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A working summer

Last year we managed some spectacular alpine hikes to cap off the summer. This year, so far at least, has felt much more like a working summer. There have been a few afternoons at the beach, but little hiking (yet) and it has felt like we’ve all been quite busy. Between us we’ve had multiple bits of travel, several day-camps, a kazillion work shifts for different people in different places and a couple of major events to organize and execute.

Fiona did a week as a mentor at the Music Explorers program. The video here is absolutely entrancing.

She then did a week of dance in Silverton. It was a decent experience, though she wished the group had been older and more focused on learning. Although originally intended for kids 12+, the average age of the group ended being about 11.5. So there was more in the way of games and entertainment, and less “serious” work on dance technique and physical conditioning. She’s looking forward to her fall dance schedule in Nelson where she has been bumped up a couple of levels.

Fiona at dance camp (centre of frame, pink t-shirt, leg up)
Fiona at dance camp (centre of frame, pink t-shirt, leg up)

Then she was busy preparing for SVI. She entered very well prepared this year, with her ensemble parts all solidly learned. She was definitely a solid participant in the Advanced Chamber Program this year.

SVI also, of course, took a lot of my time. In some ways I felt calmer and more confident about the administration this year: it was my second time holding most of the bag, and there were definitely some efficiencies realized. On the other hand, the feeling of ready support amongst the local Suzuki community has been slipping away. I know there are still people willing to help, but I don’t see them regularly anymore, and so there isn’t the sense of a tight Suzuki community standing right behind me. If I’m to continue helping drive this program, I need to get serious about organizing more help. Not just of the “please drop off a salad for the faculty dinner” type help. More of the “please take on managing this part of the event” type help. Carving out a few days for my Silvery Slocan circle adventure came at the cost of fuller days before and after, but was worth it for the refreshed state of mind it brought. And the SVI experience and the sense of community it created amongst all those amazing people! They were just so wonderful. It was all worth it, not just because the joy and energy helped fill my cup, but because I could see just how magically the cups of all those kids and parents were being filled.

Erin was SVI’s senior student for many years, but then missed a couple of years of SVI entirely because of NYO. For the last couple of years she’s been around during the week and has been a helpful observer and hanger-on. This year she played a stunning solo Beethoven Sonata movement with Peter as part of the Faculty Concert, as well as performing in the Faculty Orchestra. She loves being here during the week, understands very well what is involved behind the scenes, and it’s clear that she’s interested in making the leap into the administrative and operations end of the organization. I’m hoping to put her to work next spring. Unless her quartet wins another surprise expenses-paid performing trip to Europe next year, she’ll be available at the time of year when the majority of the work vetting music, assigning and distributing ensemble parts, and piecing together the thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle that is the master SVI schedule database, needs to be done.

Erin and Peter performing Beethoven Sonata No. 7, 1st movement
Erin and Peter performing Beethoven Sonata No. 7, 1st movement

Erin has also been getting very fit this summer. She’s been running the Galena Trail several times a week (thanks to my connector trail, of which we’re both very big fans), and doing strength and conditioning workouts regularly. We run together from time to time and while I probably still have a bit of an edge on her when it comes to endurance, she’s definitely at least as strong as fit as I am!

Sophie has been working 25 to 30 hours a week at a café in Silverton. The hours are better and the work more varied and enjoyable than her dish-monkey restaurant job last summer. At first she wasn’t sure she wanted a job at all after the crazy stress and chaos of spring with the deaths on the lake, the tour with Corazon in Ontario, Noah’s grad, and then all the weirdness of the teachers’ strike and whether there would be exams or not and which ones and when…. But eventually she discovered that she was bored, and so the job happened. They love her, and she’s happy for some summer income to help lubricate her increasing independence as she heads into next year.

Up, up it goes!
Up, up it goes!

She’s also got her violin out recently. She quit lessons almost two and a half years ago, although she did lip-service to some trio playing for a year or so after that. She also got did enough work to fit into the chamber music program at SVI in 2013, but it seemed like that would be her last kick at the can: she hadn’t really found the motive or the means to play since then. But in the last week or two, she’s become our treehouse violinist. She heads across the lawn, ties her violin case to a rope, climbs the ladder to the treehouse and hoists her violin up using a pulley system. Then she practices. She’s playing things she’s dug up on her own, post-Suzuki stuff that she’s researched as good stepping-stone repertoire. The Kabalevsky violin concerto, for starters. And she’s good! There’s so much more maturity and drive behind her practicing. She seems to have if anything gained technical skill during her year-or-more hiatus, and whatever ease and conditioning she lost has quickly been made up.

Emma and Noah on the day of the Big Event
Emma and Noah managing operations on the day of the Big Event

Noah has spent the summer being a grown-up. He got a job at the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre and he’s been using all his amazing tech-skills to full advantage, as well as growing a few new skills we never thought he’d master. Like setting alarms and getting up in time for things, keeping track of a moving-target schedule, answering the phone, managing his own meals and transportation (within the constraints of uphill grades and searing weather) and so on. The Centre had its big 20th Anniversary gala and community celebration the day after SVI ended, so he and all the other staff were very busy with that.

Since he’s moving away to start university studies in computer technology he decided he should have a functional computer of his own. (His low-end, aging laptop is limping along without sound or wifi much of the time: he’s relying on his Device — which is what he calls his SIM-card-less iPhone — for computer connectivity lately.) While I was typing this he messaged me to tell me that his new laptop had been delivered at the post office, asking if I could possibly pick it up for him as he’s working all day. He got the job, earned the money, decided how much to allocate, researched the product, got out his credit card and made the order, pretty much entirely on his own. My involvement is just in signing for it at the post office.

The remaining two weeks of summer might hold some R&R for us. Hopefully we’ll squeeze in at least one alpine hike. I suspect we’ll be pretty busy with summer jobs and the packing and planning for the school moves. And now, I have a laptop to pick up before the post office closes for lunch, and a homeschool planning date with Fiona.




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