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Today I spent an hour sitting in the Dance Room at school. The Dance Room is a part of the gym, although I don’t know why they call it that because as far as I know, we don’t have a dance team or anything. The reason for skipping Band and the majority of Science class is that I was picking my electives for High School!!!!

The way it worked was everybody going to Washington HS (me!) went to the Dance Room because there were so many of us and all the other 8th graders went to the library. Then one of the Head Ladies started picking groups of students to go to work with the counselers, and of course I was picked last. But, that gave me the chance to hang out with my future classmates. One was this kid named Jason who wore red pants and a vintage Pepsi shirt. Super-Rad!

The electives I wanted most were Jazz Band, Regular Band, Spanish and Drama. The lady, who looked retired and very sweet said, “Oh! Well, you must be a Fine Arts person!” To which I replied, “Of course!” because I am! Anyway, she said I would probably get all of my classes I wanted except, maybe,  for Jazz Band because it’s so popular, so I might get into P.E. Bleh! But the awesome part is it will be the only P.E. class I have to take because if I stay in Band all for years, that makes up the rest of the credits!

I’ll probably end up knowing what I get maybe at the end of the year, but most likely over the summer. Can’t wait!


It’s here again! Last Tuesday I went to the All-County Band Tryouts for clarinets, flutes, and saxophones.It started at 5:30 and ended at like 9:00 for some people. The earlier you got there and got your little numbered ticket, the earlier you could get it over with and leave. So, I got to sit at a little table with all of my buddies for three hours, goofing off and being nervous out of our wits as the numbers got closer and closer. I didn’t really care whether I made it in or not. I only went because it was required and a grade. But,

I MADE IT IN!!!

Woo! That was totally unexpected! I do have to admit, though, I felt as cool as a cucumber when I got into the room to play my scales and I felt even better when I went to do the sightreading! But, WOW!

Hopefully, I’ll get more information about it after Fall break, because, I don’t even know when the first practice is!


Here’s all of the pretty good things that have happened this past week!

Monday: I got to go to the library! I had some really overdue books I finally returned, paid my $3.60 in dues (That’s a ton!), and checked out two new books: Zombies vs. Unicorns & Tyrell. I also got a Norah Jones cd, Come Away With Me.

Tuesday: I got a 102 on my Algebra test!

Wednesday: Hallow’s Eve! I got a bucketfull of candy! I think I got more Butterfingers than anything if you don’t count lollipops.

Thursday: This day pretty much sucked.

Friday: I had to stay after school again for band practice, but-I passed my scales!!! Barely! I did all 6 of the scales in 1:37 out of the two minutes you get to do them. This is what the Band director said to me,

Band Director: Well, congradulations you passed your scales and your chromatic scale. Your tongueing is very sharp. I read that this can be caused by not having a strong enough reed. I think that we might need to move you up to a Level 4 reed from the Level 3’s.

Me: I’m already using the 4’s.

Band Director: *stunned* Wow. Maybe you should try a 4 1/2, then.

Me: *also now stunned* Ok, Thank you.

Band Director: Thank You!

Four-and-a-half! Oh My Goodness!!!! Level 3 1/2 is what most people in my level use. I just went for the fours last Christmas to see how they worked. By now I’ve gotten use to using them, but WOW! I only know 2 other people that use fours in my level and they’re really, really good. But, 4 1/2 !?! I don’t know anyone who’s ever even tried those before! I’m really, really, super-duper excited!!!

If you’re interested in all the things that went wrong this week, you can look here at The Bad Side.


Uuuuhhhhh! I’ve had such a long week! It makes my neck hurt just to think about it!

Monday: I don’t remember Monday that much. It’s cloudy in my memory. I do know that we had a really creepy pervert-like substitute for Chorus. He looked like a leprechaun! Even with the pointy ears! This just made him all the worse.

Tuesday: We had our All-County Passoffs. This is where if you’re a clarinetist, you have to play 6 scales in 2 octaves, so it’s like 12 scales. For those who are musically confused, a scale is the do-re-mi song up and down. I had all of my notes and fingerings down and everything! But, I didn’t pass. The director said I wasn’t going the right tempo!!! What the heck!?! I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t pass because of their tempo! I didn’t even know scales had tempos!! I thought you just played them at the tempo you were comfortable at! This meant I had to stay after school until I passed my scales (more below).

