Friday, April 6, 2012

Departure Day.
Just outside Gaffney Auditorium, nearly 200 orchestra,  band and choir members  await the arrival of tour buses to begin our trip abroad.  “The halls are alive…with the sound of musicians”.  Whether it’s a state swimming championship, a science Olympiad, or this journey to Australia, New Trier’s creative forces produce historic results.
Twenty hours of flight time allows people to get caught up with many aspects of their lives, whether
It be correspondence or the dusty novel removed from the shelves at home.  It is possible that we will have an expert in Babylonian by arrival.  Much of the group is on a brand new A380, the double decker
Airbus seating 450, and offering individual ipads (or close equivalent) which will show films of all categories, games, news, whatever.  I chose two Oscar winning films and still had time to redecorate
My row of eight chairs.

Arrival Day
Walking off is an experience akin to what Rod Blagojevic will appreciate 15 years hence…a yearning for freedom realized at long last.  Strolling through Sydney Airport is not terribly different from most major hubs, but the outdoors is permeated with the essences of ocean air.  The tour vehicles gobble up 200+ bodies and a greater number of instruments.  Without their rigid frames, this caravan would look like a line of extravagantly pregnant guppies.  Driving along, we see unusual flora, different billboards, and seatmates share individual thoughts, but a unanimous cheer erupts when we spy the tips of the Opera House “sails”.  This is surpassed as we cross the iconic bridge over the crenulated expanse of Sydney Harbour, which is busy even on a Sunday morning with water craft of every sort.

North of the harbor, we begin our first traversal of the peninsula which boasts beaches of pristine beauty with burnished gold sands and water so clear you’d swear mankind had not yet appeared on this

Pittwater High buildings are low profile, lightly colored brick structures tucked in amidst lots of piney trees and low shrubs, blending wonderfully in the environment.  Martin Hardy, the music director, welcomes us and Kathy Small has masterfully organized the homestays.  Host families gradually arrive
And pair up with students; each set departs amidst applause.  The welcome is so genuine that, without exception we feel like royalty.  Over the next few hours of daylight we catch sightings of one another on beaches and in the streets.  What good fortune to swim, or stroll up to a lighthouse in this spectacular setting we will call home for better than a week.

Odds and ends for the day:
 Mass chuckle when we see a sign for an auto repair shop, here known as “Smash Ups” or panel beaters.

A positive sighting of a sunning penguin lures a bunch of us to the rocks.  At the last moment, it takes wing.  One student, with a wink, says we’ve just seen the amazing Australian flying penguin (turns out to have been a “shag”, a small cormorant).

An SUV pulls alongside our car sporting what appears to be a periscope.  Rick Mitchell, our host, identifies it as a snorkel,  essential when driving through flood waters.  Joint sales venture anyone?  Under  Winnetka Ave or Pratt Ave overpasses this July could make a fortune.  The Paine family already has a bassoon.

Day Two
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t sleep well since we were under orders not to nap and to be in bed by 9pm.  Complying with the first order was brutal.  The latter was so effortless that the opportunity to say “G’nite mate” was lost.
Buses head south from Pittwater and we barely contain our enthusiasm.  Every kilometer offers something fresh, like a small flock of sulfur-crested cockatoos on a rugby field, estimated value $40,000 USA.  Bruce Daugherty sees his creditors dropping away like flies.  He then cannot be bothered as he mends a French horn which was damaged en route.  Students come first for him—we hope he doesn’t miss a herd of ‘roos because of his selflessness.
First stop of the day is at North Head overlooking the entrance to Sydney harbor.  At approx. 100 meters,
This and the South Head magnificently frame the westward view to the city skyline and all the surrounding natural beauty.  It is a perfect photo opportunity, and terabits of images are created in individual, small group, and grand portraits.  A line of twenty guys prepares to jump on cue.  Some go high, some stay low, and some are left behind.  Louise Hardy, Bus 2 guide,  with a twinkle in her eye comments “I hope their musical efforts are a tad more unified”.  Tacked end-to-end, the boys’ smiles are broader than the mouth of the harbor.
We head toward Manly Beach, so named because an early settler (1820’s) was approached by a group of 20 fearsome indigenous men who were personable, wished to trade, and behaved in a “manly” way.
We are told this is not beach time and are most strongly advised to get lunch now with rehearsals looming.  Some compliant ones do so leisurely or if hungry grab two fisted.  Everyone is back to the beach ASAP and the numbers getting wet grow exponentially.  What the hey, we’re in Austray!
Back to school for rehearsal, and a couple of hours later, the students are whisked home by their hosts to experience fabulous outdoor activities, dining surprises, culminating in heads collapsed on pillows which enfold our own otherworldly dreamtimes.

