang out -- all in honor of my dad who passed away in 2000.  It is the highlight of our summer each year.

Once we get past that point, it will be time for me to focus my attention on the upcoming school year.  I will be in Orlando at the end of the month for Choral Panorama and the Florida Vocal Association's summer conference.  The first week of August is the Teacher Academy for all secondary music teachers in my district.  On August 11th, teachers report to school and students are back in gear on August 18th.  School is just around the corner.

Until next time...