Wednesday: I started to come down with this really nasty cold. I think I was enjoying the cool weather too much. School was nice because everybody was so excited for Halloween. When I got home, the first thing my mom said to me was “You’re not going Trick-or-Treating, right?”. I looked at her like she was crazy and said,”Of course I’m going to get free candy!” because it was true. But, my brother, who is a year younger than me. deemed it uncool to go trick-or-treating once you’re in seventh grade. Since I’m in eighth grade, my mom just thought I wasn’t going even though I’d talked about it constantly since the beginning of October. So we got into a big argument about whether or not I should go until my dad walked in and saved the day. He ended up taking me trick-or-treating without my brother which was pretty odd because I’m so used to going with him.

My dad doesn’t know a thing about which neighborhoods to go to. When he said left, I said right. I ride my bike around every part of my neighborhood at least once a week, so I know where the rich houses are. But, he insisted on going on the darkest, emptiest streets which was not only disappointing and infuriating, but also really, really scary. I have kind of a lot of weirdos in my neighborhood and it was so dark outside I couldn’t even tell where we were, so at one point I accidentilly knocked on this creeper’s house and you wont believe what he said. “Oh, you look cute in that costume. Uh, How old are you?” I took off flying down the street. This guy was wackadoodleedoo.

I also didn’t get that much candy. At all. How do you justify getting only 1 Snickers? I usually get like 15!

Thursday: The creepy susbstitute was back! But, that was the least of my worries. Today was the first day of after-school band study. It was really fun because no adults were actually in the room so we all got to do crazy stuff like move the chairs around and play on the percussion which we weren’t supposed to ever do that. After a while we calmed down and actually started practicing. We had from 4:00 to 5:30 to pass off if we didn’t want to come back tommorrow. Nobody wanted to stay after school on a Friday so we all lined up as soon as we’d gotten our wits together. I was at the back of the line so I didn’t play until it was almost time to go.

Waiting in that line made me really, really nervous. When I got to Mrs. Bumbarger, I felt my lips get numb. I couldn’t make my mouth into the right shape for any sound to come out. When sound did start coming out, it sounded like shit. I could feel my face get hot and my head get light, like I was about to faint. I stopped right in the middle  of a scale because I just couldn’t do it. I was freaking out for really no reason. Just like, five minutes earlier, I’d been getting compliments like crazy. One girl even thought that I had faked failing on Tuesday just to come after school with my friends because I was so good. I knew I hadn’t passed but I could still read the director’s lips telling me so because my ears felt like they were full of cotton. All I heard were muffled sounds. Once I got out of the office, I put away my clarinet and went outside to get in my mom’s car.

She asked me what was wrong before I even took off my backpack to put on the seatbelt. I tried telling her but all that came out was either tears, frustration, or slurred jibberish. She told me to just relax but I couldn’t. I could barely breathe. I was gasping for air. It felt like I was in a vacuum, but at least I’d gotten my senses back. Then my chest started to hurt and I motioned this to her since I still couldn’t talk. She said I was having an anxiety attack-a bad one. It was just like having a heart attack. She also said that she used to have really bad anxiety attacks and that they run in the family. We went to the Publix because it’s right by the school and got me a giant drink. I felt better after that and some peace and quiet in the car.

Friday: I didn’t sleep at all last night because of my fiasco on Thursday. I was kind of falling asleep in third period Science when they called me, Samaria, and this new girl who I think her name’s Allie to the guidance lady in the front office. The first thing Samaria said to me when we were walking down the hall was “Do you know why we’re in trouble?” It was funny the way she said it. No, I actually had no idea why we were being called down, though. When we got there we were all handed new schedules. I think I’ve mentioned in a few posts before that in seventh grade you’re supposed to take this “Personal Developement” class, but I never took it in seventh grade so I had to take it in eighth. Well, now I have Personal Development for-what?-the next two weeks? That’s supposed to be a semester-long class. Why do I only have it for two weeks? Aaaaand, you will not believe what class I have to skip two weeks of: Band. I’m totally screwed. We’re supposed to be getting our Christmas music on Monday and All-County Tryouts (the real thing) are in a couple of days and uuuuuugh!

That’s all I can remember because I didn’t really sleep at all this entire week. I’ve been like a nervous wreck. There were a few good points of my week that I’m making into another post a little later. Kind of like a sister post to this one. The Good Side.


Yesterday was the start of the new second nine weeks grading period. I am so excited because…I got straight A’s! This is a really big surprise because I could’ve swore I was getting a B if not a C in Algebra. How did I get an A in Band, too? I, like, didn’t even turn in all my practice sheets! I think it was our concert last week that bumped up my grade. One more amazement, I got a 103 (What the heck!?) in History, my least favorite subject. This year is turning out alot better than I thought it would! 27 Weeks to go!


A Marching Band

Yesterday, my school had our first pep rally of the school year! I heard about it last week when I learned that my band was playing as the Pep Band!!! I had been wanting to do this ever since 6th grade. It was like being in a marching band.

At the beginning of 6th period, all the band students we’re called to the band room to get their instruments and go to the gym, where the pep rally was being held, (Yes! I got to miss Algebra!). Then we practiced our two songs, Never Scared and 25 or 6 to 4 and we sounded better than we had all year! All the band kids we’re so excited!…but, not many other people.

When it got around to 7th period and we had our whole routine down, they started calling kids into the gym. Wow, they looked like zombies walking into the room! Like they wanted to be anywhere else but there. Then the band came to the rescue! When we started playing our music, everybody started dancing and jumping around. It was as if they’d all been struck by lightning.

Once all the kids were seated, the pep rally really started. The cheerleaders did their amazing dance routines and everyone went crazy! Our school’s cheerleaders are probably the best in the county this year. Afterwards, Coach Lewis announced all of the people who were on the basketball teams. I think the boy who got the most applause was either James Howard or Marcus (I forgot his last name). Then came the, ahem, UNDEFEATED Girls’ Team. I couldn’t tell who got the most claps because all of them are really popular. Just so you know, basketball is, like, the thing at my school. We have games every Monday and Thursday and honestly, I’ve never actually been to one. But, I’ve really been thinking about going lately, I just don’t know who to go with since I don’t think I could go by myself and still know how it works.

I think that’s it. Usually, more stuff happens like when the teachers play basketball and the mascot dances around but I think they cut that out because it was only one period instead of two. Hopefully the next one will be longer.


  I thought that I should update you guys on the music department, (Chorus, Band, y’all know).

Chorus: My chorus class will not be participating in the MPA’s as some of you may remember from last year. Boo Hoo…But, it’s still going to be really fun this year because we’re still doing like the Christmas concert and the play and all that jazz. We’ve started singing several songs and we sound Ah-Maz-Ing already for being the “Quiet Class”. Our songs include:

Cross The Wide Missouri: Shenandoah/The Water Is Wide (Oooh! Pretty!)

Dodi Li (Our foreign language song, it’s Hebrew!)

The Gypsy Rover (Really easy and catchy)

One Great Nation (We’re doing a Veteran’s Day concert)

Band: Earlier this week, we had our first pass-off. It was for the Ab Scale, (That’s A flat; not abdominal muscle!). I was so worried that I would bomb it since this year, instead of playing for Mrs. Bumbarger in her office, we had to play it in front of everybody else in band. It was nerve-wracking. I saw one little 7th grader that was shaking and I felt so bad for her I just had to applaud for her and when I did, her face turned tomato-red! Anywho, I can’t remember what full concerts we have coming up next, but…We’re playing as the pep band for a Washington Wildcats Football Game!!! Woooo! That’s this friday. And, what’s cooler than that? It’s a secret, I’ll write about it tomorrow…

Here are a few of the pieces we’re playing in band right now;

Sansketch

All-County Music

Dynamite by Taio Cruz

Never Scared, Vice Versa, etc.(Pep rally music)

26 or 6 to 4 by Chicago (Ooooooh!!!!! This sounds really cool!!)


Uuuugh! Hurricane Isaac knocked out my power again all earlier this week! I just got it back on yesterday. Now, I shall finally talk some about school.

Well, since I only had two days of school this week, this post should be easy. I’m going to kind of summarize Thursday and Friday together.

History: All of the eighth graders get a chance to go to Washington D. C. over Spring Break! I don’t know that much about it, but since it’s such a gigantic deal, Mr. Horne decided to start talking about it this week. We got a little packet of information (which I haven’t read yet) and there’s supposed to be a parent meeting about it on the 11th.

Band: We got our first piece of music!!! It’s Dynamite by Taio Cruz and since most people know what this sounds like already, it sounds completely awesome!!!! Aaaaaand…….I’m 1st Clarinet now! Woo!!

Science: Boring. We had one of those pre-FCAT tests.

Chorus: We’ve just been doing little warm-up things ever since school started. Yesterday, though, we watched some of The Music Man because we had been singing Good Night, Ladies that day.

Lunch: Not much. I ate a sandwich.

Algebra: Algebra is so awesome! Math has always been such an easy subject for me and I must say, it’s still easy! Maybe even easier than last years’ 7th grade math! I was really kind of worried when they said I would be taking a high school class. I thought I would end up bombing it and ruining my overall grade-point-average. But, so far, it’s good!

Math Gaming: Not much. We still have this subsitute, Mr. Baldwin, that we’ve had since the first day of school. I just recently found out he was a sub, though. The real teachers name is Mrs. Egly…Can’t wait to see what she looks like!

Langugage Arts: We started a daily class read, where the teacher gets up and reads a little bit of a book every day. Right now, we’re reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio. It is really fascinating!

I still sit in the same spot on the bus as I have ever since 6th grade, right next to Tabitha and Mr. Rudolph the bus driver. And, they still have very weird conversations.


There were two parts to Dream Flags for me: the Night Performance and the Daytime one. I’ll start with the night one.

On April 30th at 6:00, it was rather nice outside, perfect for a band concert. Symphonic Band and the Beginning Chorus were the only groups performing that night. My band played Wind Chimes (UGH!), Cyrstal Moon, The Tempest, and The Rainbow Connection. The Beginning Chorus, that my brother was in, sang Fireflies by Owl City and this really get-stuck-in-your-head-song called Everlasting Melody. Nothing really exciting happened at the night one.

Much, MUCH more on the other hand, though, the Daytime performance on May 1st was not that good…

First off, the two groups performing at this one were the Symphonic Band again and my advanced Chorus, the Soaring Voices. So I had to keep running back and forth between the two and tripping on all of the wires that went to the speakers and microphones because the setlist went band chorus band chorus band chorus like eight times!!. Secondly, we had to perform three separate times: 1st, 2nd, and 6th period, which I admit would be the best times to have it since those are my least favorite classes. Except for the fact it was like 90 degrees all day!!! By the second performance, everyone was sweating like pigs in a bacon factory! I could just feel myself getting a huge sunburn, which thank goodness turned into an awesome tan after the next few days. With all of the heat it made the chorus and the band sound hideous. So hideous that in the third perfomance, band had to cut out two of their songs since nobody was playing them right at all. My chorus sung (sang??) How Can I Keep From Singing, DreamKeeper, and Seasons of… LO-O-O-O-O-OVE!!!!! The best part of the whole, entire performance was seeing Mrs. Woods, Ashton Woods, and this other lady do their annual poetry dream-themed rap thang. Wow it was absolutely spectacular and beautiful. Finally, I got to hear a ton of my buddies who got picked read out their Dream Flags poems. All of them were really good, especially one of the ESE kids’ poems about how when he grows up he’s going to run a barbeque restaurant and help save all of our town!

Since I have Chorus 7th period, right after Dream Flags, I got to help put all of the risers and stands and equipment away. After that, my whole class made a huge line that wrapped around the room twice to get to the water fountain. That was pretty much my Dream Flags Ceremony for this year and boy, I can’t wait for next year!


Band: Now there are only three third row clarinets in my band class, ever since two of them got promoted to a bass and a contra alto clarinet. Today was our 2nd pass-off of the year, Crystal Moon. I had to play from measure 13 to 21. I passed with flying colors!

Language Arts: We read more of our new book, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. This might be one of the most miserable books I’ve ever read. First her mother dies and they get into this freak accident. It’s absolutely terrible! I have no idea why my teacher picked this book. Hopefully it has some resolve in the end.

Science: My class did an experiment with cacti and African Violets. We were comparing root systems and how they are adapted to the two plants’ environments.

Chorus: I learned what the emergency was about. Yesterday when I came into class Mrs. Horne said there was some sort of emergency concerning Mr. Horne and everyone was in a panic. Soon she was running out of the classroom and we ended up having Mrs. Domulot as our substitute teacher. Today I heard from a few people that he had a crazy nose bleed and had to go to the emergency room at the hospital. So for our sub today we had this guy with slick black hair.

Geography: We finished (well, most people finshed) our project today where you had to invent your own country. Mine was called Fruit Island and the capital city was named Kiwi.

Over the next ten days I will be writing a lot.


Over the past week, we have gotten two new pieces of music,

Crystal Moon and

Processional

   I really like Cyrstal Moon because it’s really fast and marching-band sounding. Processional, in case you haven’t heard the name, is the song they play at college or high school graduation. In our case, it will be for 8th grade graduation.

We also have at least three concerts coming up,

Dream Flags Ceremony–Our night performance is April 30th and our daytime one is May 1st. It’s a big deal at my school, so they have it twice.