Day Three
After three hours of rehearsal, we head toward the ocean.  Newport Beach is equipped to handle the lunch needs of nearly 50% of us, and we bring our fried foods and worthless carbohydrates on board the buses, ravenous but we cannot soil the transport.  A burger is nearly 1000 kJ’s(that’s kilojoules, not calories)  It’s so easy to deny our sins when it’s metric.
Warning! Warning!  John Schultess the tour master says “ beware the dangerous Australian waters.  All swimming must be conducted between two flags under lifeguard supervision.  We do not want to retrieve your bloated corpse from the water in two weeks”.  That got our attention. I guess reefs and rips will rock ‘n roll you.
Palm Beach is  famous for the filming of the British soap “Far and Away”.  Locals have nicknamed it “Take it Away” because the hoopla of stars and equipment disturbs the peace.  “Baywatch” did the same thing and even offered major municipal improvements as an enticement to broaden filming.
“Fuggedaboudit!”  Beach residents didn’t want more of the world to know about the area’s charms and its idyllic nature is presently preserved.
We get off at the north end of “Palmy”, and its outcrop Barrenjoey Head is looms with a lighthouse.  There is a lengthy stretch of sand southward and if one squints hard enough, there are what appear to be two teeny protozoan flagella flapping.  Those must be the flags and the Exodus sets off across the expanse.  New Trier finally has a marching band straggling out over a kilometer.  It’s fun to see one after another run into the water until the “legal” space is chock full of bodysurfers, and the waves are great.
Saltwater gets everywhere so no nettipots will be necessary at days end.  One backpack and tennis shoes are reclaimed from the sands by vigilant chaperones, and we trudge back across the dunes, encouraged from the rear by our leader Peter “Lawrence of Arabia” O’Rosheger.
After a quick refresher at host homes, the kids return for an evening concert at Pittwater High.  Nearly every seat is set up, the refreshment stand is raking in dough, and at 7pm, the New Trier Symphonic Wind Ensemble offers its 40 minute program.  After four sparkling pieces, Matt Temple is absolutely the happiest many have ever witnessed as he hands the baton to Bruce Daugherty  for Susa’s march,  a resounding conclusion which affirmed the brother/sisterhood of our countries and cities.
Martin Hardy leads the North Shore Concert Winds, a group of young and mature veterans whose tremendous sound and selections add to the diversity and delight of the evening programming.  The audience devours this second course and further delights are mouth-wateringly close.
Tim Dohrer comes front and center and expresses gracious thanks to our hosts.  His descriptions of the history of New Trier and its accomplishments are concise and sincere, and his desire to extend in perpetuity the warm relations across the seas reflects all our hearts.
Rosh and his bunch dive into Bernstein; Patty Rohrer reacquaints us with the joys of Grainger, and Copeland caps it all.  Even the weather cooperates as a serious downpour assaults the metal roof of the auditorium (gymnasium).  A bit on, during a decrescendo, the deluge abates, the dynamic approaches piano, and the last few drips of the storm are heard pianissimo.  We rename the piece Australian Spring.

Day 4
Our first stop is in the shadows of “the bridge” for photographs with the Opera House across the harbor.  When the entire NT troupe is finally arranged in tiers, the photographer has everyone say “Sydney”.  Next symphony, then band, and finally choir are done, and choir spirit wins, for sure, with cheers as loud as a football stadium section, and antics by David Ladd and Susan Vaughn.
While the smaller groups pose, it is fun to watch the rest of our mob milling about the rolling lawn with lots of photo ops, gamboling about in groups on the grassy expanse.  Clearly, all batteries have been fully recharged.
We’ve been lucky with just a bit of overcast but the heavens open as we drive to and walk into Paddy’s market.  The prospect of Pacific payola drives hunters through windswept torrents—with quarry of purses, hats, T-shirts and stocking stuffers, basement bargains all.  The food court has equally kaleidoscopic offerings, lacking only Sri Lankan fare and Boston baked beans.  Sadly, we lack the facilities to do a quick soup with the raw cod heads.
A dry fifteen minute walk on the wharf takes us toward our ferry.  Mayors Emanuel and all before him would have sold their souls to have an asset like Sydney Harbour in Chicago.  Were they to be transported here to Sydney, Navy pier and Michigan Avenue would be the “American Exhibit” in this World’s Fair of a place.
We board a huge catamaran, back out of the berth, and head toward a close encounter with the Opera House.  In photos, the roofs have always appeared sail-like, in shape and texture.  In fact, interlocking tiles and metallic spacers impart a hitherto unknown geometric beauty.  Botanic gardens stand close but apart from the Opera House and together these attractions are the yin and yang of man-made and natural beauty.
Cruising around the harbor in a gentle rain bothers no one for you can join in the ruckus of myriad conversations or stroll the deck to see eight-figure real estate holdings of families like the Murdochs, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush—the harbor for winter and the North Shore (Manly to Palm Beach) in summer.  Great weather and great water have built this place, like Monaco or Lake Como, so lush is the vegetation around the multistoried homes with private beaches and docks, no two of which are exactly alike.
Sydney’s sister city is San Francisco, sharing sun, hills, and an island jail in shark-infested waters.  They one-upped us with prisoners hung for display.  That was a century ago, but ya never know for sure.
Back on land, the Opera House beckons and we stroll past hundreds of sight seers eager to be more than just that.  Passes permit us to enter inner sancta like the “green room”, where tuning is done;  there are sound checks and just relaxing before the show.  Our kids KNOW how to relax and the joint gives ‘em a pool table, good food; there are cards and fast hand games and lots of exploring.  Naps, no way.  Thank the Fine Arts Association again for formal ware, because the concert hall is incredible.  If you can imagine a more gorgeous and inspiring space, no one would believe you as the ceiling soars, what, 200 feet?  The organ pipes in their prominent space facing the conductor gleam in polished steel, and the walls feel a bit like the inside of a massive hand hewn hull of aboriginal oversize timbers. 700 seats look like carefully arranged Spanish peanuts in their reddish smallness, and an equal number in the back balcony are appealing because of the equality of seating—no nose bleeds.  On the wings, there are no loges, but again four or five sets, on each side, of 50-60 seats with total open views of the giant, warm cavern.  Some of us are seated in the chorus loft and will see the conductors expressions during performance, a rare treat for the uninitiated.  2700 seats in all and that’s just the main hall.  A few smaller venues exist on the side and currently offer a broad range of entertainment.  Clearly, artists love coming to this place as the billboards proclaim visits by great ones soon to come.
Pittwater High, in its natty all-black outfits starts the evening under the direction of its assistant conductor.  Three pieces later, after a gig on the euphonium, Martin Hardy wraps up a tremendously
Energetic and fun set.
Mr. Temple and his Symphonic Wind Ensemble give a twenty-one gun salute to the glory of band music.
And this is the right place to do it.
The Concert Choir serves up a broad and inviting repertoire and the eyeball-to-eyeball contact of the singers with Mr. Ladd and Ms. Vaughn made the pieces dance, pray, cry and shout  for joy.

