Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Artist of the Week: Reflections

This week’s artist is Nate in recognition of his achievements in the Reflections program with a bit of a shout out for Meryl’s niece Sorena.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Every year the national PTA organization, through the schools, sponsors an art competition called Reflections. A theme is announced and students can enter in any or all of five categories: dance, literature, music, photography and visual arts. The categories are further broken down into age groups: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth, middle school and finally high school. I had been aware of the program, but none of my children had been particularly interested until this year. Nate’s piano teacher has a composition camp in the summer and she brought up this year’s theme “My Favorite Place” as a starting point for her students. Nate was inspired and composed “Laser Quest.”

When the deadline loomed for submissions in Reflections he was still game. So we made a quick and dirty recording using the cheap microphone that was included with my computer and I burned it on a CD in both wav file and as an MP3. I dropped it off at the school with a clear photocopy of the score and the filled submission form.

Much to our delight Nate was notified in December that he was the first place winner in music for his age division (K-2) at our school. His packet was then being forwarded to the county level. He was invited to attend a county reception on January 27 and a school reception in late February.

This was great news, but it initially was problematic with our travel plans for the wedding I wrote about yesterday. Originally we planned to drive up Saturday, leave the kids with the Grandparents on Sunday while Larry and I go to the wedding and then all head back down on Monday. If we were going to attend the reception, this would not work.

Larry and I mulled it over when we hit upon the idea of his mom and step dad coming down on Saturday while we flew out Sunday. We could go to the reception with the added bonus of Grandma and Grandpa coming too.

On the Tuesday last week I got a call from the county PTA rep, it turns out that Nate’s entry made the cut and was going onto the next level. Normally we would not find out until the reception, but she was having problems copying the disk and wanted to know if I had another copy. This of course was just after I had dropped off my computer for repairs. I wouldn’t be getting it back until Wednesday and the material was due Friday. After a bit of back and forth it turned out that first CD player the rep tried was too old, but that her daughters had no problems with it. I didn’t have to come up with a new copy after all. But I was now privy to some exciting information!

The reception was well run, well except for the fact that Nate spaced while waiting on stage to receive his certificate for getting first place in his school. Larry figured out what happened and was able to send Nate up to get it.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

This is Nate checking out his certificate of acheivement.

Then it was time to announce the winners on the county level. Nate indeed was the overall winner for Primary (aka K-2) Music in the county. This time Nate was more on the ball and I was able to get a picture of him receiving his certificate and ribbon.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Meryl was seated near us with Sorena and her mother and they all congratulated Mr. Nate and admired his ribbon.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Then we found out that Sorena got third in the county for Middle School Music! I was very impressed with both kids. Nate didn’t have any competition at the school level, but I’m sure Sorena did since she is in the center based gifted middle school. Then for both to place at the county level is amazing because there are 58,000 students in the county. Sorena may have only placed third, but she is young for her age group and I think the competition gets a bit stiffer in the older age groups.

So here are our two winners:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As Meryl observed they probably had the biggest cheering section at the ceremony, with a combined total ten people cheering each one on.

At the end they organizers requested that the county winners stay behind for a big group photo.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The next shindig is at the end of February and we are all looking forward to see what happens.

Oh and as an interesting side note, all of the PTA officers at the school were very impressed with Nate’s submission. They really enjoyed it and according to one person I spoke with, it was remarkable because he had scored the piece. It turns out most kids don’t submit a score with their musical composition. This could bode well for Nate.

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