A little bit of a few things to share.
A friend of Dave's sent a video by Steve Peterson which you have to see (especially if you're a trombonist). We were totally hooked and watched all the movies on his website. He's a film maker, composer and trombonist. The music is really good, actually! Great playing too. Not into trombones? Well, how about the viola? (This one is my favourite movie on the site.)
This afternoon I'm going to "Lessons and Carols" at the Simpson College chapel. We were planning on going to the 5:00 performance/service, but Dave got a call this morning from the Simpson band director, sick with the flu, asking him to direct the brass ensemble at both services. There went our afternoon. So, I'm going to both services! 2:00 with one set of friends and 5:00 with another.
Yesterday's student Christmas recital went really well. I had five of my six students come, and despite the age differences (5, 7, 9, 12, 13 year olds), they seemed to all have a great time and enjoy all the activities. My five year old was late, so we started with "The Twelve Days of Christmas" game. I gave them a sheet with the various days' items ("Golden Rings", "Maid-a-Milking", "Calling Birds", etc.), and I had them put the day (1, 2, 3...to 12) next to the item. Then we sang the carol and I'd point at one of them (sometimes going through all four of them) when it came to the item in question. The student that had the most correct (I think they got 8 right) received a prize. Then we did an ice-breaker, where they all had to write down their favourite carol on a piece of paper and give it to me. They then had a piece of paper with several rows of everyone's names. I read the carol aloud and they circled whose favourite they thought it was. (They were guaranteed to get one right--theirs!) We then played a memory game, where I put 12 Christmasy and musical items on a cookie sheet (a treble clef, a Santa figurine, a bow, etc.), and they had 30 seconds to look at the items and 1 minute to write down as many as they could remember. I had the five year old whisper her answers to me and I wrote them down for her. The final game was "name that carol". I had them stay in the family room, and I went around the corner to the piano and played the melody of 10 Christmas carols, then when I was finished, they came around the corner, and I went down the answer list (the five year old actually won this one!), playing the full carol and we all sung them. Then they all played their songs, which took about 2 minutes altogether. We went back to the kitchen for hot chocolate and cookies, and they told me about their brothers, sisters, grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts, and whoever else they were seeing this Christmas. I've known for quite some time that all of this year's students celebrate Christmas, so it was nice to be able to do something like this without worrying about excluding anyone. When parents were picking them up (the hour flew by, and I didn't have 25 dead minutes to show "The Snowman" on DVD like I'd tentatively planned), all the kids got to find the present under the tree with their name on it. That was a hit. All in all, a very fun, very successful Christmas party!