Rehearsal this morning consisted of some detailed work, then we practiced performing, including stagecraft and moving between pieces… the students are the more experienced of the program, but it’s good to be on the same page.
The final conducting class was very small but fun – we worked on a few exercises for left-hand cueing, plus the note-cards of doom. (That is, the conductor has a rhythm in front of them, which they must transmit, without words, to the rest of the class. Prof. Varon, at Eastman, taught this to me, and it’s essential practice.)
I went with the stage crew/local students to the hall, along with chairs, music stands and boxes of bottled water. Here are pictures of the hall:
In the evening, Cherise (Mahogany Jones) was the MC for an open mic at a café in town, about 1.5k away from the hotel. Susan (the guitar teacher/soloist) and I walked over there (a long walk).
I left for a few minutes for sustenance. I stepped into a nice little fast-food pizza nook in Kurdistan, run by an Indian family (judging by the Bollywood movie playing behind the counter). I struck up conversation with a fellow waiting with his young son. He’d worked for Ericsson in Sweden for 20 years, and returned to Kurdistan with the company to help build the country’s burgeoning computer networks. He offered to pay for my pizza, but I demurred.
The open mic was great. There was some playing, some beatboxing and rapping (yes, in Kurdish!), and Susan played guitar, with Cherise reciting a poem over her second piece. It was a beautiful evening, marred only by a few minutes of confrontation from the manager. (“You promised me an open mic, but why was there things that were not music? This is terrible!” Despite lots of extra business for the café.) But that certainly didn’t subtract from the evening.