March 26, 2012
We are sitting outside Pittwater high school, listening to the symphony orchestra rehearse. We were just given a mini-tour of the hospitality classroom. It is like a cooking class. The facility here is really nice. The hospitality teacher was very friendly. A bell just rang and now a bunch of students are outside. I think it is their recess or lunch time. We are going to try and mingle with the students now. They look very friendly. Signing off,
Jesse Gamoran

Australia is amazing! The ocean has the biggest waves we’ve ever seen and their winter is basically our summer. Both of our host families are fantastic and they have the best food! Barbies on the grill! The lifestyle here is so relaxed and chill. It’s not uncommon to see people walking around barefoot around town or in the grocery store. Tomorrow is our big night at the Sydney Opera House; can’t believe it’s finally here! It looks even more amazing than it does in Finding Nemo! (42 Wallaby Way, Sydney)
Right now we’re at Pittwater High School waiting to go to the beach. Both the band and orchestra had rehearsals this morning and we have a concert tonight. Everyone has been welcoming and we’ve gotten a lot of attention because of our accents! Especially for the word “water.” “Apparently we say it strangely. We’re adjusted to the time change fairly well. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be; 31 hours of travel time gives you plenty of time to rest. But for now we’re making some awesome new Australian friends and trying to pick up some Aussie lingo.
See you soon Chicago!
Cristina Foschi and Sarah Davidson

Final Night!!!
G’day everybody this is Danielle Fraser! (and Anya……..) :/ Anyway we had an amazing day at Sydney Harbor and at the Queen Victoria Building.  Hi guys its ANNA. Sydney is so nice and warm! Sunday was so much! My host family took us to the mall! It was so nice and big. Oh and Target is so expensive here! I was a little shocked! Then we went surfing with Grace, our host family’s daughter and her friend Ella. It was SO MUCH FUN! I was kind of good at it! I couldn’t open my eyes for like 10 minutes because of the salt water :P But it was fun!! I love surfing! I’ll try it again one day! We had a great day today at the Wildlife Reserve Downtown. I FINALLY SAW A KOALA AND A KANGAROO!!! It was cool! Apparently there are 3 kangaroos for every 1 person in Australia! The koalas were so lazy and adorable. Hi guys it’s DANIELLE now, I got to take a picture with a koala named Elle, she was the cutest thing ever! Anna here! I only got to see them from afar L BUT I did get ALMOST pecked by an EMU! Haha it was awesome! I also pet a snake… it was weird. Then I pet a lizard. Then we played on a playground at Darling Harbour. Honestly…I’m kind of ready to go home!! I miss you mom and dad! Me too mom and dad, love Danielle! Save travels everybody! Gnite! 

Hey! Abby  G here. I haven’t blogged in a while so there are a few new highlights to talk about. First of all, on Saturday we had Butterbeer flavored shave ice (snow cone). For those people who don’t know, Butterbeer is from Harry Potter, it’s not actually alcoholic obviously. Sunday was the last day with our host families. Danielle and I went to Taronga Zoo with our host family, the Hassanens. We saw free roaming kangaroos and adorable koalas in trees so close! Also we saw a Tazmanian Devil, which looks nothing like Taz from Looney Tunes, but was really cute. I will miss my host family so much, they were amazing and really made our trip comfortable. They were also very welcoming. Today was our last day. We shopped at Queen Victoria Building and Darling Harbour. At the wildlife park we took our picture with a real koala, named Elle. She was soft and I want to keep her! Ok well bye Australia!!

This is Audrey!!! Hey J Today is the last night in Australia so before we leave I wanted to state everything I would miss like I did when I left the Philippines. I’m going to miss the koalas, the kangaroos, all of the birds, Michael’s boat, diving in Elvina Wharf, going on the speed boat, seeing the Gill-Andrews family, singing Disney songs, Darling Harbor, Sydney Opera House, hanging out with everyone from Concert Choir, Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra, Pittwater high school, souvenir shopping, VEGEMITE (yes I’m not lying), Just Juice, watching The Hunger Games in the cinema, talking in an American-Australian accent, the nice busdrivers and ferry drivers in Pittwater, the many beaches, the great weather, emus, Concert Choir songs, Paddy’s Market, Crunchies, Violet Crumbles, Tim Tams and milk, no homework, Australian accents and slang and having the time to enjoy staying at this beautiful country. Seriously I don’t want to leave J G’day!

Hi this is Elisabeth, Barbara, Emily, Rachel, Rong, and Megan (big group huh?)!!! Today we went back to Sydney to go to Queen Victoria Mall. Swanky place. We saw the statue of Queen Victoria, window shopped, and bought Tim-Tams. Megan even bought her prom dress!! Then, we explored Darling Harbor and went to Wild Life Sydney (a zoo). We took pictures of just about everything and had loads of fun! Some of us even got pictures with koalas!! But one of our highlights was the crocodile feeding. The croc was 5m long and named Rex. He leapt into the air to grab meat from the feeding sticks!! After Wild Life Sydney, some of us got coffee and yummy crepes and had heaps of fun trying on hats in all the stores. Some of us went to McDonald’s and an ibis was strutting around eating food and pooping. Appetizing, right? Tonight, we are having a fun time packing and already missing Australia. Most of us leave at 4:30 AM tomorrow and have 11 hours of layover. But we’re looking forward to seeing our families soon!! G’Day!! J

It’s KTowns again… I am past where I thought I could go right now. I’m stressed because people keep messing with me and my business and I’m trying to cool off and they follow me and try to hug me and it’s just… it’s just… I’m past where I thought I could go. I have had a cappuccino, and two hot chocolates, and I’m going to pull an all-nighter because we leave at 4:30 in the morning, but right now, I am just past where I thought humanly possible… I’ll see you guys in Chicago if I haven’t blown up by then.

