Audition Day

No formation this morning, so I slept in a little later than usual. I was still up at the school house by 7:20 and I got my trombone out and got a good warmup in. Then I headed back to my room to do computer stuff, crochet (I made a dishcloth!), and just plain relax. I ate lunch around 11:30 and about noon headed back over to the school house for another quick warm up. I headed into my audition at 12:30.

Well, I played really well on my solo (or at least I thought I did), my first 2 scales were totally gross but the second two were good, and my sight reading was ok. It was fairly easy sightreading – and 2 of the pieces I had sightread on my incoming audition. All in all, I left the room with a good feeling – maybe 2.85 or 2.9.

And then the wait began. . . and I waited some more. . . . and some more. . . . and I finally got my score around 3:00 (I played at 12:30). I scored a 2.8, and I’m not happy with it. It’s enough to graduate, but how can they say that I didn’t improve at all in the past 6 weeks? And with that score, my academic average drops below 92% so I’m out of the running for Honor Graduate.

And now a few words about my audition panel, and their unprofessionalism. There are 2 people grading the audition, and whenever I wasn’t playing, they were bs’ing about other stuff and just talking and joking. And then when it came for the sight reading, they are supposed to give me the tempo and then I have a minute to look it over. I had to ask for my tempo EVERY time. Ok, so maybe they were talking and joking in between to help me be less nervous, but that doesn’t work for me. When I’m in a serious situation and I have my game face on, I expect those around me to be serious (or at least respect the fact that I want/need to be serious) – especially in a situation such as this. I’m thinking of going and seeing the Sergeant Major about it so it doeesn’t happen again to another musician.

I went for a run after I got back (5 miles) to clear my mind and do some thinking. Gavin (my friend and fellow trombonist from Ft. Gordon) said something after he got his score (he’s not too happy either), and I’m going to try and take it to heart. He said that what they saw/heard today was 20 minutes of our lives, and that they can’t really see what kind of a player we really are during that 20 minutes. I know that I have improved during my time here, and that’s what matters most. I’m just the most upset about being out of the running for Honor Grad because I’ve worked so hard for it.

Well, I’m off to enjoy the rest of my evening – going to go hang out with my classmates after I call my guys.

Overnight low: 37
Today’s high: 43

MIDI Score Day!

We started off the day with PT. That was about 15 minutes after one of my friends knocked on my door like he always does so we could walk to formation together. Only problem was, I was still sound asleep when he knocked. However, I was dressed in complete PT uniform with my hair up (well, sort of – it sure wasn’t pretty and it didn’t stay very well) and out the door in about 4 minutes. We made it to formation in plenty of time. We did circuit training in the gym – good thing we were inside because it was only 25 out. We got a really good workout, and I’m feeling it a little now.
The rest of the day was spent in small groups (2 hours) and STX Prep (everything else other than our practice period). It was a pretty good day, and my practice session went really well today. Hopefully I play as well tomorrow during my audition. I’ve also got everything ready for the STX the end of this week.
After school, I came home and relaxed and chatted with some friends and then got a nice bit of stitching done while watching TV. Ryan called later when he got home from bowling and we had a nice talk.
I’m off to bed now so I can get a good night’s sleep before my audition.

Ok, I won’t make you wait anymore. I got 100% on my MIDI project! I think I was the only one in the class to do that!

Overnight low: 25
Today’s high: 46

A nice relaxing weekend!

This was a very good weekend, and after I decided not to run the 8K race I had planned on yesterday morning, I had no plans for a change!! Yesterday I slept until 10:30, and boy I sure felt good when I woke up. I lazed around on the computer for a while and then headed out to check out a cross stitch shop in Virginia Beach. It was a pretty nice shop – lots of charts for samplers, if you’re into those. I did buy another package of needles since mine seem to disappear at times. Of course, that might be just because I have so many projects on the go at any given time. . . Then I went to A.C. Moore and got some DMC floss (8 for $1) and a book of crochet dishcloths. I plan on making a couple of dishcloths for my housekeeping lady (Nancy) as a thank you for taking such good care of me for the 8 weeks I’m here. After I was done there, I met up with a friend for lunch at a local place called Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Their food is REALLY good, but wow do you get a lot of it. The regular burgers have 2 patties, and we didn’t know that. I should have ordered the small one. And a regular order of fries is enough for 2, but we didn’t know that either and ended up with WAY plenty of fries. After I got back on base, I went over to the school house to practice for a while, and my friend Dan came and listened to my solo and gave me a few pointers. Then it was home for my evening phone call to my guys and then stitching and the Olympics.

