Walking the MU Campus

With great pleasure, I had the opportunity to walk with my grandson Dayan today, on the University of Missouri campus. I had planned this trip to visit my oldest grandchild before I started the 30 Day Walking Challenge, but what a happy turn of events, to spend time with Dayan as he acted as tour guide across the beautiful Mizzou complex.

We didn’t let a little rain dampen our enthusiasm as we headed across campus toward downtown Columbia, where we would dine together. This was the first rainy walking day I’ve had and I was prepared, with umbrellas, a hooded jacket, a raincoat and a change of dry clothes.

Enjoy our walk with us. The University of Missouri has one of the prettiest campuses I have ever seen. Some of the buildings on the sprawling grounds date back to the mid 1800s. There are numerous plants, trees, flowers and gardens, giving MU a botanical garden designation.

Crossing over to the street on the MU pedestrian bridge.

This campus is like a city of 30,000 residents.

So proud of this amazing young man.

The banner says “Welcome Home”. This bustling complex is Dayan’s home for the next few years.

The Speaking Circle, where anyone can stand and speak freely about any topic.

I’ve never seen this plant before. It’s the “puffer fish” of flowers.

I love ornamental grasses.

One of the oldest buildings on campus, at the center of Red Campus, so named for the use of red bricks.

In front of the iconic six columns, which were originally part of a building that caught fire and burned to the ground.

Love this pic of Dayan.

Gorgeous.

Love this red courtyard.

Our dinner destination, in downtown Columbia, and we walked to it! The food was healthy and delicious. Dayan picked this cafe with my plant based lifestyle in mind.

Dayan’s favorite cookie company. We stopped so he could have a peanut butter cookie.

The beautiful, and massive, Ellis Library.

We climbed two flights of stairs for this amazing view.

Even the MU campus has a bell tower, which reminds my grandson and me of our trip to Italy, with its towers throughout the country.

I so enjoyed my walk today, and spending time with Dayan. He walks a lot, every day, across campus to his classes. I appreciate that he was willing to walk with me and his Papa, and tell us about his new home, his village, his university.

The campus is so beautiful, so inspiring. However the time spent walking side by side with my grandson was priceless. Dayan is doing well, already involved in leadership roles, and thriving, which brings great joy to my heart.

I can’t wait to visit him again…and explore more of Columbia.

MIZ…ZOU

Today I enjoyed a road trip north to the beautiful city of Columbia, Missouri and the campus of the University of Missouri. It has been two weeks since I saw my grandson Dayan. I traveled to MU with Greg and our daughter Elissa to visit Dayan for the first time since he moved into the dorm, and I captured our trip in photos.

Photo by Elissa Adam

Crossing the Missouri River as we passed the state’s capital, Jefferson City. Columbia, which is 236 miles from Joplin, is not far from Jefferson City. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I enjoyed catching up with my daughter as we all chatted.

Dayan’s residence hall on the gorgeous campus of the University of Missouri. Mizzou is the affectionate nickname for this university. It is a form of clipping, or shortening, a longer name into a shorter one. In this case, Missouri to Mizzou. The first reference to the nickname was in a 1905 college publication. At games and events, it is customary for the fans on one side to shout MIZ…and the other side to answer ZOU! The university mascot is the tiger and the colors are gold and black.

And this is the young man we came to see! It was so good to hug him and talk to him and hang out for a few hours. We met Dayan’s roommate, Carlisle, who was kind and personable. I was impressed with the dorm room and with the hall’s casual meeting areas and laundry facilities.

On the way to lunch, Dayan guided us around campus. I loved the stone and brick buildings, the newer structures and the mature trees and many gardens. The campus is actually considered a botanical garden. I’ll be exploring the grounds on foot during my next visit.

Holding to a long established tradition between Dayan and me, we enjoyed Chinese food for lunch at a nearby Panda Express. I was able to select brown rice topped with mixed veggies, while Dayan had his usual orange chicken. Elissa and Greg both tried the kung pao chicken. We read our fortunes to each other. Mine said Important events are in your future. True!