Great feeling going home. Very memorable trip. Gottu know new Australian friends as well as New Trier Kids. Not very good wii-fii at the airport – David 

This has been an amazing trip. I’m so sad to leave but I’m excited to get home. –Emma

What Emma said. –Arthur

What Arthur said.—Bob

I had so much fun here. I’m not excited to go back to school but I’m excited to go back home and take a 15 hour nap.- Stella

Australia is such an amazing country! I’m incredibly sad to go home, but I am looking forward to a nice shower and my own room. –Sophie

Although Australia is seriously lacking free wi-fi, water fountains and trash cans, I love this country! But I’m excited to go home and take the longest shower ever. –Sarah D

Australia is a truly amazing, wonderful, generous, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful country. Although everything here is quite expensive (except for 30 cent ice creams at mcdonalds) I had the best time here. – Sensei Ben Lee.

Australia was an amazing place with incredibly friendly people and great hospitality. I’m sad to leave, and I’ll miss my host family so much! –Spencer Moy

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Media Coverage of Our Trip

Pittwater Online News

CBS WBBM TV Channel 2 Chicago

Choir Blog 3-30-2012

HI!!!!! Its Matt and I think its my birthday. And LEXY AND CARLY made me a REDVELVETCUPCAKEWITHCREAMCHEESEFROSTING!!!!!!!!! Yayayaaya. J

Hello there. It’s Jon . It is Mathews birthday today…. Or is it tomorrow…. We are in a time loop it gets confusing. Anyway happy birthday china!

HI Hi Hi its Chloe! Last night we taught our host family how to play apples to apples it was really hard because there were a ton of American celebrities they didn’t know. Yesterday we went to the coolest park ever and I really want to bring one home! Anyway we’re off to shear sheep.

HIIII! It’s Audrey. Last night we went swinging on the ropes, listened to Tracy Chapman and ate lots of curry. Going sheep shearing today and hopefully I’m going to become a boomerang expert. G’day!
Greetings everybody! It’s Brian pulling my first blog. I thought I’d give it a shot. Today we go to watch some sheep shearing and throw boomerangs. The joke’s on them because my host family already taught me how to throw them. I’ve got a three day head start…It’s not going to help at all because I’m still unbelievable awful at it. Well, I guess that’s my blog. Have a good one. 

Hello America! A very happy birthday to Matt today…or whenever the 30th is for you. After our visit to the park yesterday, I may have to build a flying fox in my backyard. Look out mom and dad. We’re off to throw some boomerangs, so we’ll see how that goes, but at least we get to look at fluffy creatures when we shear sheep later. Ewe’s not fat, ewe’s just fluffy. I love bad jokes. Have an awesome day.

Hi its kate J so yesterday was so much fun! We got to shadow some people at school and I ended up going to a drama class with some other people but it was a blast! We got to do some improve with the Australians. After that we took a walk to the marina. The marina was pretty but the walk was the best part. There were spiders everywhere you looked and it was absolutely hilarious watching peoples reactions. After that we had a barbeque which was pretty tasty and then later we learned how to play rugby! It was sooooo much fun! And I might have been voted mvp :P but whatevs. It was so much awesome! Even tho we lost 3-0…. So theeeen we got to go back home and Claire and I tanned on the deck for a while until it started getting stormy. Then for dinner Helen and John took us out to eat at a Lebanese place which was actually kinda amazing. I had lamb on skewers! Yummm! Yeah so then when I got home, I crashed. But it was such a fun day and hopefully today will be just as great! 

Hi there America!  This is Kevin Blair! So yesterday, we didn’t do what was expected, follow our kids around school all day, but we did get to go to one class.  But afterschool, I rode the public bus, which was fun, and then JB, Breedy, and I went surfing!  I had the time of my life!  It was so fun, and I wish I could go some more.  I got on my knees on the board, almost stood up.  I must say, out of the three of us, I was the best.  My homestay mom even said I was a “natural”  Alright, I’m going to go do some sheep-shearing stuff.
HI there Chi-town this is Lexy! SO today is Matt Smith’s birthday apparently, I don’t know, we sang to him a couple times, there was an announcement on the bus, I am just going on a hunch here. We are currently in the bus on our way to sheer some sheep, crack whips and throw bomerangs! I am super excited, but the two hour bus ride is slowly eating us out… of our seats. Several people are sleeping in the back (at 10:00 in the morning, I see you Jon Wren), and I guess my subconscious misses Wisconsin or something because I swear I just saw a cow farm outside. And someone riding a Kangaroo. Last night Carly and I went to the Warringah mall (sorry for butchered spelling) and it was beautiful! We saw some birds inside, and then discovered that it is a partly outdoor mall: not like Old Orchard, but instead there is an opening in the middle of the mall where the ceiling disappears and you can see the outside. Anyway, we are off to dance and drink some Billy tea. See you later!!

Hi!! It’s Elisabeth and Hannah! Last night, our host girl, Kyra, took us to a book store in Mona Vale so that I (Elisabeth) could get the next two Hunger Games books. I’m on the last chapter of Catching Fire now. Then we got pizza at a restaurant by the ferry. What’s really nice about this trip is not only getting to know Australians, but even meeting kids from our band and orchestra that I don’t know because I’m in choir. Today, we went to a ranch to see sheep shearing and sheep dogs as well as try to use a boomerang. Neither of us had a very successful go with the boomerang, but it was fun trying!! We just had a really nice lunch at the ranch full of good food, Billy tea, and square dancing!!! G’Day!! J

Hey it’s Will, Aaron, and Charlie, otherwise known as the Surf Patrol. We’ve been too busy surfing, bro’ing it up, kangaroo hunting, boomeranging, square dancing, bullwhip cracking, surfing, body surfing, thrift shopping, gracing the Sydney Opera House with our presence, cowering in fear from spiders, and overrunning a children’s playground to post on the blog. However, we decided to take some time from our busy schedule of patrolling the surf to give you guys some insight into our newfound Australian lives. As we said, we lit up the dance floor with our dancing prowess. All in all it has been a good week, and we look forward to the days ahead. Peace out, Surf’s up! #surfpatrol 8

