cresttop logo

Welcome to The Friendship Touring Ensemble Blog

8 Rules For Caring For Your Instrument in the Hot and Cold Months

Emily Bauerlein, BSS Violin & Viola Instructor

Caring For Your Instrument in the Hot and Cold Months

 

Taking care of our instruments is one of the most important things to do. When we are living in an area, such as Buffalo, we can never really know what the weather will be from one day to the next. So here are a few tips to keep our instruments in mint condition during the hot and cold months.

Rule # 1:

First, it’s always best to put your instrument back in its case once you are done practicing.

Rule #2:

Another great rule is to never leave your instrument in the car where the temperature can be sweltering or frigid.

Rule #3:

Another great rule is to never leave your instrument in the car where the temperature can be sweltering or frigid.

Rule #4:

The best temperature for your instrument is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit

Rule #5:

The best temperature for your instrument is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit

Rule #6:

When you’re bringing your instrument inside during the cold months, be sure to let it warm up to room temperature before playing.

Rule #7:

Never store your instrument near a radiator, fireplace, or a hot/cold air vent.

Rule #8:

Humidifiers are a great way to maintain the balance of humidity in the room. (Ideal humidity is 40%-50%)

 

There are also small humidifiers to put in your instrument case as well.

In both hot and cold weather it’s smart to have your instrument acclimate to its surroundings.

These tips will help you have a happy instrument! Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

When should classical guitar strings be changed?

Peter Zalocha, BSS Guitar Instructor

When should classical guitar strings be changed?

Nylon guitar strings are constantly under approximately 90lbs of tension when in tune. That, and daily practice can seem to wear the strings out rather quickly! Generally, bass strings wear out more quickly than treble strings, and it makes sense to purchase extra sets of bass strings. When I buy strings for the guitar I play every day, I try to buy an extra set of basses along with a full set; so I change them twice as much.

You know your strings need to be replaced when they start to lose their tone. In other words, they don’t sound as warm/rich as they used to; instead they have a flat or weak sound. Sometimes this can evade you, and soon strings get visibly in need of replacement (i.e. They look dirty, wear marks over frets, or worse case, the bass strings begin to unravel).

Good strings aren’t cheap, but it could be worse (bassists).  I like to keep the strings fresh so I change them fairly frequently, which is tricky because there is a lot of stretching involved to get the strings to settle within reasonable proximity of standard tuning.  This becomes an endless struggle trying to maintain optimal tone and tuning together. My general rule is that once the strings have settled, it’s time to replace them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Is my child progressing at a normal rate?

Emily Greetham, BSS Violin Instructor

“Is my child progressing at a normal rate?” I heard this question many times during parent-teacher conferences at Buffalo Suzuki Strings. I found this question difficult to answer. After pondering this question a bit more, I have a few thoughts to share. I’m not sure there is a “normal” rate of progress in the Suzuki Method. Every child is unique and moves at his or her own developmental pace. With that being said, I do think that with excellent technique and diligent practice, students will move through the Suzuki books successfully. Just remember, proper technique, correct set-up, and consistent practice sessions are necessary in order to make progress!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suzuki Early Childhood Music: Zero through 3 is so young!

Kela Walton, Suzuki Early Childhood Music & Harp Instructor

Zero through age 3 seems so young, what can children possibly gain from the class?

 

These classes give children a big head start. Brain research tells us that much learning happens before age three. Science continues to prove that in these first years visual, spatial, musical, and social awareness begins. Our class requires an adult to accompany every child, so that each child benefits from the individual attention by a caregiver. This creates an optimal learning environment.

 

Over the years, I have personally witnessed children in our classes develop increased vocabulary, increased attention span, and stronger interpersonal social skills. Musically they can distinguish between high versus low pitches, loud versus soft dynamics, and fast versus slow tempos. They gain the ability to keep a steady beat, and those children who have been in the class for years can often actively listen then repeat rhythms and melodies (skills I’ve seen many older students struggle with in lessons). On a practical level they learn right versus left, counting, and pre-literacy skills. Perhaps most amazingly, very young children exhibit the ability to participate calmly in group activities with patience, as well as show compassion and empathy for the other children in our classes. I’ve seen babies as young as six months old focus while waiting to participate in an activity, and then smile when it is their turn!

 

A 2012 McMaster University study researching the impact of Suzuki Early Childhood Education (interactive music) classes versus passive music classes on babies ages 6-12 months found:

 

“Babies from the interactive classes showed better early communication skills, like pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. Socially, these babies also smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn’t go their way.”

“Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parents showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music. Specifically, they preferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Infants who participated in the passive listening classes did not show the same preferences. Even their brains responded to music differently. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones.”

McMaster University. “Babies’ brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk.” ScienceDaily, 9 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm>.

 

If you would like more information about Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes at Buffalo Suzuki Strings visit http://buffalosuzukistrings.org/infant-toddler-program/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What are Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes?

Kela Walton, BSS Suzuki Early Childhood Music and Harp Instructor

What are Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes? Are they related to the Suzuki Method?

 

Dr. Suzuki believed that a great window of opportunity in a child’s life is opened between birth and the age of three, and he encouraged Dorothy Jones to create a Suzuki Early Childhood Education curriculum. In this interactive music class children and parents sing fun action songs, act out rhymes, and play a variety of instruments while learning fundamental musical concepts. Just as importantly waiting for a turn, sharing, self-regulating emotions, and pre-reading skills are also developed by children in the class. All families are provided with a booklet and CD of songs from the class to listen to and sing at home.

 

Parents become excellent observers of their children as they watch them develop rhythmic and melodic awareness in addition to memory and social skills. Each class ends with parents journaling about their observations. Teachers help parents and children learn a repertoire of lullabies, songs, and rhymes during the class, then parents and children listen to the CD and sing with their children daily at home. In all areas of development children watch the actions of their parents and then gradually begin to imitate them. Much in the same way all parents around the world teach their children to speak and celebrate their children’s first words, the Suzuki method approaches music and early childhood education from a “Mother Tongue” philosophy. In every class teachers and parents celebrate the physical and musical milestones achieved by the children!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Why Practice Scales?

Shannon Levine, BSS Cello Instructor

Why practice scales?

