Just a quick update on my music explorations with the La Paz music school. I had a fantastic week visiting and playing almost daily with different groups. It's hard to figure out the history, but in the last decade, it appears to have developed much more with the contributions from ex-pats of used instruments and time, as well as some healthy funding by the Mexican Federal Government.
I played duets with the piano teacher, Cruz, once in her studio and then up on the stage in a concert classroom. She likes all the music books I have with me, and made copies of each one already. I found a way to help her build her library, thanks to the Internet, overnight shipping and my sister coming in for visit. For two rehearsals, I was invited to play cello in their orchestra! I wish I could understand more of Maestro Luis' coaching; he is very expressive and spends a lot of time coaching the musicians before we play. I recognized my name, however, and waved to everyone when he introduced me. Generally I just smile, try to figure out what number in the music measures he wants to start at, and watch his baton.
The first violinist who wrote me the previous email, is so talented. He is in his last year of high school (self study), and will go to college somewhere in the US. I haven't been able to figure out who is coaching him through the whole college application process, but I can imagine he has a lot of well connected friends helping introduce him into the right music college. We played Mozart Sonatas, and have another session scheduled for the Beethoven's Spring Sonata. I am thankful that my friend Alice in California encouraged me to learn some of these before leaving the States.
And surprisingly, I have made a new sailing friend over music here on the docks of Marina Palmira. Rob and I met Katie and Mike, SV Pangaea, last week, and found there was a common music connection, in addition to other interests. Katie is a very talented soprano, and a music theory and something else (sorry Katie) professor. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves the other night over my keyboard, her iPad Musicnotes app and beautiful voice, aided by a healthy dose of margaritas made by the husbands. Wow! Her rendition of Eva Cassidy's Over the Rainbow was breathtaking. What a perfect opportunity to learn more about chords and piano improv techniques.
The cruising community is excited to hear more about the Music School. Many are already interested in supporting the school; I'll try to figure out how best to make an impact during the time we are here. Last night we went to the first of a full week of concerts at the school, highlighting Claude Bollin, unknown to us, French Jazz composer. His works for trumpet and jazz trio, and violin and jazz trio (piano, drums and string bass) were outstanding. It was fun to see how enthusiastic the audience was, with families and many of the young music school students sitting together. There were some cultural difference in the audience, i.e. we wondered why no one was sitting in the first 1/3 rows of the seats. Were they afraid of getting too close and being hauled onto stage? Anyway we got great seats, loved the program and walked back towards the marina stopping for a glass of white wine to celebrate our new friendships and discovery of these gem of a school. Soon it'll be time to practice again. I think I have agreed to play in a strings only concert November 16th in downtown La Paz! I may have to purchase some black pants and a white shirt, which is the normal orchestra attire, as this is something not aboard Shindig at the moment....
Enough about music, time to go Sailing!! Heading off north to the nearby Islands with Elaine and JD.