Saturday, June 23, 2012
Our 2.5 hour drive back to Germany on Friday was very lovely. Almost the entire way was scenes of rolling hills and bright green pastures. It was a very calm bus drive. Kids slept, read, talked silently or enjoyed the views. It was a perfect day of mild weather and partly cloudy skies. Are you getting the impression it was almost perfect? We spent part of the morning and lunch in the small town of Meissen, touring the Albrechtsberg Castle. It was a quaint place and the kids had about two hours after the tour to wander around and shop, eat, and explore. We arrived in Dresden and had been a bit weary about the hotel but we soon found it to be alright. It was built during the Socialist reign but had been updated somewhat. You could still see bit of the old way but over all, I think pretty good. No air conditioning! But the weather has cooled and the windows open. We had a nice fun dinner at the hotel, it was Ben Chilton's Birthday so several of the kids surprised him with a performance of happy birthday (on instruments) in the restuarant. Dinner was a buffett and we had a lot of choices. After dinner we took a night tour of the city of Dresden. The soccor game was starting at 8:45 and people were all over dressed in German colors. We had a nice walking tour of the city and I am ready to move here. The river Elba runs through the city and it is filled with lovely buildings. Almost 70 percent of them were destroyed during the war so everything we have seen was reconstructed and they did an amazing job recreating the look of the old buildings and churches. After the tour we came to the hotel to relax, watch the game and just hang out. I think everyone enjoyed it. Saturday - We took a walking tour of the Semper Opera house and then headed to the Saxony School of music for a rehearsal. The school is a mix of old and new. In some ways it reminds me of Booker T. in Dallas, but with no theatre, dance, or art department. But it is very nice and all the GDYO students are making some new friends. The Junges Sinfonieorchester Dresden opened the concert with a piece written for them - Tierische Variationen by Johannesburg Wulff-Woesten. I would describe it as a mix of jazz, american folk and Gershwin all combined together. It is different. We have a few of our kids performing with them as they needed a few extra players - Sam Guu, Aakash Patel, Caroline Magee, Daniel Chilton, Megan Wright, and Trevor Meagher. GDYO performed after a brief break. They started with the Copland and then the Mussorgsky. Some very nice solos from Christopher Pawlowski, bassoon and Brian Geise, saxophone. This hall is not made for large orchestras and so everything is double the sound. You have to imagine how the big parts sound, filling the room with this enormous wall of broad waves of vibrations. During the piece I was moving around taking photos and noticed the students from Dresden fingering along or nodding with approval. They ended with the Dvorak and the small audience liked it. After the concert we went to the school of music and it was located in a beautiful area of Dresden. Lots of large, ornate homes. The school has a park as part of the property and they had an outside buffet of food geared toward American teenagers. Fries, Chicken nuggets, pizza and a salad. At first everyone was separated and then you begin to see them mingle and before we knew it, friendships had been made and the kids did not want to leave. There were impromptu games of soccer, catch and tag. I think a great time was had by all. Later we returned to the hotel for down time. My laptop has been kidnapped.... Daniel and Ben are the coolest people ever. Like seriously, you don't even know. and I scored a goal against them and its still Chiltons 0. proudest moment of my life.