Back in Prague

Saturday, August 25, 2007

It is now Saturday, late in the afternoon, and we are now at the Cloister Inn in Prague. Prague is a very beautiful city, especially in the old section near the Charles Bridge. We left Frydlant this morning. It is hard to describe the many emotions that leaving the workshop brings:

1. Pride at the students' acclompishments
2. Camaraderie and friendship among faculty (as well as students and acquaintances from the town)
3. Sadness--especially when contemplating 'when we will meet again'

The students were BEAMING after the concerts the past two evenings! You could easily see and feel their pride of accomplishment for their fine performances. They are so excited when they come off stage: they want pictures of everyone in the band (especially with their directors) and there is much exchanging of congratulations.

As an instructor I was immensely proud and elated to see the progress the students made in one week in both my saxophone class and the student ensemble. For example, there was the 15 year-old trumpet player in my band (a young lady) that refused to take a solo when the workshop started. She looked apathetic and uninterested in rehearsals (now I know this was more due to age than to actual interest--she didn't want to look TOO eager--typical of many teenagers). By the concert on Thursday, she was smiling, having a good time and played a great solo at the concert. The picture is of Gary, myself, and the students in the band we led.

The feeling of camaraderie and importance of purpose among the faculty helped to forge some very deep ties and friendships. Parting was difficult last evening with many promises of "Next year again, in Frydlant!" E-mails and contact information were exchanged and students asked teachers to autograph copies of the jazz workshop poster/flyer.

It was great to see the students' progress, but also bittersweet to realize that of the many friends and acquaintances may be short lived. Who knows if circumstances will allow us all to reunite again next year?

Tonight, we play at another jazz club in Prague. Students and faculty from the workshop that live near Prague promised to come out and listen to our performance.

Some of the final "good-bye's" have been put off--at least for now.

Doctor Neil