Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ohio Suzuki Tour Group in Cusco!

Back in September our director gave me the task of setting up a joint concert that would include our students and students from an Ohio Suzuki school. After a fair amount of emails between myself and the tour agent, the day of the concert arrived. A group of 19 students between the ages of 9 and 18 years old arrived on March 20th and played that evening at the San Pedro Hogar de las NiƱas, an orphanage for girls in Cusco. 9 of our more advanced students played alongside the group at the end during the Suzuki repertoire.

After meeting Susan and Douglas Locke, the directors, I was excited to learn that they know Dr. Andy Carlson, who was the music dept. chair at Denison University where I studied. I played bluegrass under his direction. What a small world!

The tour group played a wonderful set list that was a good mix of romantic, classical and fiddle music! One piece that was quite stunning was the rendition of Brahms String Quartet No. 1 Finale. The violinist were so animated and played excellently. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Danza de la Hacienda. It was obvious that it the favorite piece for many of the students. All of them were smiling and enthusiastic. I hope some of that rubbed off on our students. Sometimes they play and look so bored. I always say, if you look bored, the audience will be bored.

The group also played a set of fiddle tunes which made me happy since I haven't heard any live bluegrass music since college. We were going to do an Andean music set but there wasn't enough time to get it together and practice beforehand. Either way it was a great concert and I am so happy that our students had the opportunity to see what possibilities are out there if they just put in a little more time and dedication to their instruments.

One of my favorite parts was seeing the kids interact and try and communicate with each other. One of the wonderful things about Suzuki method is that no matter where you are in the world, if the Suzuki method is being taught, there will always be a common repertoire no matter what the difference in spoken language may be.

This concert took place in an orphanage and many little girls were able to enjoy this concert. Afterward the girls sang for the group and expressed their gratitude for them coming to give them a private concert. It was really cute. I wonder if Qantu has given any concerts to orphanages. I will have to look into that.

Overall, is was a wonderful night and and excellent experience for all involved.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Visa Denied

I am so bummed. Marco was denied a visa to the States today. They are worried he is going to go to the States and try and stay there. It makes me so mad!! He did everything correctly and he go denied because he told the truth about his civil status here in Peru and because of that no visa. He just wanted to visit! It's so frustrating that thousands of people enter the United States every year illegally and end up staying there for a long time or becoming citizens and those that want to come visit and do it legally are punished and denied visas. With a visa he would be under surveillance so it wouldn't be like he was undocumented or anything like that. I really don't understand. I guess all the embassy sees is that he wants to run away to the States with some girl he met in Cusco. There is nothing I can do and I can't wallow so I will go to the States in May and enjoy my time as much as possible and come back to Peru in July.

Speaking of going to the States. I am actually kind of nervous about it. I am not looking forward to the reverse culture shock. I really like my life here in Peru with my job and how my routine is, my boyfriend, and the cost of living. I miss my family and some friends in the states but I am so happy here. It's going to be really weird. I am looking forward to going to camp though. I can't wait to see people and play outdoors all day. That will be good for me.

All in all I have to stay positive. Even though I have had some tears they won't do anything and if it takes a few more years before Marco can actually come to the states with me, so be it. The most important thing to me is that we are happy together. We'll get to Evanston one day and he'll finally be able to see where I grew up but for now, we'll continue on with our lives in Peru. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Amy and The Soul System

I am singing and playing in another band! Well, there are only two of us at this point but we are going to get bigger with a bassist and a drummer next month hopefully. My friend Claudio, whom I met while living at Yamanya hostel and whom I played a few gigs with during that time, asked me if I wanted to sing with him again and add my violin. We sing soul, jazz, blues, and even some rockabilly. It's really fun because it is a sound that is really different than that of The Guardians. On top of that we are working on a jazz, samba, and bossa nova set that is just instrumental so that we can play in more luxurious hotels and restaurants where we can make the big bucks. :) We have a weekly gig at Frogs on Thursdays now and at Dragon's Palate on Friday night.

The only problem I have right now is that I need to buy an amp, a mic stand, a mic and a cord. I am thinking it will be around $200 for all of it but it will be worth it since we would like to keep playing in places like Dragon's Palate and in other restaurants and hotels that don't have any sound systems.