 

Your teacher probably has many reasons for you to practice scales. Here are some of mine, in no particular order:

-Tone: develop a full, rich, consistent sound over a range of pitches

-Intonation: be able to play in tune in many different keys

-Ear training: know when you’re in tune

-Dexterity: create muscle memory for different finger patterns

-Shifting: be able to shift accurately to many positions

-Facility/Velocity: practice playing very quickly on a familiar set of notes

-Articulation: practice bow strokes and patterns repeatedly

-Fingerboard mapping: know where the notes are on the fingerboard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is a Scale?

Shannon Levine, BSS Cello Instructor

What is a scale?

In the most general terms, a scale is any set of repeating pitches.

In the majority of Western music, there are two standard types of scales: major and minor. If your teacher asks you to practice scales, these are probably what you’re going to play (unless it’s a chromatic scale, which is more advanced exercise).

Both major and minor scales contain eight pitches, one for each letter of the music alphabet plus a repeat of the first. For example, the C scale is C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C.

A scale can start on any note; the notes that follow are determined by a set pattern of half and whole steps. Every major scale has the pattern Whole Whole Half, Whole Whole Whole Half (this grouping of two and three whole steps separated by single half steps is the reason the piano black keys are in groups of two and three).

[What are half and whole steps? That’s a separate discussion, here]

Minor scales are a little more complicated. The basic pattern is Whole Half, Whole Whole Half, Whole Whole. [if you lay out the pattern, it’s the major scale starting at a different point!]. Because of the way composers write music in minor keys, there are three “flavors” of minor scales that have certain pitches adjusted higher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What does “pre-twinkle” mean?

Shannon Levine, BSS Cello Instructor
I signed my child up for lessons and went to the introductory meeting, and I keep hearing the term “pre-twinkle” —what does that mean?

 

It’s secret Suzuki teacher code 🙂

Joking aside, it’s a category label for young students who are just learning how to play their instrument. The first piece in each instrument’s repertoire is a set of variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, so students who are still learning things like how to act in a lesson, to cooperate in a group class, hold their instrument and bow, and how to make a sound are in the pre-Twinkle stage of learning.

It’s like baby steps: your child (probably) didn’t go from newborn stage to running around the house, right? Somewhere along the way, your child learned to sit, creep, crawl, kneel, stand, climb, stumble, walk, and run. Just like every child doesn’t spend the same amount of time on each step of learning to be mobile, every student develops the skills to play their first “real piece” at their own pace. It may seem like your child’s teacher is just playing games during lesson time, but those games have specific goals and require physical actions that develop individual skills before they are combined to play the first Twinkle variation – like learning to recognize and draw individual letters before reading and writing words.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

So, What Is A Scale?

Shannon Levine, BSS Cello Instructor

In the world of music, scales rule! If you are just starting lesson for your child or you are trying to figure out some of the lingo your new teacher is using, scales are probably one of them.

What is a Scale?

In the most general terms, a scale is any set of repeating pitches or notes that you can play.

In the majority of Western music, there are two standard types of scales: major and minor. If your teacher asks you to practice scales, these are probably what you’re going to play (unless it’s a chromatic scale, which is more advanced exercise).

Both major and minor scales contain eight pitches, one for each letter of the music alphabet plus a repeat of the first.

For example, the C scale is C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C.

A scale can start on any note; the notes that follow are determined by a set pattern of half and whole steps. Every major scale has the pattern Whole Whole Half, Whole Whole Whole Half (this grouping of two and three whole steps separated by single half steps is the reason the piano black keys are in groups of two and three).

[What are half and whole steps? That’s a separate discussion, here]

Minor scales are a little more complicated. The basic pattern is Whole Half, Whole Whole Half, Whole Whole. [if you lay out the pattern, it’s the major scale starting at a different point!]. Because of the way composers write music in minor keys, there are three “flavors” of minor scales that have certain pitches adjusted higher.


About Buffalo Suzuki Strings

The mission of the Buffalo Suzuki Strings is to teach children about music in a manner consistent with the philosophy and pedagogy developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. The BSS music education program is patterned after Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy that any child can learn to play an instrument when the environment surrounding the child is supportive in the most positive way.

Contact us to sign your child us for lessons today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cape Town News For Nicollette!

Editors note: First, Mary Cay Neal handed me this post just before we boarded our last flight from JFK to Buffalo.  Since being home (and back at work), this is the first opportunity I have had to type it up.  Second, this is a note Mary Cay Neal wrote specifically to Nicollette Solomon, a pioneer of the Suzuki movement in South Africa, but now living in the U.S.  Of course, we are all invited and encouraged to read and enjoy! 

Dear Nicollette,

Yes indeed I did pass out hugs from you to your Cape Town friends and colleagues!  We were welcomed to Cape Town by Titia Blake, Sonnika Venter, Maria Botha, Imogene Buchanan, and Kevin Cook (an American from Chicago who is now playing and teaching in Cape Town).  Susan Kunju brought 20 girls from Grahamstown.  The concert was in the chapel on the beautiful campus of Bishops College.  After our BSS rehearsal we,had a workshop/rehearsal with the South African students and teachers.  It was a great opportunity to get organized for the concert and share some new musical ideas.  We took three large bags of donations (books, strings, rosin, sponges, etc.) to Titia, Maria, and Susan.  BSS families enjoyed being part of our South African adventure by donating musical items for us to deliver to the teachers who are doing outreach.

Your country is beautiful!  We enjoyed Table Mountain, the seals, penguins , and the Cape of Good Hope.  Our drive around the peninsular was breathtakingly beautiful!  Our tour guide Pieter Myburgh, from ACFEA, was phenomenal!  I think your students would enjoy a visit to your home country.

Thank you for connecting us with your friends and colleagues.  We truly enjoyed our visit to South Africa!

