July 11, 2012

Northern Lights

PLEASE Forget that it's been an eternity since I last posted.

A brief sum-up:

I graduated!!!!! (Miracle of Miracles!)  Here's my diploma.

I am currently working as a Music Librarian at the International Music Camp on the Border of the U.S. and Canada about 14 miles north of Dunsieth North Dakota.

There are 5 wonderful trumpet players on staff here (2 equipment managers, a dean, a concessionist, and a librarian...that's me!), and during the first three weeks, we teamed up with the 2 trumpet faculty members and performed some trumpet ensemble stuff before the annual Old-Fashioned "Ice-Cream Social" concert at the Masonic Auditorium.

Here we are enjoying a sweet reward after the show.  From left to right we are: me, Miles (from Winnipeg), Mark Boren (Professor of high brass at Minot State University), Dr. Tim Farrell (music dept. chair at the Univeristy of South Dakota...and an NU alum!), Anthony (from D.C.), Ryan (from Minneapolis), and Clayton (from Brazil).

Yesterday was my day off and Clayton, Anthony, and I drove down to Minot State for a group lesson with Mark, whose teaching time at IMC has ended for the summer.  We spent a fantastic afternoon learning trumpet together and then treated ourselves to a great dinner at the Alaska Alder Grill.  I really should talk more about our experiences here, but I have about 10 minutes before I have to get back to work, so must be brief.  Suffice it to say Mark is an outstanding teacher and we hope to return for more next week.

We didn't start heading back to IMC till about 11:00, but the sky was still glowing with the last vestiges of the northern sunset.  After about an hour of driving, darkness finally arrived. Even through a bug-spattered windshield I could see we were traveling under pristinely dark skies.  Though it was late and we were all eager to reach our beds at the camp I felt myself longing to pull over and bask under the starry vista.

Almost in passing I began to observe an interesting sky glow to the north.  We were out in the middle of nowhere farmland and I knew there were no substantial cities that would be radiating such luminescence.  I leaned over to Clayton and said, "I might be crazy, but I wonder if those are the northern lights..."  Once I noticed the shine changed shape over time I decided I had to pull over and get a better (and safer) view.  We were virtually alone on the highway--hadn't passed a soul in either direction for some time--and once out in the open air a chorus of insects was the only sound to be heard. Anthony stayed sleeping in the car, but Clayton and I stood at the side of the road and marveled at the spray of stars gleaming above our heads and that strange pale shimmer in its slow dance across the northern horizon.  There was no question now.  Though not quite as brilliant as in photos I'd seen, the waving sheets of light were unmistakably the Aurora Borealis.

After a few minutes of excited observing, we resumed our tired journey back to IMC.  As we left Dunsieth and ascended through the Turtle "Mountains" a pumpkin orange half moon rose in the east and Clayton speculated about whether or not Bigfoot might reside in the surrounding woods.

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