After a trip to Walmart to get a few things Dayan needed, we wandered through downtown Columbia, on the way back to campus. I’ve been to Columbia several times, but this was my first time to the charming downtown. The city, which is about twice the size of Joplin, had a lively energy and the definite feel of a college town. Small shops and cafés lined the streets and this time of year, bistro tables and chairs provided outdoor dining.

Dayan’s favorite Starbucks.

I enjoyed getting to know Mizzou’s campus. I’m impressed with the extensive grounds and the halls. I look forward to attending future events and activities here.

It did my heart good today, to see my grandson. I have missed him. And it brought me great joy to see that he is thriving. He is happy and having fun. His classes are interesting and challenging. Dayan has learned his way around campus and around the city and he is making new friends.

College life agrees with Dayan and it shows. He was confident and relaxed and excited to show us around and share about his classes and activities. I could drive away after our visit, knowing he’s not so very far away and that he is doing well and thoroughly enjoying this new adventure. And that brought peace to the hearts and smiles to the faces of his Papa, Yaya and Mom. The boy has become a man.

The Continuing Adventures of Dayan

My grandson Dayan leaves tomorrow, headed to his new home for the next few years, a dorm room at the University of Missouri in Columbia. A few of us gathered for an impromptu dinner, to send him off with smiles and gratitude and promises to visit.

It is a big step, for him and his family. My children all attended local universities. Dayan is the first to venture farther out, which is so typical of this world minded young man. He thinks big. He lives big. I am so incredibly proud of him.

Dayan and I have had a strong connection since before he was born. When my daughter was pregnant with him, I had a dream in which an angel appeared, carrying a baby boy. He stretched his arms out toward me. The angel placed the dark haired, dark eyed child in my arms and we studied each other's faces. I knew this was my grandson. My heart overflowed with love for him.

Dayan began calling me Yaya when he was 8 months old. I discovered that Yaya is the Greek word for grandmother. How did this baby boy know that? I'm not sure. I only know he has an old soul, and he was a wise baby, meaning he seemed to know things beyond his years.

We have shared many adventures, this boy and I. We used to invent stories when we were together. We called them The Continuing Adventures of Dayan and Yaya. As he grew older we stopped telling made up stories and lived the adventures instead.


A little foreshadowing, from 10 years ago.

I have learned so much from my oldest grandchild. He taught me by his example to see the good in people, that kindness is always appreciated, and living as the person you are created to be requires courage. He has been my gardening buddy, introduced me to Doctor Who, taught me about the countries of the world, expanded my knowledge and my beliefs.

I have spent one afternoon a week with my grandson, picking him up from school or hanging out with him during the summer, since he was in third grade. We've played games, built virtual kingdoms, explored Joplin and beyond, and these last few years, sat comfortably together on the sofa, watching TV shows such as Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Okkupert (a Norwegian series with English subtitles) and most recently, Once Upon a Time. We've laughed, and sniffled together, and had amazing conversations about every topic imaginable. I always bring him Chinese food.

My heart was very full as I hugged him goodbye tonight. Dayan, these words I send with you as you embark on your next adventure:

I love you. No matter where you go, or who you are, or what you do, or who you journey with, nothing will ever change my love for you. It is absolute and unfailing.

I am always here for you. I am your fan, your cheerleader, your confidante. I will listen, offer my heart and my words, wrap my arms around you, applaud your achievements. You can call, text, message or visit me anytime. Yes, even in the middle of the night. You are never too old, never too far away that my love can't find you.

Be you. Always. Be kind and courageous. Use your mind and your heart and your voice. Learn. Grow. Travel. Explore. Follow your passions and trust your instincts. Keep looking for the good in people, in situations and in the world. Be the change you want to see in the world. Love. Love yourself and love others. Know that the Divine is with you, guiding you.

And keep having adventures. Lots of them.

I am very glad tonight that Columbia is only four hours away. This week, I will miss meeting Dayan at his house, Chinese food in tow. Wednesday afternoons will feel empty for a while.

