Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Governor's School Week: Part III of V

Governor's School wasn't wholly about Celtic lore and jamming a yin in my yang though. Each evening throughout the four-week program was an offsite field trip to some suitably artistic locale in downtown Richmond, starting with a quaint fireworks show at some Civil War monument (the one with a cannon and some grass) on the Fourth of July. This was one of the few outdoor activities that was NOT cancelled because of summertime thunderstorms, since the adminstration's fears that we would all get struck by lightning was far greater than the fear that some of us might get pregnant. Though no one was electricuted by month's end, the power went out on campus at least seven times. Some of the other mind-altering activities we experienced included:

  • The musical, Beehive, about music from the 60s. Since I did not listen to popular music back then, I promptly fell asleep.

  • A four hour performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard, which was easily the worst performance in the history of performances (barely edging out any halftime show involving the UVA pep band). After the show started forty-five minutes late because the actors' bus broke down, we were treated to nosebleed seats, leads who were either high or drunk, and constant sound problems. The pinnacle of the evening came when lead #1 walked through a space in the revolving set that was supposed to be a solid wall. This wouldn't have been noticed on its own, but lead #2 stopped in her tracks, did an about face, and walked through the prop door to rejoin lead #1, after which nearly everyone in the audience started hissing (even the people that actually paid for their tickets). I slept for 25% of this outing.

  • A performance by the Shanghai Quartet, featuring three Asians and a white guy, followed by a question and answer period led by the smartass violist.

  • A post-lunch trip to King's Dominion (once again covered by the Taxpayers of Virginia) where Mike Sharp took his first roller coaster ride (on the Scooby Doo).

  • A jazz concert on Brown Island featuring Ramsey Lewis. Afterwards, we all waited outside of his dressing tent where I got one of four autographs he signed before zooming away in his limo. To this day, I don't recall a single piece of music from that concert and never listened to Ramsey Lewis again -- I only got the autograph because that's what you're supposed to do when you're near a celebrity. He probably played some sort of ridiculous circle-jerk jazz where the combo plays solos over the changes to Hot Cross Buns for four hours. The only good combo is the Cold Cut Combo from Subway.

  • A performance by the Kings of Swing jazz band in the local auditorium. During this performance, all the Dance students got up and danced, all the Music students tapped their feet, and all the Artists and Humanatees looked awkward.

  • A trip to the local art museum to "study the correlation between art and music". The whole museum was filled with contemporary (read: uselessly deep) artwork, characterized by one student with "This picture might look like a man eating a hot dog, but it's really supposed to be a naked lady dancing".

We didn't go off-campus for every event -- sometimes we would preserve the environment by forgoing buses and staying home:

  • At an event called The Coffee Shop, budding poets from the "Poetry is cool when the lines don't rhyme" school of composition would read their new poetry, despite the lack of beatniks in the audience. This was rather dull (and I usually spent the hour sketching out Doom 2 deathmatch levels on scratch paper) until the day that Ezra Ford, a large eccentric student, went on stage to perform "Repression of the Tibetan Chicken" and "Monologue on the European Gerbil". Decorum was not restored.

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls was the Hemingway-stealing title of an overly serious AIDS awareness play, complete with dramatic moments where actors freeze and the lights go out as if time has stopped, while another actor begins talking after the ringing of a cheap motel desk bell. Some of the guys I knew there wanted to do an inspired parody of this play for the weekly Variety Show, but apparently you were not allowed to laugh at AIDS in 1995, so it was vetoed by the powers that be.

  • Every Saturday night, there would be a Dance with mandatory attendance required. If you can picture BU, but even more socially awkward and rhythmically-challenged, you can understand why I did not enjoy these events. The rules stated that we had to be there until 9:30 (the dances went to 10:30), and by 9:25, there was always a crowd of geeks gathered at the front doors. I spent all four dances playing foozball or chess, since the game room was in the same area as the dance. They bused all the students from the "I Wanna Be a Doctor" Governor's School to our Dances (because their student ratio was 3 guys for every 1 girl and ours was the opposite), so my finest moment came when I beat some uppity life science guru at chess even though I never think more than half a move ahead at any given time during a match.

As you can see, the life of a Governor's School student is jam packed with activities, not all of which are fun. So why did I even bother coming to the program? The answer was, simply, for the music.

Tomorrow: "Trumpet rules! Write more trumpet related posts. Trumpet trumpet trumpet." - Kelley Corbett 8/31/2005

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