I slept in until about 9 or so this morning and went to chapel and then over to practice some more. Jason came and listened to my solo today, and the tips from Dan yesterday helped today! Now let’s see what I can still do with my solo before Tuesday’s audition. During practicing, I also looked at my Brass Quintet music a little bit. Then I headed back “home” and got my laundry going and played on the computer for a while, and ate lunch. After my laundry was done, I went to the commissary to do a bit of shopping for the week. Once I got home and got my groceries and laundry put away, I just relaxed – computer, some stitching, watched the NASCAR race. Then I called Ryan and Robbie. Robbie stole the phone and was walking all over the house talking to me. I think it was kind of cute, but Ryan couldn’t hear me when Robbie went too far away. I sure do miss my guys. Then I settled back in with my stitching for the last bit of Olympic coverage and the Closing Ceremonies. I also made my weekly phone call home to Mom & Dad and we talked for about an hour.

Off to bed now – 0400 will be really early tomorrow.

Overnight low: something warmer than the 30 it is now
Today’s high: 43

Friday again!!

I didn’t write yesterday as I had a really bad migraine and I went to bed early. Yesterday we had Small Groups and STX prep in the morning and then our practice period and then MIDI presentations in the afternoon. I had my lesson during the practice time, and I had a mock audition. I did really well, and should do very well on my real audition on Tuesday. The MIDI presentations went well, and all 15 of our pieces were really good. They liked mine – Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys. You can hear it here: 2006 Cross Stitch Finishes. Enjoy my cross stitching while you listen! At the end of the day we met with the Basic Course students again, and got to meet our soldiers for our squads for the STX. In case I haven’t mentioned it, STX stands for Situational Training Exercise. I have 8 soldiers in my squad and 4 of them are trombone players! It was done up completely randomly, so it’s kind of funny that it happened that way, but it’ll be fun. We only had about 20 minutes with them, and it wasn’t nearly enough time, but it’s a start. The next time we meet with them is for PT next Thursday morning. In the evening I called home to Ryan and Robbie, and then settled in with my stitching and the Olympics.

Today we started off the day with Frisbee Football at PT. We ended up in a tie score at the end! The rest of the day was more STX Prep, the last 2 rock reports, small groups, practice time, and yet more STX Prep. I’m pretty much ready with all my stuff for the STX, so I don’t have a lot to do. I did put a set list together for the Brass Quintet (a list to be selected from) so we all know what to be looking at. We’ll rehearse more next week. Oh – the reason for the Brass Quintet. We’ll be playing for an hour at the food court at the exchange on Friday of next week. It should be fun – I’m just happy to be playing in BQ again. After school, our little group went to a Mexican place for dinner and had TONS of great food. Then we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way back to base, and I’m still full. It was fun though. Once we got back, I called my guys and had a nice chat with them. Then it was time for stitching and the Olympics.

Overnight low: 37
Today’s high: 48

Boring. . .

We had PT at the gym this morning – lifted weights. It wasn’t bad and I got an ok workout, but I was tired. I knew I would be after staying up to finish watching Sasha Cohen last night. The first 2 hours of the morning were spent in small groups again. We made it through all 5 pieces in our group – lots of work on a couple of them, and then just played through mine and sight read through Chad Martin’s. His is the theme from Motel 6 – basically trombone solo with accompaniment. It’s really cool! The next 2 hours were spent doing STX Prep. I’m done with all the stuff I need to prepare for, so I was really bored – just surfed the internet and made it look like I was busy. The last hour before lunch was more Rock Reports. We still have 2 to go at some point. After lunch was our practice hour, and I had a prett good practice session. Couldn’t hit the high C# in my solo at all today, but maybe I was saving it for my mock audition at my lesson tomorrow. We’ll see. . . The rest of the afternoon was STX Prep again. I did have a little bit to do because over lunch I remembered something I needed to do. I still had plenty of time to double check my MIDI project which is due tomorrow. After we were done for the day, I came home and changed and then went to the Exchange for a few things. Then it was home to eat and wait for Ryan to call. He and Robbie had some shopping to do after work/school and then they went to Taco Bell for supper so he called me when they got home. It’s always so nice talking to them and watching them on the webcam. Robbie blew me some kisses and he also kisses the phone.
I spent the rest of the evening crocheting and watching the Olympics.