Mary Cay

DSC_2004.JPG

 

DSC_2009.JPG

 

DSC_2008.JPG

 

DSC_2007.JPG

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Kelsey Killelea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Jimmy Berger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Elizabeth Vennari

One comment

  1. Richard Porter says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth. That brought tears to my eyes. Nice story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Elizabeth Augustine

One comment

  1. Richard Porter says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth. That is really interesting about why penguins are white on the front and dark on the back, and good point that one doesn’t expect to see penguins on a warm, sunny beach. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Heesung Kim

One comment

  1. Beomsu Kim says:

    Did you bring any flea from the flea market??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Danny Colucci

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Philomena Vennari

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Elena deRosas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Bailey Valint

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Roman DiPasquale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Simon Wu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Alana Eagan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Tara Porter

One comment

  1. Richard Porter says:

    It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small world :^)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Priya Pindiprolu & Ashley Kim

One comment

  1. Beomsu Kim says:

    I am so pride of you guys. By the way, 11 languages of National antheum??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Mandela Namaste

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Julia Anderson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

South Africa Video Blog: Arya Pindiprolu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pieter Myburg – Best Guide Ever!!

By Linda Ross. The first time I met Pieter Myburg, our South African currier/guide, I was filed with a sense of confidence that we would be in very good hands.  I was not to be disappointed!  Pieter saw to our every need and request with his signature “My pleasure!”  It was his mission that we see the sights, learn about and enjoy his beloved South Africa.  He was enthusiastic, sensitive, and caring as he got to know each one of us and attended to the many special needs and requests we presented.
In addition to sharing his South Africa with us, he “got it,” understanding our mission as we shared our music throughout our trip.  His final words to us as he bid us farewell in Cape Town were “If all American children are like these, America has a very bright future.”

L1080127

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reflections

By Monica Bates. As sit on this incredibly long flight back to Buffalo, I can’t stop myself from thinking back to when we played with the Buskaid Soweto String group. The group of kids, all ages alike were nothing short of exceptional.  As soon as we entered their school, they were so welcoming.  Their faces, as well as ours were illuminated with smiles and bright eyes.  
Although I thoroughly enjoyed every part of that day, my favorite was their reactions when we played their Anthem.  They immediately knew what it was and stood up while singing pridefully for their country.  It was an incredible sight to see.  I have the image of the kids faces engraved into the backs of my eyes.  
Another huge deal about the Buskaid group to me was how many cellists there were.  Being the only cellist in the Advanced Ensemble, it’s not often that I get the opportunity to play with other cellists around my level.  They we so amazing and quickly welcomed me with open arms!
It was a once in a lifetime experience and one that I’ll never for=get.  THe images of those kids and teens will forever be in my mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Umbuntu: A Concept We Could All Consider

By Arya Pindiprolu. One of the concepts in South Africa that fascinated me was Unbuntu.  Unbuntu means “I am because you are.” This concept fascinates me because in the U.S.A. we are a very individualistic society, while South Africa is a very collectivist society.  The Hector Peterson Memorial reflects this idea.  A young man named Mbuyisa picked up Hector after he was shot by the police during a peaceful protest.  Mbuyisa picked Hector up so his body wouldn’t be trampled and he could get it to Hector’s family.  Although it was heavy carrying Hector and perhaps even put him in harms way because the police were still shooting and some  students began throwing rocks, he didn’t consider leaving him.  Most of us would refer to this as a heroic act, but Mbuyisa’s mother didn’t see it that way; she didn’t call him a hero.  Instead she said he did what anybody would have done.  This also explains why the people of South Africa were all so welcoming.  Maybe we could all consider this concept and be more thoughtful throughout our daily lives.

3 comments

  1. Sujay Koneru says:

    That is a very powerful story Arya. I think it is great to learn from other societies and it sounds like you are really taking advantage of this amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to hearing more about what you learn and hopefully there will be some lessons for me to apply in my life.

  2. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Arya, I am so proud of you. The blog posts have been so mature. I know on this journey you have learned a lot about some of life’s most difficult realities and can not even imagine the various emotions you have all experienced. Umbuntu a beautiful concept to remebember.

  3. Vikas Meka says:

    Thank you for sharing Arya. So glad to hear you are experiencing the South African culture and discovering the contrasts with our own in the US. I am looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Robben Island: Personally Powerful for Me.

By Mandela Namaste. The other day we took a trip to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Robben Island was the prison designated for political prisoners – particularly those who opposed apartheid.

On the way to the island, we enjoyed incredible, breathtaking views of the Cape Town skyline, Table Mountain, and the surrounding areas.  It was a 45 minute ferry ride, so there was much to enjoy.  When we finallly arrived at Robben Island, we were taken on a tour of the prison.  One neat feature of Robben Island is that all of the prison tours are led by former political prisoners who were actually imprisoned on Robben Island.  Our guide was named Coli and he was a prisoner in the 1980s and was there when Nelson Mandela and others were still being held.  He showed us the different sections of the prison and took us to B Section where Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and the other leaders of the ANC and many other leaders of the anti-apartheid movement were held during their time on the island.

We were able to actually see Nelson Mandela’s cell as well many others.  Each cell had a picture of the last occupant and information about that individual.  In addition we also learned of the brutal conditions on the island and how the prisoners reacted to them.  Visiting the actual cells was very powerful for me personally – to see up close the small quarters each prisoner had and how they were able to survive and maintain hope.

The second part of the tour was a bus tour of the island itself.  Robben Island is home to lots of different wildlife and we were fortunately able to see some of the various species.  Something I found interesting was that people still live on Robben Island but not as prisoners.  After the dismantling of the prison, based on the consensus of the former prisoners, the prison was repurposed nicely as a museum and residential area for former prisoners and guards and their families.  Previously there were enough kids to have school on the island but now they take a ferry to Capetown each day to school there,

With incredible views and facinating stories Robben Island certainly did not disappoint.

DSC_1637 DSC_3379

4 comments

  1. Andrea deRosas says:

    So interesting that former inmates give the tours! Also fascinating that some of them chose to live on the island after their release. Thank you.

  2. Sue Reynolds says:

    Wonderful description! My friend Helen spent several weeks on the island as part of a project preserving the Penguins there, did you see any?

  3. Tanya Zabinski says:

    Talk about flipping things around- from a prison to a museum, from a prisoner to a museum guide and for Nelson Mandela to a president!
    I think for the guides, to show and teach visitors about their experience must help them feel their imprisonment wasn’t in vain. And for visitors, what a way to make history come alive. I think it’s an experience that all of you will tell your children and grandchildren.

