Finally Here

Monday, August 20, 2007

I apologize for the delay in posting a new entry. This is due to two things:

1. Lack of access to a computer.
2. Technical difficulties (how to make get the computer I am using to use English typing system instead of Czech).

A quick synopsis of our trip so far:

Thursday into Friday we traveled to the Czech Republic. All three of us (Gary, Skip, and I) really did not sleep on our overnight flight. We are still catching up on our sleep. On Saturday night we played at the 'U Mehalo Glena' jazz club: the smallest jazz club in Prague. We had a great crowd (it was packed). We played with Rosta Fras (who led the band) playing tenor sax and Josef Feco on bass. These two are outstanding jazz musicians. The picture is of Rosta and I playing at the club.

On Saturday morning we traveled to Frydlant, checked into our accomodations (the Daniela Motel) and played in a faculty jazz group that evening. There are about 15 faculty members at this workshop and about 160 students. The faculty are all outstanding musicians--as good as any in the US.

Yesterday (Sunday) we began classes. In the morning we divided the 45 saxophone players among the 3 saxophone teachers (including myself). We each had about 15 in our classes. The students in my class all spoke some English and I only had to ask someone to translate for me 2 or 3 times. Students are polite, alert and motivared to learn.

In the afternoon, we met our student groups (bands). Gary and I co-lead a group of student musicians (5 saxophones, 2 trumpets, 1 trombone, 1 flute, piano, bass, drums, guitar, and flute). It's a little difficult providing music for such a large ensemble. I end up having to write arrangements especially for them.

It was great reconnecting with faculty, former students (from last summer) and friends that Gary and I met last summer. The food is good (and very inexpensive here) and the weather is much more comfortable than when we left Pennsylvania.

I must go and teach my saxophone class--goodbye for now!

Doctor Neil