Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Marching Band (Part 1) Weber St. Review

I don't know what it is but I love marching band season. Maybe because I have been a band mom for over 8 years (I think). I love the kids. They are so much fun to be around and they make you feel young. This is Nathan's last year. Also his 4th year.
After and hour and a half drive on a school but we arrive at Weber St. Everyone ate and then got ready.
They warmed up and got ready for the performance.
Boy, they sounded so good.

Here are some live action shots of Nathan marching and the performance.

Nathan is in the front row in the middle.

He's in the front row here too but a little harder to see him.

In this pic. he's in the back and middle. If you didn't know he plays the baritone.

And then marching off the field. They did an incredible job and was so much fun!!! Way to go Nafey Burger!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Night at the Opera

Ah there is nothing like an night at the opera. Of course this was my first visit. I was told by others that to live in Vienna and not to attend the opera was criminal and may be prosecuted in some states. So I decided to go. Going to the opera is not cheap. You can get what are called standing tickets which are offered an hour before the performance starts which are much cheaper, but I knew that if I intended to stay for the whole thing I'd better get the good tickets. If I paid $10 to stand in the opera, I know myself well enough that after 15 minutes I would have weighed the cost benefit and left the second my feet got tired or I was just the smallest bit bored. No, if I were going to the Opera I would have to do it right.

So when the above posters appeared for the Opera Ariodante I jumped at the chance.

I walked into the ticket office and told them I would like to see this Opera, which was only playing seven nights. He asked which night I want to attend so I told him and I showed the guy on the seating chart where I wanted to sit. He looked at me like I was crazy and said in condescending thickly accented English, "You will sit here." "That's the only seat left?" I asked. "That is the only seat left." So I took it. It was high on the third level of the balcony next to the last row. Apparently, tickets for the opera go like hot cakes in Vienna. If I waited even a day I think I would not have been able to go.

Here is my ticket:

The night of the opera I got into my Sunday best. The Opera house is only about a five minute walk from my apartment so I made it there quickly. I was nervous. The Theater an der Wien is the New Opera House. It just barely opened in 1801 so is just a little over 200 years hold, a mere baby on the block. I was embarrassed to be somewhere that hadn't really stood the test to time. I mean it's not like Mozart had played there. They are still bragging that Beethoven had opened his 2nd Symphony there in 1803. I wish I could have attended a performance somewhere with a little more history, but the new place had to do.

So I picked up my play book for an extra 3.8 euros ($10,000 American or will be soon anyway):

This is what it looked like from the inside (I ripped these from the net because I couldn't take pictures)

From the Stage:

The Stage:

When the orchestra began the play I almost gasped. The sound was so full and different. Richer than anything I'd ever heard. I mean, I suppose I'm used to listening to things through little speakers and the richness and depth of the sound almost started me crying. The acoustics of the place where so far outside of my experience that I have little to compare it with. Let me just say that this orchestra for some reason sounded way better than the high-school symphony in the gym (my only point of comparison). This is not a criticism of the high-school musicians mind you but praise of this assemble. It is a criticism of the Pleasant Grove High School's gym's acoustics.

The Opera was fantastic. Even though my butt got tired of sitting through the three acts, and I got sort of fidgety like I do on an airplane, but with two intermissions to help, I loved every minute. It was three hours long and I didn't mind. Weird huh? I finally see why opera is so important. The Aria, Recitative. My only experience with opera had been snippets from Fund-drive week on PBS. I was never impressed. I get it now. I really get it. I'm going to go again!

Pictures ripped from the Opera I saw. The Opera was by Handel (The same as wrote Messiah). 

This part was actually very strange and unsettling. This picture does not capture how strange these big headed things looked in real life.

I am getting, like, so cultured.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The band that Marches-by Nate Peck

Me and my friends during a water break
Well as many of you know i do marching band...and now i have been forced to blog on something i have actually done and not had to make something up and stage photos, to make it look like i actually did do something....well anyway i have been doing marching band sense 9th grade and this is my 4th and final year...kinda sad...well anyway i have a lot of fun in marching band pulling pranks and doing crazy stuff...tis very muchly so fun.

Me playing my Baritone

Me playing my baritone again

the standard issue cup that we drink out of

Me doing something....not quite sure what

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday T-bop!!!!

Today is Timothy's 24th birthday. We celebrated it Sunday with just the immediate family. We had Timothy's favorite food of meatballs and mashed potatoes. I made sure we had tons of food so he didn't run out.

Then we topped it off with cake and ice cream. Lesa accidentally put in 26 candles instead of 24. But he had enough hot air to blow them all out.

Happy Birthday T. We all hope you have a really fun day and we all love you so much!!!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wanderen ins Mittelalter (Hiking in the Middle Ages)

So I should have known that we would not just be 'going' to the Middle Ages Festival in Eggenburg. I discovered a hiking club at the UN and they said that todays agenda would be a visit to the afore mentioned 'Fest', as they say in German. I called and signed up to go! I've always wanted to go to a Middle Ages Festival--well actually that is not quite right. What I've always wished was to go to the Middle Ages, but that seems unlikely, so this kind of thing seemed the next best thing. I was up at the crack of dawn and at the train station in North Vienna by 7:00 am. I met the group which was mostly retired people and young people, but they seemed like a fun bunch. I was a little surprised when we off-loaded two train station stops before Eggenburg. Suspicious indeed, as we were a long way yet from Eggenburg. It was 8:30 and off into the country side we ventured:

We visited old churches. Think about this. This one was built built before 1100 AD:

The graveyard was filling up and they were rearranging things:

This was one of these new buildings that are going up all over Europe. Of course I'm interested in old fortresses and this one was very recent from only about 1400 AD so it's full of new-fangled architecture. 

This one was in between so around the 13th century.

After three hours of hiking visiting old churches and strange things like this statue standing in the middle of nowhere near where we paused near a pond to rest. I was afraid to ask how far it was because these were real hikers and to ask, "are we there yet?" seemed like a whimpy question--as if someone would ever wanted to 'get there' when we were hiking through such beautiful country. This was a statue to one of the thieves that hung next to Christ on the Cross: 

But after three hours we rested by a sign that said Eggenburg 2 km. Yea. I knew how far we had! Fool! Off we headed in the opposite direction. I was starting to worry a little actually. Because I remembered that our leader's email had said he had chosen this route because of the thick forests we would walk through for the majority of the trip. It dawned on me that we had not yet walked through any forest. Three hours and we had not yet started? Oh man. So he glee fully pointed and said there is the forest (again in the opposite direction as the sign to Eggenburg). I took a picture. Yes that's it in the distance. See the woods? We could start our hike at last.

The forest was nice. There was shade. At 1:00 we finally walked through this tunnel and entered Eggenburg. 

The festival was a blast. There were mock battles. These guys really put on a good show. They fought with swords, maces, staves, and these pikes. Great fun to watch.

Lot's of people dressed up in period costume.

There were bonnie lasses selling the latest in medieval head gear.

Where you could also by the latest in Medieval weaponry:

And this was very astonishing these guys were driving finishing nails (you know the ones with little tiny heads the same size as the nail) with the chisel end of a rock hammer (thin as a hatchet blade) with single blows that started a good foot and a half away. I cannot imagine how they were hitting the nails with that edge and driving them in with a single blow.

I'm not sure who invited the barbarians, but they certainly were not dressed for the weather as it was nearly 90 F out there:

Roast mutton was the order of the day. I had just finished a medieval pig stew just previous to discovering the mutton and was too full for a slice, but it did look tempting. 

This singing ensemble was absolutely wonderful. There were many singers, bands, and street musicians. I've put a sample on the end of this blog if you have the bandwidth to download video:

This was an especially cool Middle Ages festival because the town itself is surrounded by walls from the Middle ages and the town itself has many period buildings actually from the time. You can see part of the wall behind this crowd if you look carefully. That is a real castle wall built in the Medieval period to protect the city of Eggenburg. You can attend a Middle Ages festival in the U.S., but you can't attend a festival in a town that dates from the Middle Ages. That was the coolest thing of all.

But there were a lot of people:

Now I must report a rather strange thing. Russ was there dressed in full armor taking on all comers. I think he was promoting his web site Warriors with Honor. However, I'm not sure why he did not stop in Vienna to say hi, since he was in Austria and all, but here he is:

On the train back I was exhausted, but happy. It was almost as good as a real trip to the Middle Ages.
The following is a two minute clip of a sampling of music at the festival. The first was in the authentic Middle Ages Church in Eggenburg. This group was moving from venue to venue through the streets, singing songs of various sorts. The chant heard here is Medieval church music. The second on is one of the many bands playing period pieces (although not on period instruments obviously), and the third was a group of young children playing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Grandad's cider press

On Labor day we got together as family and friends to make apple cider. It was really cold out (for the first day of September) so it was perfect for making cider. All the kids came, the Waters' and Grandma and Grandpa. Plus some friends of Nathan.
The guys had fun putting the apples in and smashing them up. We had about 4 boxes of apples to smash up.

Everyone took turns putting apples in and crushing them.

It was so fun seeing Darrell and Dyann (Grandma and Grandpa). I know Darrell and Steve Waters had a great time talking.

When we were finally done we got 5 gallons of cider. After all the hard work we sat around and enjoyed each others company......and ate. We had chili, donuts , sweet bread and, of course, cider.

The guys (and some of the girls) hung out at the xbox.

We are going to have to make this an annual event. It was tons of fun but not the same without Steve. We all miss him so, so much!!