Monthly Archives: April 2007

Group of Four paints

With a name like “Group of Four” we had to do some painting sooner or later.

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I had been thinking how nice it would be to have someone else come in and teach our group. All four of the mothers have had something extra in their lives over the last few weeks and I just thought we could all do without the preparation of another lesson. Well, as often is the case, God knew what I hoped without me ever voicing it. One of the grandmothers of our group was visiting her grandsons and kindly agreed to give the whole group a lesson.

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First she covered colour mixing, then did a demonstration with acrylic paint in order that the children could all do their own simple landscape. Before we finished she gave the older ones some pointers in sketching. It was an excellent lesson which everyone enjoyed. At the top is the landscape by B6, in the middle is A10’s and below is L12’s.

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Further comparisons

Last week at Group of four we continued to make comparisons between our country and those of our sponsor children. This time we focused on food and water.img_2415crop1.jpg Normally we end our time together with a snack, so the children were a little surprised, but totally willing, to have a snack at the beginning. We sat them all at the table and proceeded to bring out a plate of food for each child and a glass of water. They were not at all slow in realising they were part of an illustration but it was still entertaining to listen to them deal with the inequity of the situation. img_2414crop.jpg Some of those who received less than others immediately started asking for more. They tried asking the adults but found that we would  not involve ourselves so started pleading with those who had more than they did. Hands reached out towards the stacked plates accompanied by cries of,”Sponsor me”. The two boys with very full plates did start giving some of their riches away as did some children who did not have so much. Some stealing went on too. When we retired from the table to discuss the experience they were quick to realise that “rich” is a relative term but slower to accept that they did not “need” a fair share.

While we looked at the availability of clean water in our sponsor children’s countries the children took turns lifting a bucket filled with ten litres of water. Everyone found it heavy but some of the smaller children found that they could only hold it up for a minute or so. As I gave the children some of the reasons that access to clean water is an issue in Nepal, Mexico, Honduras and Bolivia, one of the girls marked off squares on a grid. Each square represented a litre of water. We were all amazed as we saw the quantities of water we use daily for showers, washing machines, flushing, etc. Canadians have the second highest water consumption in the world. By the time we had finished making the comparisons the group had carried the ten litres of water for 35 minutes. Children their size often carry twice as much for twice as long, two or three times a day!

Today’s performances

L12 played both her pieces beautifully this morning. She was obviously less nervous than Monday and put her heart and soul into Adoration, filling the church with music. She was very happy with her performance and her teacher and I agreed it was her personal best for the piece. The adjudicator made some very positive comments and a few pointers for further improvement, which I’m sure she will heed as she is performing it again in a couple of weeks at a fundraising concert. She received a great mark and the silver place certificate.

Also less nervous A10 played the Seitz Concerto better than I’ve ever heard her play it. She has worked very hard to be ready for today as her first rehearsal with the accompanist showed her that she was not yet prepared. She was thrilled to see her hard work result in a great performance, the adjudicator’s praise and the gold place certificate. This means she continues on to compete in a trophy class at the end of the week.

From Europe to Asia

While we had travellers with us B6 did not continue his own travels around the world but now he is back on track. Since I last wrote about his trip he has left The Netherlands, made pizza in Italy, rafted and solved riddles in Uzbekistan and climbed mountains in Nepal. I was able to find a short dvd about Nepal which featured the local animals and their habitats. There were many books about climbing Mount Everest and the two I chose complimented each other nicely as one was about a couple of pigs who climbed and the other:Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins gave us many details about what an attempt at the summit involves.

Yesterday B6 received a letter in Chinese characters which he gathered meant that he should proceed to China next. I assured him that he should do just that, having no idea myself what the characters said (I found them in a brochure advertising paper). Once in China we read Children in China:an artist’s journey, and 8000 stones;a Chinese folktale. He has been very creative in filling out his travel journal; he draws, we have National Geographics that he cuts up and he adds flags and a sentence or two about what he has seen or done. Today he decided that he would like to add a little cat to some of the pages. The cat pops up here and there to ask the reader questions like, “Do you like skating?” or “Do you like pizza?”

On a completely different note

I am a Neil Young fan, have been for years. So is our friend Joe (but not his wife or my daughters! ). The other night Joe mentioned how good Neil’s new cd sounds and the next day when I returned home from a long day of lessons, rehearsals and ferrying young girls around, my sweet husband had placed an “encouragement gift” on the table for me.

Neil Young: Live at Massey Hall

Thank you.

Still practising

Monday’s performances went very well with helpful comments and praise from the adjudicator as well as certificates for each girl. After they’d finished their violin teacher told them how pleased she was with their performances and then said,”Ten hours of practice tomorrow!”

They knew she was joking, but they both put in two practices today to further prepare for tomorrow. L12 is playing a concert group made up of Rustic Dance by Jean Coulthard and Adoration by Felix Borowski. A10 will play Concerto #1 in D Major, Op.7 (1st movement) by Seitz. I noticed on Monday that it wasn’t just me who was nervous they both had “butterflies” and it showed in different ways for each of them.