  4. Maria & Dan Valint says:

    So happy to be back on the grid and able to post a comment!
    What a wonderful adventure and musical experience you all have had.
    We are very grateful and thankful for Mrs. Neal, Raechele, Amy & Linda for
    making the effort to be sure that we would be comfortable sending Bailey on this
    amazing trip of a lifetime! Thanks for talking us off the ledge!
    We know Bailey will have tons great stories to tell and we can’t wait to hear them all!
    Many thanks to David and Mrs. Harrington too. The confidence we have in all of you is what made this trip possible for Bailey!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Joy!

By Amy Reynolds-Namaste.  If I had to choose one word to describe this trip, it would be JOY!  The excitement built slowly as we entered the country and the joy was first evident when we performed with the African youth at Buskaid Soweto Strings for a musical exchange. That collaboration was the pure representation of joy and the love of music and performance that the Buskaid group demonstrated became our performance goal for the rest of the trip. 

There was also joy in learning about the amazing history and cultural traditions of South Africa through our guide and favorite South African, Pieter, other tour guides, and the various museums and memorials we visited.  BSS students soaked up the knowledge and remembered an amazing amount as evidenced by how many Rands they won when Mrs. Neal quizzed them on the bus (“Game On!”).

Both performances were steeped in joy which will be evident in the video when you see it. But it was especially visible in the faces of the South African youth that we performed with or collaborated with throughout our trip. Sometimes the connections were slow but they always took hold and their were always hugs and hi-fives by the time we left. The BSS students were amazing ambassadors and loved making new friends.  Everywhere we went audiences including other Suzuki teachers were in awe of their ability and poise. We were all so proud!!

Finally, seeing the animals each and every time whether it was the safari at Pilanesburg, the seals, the penguins or random baboons on the side of the road often led to squeals of delight. It was often difficult to peel them away frm these amazing, once in a lifetime sights, including the incredible South African vistas evident everywhere we went. After thousands of photos, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a more awe-inspiring experience. I believe each and everyone of us have been touched by this experience and I hope it inspires us and everyone we tell about our journey to try and make the world a better place. And it can all begin with finding joy in music and each other.

4 comments

  1. Art Levine says:

    Beautiful..

  2. Esther Roblin says:

    so sorry this fantastic trip has to come to an end, but I am sure it will live on in all the pictures, videos, blog comments, and especially your memories. Safe passage home!

  3. Nancy Anderson says:

    Sorry for this cliche but, Music (really does) Makes the World Go ‘Round, on so many levels. This trip,no doubt, will be a lifelong memory for our young musicians that will shape their musicianship as well as their understanding of the importance of experiencing other cultures. All the hard work (practicing) and planning that went in to this monumental endeavor has made this a phenomenal success. Bravo to ALL!

  4. Lauren Eastlack says:

    Loved following your journey through the blog and hearing from everyone! Congratulations to all of you – we are so proud of you! Thank you for representing BSS and all of WNY so wonderfully!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Last Night

By Julia Anderson.  Today was our last full day in Cape Town.  We spent most of the day traveling the island through a chain of sights.  This included a boat trip to see seals on an island, a ride up the Flying Dutchman to see a nature reserve, then to a beach to see the penguins.  Finally we retired to an African resturant to celebrate our last night here and also Mrs. Ross’s birthday.  The great thing about the resturant was that you got a variety of food you just had to try.  It was served in a sort of reverse buffet style (they brought all the food on the menue to you).  But it wasn’t just the great food that caused this resturant to steal the hearts of many, it was the service.  Between courses they would perform songs and dances right in front of our tables, using the Djembi drums, rattles, and African tribal clothing in their act.  And at some point, they would bring us out to dance with them -basically  though the process of grabbing our hands and pulling us out to dance.  I was one of the ones that got called to dance, and although it may have been slightly awkward at the start, by the end everyone was having a blast.  

This experience was actually amazing because I know there wouldn’t be anything even close to it in Buffalo.  The people working in the resturant had an enthusiam that fueled our participation in that small slice of their cultural traditions.  

One comment

  1. Tanya Zabinski says:

    It sounds like a grand finale to an incredible trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Singing with New Friends

By Elizabeth Sam. Yesterday we went to a singing workshop with other Suzuki violin students from the Eastern Cape of South Africa and a group of singers from a local high school.  It was an Amazing Experience! We walked in not knowing what to expect and walked out with huge smiles and a multitude of new friends.  After learning the words of the now very familiar South African National Anthem ( as well as discovering my “talent” for singing….joking) we were swarmed with conversations and pictures, making friends with those we had considered strangers just minutes before.  Our nearly futile attempts at pronouncing the words to the national anthem proved to be a fun challenge which we overcame with our newly acquainted friends and it was a great experience. 

One comment

  1. Tanya Zabinski says:

    I think you’re going to have to sing us a rendition when you get back!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Farewell Dinner

By Philomena Vennari.  Tonight we went to the Gold Resturant for a farewell dinner.  The food was about as exotic as you can get.  We ate ostrich and other creepy delicacies.  While we were eating, a group of dancers and singers performed for us.  Meanwhile we all got our faces painted.  The dancers were fantastic and they brought all 8 boys up to dance.  They pulled a couple of girls up occasionally.  Then they ran off to perform for other guests at the restaurant.  Today was Mrs. Ross’ birthday and we all surprised her at dinner by singing and bringing her cards.  The entire staff at the restaurant came running in a few minutes and sang and danced for Mrs. Ross.  Everyone was welcoming and friendly.

To top off the night, we drove halfway up Table Mountain and looked at the lights of the city.  Pieter then pointed our attention to the sky where we found the Southern Cross.  Now we are packing up for the trip home.  None of us can believe that is almost over.  We all want to stay here forever but at the same time I think we’re all looking forward to seeing family again and eating food we understand.
DSC_4214crop

DSC_4250

 

3 comments

  1. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Happy Birthday Mrs Ross what a wonderful way to spend your birthday. Looking forward to seeing you all very soon.

  2. Laura Schmidt says:

    A very happy birthday to you Mrs. Ross and a special thank you for all that you’ve done to make this tour such a success. Although the trip is coming to an end, you all have memories to last a lifetime.

