Natural disaster week!

Apparently in Virginia it was national disasters week because not only did we have a hurricane over the weekend, we also had an earthquake earlier in the week!  We also woke up to yucky smoke on Thursday morning from a wildfire that was burning south of us.  It truly looked apocalyptic!!

The earthquake was the first time I’ve ever felt something like that.  Last year there was an earthquake felt in Rochester, but I was at work in a very large building and I definitely didn’t feel it at all.  It was weird, it just felt like the building was wobbling for a good 15 seconds.  It was not what I thought an earthquake should feel like!

And then there was Irene…hurricane Irene that is.  At first, the school of music was going to have us all evacuate to an army base up by Richmond, VA.  But then on Thursday the decision was made to “shelter in place” here in the barracks.  I was glad that we didn’t have to go anywhere!  But a little scared because I’ve never been in a hurricane before.

So on Friday we ended up not having any classes, instead we helped to secure the music building for the hurricane.  It involved lots of sandbags and lots of plastic:

Photo credit: School of Music facebook page

Fun times!  We were done by 11am, so then we had the rest of the day off!  The rain started at around midnight on Friday night (I only know this because I had watch from midnight – 2am that night), and it didn’t stop until after the storm passed on Sunday morning.  Basically we had wind and rain all day on Saturday, we even had a couple tornado warnings in the morning where we all had to go down to the bottom floor of the building that I live in.  But that was the most excitement that I experienced.  The wind got pretty bad when the hurricane actually got to us, but honestly, I slept through most of it!  We didn’t even lose power.  Woke up Sunday morning to blue skies and sunshine.  It was such a beautiful day considering how it was 24 hours prior!  So the moral of the story…category 1 hurricane = no big deal.  Just stay inside!

So beside the hurricane/earthquake/fire, all is well.  I’m working really hard here!  I’ve been trying to go to school early (ahem, 6:30am!) to get a warm up in, and it really does help.  The past week I’ve been in a playing group for the first two periods of the day, so it helps to get some long tones in before I start.  And I haven’t had that much time to practice during the day because my schedule is full of ensembles – I’m one of only two clarinetists here!  I’ve already had a performance with the “grad band” at graduation.  It was pretty scary, mostly because I am still learning all the movements that we have to do while marching.  Drill band is a constant stressor in my life right now, haha.  It is so much new information that I have to process and execute, and I’m not exactly the most coordinated person ever.  I still really suck at doing an about face (which I have to do to get out of the concert split formation during graduation performances!)

Basically, I’m pretty exhausted by the time evening muster comes around at 9:45pm.  But I want to make my experience worthwhile here, I want to get better!  I want that early advancement, which I can get if I do really well here at the school.  And of course I still want to be in a premiere band one day.

For my solo piece here at the school, I’ve decided to to A Set for Clarinet by Martino.  I’m looking forward to playing the piece, but I’m sure that I will want to kill myself at some point between now and my final audition, LOL!  Its just that type of piece.  But I’ve done difficult works like this in a limited amount of time (flashback to my Eastman MM recital and Dancing Solo!) so I know I can do it.  And I basically have more practice time than I know what to do with here!

In other news, Ben is moving down here this week!  Last weekend we actually found an apartment to live in, and it happens to be right outside the base gate that the band hall is just inside of.  We didn’t even know that until after we had put a deposit down on the place!  So it worked out.  Its about 20 minutes away from Little Creek, but I think I can deal with that for 2 months (plus I’m probably going to be commuting at 6am or earlier, so traffic shouldn’t be an issue).  I’m just excited that I get to move out of the barracks!

Its been about 6 weeks since I arrived here.  I can’t believe how fast its going by!  I’ve almost been here for as long as I was at boot camp.  I hope that it keeps going by fast, I want to get to the band and start what I joined the Navy to do.  Just over 8 weeks left to go!

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