Hey, it’s Zachary Lobman. We just went to the Australian version of a ranch, so your average sheep sheering and herding were in order. Besides that we threw boomerangs that (most of the time) never came back, ate damper (which is basically bread with burnt flour on the outside from being baked in a camper/dutch oven) and drank billy tea (tea that is boiled in a pot over an open fire). Both were decent, but damper is really good with golden syrup (pure liquidized sugar kind of like honey) on it. After all that we went inside to enjoy a  very good lunch, especially for nearly 200 people. During lunch we heard Australian country music along with a few American songs done by a band called “Mountain Dew”. Guitar, accordion and vocals and some other things. After lunch we danced and hung out and now were on our bus to where our final concert will be in Australia. Wish us luck.

Once again it is I: Brian. I’m really getting into this blogging thing. As you’ve probably read we went to a ranch and saw the stockmen (Australian cowboys) doing all the casual insanely cool things that they do. First was cooking tea and bread from practically nothing. It was really good bread. Then came the whips. Pa-chaw! It was a really cool thing to see the whips cracking, and he showed us a lot of different styles of it. Boomerang throwing was really great. As I said before I had some experience, and I think it really paid off for me in the end. I had a couple moderate tosses, all of which had some good circling to it, and started to come back. The sheep sheering seemed a little animal cruelty like, so that wasn’t my favorite, but a nice experience to see. Overall a great day. I bought I CD from the band “Mountain Dew” which got rid of all the Australian money I have. I desperately need a currency exchange, but lolzcatz, probably won’t get one soon. Well off to sing, and hope it goes well! Have a solid, readers! 

Hello, this is Brad Wiedrich! The past couple of days have been very fun and exciting. We went out to Gledswood Homestead and did a bunch of fun activities from watching Australian kelpies rounding up sheep to throwing boomerangs. I was even able to have a go at a bullwhip, which was very exciting to try. Most of all, we had our performance at the Sydney Opera  House, which was very nerve-wracking, but it was a very fun and memorable performance. The bus ride back to Pittwater also turned out to be very interesting, but some things should, and will, be left unsaid. #trippiestbusrideever

Our Performance at the Sydney Opera House

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 3 – March 27, 2012

This is Dr. Dohrer! We are heading into Day Three under bright sunny skies here in Mona Vale. We have already had several rehearsals and performances at the school and in the area. It was great to finally see everyone playing and singing. They all sound wonderful!! Now, we are heading to Palm Beach to enjoy some surf and sand where they film episodes of “Home and Away”, a very popular soap opera here in Australia. G’Day!

I have already been to the beach twice and excited to go again! 
Catherine Dohrer

There are three Noahs on this trip! Three!
-By Noah, Noah, and Noah!!!

I broke a bow hair during rehearsal today. I’m officially intense now.
-          Vivian J 

This is a pretty awesome way to spend a birthday J
-Solena R.

I ate a Tim Tam today!  It was amazing!
-          Emelia S

Me and Yong be swankin’ at the beach 8-)
-          James S.

I wish I could stay here forever!! Loving the weather today!
-Joyce Sun

Can’t wait to eat Kangaroo tonight!
-Ben Lee

The weather’s so nice and I can’t wait to learn how to surf today J
-Sarah B.

My host family is so nice and the mom is a great cook,, oh yeah!!!! Love it her J paris
Australia’s so incredible. Everyone is so open and kind to us. Can’t wait to play the opera house!
-John Merikoski

Tried some vegemite…you could call it a memorable experience. Miss everyone and having an amazing time!
-Donna Carnow

I love Australia!
-Emma Davis

I have to take a boat to get home and a ferry to school. Too cool!
-Spencer Moy

I’ve never seen a more beautiful place. Sydney is incredible!
-Steph Weaver-Weinberg    
The spiders here are HUGE!
-Julia Weiland

The birds sound like humans here….
-Chris Park

MUCH more laid back than Chicago. The parents SURF before work and a lot of people have free roaming chickens.
-Charlie Zoller

There are more beaches here than I can count. So three beaches down, about ten more to go.
-Richard W

I will never die!!!

-          Australia’s so nice I’ve managed to forget about the loads of homework I’ve got waiting for me. – Dale Watt

Monday, March 26, 2012

HI there all it’s Chloe! We’re currently sitting in the terminal waiting for our flight to lovely LAX. Matt and Jon are teaching Mah Euchre while Claire is sleeping and I am eating Red Mango with Lexy. We’re all slowly getting food while Brian is showing Mah his “meme”, which is a picture of Mr. Mah with any variety of “mah” puns. For example: “This meme is MAH-some”. We’re quite a tech savvy group, much more to come from that I believe. Gotta love concert choir J

Hi its Kate. Charlie is sitting next to me eating pizza that smells pretty awful and I’m listening to mah talk about something that I haven’t exactly caught on to :p oh! It’s about skip to my lou. We won’t go there. 

HEY FAMILY AND FRIENDS! It’s Sean  Gies from Auckland, and we’re all about to board our flight to Sydney…but  it’s 830 our time on Sunday the 25th, but apparently it’s like 130 your time on Saturday…. Hmm… BUT HI ERRYBODY

Hi! It’s Jill Lurie and Matt Smith from Auckland New Zealand… Woah it’s beautiful here. Everything is soo green and lush; it’s pretty unbelievable.  Our last flight was 12.5 hours. It was a long one, but everyone is fine and the food was… tolerable. We only have three and half more hours and then we will finally be in Sydney.  Right now everyone is waiting by the gate and very tired. Hopefully we’ll be able to sleep some more on this next flight J Cheers! 

