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(home)school play

It's been a performance week here all around. Calvin participated in a master class at Jon's piano studio yesterday, had long Tarzan rehearsals on three evenings, and this afternoon was the HAA end of the indoor year play, talent show, still projects display extravaganza. Calvin, of course, did all three. He wouldn't to leave any stone unturned, or any activity undone.

The play this year was homegrown—a story written then scripted by one of our own homeschool kids. It was a bit of a socialist production focused the uneven distribution of wealth between the seasons, which in this case were countries of their own. The moral of the story was "share to avoid going to war with the have-nots". It was cute and well-adapted, and I had a good time coming up with a last minute costume for my military leader of the have-nots (billed as chief warrior from the fall).

I apologize for the dark and blury shots from the play. Photography in the gym where we hold our indoor activiites is touchy, to say the least. And I was so busy enjoying the talent show that I forgot to take video of Calvin's performance, which was brilliant. 

But be sure to hop on over to his own blog to see the photograph and accompanying poem (both his own) that he turned in for his still project display. He is considering entering both in the 4H youth show this year as well.

Up next? It's dance recital weekend.


Halloween field tripping

Homeschoolers can do field trips, too. This is an annual one for our group—a trip to what used to be a small, local pumpkin patch and apple orchard with a very scary haunted house but is now a very large fall fair. Putt putt golf, petting zoo, haunted hayride, corn maze, paint ball, AND pumpkins and apples in the fields. We get a doughnut and cider snack, too, of course.

And we didn't get lost in the corn maze.




Stage and screen

Last night, Jon and I had a chance to go out, just the two of us, and enjoy the opening night of The Great Gatsby. Opening night for most movies is a real hoot, and this was no flop. We got our tickets to see it at the historic Michigan Theater in town, where we also enjoyed a live band, a sing-along, 1920s cocktails, and the occasional flapper before the show. Most screen performances pale in comparison to the books they try to enliven, but Baz Luhrmann is no slouch, and it turned out to be a great show. Even in 3D it was classy. Just don't expect ragtime. In true Luhrmann style (think Moulin Rouge), the sounds of this prohibition-era film are a unique blend of modern hip-hop with just a hint of the roaring twenties. We loved it, every note, every line, every actor, every moment.

Speaking of flappers...

Speaking of classy?

Earlier in the day was a different kind of celebratory performance. I raved last year at this time about our wonderful group and all the opportunities it provides. We meet indoors only during the cooler months, and we use that time to offer classes to the kids (in the warmer months we meet at parks, the only structure about the meeting being the agreed location and the suggestion of timing). When our indoor meetings draw to a close we celebrate with a party, a hobbies display, a talent show, and the theater class's play, the culmination of their semester's work.

This was the our second year meeting with the group, so it was our second "last day of school" party, but it was actually Calvin's fourth play. His acting debut was as an extra god in the stage production of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. That performance earned him more lines in the next play, The Wizard of Oz, when he played the lead munchkin and flying monkey, and his first character part in the third play, when he played the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Calvin has a good memory, has always spoken with relatively good diction, and loves to play make-believe, so it's not really a surprise that he has continually done well on the stage.

This semester the group performed a special stage adaptation of a book trilogy written by the dad of one of our very own members, and Calvin was one of the four main characters. Lots of lines, but he still knocked it out of the park. And he had a great time doing it.

Oh, and the talent show, too.


{field trip} Alvin Ailey at the Detroit Opera House

Spring arrived this week to the tune of snow squals, high winds, and minorly frigid temperatures, and it just keeps on coming like that. This kind of snow is wasted on the spring. In December, even in January or February, the beautiful, white, dancing flakes filling the air would make life feel cozier and more beautiful, but in March they're just pitiful and they make me feel cold. At noon I'm freezing just sitting in the house and I still have to convince myself to suit up and head out for a run. Calvin and I have been sneakily bumping up the heat a couple of notches every afternoon and snuggling under blankets on the couch to get cozy enough to read. I'm sure it's a mental thing, since it when it was in the single digits back in January we had no complaints at all. Calvin would even spend hours outside playing in the snow. No, it's not that the thirty degree temperatures are really a problem, it's the constancy of the thirty degree temperatures even in mid March that's getting us down.

We heated things up a bit today, though, by joining some of our homeschooling friends at the Detroit Opera House for a special mid-Friday performance by the Alvin Ailey dance troup. Stunning, rhythmic, emotive, sensual, amazing...there are so many ways to describe the performance. It was a shortened version of their typical shows, including excerpts from their piece Grace and the entirety of their signature piece Revelations. We loved it so much we considered grabbing tickets for one of their weekend matinees, but what we really wanted to see was Grace in its entirety, and they were only performing that on Saturday night, which we decided was too late for Calvin. I hear they come to Detroit fairly often, tough, and if they come next year we'll be sure to get tickets then.

Overall, defintiely an A plus for the Friday afternoon trip, which included lunch with friends afterward at the Detroit Beer Company, followed by a ride (twice around) on the People Mover. And we weren't even freezing.