I flew into San Antonio early Thursday and was greeted by Ben Cadwallader, director of operations for YOSA (Youth Orchestras of San Antonio). Ben continued to expose me to more wonderful food in Texas--the only exception was the time where we both needed to flush out the Mexican food in our bodies--so we ordered something more simple: Subway.
I spent time with Maggie Raveneau (lead instructor of the Sistema program in San Antonio) over lunch. We ate at an authentic Italian pizza joint, complete with a 1000 degree oven that apparently cooks the pizzas in 90 seconds. This appetizer was really good as well...
I met the rest of the staff and kids of the Music Learning Center in the afternoon. One of the remarkable things I observed on Thursday was a silent theory class, which was a by-product of not having enough rehearsal space. The engagement level and behavior of the kids was terrific, and the teachers overcame their logistical obstacles to still provide two (one silent) great lessons in the same room.
Dinner that night was with Lee Hipp, my former tuba teacher, who ordered a little too much Indian food for the two of us…
I attended the San Antonio Symphony concert that night featuring a new transcription of the Brahms Four Serious Songs—a cool twist of Romantic and Twentieth Centry writing and orchestration. Following that, Lee gave me a tour of downtown, and I found myself face to face with this historic landmark:
On Sunday, I had booked a convertible to drive over to Houston to see some friends and attend another concert. However, after searching the lot for 15 minutes, the representative from Enterprise failed to find the convertible that I had booked weeks ago. Luckily, he was generous enough to offer this to me to make up for my inconvenience:
In Houston, I had yet some more Tex-Mex, and spent an awesome evening with the Farquhars. We agreed to take a photo after dinner with my car in the background.
After dinner, I went to the Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert led by Dr. Eric Wilson. The program and performance was spectacular in every way. Aside from works by Grantham, Bernstein, Grainger, and Stephenson (a new brass quintet concerto), the highlight of the night was Maslanka’s Fourth Symphony—encompassing one of the largest palettes of orchestration ever used. The audience went bonkers, confirming my theory about the attractiveness of the wind ensemble repertoire being written in the past 15 years. I should also mention that the bass trombone section was ridiculously loud. This makes sense, because no other than Erik Shinn was their fearless leader! Erik, Corey, and I had a few moments to catch up after the concert.
After two amazing weeks in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston, it was finally time to go home. Texas food and hospitality were second to none, and I am eager to plan a return trip in the near future.
From 2013 on, this blog will serve as a photo-blog encompassing students, friends, family, and other fun life events!