  3. Leslie Salathe says:

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Ross, and thanks for everything. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the birthday celebration and your incredible trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Famous Robben Island

By Ashley Kim & Maja Neal.  On April 9th, we went to visit the famous prisons on Robben Island.  It was very special because Robben Island was where Nelson Mandela was held for 17 years of his life.  Another thing that was really interesting was that the man guiding us around the prison was an ex-political prisoner who had been held on Robben Island as well.  Also, we got to meet one of the former warders from the prison.  His name was Christoff Brand who became one of President Mandela’s best friends.  After the tour of the prison, we took a tour of the island itself.  It was cool to see the buildings that were built really long ago.  There were also many graves for lepers (people with the disease called leprosy) that used to live on the island long before it was a prison.  If you had leprosy, you were sent to Robben Island, to be out of sight and out of mind (there was no cure for leprosy). 

Here is a fun fact: Nelson Mandela’s prison number was 466/64 because he was the 466th prisoner to arrive on Robben Island in 1964.

One comment

  1. Beomsu Kim says:

    Very symbolic place. I can feel that Nelson Mandela’s human spirit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enlightening and Awesome

Editor’s note: this message is from Marlene Harrington, longtime BSS piano accompanist, and veteran BSS Tour Staff.  We are thrilled she was able to join us on this tour and so are the students, especially the four soloists.

By Marlene Harrington.  I am so glad I made the decision to come on this South African tour.  It has been enlightening and awesome in so many ways.  First of all – this marvelous group of young people from BSS and especially the four soloists I was privledged to accompany.  Then we have had one awesome experience after another – collaboration with Buskaid Soweto Strings, the Apartheid Museum, Easter Mass with a special lunch at Robbie’s Place (what a welcome we had there!), Pilanesberg with all the animal sightings – to name only a few.  Along the way we are also learning about the history and culture of South Africa, a country we are truly coming to appreciate.

One comment

  1. Darlene Eagan says:

    We are also happy you decided to join the tour! All the remarks have been so extremely positive, giving us all delight in sharing the joy of this experience!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cape Town: awesome experiences, challenging WiFi

Hi everyone-

You may have noticed that we have been posting only text blogs the past couple of days, with no pictures or video. Unfortunately, this is due to very poor internet service in our hotel. The wifi barely works in our rooms, and even when we connect in the lobby we have not been able to get pictures or video to upload. So while we will continue to post text blogs, I’m afraid the MANY pictures and videos we have been taking may have to wait until our return to Buffalo for posting. But don’t worry, we’ll share everything when we get home!

We’ve had a wonderful couple of days so far in Cape Town. I’ll write a short version now, as it’s late at night and we have another early morning tomorrow. Yesterday we took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain: wow, what stunning views! We had a beautiful sunny day (Actually we’ve had great weather throughout our trip), and we were able to view Cape Town and the Altantic Ocean from on top of the mountain. We went directly from Table Mountain to our concert venue at Bishops College. We had a good rehearsal, a really fun and productive group class with our new Suzuki friends, and a stunning combined concert! The BSS program was awesome, and we continue to be moved by the national pride we see each time we play the South African Anthem and everyone stands and sings along. And it was wonderful to collaborate with Suzuki teachers from all over the Cape Town area, including students and teachers who had traveled great distances to be with us. The students learned so much from each other as they made new friendships, and of course we played many Twinkles at the end. 

Today we took the boat to Robbin Island. We again had beautiful weather, and enjoyed stunning views of Table Mountain, Cape Town, and the Atlantic Ocean as we traveled by boat to this historic location. Once on Robbin Island, we took a tour of the prison where President Nelson Mandela spent 18 of the 27 years he was incarcerated. Our tour guide was a former prisoner of Robbin Island, and it was a very powerful experience as he led us through the prison, including a look at Mr. Mandela’s cell. We had a bus tour of the island, and then took the ferry back to Cape Town. 

After lunch at the V&A Waterfront, we headed out for our singing workshop! This was such a wonderful collaboration between a fantastic young choir and their teacher, BSS, and a group of Suzuki students who had traveled far to be at our concert the day before, and really wanted to spend more time with us. This turned out to be a great collaboration, as all three groups of young musicians played, sang and danced together. Wait until you hear the wonderful sounds we recorded today, and see the smiles of all the students!

Tomorrow: penguins!

-David Levine

8 comments

  1. Laura Schmidt says:

    Hi David, thanks for the update, especially considering how late it is there. I really appreciate each and every post and continue to be amazed with all that is done in just one day!

  2. Andrea deRosas says:

    Too bad about the wifi, but appreciate the posts! Can’t wait to see the pics and videos!!

  3. J Vennari says:

    Thanks for the write-up. Looked elsewhere to find images of the table-mountain cable cars. Stunning. We look forward to all the photos and videos!

  4. Nancy Anderson says:

    Keep those posts coming. Everyday we are delighted to read more about this amazing trip. Hopefully our Buffalo weather will cooperate for your return on Sunday!

  5. Lisa and Dave Bates says:

    Thank you for the effort and time that it takes to keep everyone back at home involved in the experiences you are having. Glad the weather has been holding out for you. Can’t wait to here how the penguin excursion goes.

  6. Mark Bauerlein says:

    Advanced Ensemble and Chaperones,
    I cannot begin to express my happiness for you as I follow your journey. What a fantastic experience you are having. The warm, friendly interactions you are having with the South African students go a great distance in creating a better world. My happiness for you is only exceeded by my pride in being associated with such a wonderful group of young people who represent the best of Buffalo Suzuki Strings, Western New York and the United States.
    Looking forward to watching you perform at the Reunion Concert.
    Sincerely,
    Mark Bauerlein

  7. Art Levine says:

    Really enjoying the blog. What a fantastic trip and experience..

  8. Laurie Colucci says:

    Thank you for all of the posts. I look forward to reading about what you did each day. This trip is such an amazing experience for all – even for me sitting at home living the trip through your eyes. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hello From South Africa, Nicolette!

Editor’s Note: this post if from Mary Cay.  It is written especially for Nicolette Solomon, a fellow Suzuki Teacher, originally from South Africa but now living in the U.S.  Of course, we are all invited to read and enjoy too.  