I am grateful for the relationship we have, for the years we have spent building it word by word and hug by hug and adventure by adventure. I know Dayan will do great things. He has been raised well and prepared for this next step. That he walks on his own now is a tribute to his mom, stepdad and family.

Although I know we might have more adventures together, this is Dayan's time to adventure on his own. This is his journey. And when we cannot walk together, I will surround him with love and joy and peace.

After hugs tonight, I asked Dayan if I could visit him on the MU campus in a couple of weeks, before I leave on my next travel adventure.

"You can visit me any time, Yaya," he said. "Bring Chinese food!"

I will, Dayan. I will!

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food

From the title, you might surmise that I have had a really good Monday! However, the reality is that I felt drawn back to the travel journal I am creating, after the recent trip to Italy. As I wrote about previously, I didn’t have time to journal the way I thought I would, during the trip. Instead, I decided to journal about the experience after the fact. 

I am appreciating how the acts of sketching and writing are allowing memories to surface. Like bubbles, they rise up and pop, surprising me and making me smile. 


On day two of our tour, we left Rome, and entered Tuscany. We stopped at the little medieval village of Lucca for lunch, and later enjoyed a wonderful tour and five course meal at a vineyard. As I flipped through photos on my phone today, I felt inspired to capture Dayan’s first Italian pizza in a sketch. I also drew the bell tower of Lucca, with the trees growing at the top, creating the illusion of hair. 

Although I would not learn about the significance of Italy’s bell towers until later in the trip, Lucca’s towers were the first to catch our attention and our interest. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
We capped off our day at Fattoria Il Poggio, a Tuscan farm featuring vineyards and olive groves. What a magical evening. Our group dined al fresco, at long beautifully set tables under twinkling white lights. The wine and the food flowed freely. I learned that night that I would be fine, eating plant based in Italy. The food was marvelous. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
As I wrote in my journal, I realized the true magic that wove itself through the evening involved relationships. That night, over a long and delightful dinner, strangers became family. Perhaps because of the wine, or the music, or the incredible beauty that surrounded us, 43 people bypassed the acquaintance and friendship stages and connected on deeper levels. 

We laughed, we sang, we danced, we dined on amazing local foods and drank wines created right there at the vineyard. We fell in love with Italy and ourselves and each other. 

The memories from that night warmed my heart and made me smile as I wrote in my journal. 

And then they jostled another memory, that sent me searching for a piece of paper. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
My family! My Globus family! Judy and Chelsea and Hilda, Norm and Rohini… We all wrote our names and email addresses on a piece of paper labeled “Traveling Companions”. Let’s all stay in touch, we said. I’ll email you, I promised. 

I have not contacted my traveling companions, my new family, since I have been home. I found my paper with their names and email addresses. Perhaps this is why I was drawn to journal today. Perhaps this memory needed to surface. Regardless, I am grateful for the reminder that this day of the trip was full of so many good things, including gaining 41 new family members. 

I will begin emailing them tonight. It is time to catch up with my family! 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food

Creating a Travel Journal

I had a great idea, before I left on the Italy trip with my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. I bought each of us a journal, with unlined blank pages, to use as travel journals. I had a romanticized vision of sitting on a hotel balcony each evening, while in Italy, capturing the day’s memories in delightful sketches and meaningful words and quotes. 

It wasn’t a bad idea. But it didn’t happen. I’ve never traveled before with a tour group. We were busy from early in the morning until late at night, experiencing all that we could of the country we were visiting. I never once sat on a balcony. And although Elissa used her journal to write down thoughts and collect mementos, I never opened mine. At all. 

Creating a Travel Journal
After I returned home, I tucked my unused journal into a drawer…and left it there, until today. This morning, as I asked the Divine, How shall we play today?, the journal came to mind. The answer to my question seemed to be, Create a travel journal…

My response was something along the lines of, I think that horse has already bolted out of the barn… which was a cheeky way of saying, I think it is too late for that. I felt a wee sense of sadness about that fact that I had not used my journal. 

Time has no meaning to the Divine. Was it really too late? My thoughts returned to the journal throughout the day. Create a travel journal…Create A Travel JOURNAL. There is no barn. There is no horse. Create. 

This evening, I pulled the journal from the drawer, grabbed a drawing pencil and began a travel journal. Although I didn’t capture the memories each day while we were in Italy by sketching them, I did capture them. I took photos with my phone. And I wrote a daily blog post. 

Creating a Travel Journal
Creating a Travel Journal
I started with a two page spread of Rome, where our adventures began. I included a quote that I love, We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Using photos as inspiration, I sketched some of the highlights of that first day of our tour. I reread that day’s blog post and wrote out the phrase that so caught my attention as we wandered through the Vatican, Conquer your own space. 

I sketched quickly, so as not to overthink what I was doing or doubt my ability. I had fun. The images I drew are symbols that remind me of special memories: Dayan’s first morning in Rome, looking out on the city from the hotel window, flowers growing atop a building, the Colosseum, which represents all the historical monuments we viewed, and a statue overlooking the Tiber River. It too is symbolic of the many amazing sculptures we saw while in Rome. 

Creating a Travel Journal
I enjoyed creating a travel journal entry, even if it is after the fact. I know it touched a deep place within my heart, because emotions were evoked. My eyes filled with grateful tears. I’ll include a quote about Rome in the bottom left corner and call these first pages good. As I sketch future pages, capturing the Italy journey day by day, I will be kind to myself and forego criticism. I will have fun, creating a visual representation of a wonderful shared adventure. 

Perhaps a I’ll sketch next time while sitting in the backyard garden. It is the closest thing I have to a balcony. 

Creating a Travel Journal

The Real Deal

A month or so ago, I tried out several packing techniques, to see if I could get 11 days of clothes and toiletries into a carry on bag. I was successful, however I discovered that the carry on luggage I owned was 1/2″ too tall to meet the guidelines for international flights. 

I ordered a new, slightly smaller carry on. When it arrived, I was a bit concerned! The bag looked so small. When I compared the two pieces of luggage, side by side, I could only see a slight difference. Perhaps it would be okay. 

With less than 48 hours before Elissa, Dayan and I board a plane bound for Rome, I decided to do another practice pack tonight, using exactly what will go with me. 

The Real Deal

In the last month, people have questioned me about the feasibility of packing for 11 days in a carry on. I felt determined to try. And I am not the only one. My daughter and grandson are attempting to do the same. And this fall, four other family members will see if it is possible as five of us travel to Ireland, Scotland and England.

I like the idea of  traveling light, with a suitcase I can easily manage. The Italian tour we are joining in Rome only allows one piece of luggage per person. And there is less chance of losing my luggage with a carry on, plus I can by pass waiting for my suitcase to appear at the airport pick up area. 

But could I do it, for real? I was about to find out. 

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
My new plum colored carry on has a collapsible handle that tucks into a zippered pouch, making the suitcase an inch shorter than my previous bag. With soft sides, rather than rigid ones, and a more streamlined shape, this carry on looked smaller than the older bag. Doubt was trying to crowd in. 

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
All of those clothes needed to fit in a 21″x14″x9″ carry on. I also had travel sized toiletries, makeup and miscellaneous items such as electrical adapters and supplements. 

My first HUGE concern was discovering that all liquids and gels must fit within a quart sized (6″x9″) clear ziplock bag. I was thinking I’d have a gallon sized bag to use, but no. I thought I had  accomplished that near impossible feat until I remembered contact lens solution. I hope the Italian hotels have shower soap! I had to swap out my Bath & Body soap. 

The Real Deal
I created my own travel hack. All of my socks, that I’ll wear with my walking shoes, tucked into my sandals, making use of wasted space. Looks dorky but it works! 

The Real Deal
First layer, which includes capris, sock stuffed sandals, pjs, a lightweight wrap and eight tops. Rolling each piece of clothing tightly makes an amazing difference. 

The Real Deal
The next layer added four more tops, a lightweight sweater, two bras and 11 pairs of undies. I rolled those tightly too. I’ve found they tuck in easily among the rolled clothes. I also packed my nose and several wrist bands for Red Nose Day, which is Thursday, May 25. 

Hey, it is looking doable!

The Real Deal
Lastly, I added travel documents, the tiny baggie with liquids, a clear make up bag with non liquid toiletries and the four supplements I’ve chosen to take along. 

And you know what?

It all fit! I’ll carry a journal, a phone charger and earbuds in my purse, but there was room to spare in my suitcase. I zipped it closed without a problem and popped the whole thing on the scales. 14.8 pounds. 

I’m packed. In a carry on. For an 11 day trip. I am so glad I tried it this evening instead of waiting until tomorrow night. It is one less thing to think about.

I have a full day tomorrow. And then Wednesday, a dream literally takes flight. My year of inspiration blog will become a travel blog while I explore Italy with my daughter and grandson. And yet, I know inspiration will find me, invite me, tap me on the shoulder, no matter where I am. 

I am open and ready to receive. 

The Real Deal

You can order a carry on bag below:

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Dayan’s Graduation Party

It has been a beautiful weekend, spent with family. The focus of our time has been celebrating my grandson Dayan as he graduated from Carl Junction High School Friday night, turned 18 years old on that same day, and was the guest of honor at a party this afternoon.

I shared my thoughts around Dayan’s milestone Friday night. Read that post HERE.

Tonight’s post is a pictorial one, sharing highlights from the party, and concluding with a sweet video created by Dayan’s mom.

Dayan's Graduation Party
Dayan's Graduation Party The guest of honor

Dayan's Graduation Party Aunt Adriel, Mimi Jerri, Steve

Dayan's Graduation Party             Mimi Pat and Papa Walter

Dayan's Graduation Party Cousins Kaleb and Aubrey, with Uncle Nate in between

Dayan's Graduation Party

Dayan and his friends have a friendly little game going!

Dayan's Graduation Party

Dayan's Graduation Party Aunts Debbie and Linda, with cousin Eric and his girls, London and Aralyn. 

Dayan's Graduation Party Uncle Tim with his boys, Ethan, Levi and Isaiah, and Elissa and Walter. Somehow I missed getting a pic of Aunt DeLane! 

Dayan's Graduation Party

Stepdad Josh, Mom Elissa, Papa Greg

Dayan's Graduation Party

Dayan's Graduation Party         Brother Jonathan, cousin Ethan. 

Dayan's Graduation Party                Dayan and his Papa Greg

After the party, as we were cleaning up and loading the cars, Dayan had the wonderful idea of releasing the two red and black Carl Junction Bulldogs balloons. With Aubrey as his helper, he carried the helium filled balloons to the parking lot. Those who remained after the party gathered to watch. It felt like an important moment.

Dayan's Graduation Party
Dayan's Graduation Party
Dayan's Graduation Party
I love that series of photos. I appreciate that anytime Dayan interacts with a child, he kneels down so he’s on the same level. And I find so much meaning in the middle photo. Dayan has just released the ballons, symbolizing letting go of his time in Carl Junction schools.

It is not a forgetting of those years. He is just not holding on to them. Look at his open hand as the balloons fly away. Releasing balloons has become a way of honoring someone or something…and a way of saying goodbye. Dayan is open to receive what will come next, enjoying these moments, looking upward and onward to a bright future.

And little Aubrey standing beside him represents all of us who are walking alongside Dayan as he journeys…family and friends, colleagues and teachers. We all stood and watched the balloons soar higher and higher, until they disappeared.

Dayan's Graduation Party
A chapter closes. And an exciting new one begins…

Enjoy this video of Dayan’s journey thus far, prepared with great love, and many tears, by his beautiful mom.

 

Dayan’s Milestone Day

A year ago, when my daughter Elissa found out Dayan’s graduation day would be on May 19, which is his birthday, I had two thoughts: That will be an easy date to remember. And the next year will go by so fast. I was correct on both counts. I never once wondered what day graduation would be. And the year flew by. 

Dayan's Milestone Day

My grandson, my oldest grandchild, the boy who made me a grandmother and christened me with the name Yaya, reached this momentous day exactly on time actually. To his family, and especially his mother, it marked the completion of a year that was full of “lasts”. The last marching band performance, the last parade, the last competition and ceremony and award, the last time to walk to school, the last time to walk out of the Carl Junction High School, the last time to play the tuba that he has played for years. 

Dayan's Milestone DayOne year old Dayan, experiencing bubbles for the first time. Meme by Elissa. 

I thought about Dayan throughout this day, as he celebrated a birthday and prepared to graduate tonight, and the word “milestones” came to mind. A milestone is an event or action marking a significant change or stage in development. Dayan has had many of those mile markers in the last 18 years, signifiers of growth, times of deeper awareness, ahas that profoundly shaped his future. 

It has been my pleasure to walk alongside him as he has journeyed, and witness those times when a “stone” was placed at a significant juncture. I’ve watched him as an intelligent, kind, compassionate boy who always knew the right encouraging words to share with people. I saw him as a young teenager stepping up to fully occupy his unique Dayan shaped space, gaining confidence in who he was and what his gifts and abilities were. 

Dayan's Milestone Day                 Photo by Elissa

These past two years, the milestones became defining ones as Dayan could say “This is me…this is not me. This is what I want to do…this is what I don’t want to do. This is the path I am choosing for my life…this is not the path for me…” with a surety that so inspired me. Along with common milestones like getting his driver’s license and a job, he had major shifts as he decided on a future career in politics and selected University of Missouri as the college he would attend this fall. 

It is not a coincidence that Dayan experienced two momentous milestones on the same day. He turned 18 years old today and graduated from high school. Both signify leaving childhood behind and entering adulthood, dual doors closing and opening at the same time as a new adventure beckons. 

Dayan's Milestone Day
Dayan's Milestone DayDayan, Elissa and Josh

This evening it was with great joy, and a host of other emotions, that I watched my grandson walk across the stage to receive his diploma. Family members surrounded me. We beamed and cheered and perhaps shed a few tears that this milestone had been reached. This boy has become a man. This child has reached the point of spreading his wings to see just how high and how far he can fly. 

I am proud of this incredible young man. I am proud of my daughter, who has been an extraordinary momma to her son, fierce in her love and devotion to him, never failing to seek the best for her child and encouraging him to be all that he could be. And I am proud of my son-in-law, who came into Dayan’s life as a stepdad, but who has parented him with an open and generous heart. 

Dayan's Milestone Day
Dayan's Milestone Day
When he was a toddler, Dayan and I began an ongoing series of stories that we affectionately called “The Continuing Adventures of Dayan and Yaya”. Those were fun and imaginative stories that we created. However, we have had many, many real life adventures, this boy and I. Spending time together, Dayan has helped me to see the world differently. He has helped me to see myself differently. He allows me to be fully myself. We laugh. We learn new things. We go places. 

We have a big adventure coming up, a trip to Italy that Elissa is joining us on. And then soon, Dayan will set off on adventures of his own, going places I will not go, seeing things I will not see. Milestones stretch behind us, a map of times we’ve celebrated and events we’ve shared. The road stretches onward, full of possibilities and opportunities. There are exciting times ahead for him that he will memorialize, saying “Here…this time, this place, is important in my life.” 

No matter where he is, no matter where I am…I’ll pause to celebrate those future achievements and milestones with him, whether in person or in my heart. 

Happy birthday Dayan. Happy graduation day. Happy first day of the rest of your amazing life. Go forth. Be you. Be Light in the world. I love you!

Dayan's Milestone Day   Photo and composition by Elissa

34th Annual Four State Honor Band Concert

What an amazing and special concert this evening, to finish out the school year, and to complete my grandson Dayan’s seven years in band. The 34th Annual Four State Honor Band Concert was held in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, in Pittsburg, Kansas. Two hundred high school musicians, selected from across the four state region of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, met today for the first time to prepare for tonight’s concert.

34th Annual Four State Honor Band

This event, coordinated by Dr. Craig Fuchs, Professor of Music and Director of the Honors College at Pittsburg State University, showcases the talents of young, promising musicians. This evening the PSU Wind Ensemble began the evening with Dr. Fuchs conducting. Their final number, Finale from Symphony No. 1, brought the audience to their feet in appreciation. Dayan told me after the concert that this was Dr. Fuchs’ final performance at Pitt State, which explained his tearful thank you’s and the emotion rich performance that included alumni joining in, playing above us in the balcony.

The high school performers were divided into two bands. The first group played brilliantly, under the direction of Dr. Curran Prendergast. I was impressed to find out that the concerts tonight featured guest  conductors who are also composers.

34th Annual Four State Honor Band

Dayan performed with the final group. Their band was directed by Randall Standridge, who is a full time composer and marching band editor for Grand Mesa Music Publishers. Of the five musical pieces performed by this band, three of them were composed by Standridge.

And while all three bands gave outstanding performances, of course this one, with my grandson playing the tuba, wowed me the most. From the opening notes of their first number, Galop, these young musicians were bold, confident and beautifully competent. It is astonishing to me, that these teens give such incredible performances after a few hours of rehearsing together. It speaks of their musical abilities and the guidance of their band teachers that they can each offer their unique gift so absolutely and create such soulful and robust music together.

These performances never fail to move me to tears. Tonight, I was especially moved, watching my grandson on the back row, his dark head bent over his tuba as he skillfully played, and knowing this was his last concert as a high schooler.

As he entered 6th grade, this boy who had never played a musical instrument tried out for band, on five different instruments. He was asked to play the tuba, because he could move air through it well, and he had the strength to carry it. This was so characteristic of my grandson, who has always been courageous and never cared to dwell within a comfort zone, to go after something new that interested him.

He has carried that attitude of going after things throughout his high school years. As a musician, Dayan has auditioned for numerous honor bands and ensembles and competed across the state. It has been my great pleasure to attend his many marching band performances and concerts over the years, watching as he has been recognized for his hard work and determination.

34th Annual Four State Honor Band

Tonight’s beautiful concert was a shining achievement after years of dedication, practicing his music. As he goes to University of Missouri in Columbia this fall, he leaves prepared by his time in band to offer his music to the world, both literally and figuratively. Dayan has learned to focus on what he has to offer, and to allow others to give their best as well. The lessons he has learned playing a musical instrument will carry him well into adulthood, where he will continue to live beyond his comfort zone, and continue to present his gifts to the world.

I am so proud of this young man. This fall Dayan auditions for a position in MU’s concert band. Columbia isn’t so far away. I look forward to attending more concerts.

Listen to Ruckus, composed and conducted by Randall Standridge….and what about those tubas!! Loved this lively piece. 

Carl Junction HS Wind Ensemble Concert at PSU

A brief post tonight, to share a stirring video from my grandson Dayan’s wind ensemble concert at Pittsburg State University. Dayan has been playing the tuba in marching band and in concert band for six years. As a senior in high school, he is nearing the end of a long and highly successful season of performing with these bands.

Carl Junction HS Wind Ensemble Concert at PSU
I am so proud of these high school teens who have dedicated themselves to their art. Their music never fails to move me and inspire me as I listen to them play with skill and passion.

Tonight I sat in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, in Pittsburg, Kansas with my daughter, son-in-law, grandson Jonathan, and Dayan’s Nana Deb and great-grandmother, tears in my eyes as I watched the ensemble perform. As graduation approaches, we have two performances remaining with this group of musicians. There is a sense of sadness mixed in with pride, and disbelief that the time has flown by so quickly mixed in with joy as new adventures beckon to these young adults.

It is bittersweet. And beautiful. And exactly as it should be.

Here is the Carl Junction High School Wind Ensemble, performing Into the Joy of Spring, by James Swearingen, in three parts:

  1. Winter’s Fury
  2. Spring’s Awakening
  3. A Celebration of Joy

Scott Schneider, conductor

What a fitting final number tonight! Enjoy.

 

 

Carl Junction HS Wind Ensemble Concert at PSU

Dayan playing the tuba.