Job Interview

Well, be careful what you ask for, right?

I have an interview on wednesday for a full time continuing music teaching job, in Fernie. They want someone to start and build a music program, it would be split between the high school and the elementary school.

I want a job, the town is beautiful, there are animals, and fish, and hiking and biking trails everywhere, but my community is not there. I guess many of the people I love and know have moved away from their community when they were young.

Keep us on your list,


Zeke rides his bike! watch this video!

Proud Dad Moment! Zeke rides his bike with pedals!


Community Forest: Cranbrook Part 7

Tonight I took zeke to the community forest, which is an amazing network of walking and biking trails. Part of the beauty of it is that everyone shares the trails courteously. I have lived in other locales where there was not the same type of sharing, and an unnecessary fear of cyclists.

I do like it here. Today, I had two students who were trying to have their way with the class (let me be clear, this was exactly who I was when in high school) and so I sent them to sit in the office WITH their instruments. A Bari Saxophone for one of them, and a Bass guitar for the other. Good times.


Cranbrook Part 6: Fernie

We visited Fernie today, and it was GOR.GEOUS
I have been to whistler, and Banff, and driven through the rockies numerous times, and maybe its because each had a different purpose, and today I knew I would come back soon to bike and perhaps to hunt, it felt different. I also went to clawhammer print shop and it was this amazing old world hand run printing press. I'll put a picture on facebook or flickr or something so you can see, it was amazing. I think that's part of it, the town was both hip and new as well as old and beautiful, and in the mountains, all at the same time. There are a number of 'miner's shack' houses, that are small and square and beautiful. I want one. We saw three different herds of Elk. Wild Elk. Elk really aren't that prevalent in many places, but they seemed quite common around here. It was wild.
We were at a local park, and 90% of the people riding bikes here (and there were many) were riding big full suspension bikes. Some looked like they could be all mountain or maybe cross country, but many were burly downhill bikes. There were a lot albertans here.
It is weird to know how far away we are from so many people we love. We are still in the same province, but only just. We are north of the Idaho Montana border.
So yes, the verdict is in, Fernie is beautiful.

We visited with my cousins who live in Lethbridge. My cousin is a city planner with a largish district based in lethbridge, and his wife is/was a music teacher too, so we had a great chat about the difference between teaching in alberta and BC. One large difference is the pay, approximately 10K more in alberta per year, at least. Funny thing is, being way out east here in BC, I already get a large bump over vancouver teachers, and the cost of living doesn't even come close to vancouver.

It's so hard to determine what to do. If I got a permanent job out here, would we stay? Likely, but for how long? We miss St Hermans, we miss our parents. We love being close to the grandparents for the kids sake and for ours. We like our families. That said, it can be hard to even get on a TOC list. I applied in Langley before we left and haven't heard a peep. I applied out here and had a job the day I was done my practicum, and an amazing job at that. So the question is, what is more important? I am coming to the conclusion that taking care of the family and having stability is good, but not just financial stability, right? What about church? Cranbrook is great, there is a tiny orthodox community there, but it really is so small that even though we like it, I have more friends in the new colleagues I have at school. They have been incredibly welcoming. Someone even gave us a beautiful brand new woven blanket (nothing to compare to T.A.H's gift for A) and it was such a beautiful gesture, and a lovely blanket. I feel so welcomed by the teachers here. and the students for that matter.

So the question remains, how do we decide where to live, and for how long. Is it work? Is it Church? Family? Is it different for different people? Different for different times in life?

In other news, I still absolutely love my job. This week we have been preparing for the final two events of the year, and things are going well. I am settling into a groove and finally began to take attendance, because I was given access to the electronic system, which as any current or recent teacher will know, is a complete and utter nightmare.

But we had some great moments in Choir this week, and the bands are continually impressive. The Sr Band is really good at the music they like, and not as motivated but still decent at the music they don't love. Motivation is a funny thing to navigate in a music program, especially in large classes. Thankfully it is one of the things I am pretty good at. Sometimes it covers the other areas that I lack.

Oh, here's the printing press, even a little video to show how it works. She was making coasters.
I can't imagine putting anything on something like this, but I guess that's what its for.

We miss you.


prep time cranbrook pt 5

I am loving it here. Zeke shot a BB gun for the first time, he's really getting a lot done while we are here. Thanks to the Nikkels, we have had some good times with them. he cried when we left, their older boy is so good with him, as are the girls. It's so good to have some people to connect with out here. We have spent some time with other folks too, had a good visit with some new friends the other day and are looking forward to seeing them again soon.
The weather is glorious, mid to upper 20's, and cool at night.

I watched my students perform their musical last night, The Wedding Singer, and it was great. I wonder how much of my appreciation for it came from knowing them, and I further wonder how much that plays into all local arts appreciation. I wonder if the reason smaller arts organizations function is due to family and friends supporting something, rather than the work/group/artist/music/thing itself being desirable on its own, and what is the difference, and does it matter? my MA practicum with the Vancouver Chamber Choir touched on this, but I never got to this point. The question was what does the professional arts organization do for the society it belongs to. provides a service desired by the community, but it has to be more than that, right? Doesn't it? or is that we we have Government grants? I wonder if we should look to corporations for sponsorships and grants in exchange for an amicable relationship. Selling out? Yup. But it could be a good catalyst for more art and perhaps even a dialogue between two very different value systems about what matters. or not, I don't know.

The problem as I see it is that I can't articulate a good raison d'etre for most pro arts organizations that can't support themselves.

All that said, I can't wait for the music I am going to introduce to the kids tomorrow. I have a bunch of prep to do in the morning, so I will go to bed shortly, and I have gotten back to the grindstone (and it feels good to work hard) but I think it will pay off. I have high hopes and expectations for Jr Band tomorrow, so look for an update. I also have to remember that many of them were in the musical, so they will be tired, and the equipment is just coming back so that will be a bit off putting. But then I get to hear the Sr Band after school.

Also, there's a chance I am going bear hunting soon. Not a metaphor. Spring bear season is here, and our new friends are hunters, and in this area, its just not a big deal. We can casually go hunting for the afternoon. It's a different world. And I like it.


Bizarre week/Z's first fish , Cranbrook Pt 4

This is a strange week, it is the week of the musical production, so all of my before and after school classes have been cancelled, which leaves me with about 6 hours of teaching time total this week. bizarre. Lots of time to prepare and to work on learning the Reason software, so that is good.

I also have time to take zeke fishing after school, normally classes end for me at 5pm, today I left at 2 and we went fishing and he caught his first fish! It was a great moment.

Here's a photo

I am digging this kootenay lifestyle, now to import some friends and relatives and a more permanent job...

I should clarify. I miss my friends and family, but what I am really enjoying is a chance to have some family time every day. During my practicum, family was almost nonexistent. Now, I get much more. The commute is shorter: from two hours daily to 10 minutes daily, and from daily prep at home to enough prep time at school to do more than I need to.

It's a good place we are in. (except the cheap apartment which we bought a little air filter for-but that's temporary)

Miss you all,


Cranbrook Pt 3, the city

So, I am really beginning to like the city of cranbrook.
Sure, the architecture is largely modernist/70's functional boxes or slightly pretty victorian-esque homes, or even a few new developments near the edge of town that really aren't that great, but there are things about this place that I really like.

It's small.

There are deer everywhere, apparently Elk too.

I am sure there is good fishing really close by.

It's small.

A funny thing happened yesterday, I bought beer from the BC Liqour store, and I realized I hadn't been in one in months, because I usually pick up a bit of beer in the US when we buy gas. No longer close enough (nor do we drive enough to need cheap gas) It will be a while before we get back to the US.

I couldn't believe how expensive beer is. shocking.

Still loving work. trying to figure out what to do with myself because the amount of time spent on prep is all seemingly fun.

-learning Reason (recording choral music by myself with multi-tracking or creating dubstep)
-thinking about how to better communicate the meaning of pieces like bohemian rhapsody or we are young
-watching youtube videos of concert band pieces
-playing the piano

honestly, I can't believe I get paid to do this. It's a dream job, in a beautiful place. I just miss my beautiful people. come visit! or we'll see you in about 7 weeks.


Cranbrook Pt 2

Well, today things weren't as wide eyed and shiny, but still excellent. I did get to hear the vocal jazz group, and they are really really good. And, to my excitement, they were really hoping to sing for me in the stairwell, which is hilarious because its what we always used to do when I was younger. Echo-y Stairwells are a singers secret favourite place. Anyways, they are singing a bunch of pop but also some really cool music that I don't totally know how to categorize. The point is, they are really keen, and they work really hard. They are all there until 9 pm tonight, rehearsing the musical which is playing next week. Thankfully it is curricular, so it won't be cancelled. Same with the final concerts. Its funny, I jump in at the end of the year, they sound great, I basically give a few tweaks here and there, and that's all we will have time for.
Today, I introduced the Jazz Band to Dave Brubeck's (well, Paul Desmond wrote it) Take Five, a brilliant little piece in 5/4, and they took about ten minutes to settle into the groove, which really isn't long for that piece. The melody will take a little longer and a bit more pulling apart, but I am continually impressed. Basically it will be that much harder to get them to the next level. I think the next level for a lot of them will be consisten tone on sections that are very quiet, which means they are really good.

Oh, did I mention that recording studio that I get to play with and learn on? Its very intense.

and the two deer lounging about 20 feet from our window this evening? sleeping and every so often eating some grass. This town is like victoria, only smaller, and with better mountain biking. Oh yeah, some of my colleagues asked me to go mountain biking with their weekly bike ride. And today at lunch the staff choir met. They were brutal, but it was fun and a great way to meet some of them. I shouldn't say that, they weren't brutal, but they weren't really reading the notes.

It's still good. oh and we got a little couch/loveseat, and a bed, and a table. So we aren't totally without living equipment. What a weird thing we have done. Its a grand adventure, for sure.

keep us on your list,


Dispatch 1. Cranbrook. pt 1.

And just like that, I am a public school teacher. I can't believe I got a full time (non-continuing) band/choir/music comp position. I know its the first day, and there's the whole honeymoon thing, but it really was blissful. A friend at church uses that word a lot, but in this case, he is exactly right. There is something so freeing about it being 'my program' as the VP's call it. It is far too late in the year to really do any new music, but we'll get a bit out there, and we'll sightread a bit, and it will be fun.

My colleagues at UVIC will be happy to know that the band is playing a band arrangement of a pieces from Wicked ( a musical, for those outside the circle) and my Dad will be happy to know that I am going to introduce Take Five, to the Jazz Band tomorrow.
I was really impressed with the tone of the brass in the grade 10 band. They blended well, it was a little bit glorious.

Oh, did I mention we found an apartment within a five minute ride of the school, and just up the hill from the skateboard park, which zeke is going to love. We saw 2 deer on the way home, and apparently they are everywhere.

(these thoughts are going to be scattered)

Poor Z. He's homesick. He's been quite sad and out of it. Thankfully the R's, (the family we stayed with when we got here) were SO hospitable, and their kids were really great for Z to play with. And they have an adorable little puppy, so he loved that. He was sad to leave their place too. So, its been tough on him because we prepared him so little. I don't know what else we could have done, I guess talked it up a bit more. Life goes on, and he gets treats. But he misses home, as do we.

The choir. An interesting situation, because they are doing mostly pop tunes. Which is cool, but I want to add some more serious music to their mix. The hard part is the concert choir is about 100 singers, and they do mostly 3 part stuff. But there are a number of very excited young people, which is, in turn, exciting.

I am also excited for vocal jazz, a much smaller group, and they are singing that song that is really popular right now “we are young” by a band called Fun. Its got a beautiful melody line, and rumour has it they are actually improvising harmonies. Something I have thought could be a good pedagogical tool since I was in high school.

All in all, as I said, it's bliss. The job anyway. Finding an apartment (2bdrm > six bennys) was a gong show, we almost rented a second floor hotel room, thought about living a half hour away, but now live a very short bike ride away from work. I think a tank of gas might last a month here.

Oh, and Elvis, tell everyone I say hi and that I miss them. 

Oh, did I mention how awesome the band/choir room is? Its amazing. Mac recording stations everywhere, with Reason installed on all of them, and a numark DJ controller, which I am excited to learn how to use. These kids have an education some colleges would be jealous of, which is why a number of them have scholarships to media programs at universities already. Its like a media/arts prep school. Oh and the musical is next week, so at lunch, for fun, they practiced their dancing and singing. FOR FUN.

My office? comes with an AMAZING set of recording gear, including sweet sweet studio monitors. cranked some muse today. 

It's still cold here. The mountains have lots of snow on them. And its cold. But I can ride my bike to work. (did I mention I work as a teacher? I can hardly believe it)

Does anyone want my seedlings? They are inside our house, I worry they will die soon. Such is life, but there are quite a few good starts. Tomatoes, sweet peas, peas, spinach, even tobacco. Our Garden has cauliflower, rhubarb chard, I'd love it if someone would water the garden, and maybe get the seedlings from the house. Talk to Gabe, he's got the key.

Miss you all a lot.