By Mary Cay Neal.  Hello From South Africa, Nicolette!  We are having a wonderful time in your beautiful country!  People are so friendly and welcoming.  Everywhere we go people on the street say “We’re glad you are here – enjoy and come back!”
It was especially fun to finally meet your Johannesburg/Pretoria Suzuki teacher friends in person.  As you can see from the photos, I delivered those hugs from you!  They planned a warm welcome in a beautiful concert hall complete with “Tea” after our rehearsal and South African food for supper.  Our BSS students enjoyed swapping stories with the SA students during suppertime.   
We were inspired to give our gift of music then play together with the SA students – a real friendship exchange of over 125 students and teachers, playing together.  Thank you Dr. Suzuki for giving us a common repertoire that allows us to collaborate so easily!   I felt like he was smiling down on us and saying: This is my vision – that children all over the world play music together!”
Thank you, Nicolette, for bringing us together in friendship!

7 comments

  1. Mary Cay, this made my day. I have been following your blog every day! I suppose you know that I was the first trained Suzuki teacher in South Africa and pioneered the whole movment there, so this is terribly important to me. I was so moved to hear your kids play our National Anthem too. It meant a lot to me and I am sure, to all my South African friends. Have you met with Maria Botha and Titia Blake yet? PLEASE, huge hugs there too. I can’t wait to speak with you when you get back. Thank you for this huge undertaking. Words cannot express my joy. Much love, Nicolette

    • David Levine says:

      Hi Nicolette! We did indeed meet Maria and Titia yesterday, and Mary Cay passed along your hugs! We had a wonderful joint concert, and it was so inspiring to see our students play together with children who had traveled from all over the Cape Town area. Many new friendships have been made along with music. Sorry there have been no pictures on the blog lately, we are having a difficult time with the wifi at our hotel in Cape Town, and we’ve been lucky to be able to post text alone. When we get home we’ll share many pictures and videos!

      -David

  2. Bernadette Sam says:

    I love it!
    Your blogs have been fantastic. We continue to look forward to reading them each day. What an adventure this has been for you all. THANK YOU, Mrs, Neal (& ALL chaperones) for all of your hard work and dedication in making this happen for our children. You are the best!

  3. Darlene Eagan says:

    Mary Cay and Nicolette: Reading your messages brings to the forefront the true meaning for BSS to go on a tour. Thank you!

  4. Esther Roblin says:

    It really is “a small world after all!” What wonderful connections.

  5. Joe DiPasquale says:

    I feel that all of you are the best ambassadors Buffalo and Western New York could have sent!

  6. Richard and Margaret Porter says:

    Mary Cay,
    Congratulations on 46 years of promoting World Harmony Through Music in the spirit of Dr. Suzuki (on six continents)! Awesome accomplishment! Bravo!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Living the Lion King

By Prya Pindiprolu.   The BSS Advanced Ensemble had the opportunity to go to Pilanesburg National Park to experience an African safari.  We were lucky enough to see 3/5  of the Big Five.  The Big Five are the 5 animals that hunters had difficulty killing.  This includes Rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants,  and water buffalos.  After being at the park for 20 minutes, we received an alert that there was a lion hunting.  Our truck  rushed over to that part of the park where we saw the lion eyeing the wildebeast.  Everyone abruptly quieted down.  The lion was so close to us, that we had to make sure we were fully in the truck.  Eventually we began to see more lions.  It was probably about 5 lions that were visable.  Aside from the Big 5, we saw giraffes, springbok, zebras, gunea fowl, hippos, crocodiles, kudu, rabbits, antelopes, wildebeast, and impalas.  

One of the most difficult things was absorbing and capturing all of the breathtaking views.  We may have come to the park to see the Big 5 but the landscapes and the environment was just as amazing.  As we continued our journey in Pilanesburg National Park, we kept looking very closely for cats and other big animals .  But, as we kept going, the rocks started to look like other animals. 

The hardest part of this experience was clearly distincting reality from fantasy.  Coming into the safari you might have a nice picture of the LIon King, but then you realize Warthogs and lions aren’t friends.  You have to come in with an open mind and be thankful for what you see.  Our guide thought we were so lucky because we saw two herds of elephants.  He thought the elephants were folowing us.  

Lastly, an interesting fact: zebras are into fashion.  They strut and pose and it is a killer print!  

6 comments

  1. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Priya, do I sense a new fondness for animal prints? Nice post. I am glad you are having a memorable experience in Africa and am excited to hear all about it when you return.

  2. Andrea deRosas says:

    We wish we could have been there!

  3. Laura Schmidt says:

    Killer print indeed!

  4. Sujay Koneru says:

    Sounds like a once in a lifetime experience. I can’t wait to see pictures and also watch Lion King with you Priya and get your new take on it after these experiences.

  5. Lauire Colucci says:

    Lions, zebras, hippos oh my! It sounds so exciting. I am glad that you were all fully in the truck when you saw the lion. 🙂 It looked mighty hungry. I can’t wait to see more pictures and hear all of the stories when you get back.

  6. Vikas Meka says:

    Priya, so glad to hear you are experiencing South Africa and seeing the animals in the wild! Cant wait to see your killer print outfits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tales of our Safari Adventure

By Elizabeth Augustine. At first, I was not particularly happy about waking up at 5:00 AM, but it was worth it.  Our safari began very early because the animals are more actve at dawn and dusk.  It was quite cold and dark outside when we got on the bus to Pilanesburg, but by the time we arrived the sky had started to lighten.  It was still chilly and got worse when the safari vehicles started to move and the wind rushed past, but it wasn’t too bad.

The scenery was beautiful especially when the sky was changing colors for sunrise.  We didn’t spend much time looking at the sky though, since we were more interested in finding animals.  And find them we did; in three hours we spotted hippos, warthogs, a hyena, impala, kudus, giraffees, elephants, a crocodile, rhinos, a cape buffalo, zebras, and wildebeasts.  At one point our sarfi vehicle suddenly started drinving madly down the road because a lion had been sighted a mile or two away.  It was still there when we arrived along with two lionesses.  They came quite close to the safari vehicle.  They ignored us but it was still a little frightening.  We watched them for a long time, until they moved out of view presumably to hunt.

After our first safari we went back to the hotel for a few hours and did nothing that would interest you.