Overnight low: 35
Today’s high: 52

Rock on!!

Back to school today, but at least we didn’t start out with PT since it was Tuesday. The first 2 hours this morning were spent in our small groups. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the instrumentation/who’s in my group, so I will now. We have what we’re calling a modified Woodwind Quintet. We’ve got SSG Jason Gilmore on Flute, SGT Chad Martin on Clarinet/Oboe, SSG Marci Nemtzow on Bassoon/Contra-Bassoon, me on trombone, and SGT Jeff Dudzienski on Marimba. We rehearsed 4 of the 5 songs from the group – Chad’s not quite done with his yet (they’re our MIDI projects). My song is Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys, Jason’s is Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Marci’s is the Theme from All in the Family, Dude’s (that’s what we call Dudzienski) is Harbor Lights by Bruce Hornsby, and Chad is doing the theme from Motel 6. All the pieces are pretty neat, and it’s fun having such a wide variety of music.

The rest of the morning was spent with Rock Reports. I was about 4th or 5th to go – I did mine on The Beach Boys. My closer got a good laugh out of the class – “Let me end by saying Wouldn’t it Be Nice if California Girls Barbara Ann and Rhonda could help you Get Around in your Little Deuce Coup or 409 while having Fun, Fun, Fun Catching a Wave and Surfin’ with your Surfer Girl or feeling the Good Vibrations while you Dance, Dance, Dance in Kokomo? And just remember, next time you go Surfin’ USA, Be True to your School!” That was my bit of creativity, and if you know anything about the Beach Boys, you’ll get this. The rest of my presentation went well also, I think. I’m happy to have it over with and now all I have left is my MIDI project, final audition, and the STX.

After lunch was our practice hour and then STX Prep for the rest of the afternoon. For about the first 45 minutes, I worked on my PT plan and my classes and then the Brass Quintet went and rehearsed for the rest of the afternoon. We just sight read through a bunch of stuff – had a very productive rehearsal I feel. Some of the guys don’t really want to be in the group, but because of instruments needed/available, they have to be in it. I, on the other hand, want to be in there. I love playing in BQ.

Once we were done for the day, I came home and changed and then went for a run with Dan and Jason. We just went 2 miles on the track, but it was a really good run. I ran the 2 miles in 17:04 and I felt great afterwards. Of course, when I got back to my room, I took a nice long hot shower and then called my guys. Robbie talked a lot tonight – he got to hold the phone while Ryan was changing his diaper before bed. It was really nice talking to him, and I think it cheered both of them up a little after a long day back to work/school.

It’s getting late and Sasha Cohen is next up to skate (women’s short program for the figure skating competition), and after she’s done I need to get to bed. Talk to ou tomorrow.

Overnight low: 34
Today’s high: 45

A Fun Weekend Away!!

We had a 4-day weekend, so on Friday morning after a stop at the Post Office, I headed north to Madison, VA, to my friend Robin’s. She and her husband Bruce have a beautiful home near the mountains, and it was soooooooooo quiet and peaceful out in the middle of nowhere. Friday afternoon I stopped by Robin’s school and let her 3 students (special ed) meet a real live soldier. I talked to them for a little bit and they got to try on my equipment (flak vest, load carrying vest, and kevlar helmet). They thought it was neat getting to meet a real “Army person”. When we got home from school, I got to meet Bruce for the first time, and he is a true gentleman. He helped me carry my stuff in from the car (I didn’t really have *that* much), and then he cooked supper for us (Robin doesn’t cook, and Bruce does a great job). We had chicken and rice and asparagas. It was really good, and I got the “recipe” for the rice from him to try on Ryan. After supper, Robin and I stitched and all 3 of us watched TV.

