02 May 2012

Our Visit to IU

 In late April, we took a trip to Indiana University to visit our daughter and attend a performance of the IU Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble. It was a weekend filled with world-class musical performances, and we had an absolutely wonderful time!

 We decided to leave a day earlier than planned so we could catch the rehearsal on Thursday afternoon. What a treat! It was so fun to get to hear this amazing performance twice! Click on the photo to enlarge and you can see our daughter standing at the back left in the percussion section, behind the piano.

We were completely blown away by the performances of all three groups. What a great experience to be part of an ensemble playing such challenging music! This is one of the true benefits of being a student in the Jacobs School of Music. As a future music educator, these experiences will serve her well.

Bailey knows that I've always got my camera in tow, so after the performance she asked me to go on stage (my stage debut at the MAC!) to take a few pictures with friends. Here's a photo with some of her friends from the percussion studio who performed in the ensembles that evening.

And here's a photo with her boyfriend taken after the concert. They're learning to cooperate with me. :) As an added bonus, we also got to meet his parents and spend some time visiting with Bailey's new roommate and her parents!

 Of course, Bailey had to go to class on Friday, but she still had time for lunch with us. Conveniently, I had my camera with me to catch a picture with her dad wearing his Hoosier Daddy shirt. (I need to find a Hoosier Mommy shirt...)

 It was a beautiful day in Bloomington so while she went back to class, we took a long walk on the new B-Line trail, an extensive walking path that follows the route of one of the old train lines. 

The trail itself is very wide and well-lit, with rest stations and signage with historical information along the way. This particular stretch of trail winds through a lovely wooded area.

 Southern Indiana is known for its limestone. In fact, many of the buildings at IU are constructed from limestone which gives the campus a beautiful, old world feel.


Bloomington has a very active arts community, so it's not surprising that there are several public art installations along the trail. This giant table with chairs is located next to the farmers' market venue.

 This particular weekend was the annual Little 500 bike race -- a team event modeled after the Indy 500 and featured in Breaking Away, a movie from a few years back. A mere 25,000 extra people converged on the town that weekend for racing and massive amounts of partying. Although we were told to avoid it at all costs (good advice!), I wanted to see the venue, so we stopped by to look at the track as they were setting up. Now I can say I've been to Little 500! :)

It was one treat after another that weekend: Bailey had time to play for us! She and her friends were in the midst of preparing for Upper Divisionals, a barrier required of all sophomore music majors in which students play for their department professors to determine if they can stay in the program. (She passed!) I LOVE listening to her play timpani and don't get to hear it very often!

And she also played her marimba piece. I could listen to this instrument all day. Such a beautiful sound! So far, Bailey has had the opportunity to study with three of the four percussion professors and hopes to work with the other one next year. With such great instruction covering all facets of percussion, we can definitely see how she is growing and developing as a musician!

 Friday evening we got to attend the percussion recital of a junior performance major in her studio. What a great recital! Given that Jay is also a percussionist, it was a really special treat for him. We followed the performance with a trip to Red Mango, the local frozen yogurt hangout. YUM!
After lunch on Saturday, Bailey had more practicing to do so we entertained ourselves by going to several junior/senior recitals, including a harp recital which left us speechless. There are over 1500 performances at the music school each year and on that particular day, there were student recitals taking place every hour. This photo was taken in Auer Hall, the most beautiful recital hall on campus. The acoustics were especially designed for the pipe organ which was installed last year after years of preparation.

 At the time we planned the trip, we found out there was going to be a big jazz concert Saturday evening so we decided to stay for it. It was an absolutely fabulous performance featuring four well-known jazz musicians who attended IU playing in various ensembles with jazz students. A highlight of the evening was the performance of IU's Latin Jazz Band!

As you can see, we had a fantastic time visiting Bailey, seeing her friends, and catching so many wonderful performances. A weekend like this confirms that IU is a very special place. We feel grateful every day that Bailey is so happy at Jacobs and is getting such a fantastic education.

And even better, if that is possible: We get to pick her up for the summer in just a few short days!

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