We returned to the safari at about 3 p.m.  We got into the safari vehicle and set off through the game preserve.  It was not as exciting as the first time because we had already seen most of the wildlife.  After a while, whenever someone spotted an impala or a zebra, no one gave them more than an unterested glance or perhaps an “Oh another zebra: they taste delicious. ”

We did spend more time enjoying the scenery in the evening, at sunset we drove to the top of a mountain and got out of the vehicle to take photos.  When the sun had set, we got back in the vehicle and looked for animals using spotlights.

We had dinner in the game reserve (we were told not to wander off by ourselves because we would be eaten) and spent some time singing songs around the campfire. And that concludes the tales of our adventures on the safari.
P.S. Any worried parents can relax – No one was injured, attacked, or eaten.

image

image image

 

4 comments

  1. Andrea deRosas says:

    So glad no one was eaten! Sounds like an amazing day. Great write up, Elizabeth! I laughed, I cried…

  2. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Singing songs around a campfire on a game reserve sounds like a perfect ending to another amazing day of adventure in South Africa. Can’t wait to hear more.

  3. Mary Killelea says:

    Elizabeth, I LOVE your humor!!

  4. Sue & Grace Czech says:

    Kelsey, Grace enjoyed the videos very much – especially the Safari! Have a fabulous time the rest of your trip, what fun you all must be having, the trip of a lifetime!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Apartheid Museum

By Alana Eagan.  On Saturday morning we took a trip to the Apartheid Museum.  Even the entrance of the museum was moving as there were separate entrances labeled “Whites” and “Non-Whites.”  The temporary Nelson Mandela exhibit truly showed all aspects of his life and all of the hats he wore – leader, comrade, negotiator, prisoner, statesman.  Quotes of his were printed on the wall above pictures and TV clips.  I found it especially moving that before and after prison, President Mandela stated almost identical views throughout prison, he remained strong and did not abandon his hope.  In the photography exhibition , photos of segration were very sad to see but there were also examples of culture and life during the mid-90s.  On one wall, they had listed all of hate laws put in place under apartheid.  The early laws were very basic, but grew more specific over time as people found loopholes.  The most emotional part for me was the movie on the Turbulent 80s.  The 1980s in South Africa were extremely violent and it was hard to watch such violence and people hurting each other.  It provided a stark contrast between South Africa during civil unrest and South Africa now as it is a beautiful, peaceful, and friendly country.  TV clips of previous political leaders showed propaganda defending apartheid and trying to make it sound beneficial.  Propaganda laws and separation are similar themes that were found in history from other parts of the world.  Even the way the museum was built was symbolic.  In the beginning , earlier in time the exhibits were dark and dim, as we were in the basement.  But by the end, after Mr. Mandela was elected, we were surrounded by joyous light and vibrant colors.  Overall, the Apartheid Museum was truly an uplifiting experience and each person that left felt free and thankful with hope for the future, unburdened by the ills of the past.

2 comments

  1. Laura Schmidt says:

    I can only imagine the mixed feelings that accompanied this tour. Thank you for sharing Alana.

  2. Darlene Eagan says:

    I loved reading this – how the museum has been designed so that in a small way a visitor can feel the difference that ending apartheid brought to this country. The message of hope never wavered: consistency and dedication to hope remained steady. Your experience today is only possible because these events occurred.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pilanesburg: BSS on Safari!

A very short video compilation of some of our safari adventures in Pilanesburg. More video and pictures to come when we get home, we had an AMAZING day!

 

15 comments

  1. Andrea deRosas says:

    Wow, just wow.

  2. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Wow really cool! Can’t believe how close you were to the animals, even the Lions. Arjun wishes he was there too.

  3. Laura Schmidt says:

    So close I could see the lion’s scars!

  4. Dave and Lisa Bates says:

    Thank you for the great video. That was awesome to watch, can’t imagine how it must be to see it live! What a beautiful country!

  5. J Vennari says:

    The lion sleeps tonight!

  6. Darlene Eagan says:

    I found myself holding my breath and whispering as the lions stepped out! Awe-inspiring

  7. Maria Valint says:

    We’re Speechless!
    Looking forward to the new blogs and videos each day!
    Can’t wait to hear more about the Amazing Safaris at Pilanesburg!!

  8. Art Levine says:

    Amazing!!

  9. Iris Wu says:

    Amazing!!! Holding my breath while watching the lions so close to you guys.

  10. Amanda Bauman says:

    You saw lions! Luck was on your side!

  11. Esther Roblin says:

    i think after the safari, ordinary life will seem very tame!!! What wonderful experiences you all are having–nature, history and great music. I look forward to reading all the student comments on the blog.

  12. Rose says:

    Wow. A mom sitting here at home watching these beautiful animals live and up close. I’m envious.

  13. Rose says:

    More student blogs!!!

  14. Beomsu Kim says:

    Eugene wants go there toooooooooooooooooo…..

  15. Tim Valint says:

    I am so jealous of all of you right now! This video is better than any I have seen on Animal Planet lately!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Video Blog: Baily Troyer

One comment

  1. Laura Schmidt says:

    Baily, you turn down blue cheese for being too gamey, but you ate zebra!! I sure hope you didn’t see any stripes on the pieces you ate! Glad you were able to balance it off with ice cream and fruit, nice to know some things don’t change. BTW, it’s clear that this new way of life suits you well. SOOO great to see and hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Video Blog: Monica Bates

4 comments

  1. Laura Schmidt says:

    Music, safari’s AND NOW saving lives!! What a story. Glad you girls were there.

  2. Dave and Lisa Bates says:

    You go girls! Swim lessons did come in handy!

  3. Suchitra Koneru says:

    So proud of you girls. I am glad you were there to help.

  4. Nancy Anderson says:

    I know that family is thankful you were there to save their daughter!
    We are enjoying your comments immensely! Loved the videos especially! Hope your are getting some good photos and videos Julia!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Video Blog: Maja Neal

2 comments

  1. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Thank you for sharing this piece of history with us. . What a special memorial to visit.

  2. Darlene Eagan says:

    An upclose and personal view of a piece of history that impacted change in a society. I also found myself enjoying the view out the window 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Here & There 2

Well, it is Monday afternoon and I have just had a chance to type and upload five posts from the kids (Tara Porter, Elizabeth Vennari, Roman DiPasquale, Simon Wu, Baily Troyer).  The post are fun, interesting, and certainly give you an insight into their interpretations of their experiences.