Saturday after breakfast, Robin and I headed out to her cross stitch shop in Stephens City, about 90 minutes away. She had some projects that needed to be framed and others that were ready to be picked up. I stitched in the car on the way there, shopped a little (bought a couple of kitty charts), and then we went to lunch at a neat little restaurant. I had the appetizer sampler – chicken tenders, jalepeno poppers (YUM!!), mozzarella sticks (not the best I’ve had), and tater skins. It was a LOT of food. Then I stitched all the way back to their house. We hadn’t been home for maybe an hour or so, and we left again to go “downtown” Madison (Madison is very tiny, maybe bigger than Rock but smaller than Gwinn) to a little pizza place for supper. They had other stuff besides pizza, and I just had a chef salad cuz I was still kind of full from lunch. After supper I was really full. Then we spent the evening doing more stitching (well, at least Robin and I did). I got 6 1/2 hours done Saturday.

Sunday was more of the same – breakfast, stitching for a while, lunch that Bruce made (well, he heated up from stuff he had gotten at the store on Saturday) – pork BBQ sandwiches, leftover rice, and cajun crab dip. In the afternoon we went for a walk around their property. If I remember correctly, they have 10 acres. They have a pond (man made), and it’s stocked with fish. Bruce fishes in the summer. Jazz had fun with me – we raced up hills and across the yard. Jazz is their chocolate lab. And she didn’t bother my allergies at all! It was a beautiful day, and was wonderful smelling the cool, crisp, clean mountain air! After supper (leftovers from the weekend – I had another pork BBQ sandwich cuz the one at lunch was so good), we settled in for yet more stitching and Olympics. I got 7 1/2 hours in on Sunday.

This morning Bruce made scrambled eggs for breakfast and they were good. We had sticky rolls along with them (same thing as the previous 2 mornings, but minus the eggs). Then I got my stuff together and said my goodbyes to the three of them and headed back south to Norfolk. It was a wonderful weekend with wonderful hosts! My drive back was uneventful and I got back early afternoon. I got my laundry done and went up to the school house to print out my paper (which I’ll have to reprint tomorrow after some corrections had to be made after I had a friend proof it) and finish up my Power Point presentation. For supper, I went to Sonic with a friend. The main reason I wanted to go there was because I wanted a Sweetheart Brownie Blast after seeing it advertised all weekend. Well, they were out of brownies so I didn’t get one, but my food was still good. Once I got home, I spent the rest of the evening watching the Olympics and stitching. I’m really glad the U.S. got silver in the Ice Dancing. Of course, gold would have been better, but anything is good after 30 years of nothing!

Another week done!

Only 3 weeks to go until graduation and I get to see my guys again!! Today was a pretty good day. We started the day off with 2 hours of MIDI. We’re done with all our homework assignments and so we were able to work on our projects. Well, I only had about 10-15 minutes worth of stuff to finish up on mine, so I spent the rest of the time working on my Rock Report on The Beach Boys. I got it about 3/4 done, so that’s a good thing. After that was 2 hours of Rock, but it was split and we had an hour of Ops in the middle. I don’t know why it was scheduled that way, but I’m sure they had their reasons. We had homework due for Rock today, too, but it wasn’t a graded assignment. We had to put together a set list of 8 tunes for our “Large Pop Music Ensemble” and our target audience being the 20-25 year old soldier. Well, I don’t listen to Rock music, and despite our web resources we were given, I couldn’t put anything together yesterday when I was working on this. I didn’t just want to take the names of 8 songs that I’ve never heard of before, so I went a different route and put together 8 songs from years past – things like La Bamba, Born to be Wild, Brown-Eyed Girl, My Girl, etc. Then we also had to come up with a roadmap for one of the pieces, as if we were going to teach it to our ensemble. I did mine on Brown-Eyed Girl. SFC Cooke (our Rock instructor) was impressed with what I put together.

After lunch I had my weekly lesson, and we sightread duets the whole hour. It was a lot of fun, and a nice break from my solo. Then we had a presentation on a new music technology thing where music is in a computer thing and then that becomes your music stand. It’s pretty neat, but REALLY expensive, and not completely practical yet (in my opinion). I can see where it would be nice, but I think I’ll just stick with paper music for now. Then we had a little bit of small group time, and our group sightread through my MIDI project – Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys. It sounded really neat with flute, clarinet, bassoon, trombone, and marimba. The trombone is the lead vocal, flute & clarinet are the backup vocals and also take on the guitar solo in the middle, and the bassoon and marimba are the rhythm. I only had one note issue (had a flat where a natural should have been) and I had a request from the bassoon player for some cue notes and courtesy accidentals. That was an easy fix once we got back up to the classroom, and I did that after our safety briefing.

A group of us went out to dinner, including the family of one of our classmates. We went to Chili’s and had good food and great company. These evenings out are a nice change of pace from my usual microwaved dinners. Once I got home, I called Ryan and talked to him and Robbie (he was up late) for a little while, and then settled into my stitching and TV.

Off to bed now to get some sleep before my day off tomorrow – 4 day weekend for President’s Day. I’ll be heading to my stitching friend Robin’s house for the weekend, so I’ll be back to report on Monday.

Overnight low: 44
Today’s high: 69


It was a very good day today. We started off with a run day at PT – did Fast Lap/Slow Lap. I did 2 1/4 miles in the 25 minutes we had. It was a pretty good workout. Then this morning we had Rock History, MIDI, Army Band Operations, a Research Lab (basically study hall), and STX Prep. After lunch was my practice period (that went well today, and my high range is improving greatly!), and then Small Groups. We didn’t do anything today other than talk about what is expected of us during our Small Group times (we’ll be rehearsing our MIDI projects with our groups), and then we were allowed to work on whatever we needed to work on. I got my homework for Rock History done, my MIDI homework done, my MIDI project done, and I started on my Rock Report!! It was a very productive day. Oh, we got our Mace Eval. Scores, too – I got a 96%!! It’s not the highest in the class, but I’m really happy with how I did. And even more important than my score were all the positive compliments I got from my peers! We also had vehicle inspections this afternoon since we have a 4-day weekend coming up. My van passed, of course.

Oh, this morning. I almost forgot about this morning. I left a little earlier than I normally do for formation so I could get my treat up to the classroom before anyone could see what I had. Then I went back down for formation. As people started getting into the classroom, they saw the boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts (I got 3 dozen) and were very excited. When most everyone was in there I announced that I had gotten donuts to celebrate the completion of mace! Everyone loved them, and they all thanked me for getting them. I like doing things like that every once in a while! I might get them again the morning before graduation. We’ll see. . . (Jason, you’d better not say anything.)

I’m off to my corner to stitch and watch Jeopardy and then the Olympics. See you tomorrow!

Almost forgot – here’s a picture of me in the new Army uniform, holding my mace.
Free Image Hosting at

Overnight low: 38
Today’s high: 65

Mace Day!!

We spent most of the day outside today. It was Mace Evaluation Day. I was the 8th one to go, and I feel that I did really well. I had lots of good comments from my classmates as well. Hopefully we’ll get our scores before we leave for our long weekend. Everyone passed the first time, so that’s a good thing! For our evaluation, we had 3 parts we had to do: Dress & Align the Band, Sound Off, and Pass in Review. We had a “band” with us – 8 classmates in a 4-man front band singing the marches. I think I was in the “band” for about 8 or 9 people, and boy was I tired of singing Bravura and American Soldier. LOL

After everyone had been evaluated, we went back in the classroom for a little bit of STX Prep. I have my outlines done for the 3 classes I’ll be teaching, and I also have my PT assignment. We’ll be doing PT with our STX Platoons on both Thursday and Friday of the 72 hour training event. I’m going to be doing a run day for my turn. I haven’t decided what I’ll do yet, but I still have a few weeks. I might do some relays, but I’ll have to see if that’s ok. We were released early today, and that was nice after being outside for most of the day. After doing a little bit of work on my rock report (started the research on the Beach Boys), I headed home to change and then head to the commissary for a tiny bit of grocery shopping. I also went and got a treat for the class tomorrow, but I can’t say what yet as there are some of my classmates that read this and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

After I got home, I had a nice phone call with my guys and then went and stitched and watched the Olympics. I’m going to bed early tonight – too much not enough sleep is not a good thing, and it’s catching up with me.

Overnight low: 32
Today’s high: 54