Hey parents and friends! It’s Claire Revord and Zontae Brady. We just got off the plane at Auckland and a lot of us went to change into shorts and t-shirts in anticipation of the (hopefully) warm weather soon to come. I’m not sure what the plan is for today, but everyone here is so excited to finally land in Australia! The flight here, let me be the first to say, was spectacular. I’ve never been on such a huge plane before, and I didn’t even want to sleep because there were so many things to do. Listen to music, watch movies, play videogames…I was overwhelmed. I eventually watched Shawshank Redemption and Bridesmaids and occasionally went to the back of the plane to chat with Zontae. We’re all so excited for this week!! 

Hi Its Laura T, Lindsey V and Megan K! We had a fantastic flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, NZ. The chairs had foot rests and the TV’s had games, movies and you could make your own music playlist. We watched the sunrise this morning and saw stars at night. The information airplane video was hilarious and included Richard Simmons dancing.We are exicted to go to Sydney!

Hey it’s Kenneth and I slept about 3 hours on the 14  hour flight. They had cool stuff on the plane, and Lindsey V and Laura T kept climbing over me to use the bathroom. In other news, I was checked for explosives at the airport in New Zealand.

It’s Chloe! What a lovely night we had. Our host family is awesome and they tried teaching us how to surf. Emma and I got up on our knees but Allegra owned us all and got all the way up on her feet! We had a lovely dinner off the “Barbie” (no shrimp though lol). Its so gorgeous here and our family’s house looks right over the ocean. They have chickens and turkeys and ducks and its seriously the coolest thing ever. I love it here, I never wanna leave. We’re headed to the beach now, about to have some fun!

HI! It’s Matt Smith and Jon Wren. We are headed right now to Manly Beach for some more tourist things and then later today we have rehearsals and a performance at a local high school. Our host family is great and very very kind. They have two parrots and chicken coop and wild turkey cleans there yard…that’s not a joke…. Last night we had fried cheese that was sooo good and chicken and sausage. Neither of us can get over how beautiful it is here; the diversity of trees and plants are unbelievable. Driving on the left side of the road is kinda freaky, especially at 80km/hr when another car is coming right at you on the right hand side.  There are no stop signs here, just lots of roundabouts and yields signs, which they call “give way”- that doesn’t help either. G’day china. 

Heeyy! Its kate! Were on the bus right now but oh my golly yesterday was so much fun! We got with our host families and Mrs. Lawsons daughter Emma, whos 18 and goes to Uni, was there. She took us to the beach and then later we watched half of white chicks because we kept falling asleep. I have a new favorite food tho! Its called musley! Mrs. Lawson made it for us for breakfast this morning. Its oats that soaked in apple juice overnight and then you add yogurt and little slices of apple and almonds in the morning. It tastes amaaazing and im definitely going to make it when I get home. The one thing that freaks me out here is the driving and how it’s all backwards. I’ve had a few heart attacks. The round-abouts especially are the scariest. So yup! It’ll take some getting used to.

Hey it’s Claire! Australia is AMAZING. The birds are so different here, and it’s so lovely to hear all the different kinds when waking up in the morning. The plants and trees are incredible, as are the beaches. The sand is an orange-gold color, and so soft. The waves are huge (at least compared to Lake Michigan) but my host Emma said they were little when we went yesterday. The cliffs over the beach are amazing; so many huge houses look right over the water. My favorite treat here so far has been musley: this is a dish similar to oatmeal with greek yougurt, oats, apples, and walnuts. We had some this morning for breakfast alongside poached eggs-delicious! Right now we’re riding a bus to one of the beaches here and later we’re heading to a local high school for a rehearsal and concert. We are all still in shock to be here. In many ways, it’s similar to the US, but in a lot it is very different. Everyone is SOO much more relaxed than on the North Shore: you can walk into a store, bank, or shop in only your swimsuit and no one even bats an eye! That’s what we did last night at the movie store. There’s no curfew either; Emma told us when she was in fifth grade her and her friends often stayed out some nights until one just playing in the streets. How fun! The weather is kind of drizzly today but everything still looks great! I love Australia. 

Hey everyone! It’s Anna! I still can’t believe I’m in Australia! It seems unreal. Everything and everyone is amazing. We landed in Sydney around 10.30 am and we got to Pittwater around 12.30pm. Then we got to meet our host families. My host family’s daughter, Grace, came to pick me and my roommate Nikki with her grandmother. They are both so nice. Later we got to meet her parents who are both so awesome and nice. We had a snack of tea and cookies when we got there. Later we went to the beach for a walk. It was so nice. The coast is so beautiful! On the way to the beach, we went through the center of Newport, the town where I’m staying. The cliffs are incredible! We had a really nice family dinner that evening around 8pm. We got to bed around 10pm. Today, we woke up around 7am, but didn’t get out of bed until 7.30am! We took the public school bus to school and got there around 8.20am. Now we are on the bus on the way to Manly Beach. The weather is a little blah. Cloudy, kind of rainy, but it should get better. Almost at the beach! Australia is GORGEOUS!


Hey it’s Lindsey (Vorhees)! My stay has been lovely so far. MY house is located on Envina bay. My host family has a boat to access their house which is very outdoorsy. Elvina Bay is part on a National Park so, there are trails and we walked over to a waterfall yesterday. Since it is located in a National Park all the houses run on rainwater (very eco-friendly!). You actually don’t see too many animals out during the day which surprised me. Though my family still has to watch out for their chickens, as some of the wild animals can harm them.  The chickens also receive any leftover food so, they are essentially a compost bin. That’s all for now. Loving Australia. 