8th Grade Graduation–The name says all that I know about it.

A Spring Concert?–I’ve only heard rumours about some sort of “Spring Concert”.

Finally, one of my 3rd clarinet buddies has earned the honor of being able to play a bass clarinet! It’s so cool!


Wooo! You wouldn’t believe how long I’ve been waiting for Spring Break! The time to get a nice tan and simply chill is now. So far, it’s been pretty good. What makes Spring Break even better? It’s the end of the third quarter of school!

I have noticed that ever since the first grade, the third grading period is always the hardest, most challenging, and academically difficult part of the year. I like to use Spring Break as the time to say to myself, “Look at what you’ve been doing to yourself! At this rate your grades and social standing will be down the toilet in a week!!”. Well, it’s not my fault that every single one of my teachers like to go crazy around the third quarter. This is how it played out this time;

Band: Mrs. Bumbarger & her assistant, Mrs. Domulot, have been making everyone in Symphonic, Concert, Jazz I & Jazz II blow their brains out playing some of the hardest music ever. Having this happen in first period for me just wrecked the rest of my day, everyday. But, I’ve already talked about this here and, I think here.

Language Arts: On top of being the worst teacher that I’ve ever had, Mrs. Lee has been doing backflips about the Writing FCAT since the third quarter is crunch time for writng teachers and the FCAT. I’m so glad that it has already passed though, so she has cooled off just a bit. For more info on the Writing FCAT.

Science: This is just the nasty, awkward quarter for science, and you know what I mean…”Let’s talk about our bodies!!!”. So I’ve been reluctant to do most of my work because I already know about this stuff and I’d much rather not have to write huge paragraphs about it!

Soar: Same as always, if not easier, actually.

Mrs. Galloway/Research: Once again it’s been crunch time to get our movie production done.

Math: My math teacher decided that out of the literally hundreds of assignments she gave our class, she only graded about 5 of them and they were the BAD ones. Like when I got the whole paper wrong because I did the same mistake on every question, she graded it, and not the tens of papers that I got easy hundreds on.

Chorus: I’ll be writing a post about Chorus in due time because the Chorus MPA is the Thursday after Spring Break so it’s the same problem in Band.

Geography: Mr. May is no longer my favorite teacher. His class has become what I always knew what Geography and History were: Boring.

On top of all of these problems I have Science Fair, some crazy Beta Club project and selling Girl Scout cookies to worry about. Terrible.


Last friday, instead of going to my dreaded math class, I stepped into the band room at my school to find everyone jumping around and being excited. We were going to Pensacola High School for our MPA’S!!!

MPA stands for Musical Performance Assessment. My band director, Mrs. Bumbarger, said it was similar to a band class FCAT, and boy was she right! The MPA is where your band group travels to a designated area, ours was Pensacola High School, and they perform one, or more than one, piece of music that, hopefully, you’ve practiced. Once you have finished playing all of your pieces, there are three judges that judge or, assess, your performing skills like tone quality, tempo control, and dynamics.

Next, you go into a completely different room. The sightreading room where you and your group sightread and play two or three pieces of music. Both of my band directors stressed out about the sightreading way too much. They were going crazy about how “hard” it would be. Even the Concert band (the band directly lower than Symphonic) said it was super-easy! My favorite part about sightreading was that I was best friends with one of the judges, her name is Catherine, so I’m pretty sure that was what made our band get a Supierior.

You must be thinking, “Wait, what!?! You got a Supierior in sightreading!?!?!” Uh-huh! In fact, my band got one Excellent and-wait for it-three Supieriors!

(Just in case you don’t know, the judges rate your performance like a test, A,B,C,D, or F. The only way to get a Supierior is if all three judges give you A’s. An Excellent is if, like, one judge gave you an A and the other two gave you B’s)

All in all, though, my most favorite part of the MPA’s was the bus ride home. Jake the trombone player gave an “inspirational” speech and then he started singing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round!” and, “Baby, you’re a fiiiiiiirework!”. He has definetly become one of the funniest people I’ve ever met and absolutely made my day.


In my Band class, we happen to be doing the hardest song I’ve ever had to play on the clarinet for MPA’s! It’s called Wind Chimes. At first I thought that this probably would not turn out very good. Certainly not Superior-material for the biggest middle-school band in Escambia County.

But, I fixed all my errors after the thousandth time so I now have it down pat and I’m so happy!!!

Wind Chimes by John Kinyon



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