Extracurriculars

National Philharmonic Prep Summer String Institute

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Music on September 3rd, 2018 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly was selected to attend the Prep Summer String Institute put on by the National Philharmonic this year. This is a week long summer camp put on by folks from the National Philharmonic (who play at the Strathmore in Bethesda where we saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban earlier this year). They only take really advanced students, so Molly was excited to be selected.

This camp was serious. They mailed Molly music a month in advance so she could practice it ahead of time. Then camp itself was an intense week of music. She rehearsed pieces with the full orchestra, had sessions on technique, worked on movement exercises (e.g. bounce a tennis ball to the beat of a song), and broke into chamber ensembles to work on more pieces. She even got to have private 1-on-1 lessons with the principal violist of the National Philharmonic. Combined with having to wake up early to fight traffic driving down toward Washington, the days were exhausting but so much fun.

They put on a concert at the end of the week. First each of the chamber ensemble's performed.

Chamber Ensemble

Chamber Ensemble

Here’s Molly playing with her chamber ensemble.

After all the ensembles played, the full orchestra came together.

Orchestra

Molly was one of only 2 violas in the orchestra (the other was the daughter of the institute director). They were really glad to have Molly, as the previous year they had no violas. I guess most kids that start early enough to be at this level choose violin or cello.

Orchestra

And finally, here’s the full orchestra playing together. It’s amazing that they can sound so good after just a week long camp.

Molly had no friends at the camp, but she did have one friendly face for the week. Margaret (Molly’s regular private instructor, National Philharmonic player, and the children’s minister at our church) was on staff as well. Molly didn’t work with her during the week, but Molly wouldn’t have been at this camp if it wasn’t for Margaret. Thanks Margaret!

Thanks Margaret

Molly may not have started with friends, but she certainly made several. In fact, after the concert we couldn’t understand what was taking her so long to come out. Turns out she was busy collecting email addresses from girls she had made friends with so she could keep in touch.

Thanks to Aunt EA and Uncle Scott for their hospitality as well. Jen, Molly, and Leah spent one night with them as they live fairly close to the camp. That saved one commute each way, and meant Molly got to sleep a little later one day.

Molly hopes to do this again next year, and we may also try to catch a National Philharmonic show to see some of her teachers in action. It was a really great experience. Thanks to the National Philharmonic for offering this great program!

Final Sinfonia concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Music on May 8th, 2018 by c-had – 1 Comment

Molly had her second (and final) concert with the county-wide Elementary School GT Sinfonia on Saturday. They were outstanding. We're so glad she was picked to participate in this elite group.

Apologies for the video in the first song. I thought I'd have an angle to get a close-up on her, but other kids shifted as they were about to play.

Yeah Molly! We’re so proud of you.

Brown belt

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Sports on December 20th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s been practicing karate for over three years now, and just reached her biggest milestone yet. She tested for her brown belt on Friday night. That’s the last belt before black. The test got started at 6:30 and finished around 10:30. There were some very tired kids.

The test included lots of katas (choreographed fights), including this bo kata.

Bo staff kata

There were 3 girls testing for their black belts, which meant all of the girls got to try their hand at breaking boards. Molly’s done this several times before, and had no trouble.

Breaking a board

There was a lot of sparring.

Sparring

Sparring

And Molly got her brown belt!

Brown belt

She was very excited.

Excited

Getting her brown belt means she is now an advanced belt, which means she will now be teaching (well, assistant teaching) classes. She’ll be working toward her black belt, though it’ll likely take her 18 months to get there. Along the way, she’ll be working towards milestones that allow her to remove stripes from her brown belt. Once all 3 stripes are gone, she’ll be ready to test for black.

With her new brown belt

Awesome job Molly!

Fall school concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Music, School on December 18th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s chorus and orchestra at school had their first concert in December. In past years, they’ve held this in January, but this year they pushed up the concert for Chorus, Advanced Orchestra, and Advanced Band (Beginner Orchestra and Beginner Band still got the extra month of practice before a January concert).

First up was chorus. The first song even had a student accompanist playing piano.

The orchestra concert came next. Molly was really excited for this, as she knew they’d recognize the students selected for GT Orchestra and Sinfonia. As you can see after the first song, she was excited (though perhaps lacking some humility). And sorry for the shaky camera then - I was trying to change lenses quickly.

They did a great job, though this concert really hit home how much more advanced Molly’s GT Sinfonia is.

GT Sinfonia Fall Concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Music on December 11th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This year, Molly auditioned for and was accepted into the GT Sinfonia. This is a countywide orchestra that is very difficult to get into. They have a 2 hour rehearsal every week at one of the local middle schools. They had their first concert after only 7 rehearsals, and they were phenomenal as you can see here. The first two songs I recorded up close, and the second two are wider to see the whole group.



Sinfonia concert

And here are a few pictures from before the concert started. Most of the kids were very serious when they came out to play. Molly… not so much.

Excited

Fake crying

Nice face

Mind Masters

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, School on June 18th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly participated in the county-wide Rube Goldberg machine competition this school year. Her team was called the Mind Masters, and they had to build a complicated Rube Goldberg machine to raise a banner.

Mind Masters

It took many weeks of work designing and building, and quite a few runs to get it to actually work, but they did it.

The before picture.

Rube Goldberg before

And the after picture.

Rube Goldberg after

Winter orchestra and chorus concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, Music, School on March 6th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The week before Christmas, Molly had her winter orchestra and chorus concert. I snapped a couple of pictures of her before we went.

Ready to play

Viola player

First up at the concert was Chorus.

Molly got a bit of a break while the Beginner Orchestra and Beginner Band played. Then, it was Molly’s turn to play in the Advanced Orchestra. It's amazing how far they've come since last year. Note that the orchestra was much smaller for the last song. It was played only by the 5th graders and a few select younger kids (including Molly). Great job, Molly, for passing the audition for the finale.

Purple stripe test

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Sports on March 5th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Back in December, Molly tested to get a purple stripe on her green belt. Here she is doing a kata.

Belt test

She did some sparring against opponents of various sizes. You’ve got to get in close when your opponent has a lot more reach than you.

Sparring

Sparring

Kick

Congratulations on earning your purple strip, Molly!

Stripe

Purple strip

Molly’s gotten to be quite tough. This kid is serious.

Serious

But also silly.

Silly one

HowGirlsCode robotics

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, School on December 23rd, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly loved HowGirlsCode last year, and signed up to participate in their WeDo Lego robotics after-school activity this year. On the last day, they showed off their robots to us.

HowGirlsCode

Molly called her robot The Dog Beak. She did a great job designing and building it and programming it to chow down. Over the weeks, it went through several different designs and forms, and I think it ended up awesome.

The Dog Beak

On the last day, parents and siblings were invited to tour their workshop. Molly demoed The Dog Beak for us.

Here are all the robots built by Molly and her fellow coders.

All the robots

Molly’s Spring Orchestra Concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Music, School on June 26th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly had her spring orchestra concert, and did a great job. The evening included the beginning orchestra (Molly’s group), advanced orchestra (older kids), beginning band, and advanced band. This video is just the beginning orchestra, made up entirely of 3rd graders. It’s amazing how much these kids learned this year.

Great job, Molly and classmates.

Spring concert