Hey there- it’s Laura T. here! I’ve been having an absolute blast and my homestay family is reaaally musically gifted- we had a music jam last night with about 12 kids and it was incredible- I filmed it so everyone could see. We just took pics at the Sydney Harbor and my new nickname is ‘Laura-keet’ according to Lindsey and Kenny because there’s a bird here called a lorikeet. I love those guys- they were amazing to sit with on the plane. Everyone here is incredibly nice and I’ve had a blast here so far. Now we’re off to the beach in our ‘swimming costumes’ and ‘cozzys’. They call flip flops ‘thongs’ here and McDonalds ‘Mackys’. Haha, I love this place- everthing here’s incredible. Alright- signing off now, byeee! 

Hello it’s KTowns (previously mentioned as Kenneth) and my experience has been awesome so far. My host family lives about 1 ½ blocks away from Pittwater school, so we walk to school. Yesterday, we had a tour of the neighborhood, and then went over to Palm Beach for some water-filled fun. We jumped off some rocks into the ocean and it was really awesome (though swimming back through a forest of seaweed wasn’t my idea of fun). Afterwords it was really nice to take a shower, and we jumped on the trampoline and played ping-pong, and then had a nice home-cooked Australian dinner – it was amazing! After a good nights sleep, I feel well-rested and ready for an action-packed day in Australia!

Hey- it’s Laura T. and Lindsey V. yet again- we just got back from swimming at Manly Beach and we shopped as well! We had a blast- but we’re not so used to the salt water, so that was icky to get in your mouth! We found an inflatable ‘thong’ (flip flop) and were laughing because they call flip flops thongs here. Alright- signing off! G’day!

I’m back! It’s Anna! Just finished hanging out in/on Manly Beach. We had a nice lunch at this burger place. Australian Burgers are reaaally good. Really good. We got our food and ate on the beach. We did a little souvenir shopping. It was nice. We had ice cream at a place called Copenhagen. It made me laugh because I have a cousin who lives in Copenhagen! The water at the beach was actually pretty cold! And it was really windy!! I thought my stuff would fly away! Now we’re on the way to our rehearsal for the concert tonight! Laterz.

Jon W. and Matt S. again…. MANLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t explain what this place is like, but it’s manly, real manly.       

Hi! It’s Elisabeth, Rong, Hannah, and Barbara! We just got back from a visit to Curl-Curl Beach with Manly High School students and are now eating a barbecue dinner at the school! Everyone is so nice and welcoming!! It’s a really nice school, but what we like best in Manly are the names: Manly Creative Hair, Manly Paradise Motel and Apartments, Manly Dance, and especially Manly Beach!  Bye!!

Wassup, John and Allison here! We just had our first concert of Australia with Manly High School Choir at Manly High School!!! Their choir was so great, and they were only in 8th and 9th grade. It was really cool to see them perform, and to perform for them, after hanging out with them all day.  To sum up the day, we hung at the beach, did some shopping, hung with some cool Aussies, and had an awesome concert! Now time to get some sleep. If only counting to 50 didn’t take so long…G’night! P.S Allison says hi Mom and Dad

Heyo, it’s Emma. We’re on the bus back from our concert with Manley High School. We sounded great but we still have a lot of work to do before we can feel really confident going into our performance at the Sydney Opera House. The kids at Manley sounded wonderful, especially considering how young most of their choir is. It was super fun to get a chance to listen to and hang out with all of them at the beach and at their school. This country rocks. The end.

What in God’s Name is a fricking BUSH TURKEY???????!!!!!- A tenor & a bass. I love you mom.

G’evening! It’s Delphine and Jill. It’s 8ish at night right now and we are on the bus home to Pittwater. Today was very busy and fun! We spent the day in Manly and are incredibly tired and a bit sunburnt. Sorry moms L. Our concert was really fun and we loved bonding with all the Manly students- they were all extremely friendly and hospitable. More coming soon from Sydney – D and J
Hey its Anna and Kinsley. We had an incredible concert except wekindofsuckedatJ’entendslemoulin! The students at Manly selective were very nice. We went to the beach with them. WE got a lot of sand in our pants.The lunch/dinner was really nice. Right now we are on the way to Pittweater. Its only 8;25 and my family isn’t picking me up till 9. We can’t wait for tomrrows 2 hour rehersal and concert. Starting right in the morning! Yay! There were supposed to be 2 concerts, but one got cut. So yay! Oh by the way the weather was gorgeous later in the day!!

March 26, 2012
We are sitting outside Pittwater high school, listening to the symphony orchestra rehearse. We were just given a mini-tour of the hospitality classroom. It is like a cooking class. The facility here is really nice. The hospitality teacher was very friendly. A bell just rang and now a bunch of students are outside. I think it is their recess or lunch time. We are going to try and mingle with the students now. They look very friendly. Signing off,
Jesse Gamoran

Australia is amazing! The ocean has the biggest waves we’ve ever seen and their winter is basically our summer. Both of our host families are fantastic and they have the best food! Barbies on the grill! The lifestyle here is so relaxed and chill. It’s not uncommon to see people walking around barefoot around town or in the grocery store. Tomorrow is our big night at the Sydney Opera House; can’t believe it’s finally here! It looks even more amazing than it does in Finding Nemo! (42 Wallaby Way, Sydney)
Right now we’re at Pittwater High School waiting to go to the beach. Both the band and orchestra had rehearsals this morning and we have a concert tonight. Everyone has been welcoming and we’ve gotten a lot of attention because of our accents! Especially for the word “water.” “Apparently we say it strangely. We’re adjusted to the time change fairly well. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be; 31 hours of travel time gives you plenty of time to rest. But for now we’re making some awesome new Australian friends and trying to pick up some Aussie lingo.
See you soon Chicago!
Cristina Foschi and Sarah Davidson

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 1 in
O’Hare Airport –
At the airport and it’s been a little chaotic so far, but I am really excited to get on the plane and be one my way to Australia! There are so many people going on the trip and so far it’s been a really great environment, and everyone is really great! –Katie 

I really enjoyed the pat down. On a more serious note I’m surprised that everything has gone well, this is a definite sign that things will go wrong.  – Ben

Things have been going smoothly, regardless of the fact that New Trier students increased the length of all of the lines exponentially. –Marc

No problems so far.  A long wait for our planes but it’s a good time to relax when things seem to be moving so fast =David

We’re waiting at the airport. I’m blogging now. (True story.) -Arthur

It’s been a good time so far waiting on the bus and in the airport. I can’t wait to wait some more! – Bob

I love getting radiation from the security check J -Joyce

I just spent $2.85 on a water bottle….I regret nothing. – Richard 

Just started playing betray your buddy (card game) awesome!-Andrew

Has it really been only roughly 3 hours..? –Matt

Gate Gourmet….yummmm        -S.Ting

Screw our friends (card game)…bet wisely –P. Choi

On the Plane
So we watch movies… then fall asleep. I’m waking up believing that I slept through most of the plane ride. I look at the flight map. We have 12 hours and 22min. left Ugh…. Wait. The T.V. on the seat isn’t working? -Solena R.

Sleep, eat, watch T.V. That’s about it. – Vivian  J

It’s 2:10am and I’m starving… -Paris

On our ride from the airport to the high school –
You’d think that after spending 17 hours on a plane, the jet lag would be terrible but being on this bus, in the sunlight, taking in the sights of the city really wakes you up! That and the discomfort that comes from driving on the left side of the road! – James Paik

After sitting still for 18 hours…only option you got, MOVIE MARATHON, -P. Choi  

James you are a fool. –Sir Graham

I wanna see a platypus! –Elliot

Elliot I would appreciate it it you would not steal the computer away from me. Anyway, that plane ride was very… long. Very much so. Max and I were looking for land out of the window as soon as the sun came up but we were 40,000 feet up in the air and we could only see sky above and below us. Finally, I see a speck of land when we start to descend and we shout, ‘Land ho!!’ and the plane starts clapping and crying. –Graham

It’s bright and drizzling on and off. The sight-seeing is interesting with the different kinds of trees and the city’s architecture. I’ve never flown so much before.. Qantas was definitely the most enjoyable, but very long. –Matt

I was greeted by Kathy, my host, and new Fb friend with a smile and a big huh hello  - Patti

First time at the high school! . . . .
Love the open atmosphere!
Giant spider.
Brand new basses!
We’re waiting right now in anticipation and with feelings of excitement for our host family! Struggling to stay awake at 11:00, we’re super excited for a day around Sydney! –Sophie and Stella

Mr Temple’s kids are big bunches of fun! We’re having a great time with them while we wait for the Hardys to arrive. Plus, they get along with the Rosheger children really well! – Paula and Diana

Waiting in the auditorium to be picked up by our host family. Australia rocks! Can’t wait to meet our host family and have a fun day with them. –Jesse and Ethan

Such nice weather! Some rain, but overall beautiful. There are purple flowers everywhere, I love it! –Kelly and Cailin

Total travel time from crossing Woodland Avenue, Winnetka, IL, USA to pulling up at Pittwater Highschool, Australia: 30 hours, 30 minutes, 19 seconds.

Monday, March 26
Matt Temple, Director of Bands
It is often said that music is the universal language.  Today our students had the opportunity to experience that altruism with an Australian conductor.  The Symphonic Wind Ensemble worked with none other than Russell Hammond, who is highly regarded as the father of the Australian band movement. Just as we have been delighted to hear the Australian accent, our students were equally fascinated with Mr. Hammond’s approach to music-making. Although he is an older gentleman, Russell obviously stays young at heart through the power of music. The New Trier students performed two traditional Australian pieces for Russell, including the first movement, Droylsden Wakes, of David Stanhope’s “Folksong Set No. 3,” and Percy Grainger’s “Shepherd’s Hey.”
Mr. Hammond’s experience as a conductor was immediately obvious and inspired our students to play exceptionally well for him.  He went measure by measure, methodically shaping the music into a distinctly Australian sound.  Droylsden Wakes is a gorgeous, slow movement, which Russell transformed into a highly expressive character. He insisted on very specific musical effects, and our students adapted well to his requests. Mr. Hammond is good friends with the composer, David Stanhope (pronounced Stan-up), so he brought a very informed approach to the piece. In fact, Russell premiered the work in 1993 with David advising the preparation of the first performance.
“Shepherd’s Hey” is an up-tempo tune based on the traditional dancing of the English Morris Men, during which they would attach jingling bells to their ankles. I was bemused by the realization that our American students were performing English music arranged by an Australian composer – what a confluence of related, but unique cultures! Or as Grainger would have said, the music had been “dished up” for band.
While it is difficult to describe in words, I’ll attempt to identify what struck me as Russell’s authentically Australian interpretation. In the US, we often strive to increase our dynamic range by expanding the softer side of playing. Russell pushed that envelope in both directions simultaneously, asking the students to play very softly at times and incredibly stridently in louder sections.  The color of sound became very brash in dramatic moments; our students enjoyed the heightened energy! We also teach our students to play with a very blended, homogenous sound.  Instead, Russell asked the students to project in a very individualistic way that made the characteristic sound of each instrument pop out of the texture at key moments.  Lastly, Russell’s approach to articulation brought out the vernacular inflection of the music. Staccato notes were further shortened; accented notes were played harder; and Russell instructed the students to “blow the roof off” of the rehearsal room for sforzando effects.
Our interpretation of both pieces was forever changed in the short time that we spent with Mr. Hammond.  We look forward to sharing our newly informed interpretation of both pieces with you on the Homecoming concert at New Trier on Thursday, April 12. In the meantime, we will be sharing our distinctly American sound with Australian audiences. The rest of our program includes representative American composers and will provide a great cultural exchange of music.

If you would like to hear mp3 recordings of our clinic with Russell Hammond, please follow these links: