July 14 & 15, 2014

Monday was a classroom day and out early to work on curriculum projects.  I’m designing a week of activities so that our school can celebrate Friday September 2014, the 200th birthday of the Star Spangled Banner.  I found out the our wonderful PTO will donate the money to pay for the fabric we need to make our 30′ by 42′ life-size flag.  This is great news, since our awesome art teacher has gotten as excited about it as I am!  I know the students will love this project also. What a great way to kick off our school year.

Our Institute was joined by actor David Prather, who did a fun poetry interpretation of Patriotism.  He will be involved in the workshops this week with more poetry and ideas on how to integrate theatre in the class.

David Prather

David Prather

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Tuesday was our last official field trip into Washington, DC with a trip to the Naval Yard.  I’d never been to this side of the capital.  It’s the home of the President’s Own US Marine Corp Band.  This sounds like the perfect job if you are musician.  They apply in a blind audition and if accepted they become Marines without going through boot camp.  They practice several hours a day and play several times a week in official functions.  They have an 80% retention rate.  Once most land this gig, they retire from the Marine Corp here.  They are at the beck and call of the President.  Our guide said that there have been many instances of letters (in the old days) arriving from the White House saying “The President requests you perform TONIGHT.”  Someone in our group asked a “what if the President asked you to….” question.  She said the answer to any question from the White House is ALWAYS “Yes, Sir!”

There is a library that houses all the historical music scores, many from John Phillip Sousa.  Sousa’s father enlisted him in the Marine band when he was 13 after he had tried to run away and join a circus band.  He was in the Marine band from 1867 – 1875, when he was discharged and formed his own band.  He returned in 1880 to direct the band and left again in 1892.

Today we were treated to a rehearsal of the Marine Band as they prepared for a concert on the steps of the Capital on Wednesday evening, as part of the Capital summer series.

The commandant's house, Sousa and the US Marine Band

The commandant’s house, Sousa and the US Marine Band

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A couple of us had a decent lunch at The Matchbox on 8th Street.  I was determined to enjoy a nice restaurant, since College Park is not a destination for gourmands.  I’d say it’s beneath my standards…and mine aren’t THAT high.  Lovely meal…after we had ordered and were waiting on our food, the hostess came and apologized and asked us if we would mind moving because she had a large party that needed the corner we were in.  She assured us that if we agreed that we would enjoy a free dessert.  So after the table of six new moms and their SIX newborns sat down across from us, I was wondering about how sane we were to be so nice and move for them.  Until I was served this…..then all was good.

Deep dish Pecan Pie with Bourbon sauce......omg!

Deep dish Pecan Pie with vanilla gelato and Bourbon sauce……omg!

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