Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Travelogue – contemplating more travel

Wednesday, August 1

A good chunk of today was spent in rehearsal. Yesterday, I grumbled a lot about the Korean director. Her piece went better today, but it still isn't going well. But she served as a sharp contrast to the other directors who are prepared, know how to get their ideas across to the ringer, and know how to fix problems when the occur. Out of ten directors, we have nine great ones. Pretty good odds.

Today's schedule did include a couple concerts and a couple workshops. The afternoon concert was what the British call a Rally Ring. Individual bell choirs perform one or two pieces for the rest of us. In an hour's time about 10 groups get a chance. They range from the simple quartet to the dynamo Japanese groups. All were well done.

The evening concert was the top dynamo Japanese group doing a full concert. I've seen this group at every Symposium (their pink dresses are distinctive and elegant) and their quickness, cohesiveness, and musicality are always amazing.

One of the workshops was a cultural one. It was “A Forgotten Hero of the Titanic.” That was the Chief Officer, the second in command. The presenter was the man's grandson. The presentation covered some of the officer's life, and the circumstances that put him on the ship. But most of it was about the ship and the reason why so many lost their lives. Alas, it didn't reveal any heroic deeds by the Chief Officer. My workshop choices for that time slot were rather slim. I could have taught the handbell related topics and the other cultural topics were things like creating a greeting card and Japanese children's games.

The other workshop was more interesting, though it took me a while to catch on to the subtext. The topic was handbells in Singapore. There are 30 groups in schools (about 10% of the schools have bells), a few groups in churches, and one community based group. They have just formed their own guild and might join the International Handbell Committee and possibly host a Symposium (though no sooner than 2020). The workshop started with a bit about Singapore and listed a bunch of things one might do if one visited. At the end, the speaker talked about “opportunities.” It was then I realized the whole workshop was to encourage the rest of us to come to Singapore to present a concert, give a workshop, or direct a bell festival.

That got me thinking. My brother is currently on a 3 year assignment in neighboring Malaysia. When I visit him I could easily hop over to Singapore and do a workshop.

I sat next to this presenter at dinner. On the other side of him sat a friend of Michele's. She asked me how the German workshop went. That was a great way to tell the guy from Singapore that I am qualified (at least in some subjects) to present bell workshops. This may start a side career.

The next Symposium is on a resort island south of Korea in early August of 2014. July of that year might be a good time to do workshops in Singapore and visit my brother. I'm sure there will be some negotiation of dates.

The laundry saga is hopefully nearing the end. Though my shirts had dried, my underwear and socks hadn't. Wearing damp underwear was a necessity. As for socks, I wore the “wrong” color today. Michele found a laundry service that picks up and delivers and costs a lot less than what the hotel charges. She found it because she found a dry cleaner on the street she had told me about – a place I didn't find because it wasn't on the ground floor – and the dry cleaner had referred her to the laundry service.

So after lunch today I dashed to the hotel, called the place, arranged a price ($12) along with pickup, stashed clothes in a bag, asked the front desk for change, added money to the bag and left it with the desk. I think I passed the pick-up service as I headed out. That should be the end of laundry until I get home on Monday. Unless I miscounted something.

The lunch I dashed from and this evening's dinner were quite tasty, but portion sizes were small. Dinner was served (rather than buffet line) with the menu on posted cards. I asked the manager (identified by a clipboard) if I could have fresh fruit instead of the listed dessert. He said he could do that. That's not exactly what I got. The lovely pear was coated in chocolate (probably not sugar free), and there was a scoop of sherbet next to the strawberries (which weren't fresh and possibly sweetened). I'll have to be more explicit tomorrow.

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