This morning we woke up at 5:00 AM to go out on our 1st safari.  It was absolutely amazing and unlike anything I have every experienced.  We saw a lion pride in the middle of a hunt.  An impatient young lion charged a bit too early and lost the family’s meal.  I absolutely recognized the look the dad lion gave the teenager.  I have given that same look myself.  We also had giraffes cross the road directly in front of us.  Both tripped just a bit.  We also saw a rhino family hanging out within 10 feet of our vehicle.  It was absolutely amazing!  I am sure some of the kids will be writing about this soon.  We leave for our next safari in less than an hour!  I am so excited!

I will post a few photos here of some the stuff that has been mentioned.

L1080034

DSC_2063

 

7 comments

  1. J Vennari says:

    Lions and rhinos and teens, oh my!

  2. Laura Schmidt says:

    Not only are you relating to people of a different culture, but also the wildlife! I expect everyone will come back a bit changed from all that you are seeing (and eating!!!). Thanks for the photos. It appears the teenager appetite is being satisfied and everyone looks so happy and smiley!

  3. Beomsu Kim says:

    Eugene said ” I want to go there!!!!”

  4. Andrea deRosas says:

    You guys look so beautiful in your Easter best! Tell Elena that her ENTIRE family is eagerly following the blog. We love sharing in your adventures and are so very proud (and a little jealous).

    • Sue Woelfel says:

      This is such an amazing experience for all! Our family (Elena’s Aunt Susie, Uncle Arnie, cousins Zach and Katie) are following all your adventures! Thanks for posting!

  5. Esther Roblin says:

    Wow!! Every day sounds so special–so much to learn, experience, (and eat). All the blogs are great to read and let us know what a wonderful time you all are having.

    )

  6. Mary Killelea says:

    It is so great to see and hear of your adventures!! The Killelea family is enjoying keeping up on the blog so much!! Sending kisses and hugs to Kelsey and all of you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Video Blog: Elizabeth Sam

4 comments

  1. J Vennari says:

    We are back home watching all this with keen interest. Looks unique and terrific. Africa is country I’ve always wanted to visit.

  2. Bernadette Sam says:

    Hello BSS touring ensemble!
    We are so excited for y’all (we are currently visiting our son Nick in North Carolina -haha)
    Reading all of these blogs has been fantastic! WOW! Your experiences so far sound like they have been nothing short of AMAZING!
    Lions actually hunting prey? Who ever gets to see that in their lifetime? ….and the giraffes ~ oh! They are my favorite animal! Sounds like you were close enough to almost see their blue tongues!
    The Buskaid group in Johannesburg? An incredible experience. What you shared together, priceless. You are making memories for yourselves that you will never forget. You represent The absolute Living Legacy of Dr. Suzuki. We couldn’t be more proud, back home. We look forward to reading more about the trip each day.
    Also…I am so curious to know about how the ZEBRA & CROCODILE were prepared, and what they taste like?

    -The SAMs

  3. John "Rattlesnake Eggs" Martin says:

    Lizzie! Enjoyed your Blog, and it sounds like a wonderful place to be performing your beautiful music for the people of South Africa. You gave a real nice speech that warmed my heart. Keep the good work and spreading the beautiful music of your group and continue to learn and have fun doing it.
    Lizzie, tell your colleage Baily Troyer that Zebras have stripes on the outside and not on meat one eats!

  4. Nick Sam says:

    Poonch – I’m sure you guys are having a great time over there. Reading this blog makes me want to go back on tour so badly – it’s bringing back so many memories! Make sure to soak everything in and TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES. I’m so proud of your hard work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Robby’s Place

By Baily Troyer.  Never before have I seen a restaurant owner so cordial. At Robby’s Place in Pimville, Soweto we all enjoyed a homemade cooked lunch and dessert, From the looks of it from the street, Robby’s Place didn’t look like much, but it was definitely a place I will always remember. There was pop, drum sticks, green beans, spiced carrots, sponge bread, and plenty more. And when I mean home cooked I mean it’s true. As Robby talked to my table, several servers continually brought out new dishes, while clearing out the old ones. Overall, it was Robby’s hospitality that really sold me. He was very enthusiastic about getting to know us rather than trying to sell us his food. On that note, Robby and his attitude is similar to that of common pedestrians. When BSS was given a tour of Soweto, whenever I waved, people on the street would always wave back and it was was really comforting. In the US if you waved to someone on street you would either get a creeped out look or the middle finger. Overall, through Robby’s Place and the tour of Soweto, South Africans have the wonderful trait of being welcoming and definitely cordial.

2 comments

  1. Laura Schmidt says:

    Baily, it sounds like you’re really soaking in your experiences – I’m so glad. Reading your post I can almost taste the food and feel the friendliness. I can’t wait to hear and see more!

  2. Hi Baily,

    I got all hungry reading your report. I think you meant “pap” when you wrote pop. Pronounced “pup”….maize meal, cooked slowly and stirred till thick and sticky. How I miss the food back home!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be Happy!

By Simon Wu.  Upon entering Regina Mundy, there was already a vibrant energy that swept throughout the vast church. People were singing and clapping despite the fact that it was still early in the morning. In contrast, from long sermons in many American churches, the bulk of the time was spent on the music. Many songs were with the African drum (Djembe) and all of them had an amalgam of melodoes and harmonies. Although most songs were sung in Zulu, I hummed and swayed and began to feel a connection with all of the joyous South Africans. At one point, I started dancing with the woman next to me, and we were smiling along with everyone else during this Easter celebration. During a song where people down the aisles and singing, my row of fellow Advanced students joined in the line. We clapped, sang, danced, and laughed with a happy energy that seemed ubiquitous. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that should be happy with everything we do. The South Africans have taught me to enjoy life a little more (and also to sing and dance a little more).

5 comments

  1. Leslie Salathe says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate Easter morning. Thanks for sending us all the posts. They are amazing.

  2. Laura Schmidt says:

    Well said! We can all learn much from their outgoing and positive nature.

  3. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Simon, I love the happy energy you are describing and can’t wait to experience it at the reunion concert.

  4. Joe dipasquale says:

    Sounds like so much fun!! You guys are making us jealous.

  5. Iris Wu says:

    Positive spirit will always bring great rewards to your life. Be happy and enjoy the rest of the trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *