August 12, 2012

Here we go!

I wanted to get up at about 6:30am, but even with alarms set, I didn’t wake up until almost 8:30am!  I really wanted to take that quiet walk around the neighbourhood of where we are staying, and snap a few pics.  No time for that now.

Tried to wake up Martin.  It took a bit, but he finally moved or made a noise or something.  Took my shower, got ready, and went back to shake Martin again.  One thing I do know about Martin, he is a very heavy sleeper – [at least he doesn’t snore!]  and is difficult to rouse the next morning.  I should ask Janice whether he’s like this at home!

Went down to greet the morning on the streets of Taipei, snapped a couple of quick photos (figuring there really wasn’t much around here (I hope)), and went back up to pack everything up.  Don’t want to be too rushed later.  Lucky Martin has his mom who does everything.  She came over to get his things, rather than him taking to them.  I, on the other hand, must pack up myself.

A little while later, and we’re at the CPC Building in Taipei.  They have a theatre, and apparently, willing to rent out the space.  It seemed we were one of the first people there!  It is kind of strange to be wandering around, only a few others sprinkled around.  However, getting there a bit early is Janice’s way – and it’s a good thing.  We always seem to get the really good spots to set-up.  End of a hallway, a secluded corner away from others, the front rows at the regionals…

Things are in high gear now.  The students are getting into their costumes, make-up is applied where necessary, sets are put together and final touches added.  For me, I feel a bit ‘in the way’, but try to putter around and see if anyone needs anything.  After a few minutes, I decided to go around and snap some pics around the hall.

Came back, saw that the group was still in their mode, and since the announcers were beginning, took everything I needed and went in.  During these competitions, I either snap photos, or as this year, I had my laptop, and ‘judge’ the contestants as they go up.

Due to a little break, and being asked to listen to Marcus’s presentation before he had to go up, I had a chance to see all but maybe 4 or 5 presentations.  Simon has it all on video.  Throughout the remainder of the presentations, I was a bit far back to really get good pictures.  However, I did write a couple of sentences of critiques of the kids, including my students.

My hope is that each of them receive, at least third place.

After all the performances, this is my prediction:

Kindergarten – Elva:  she actually did quite well.  She seemed to be quite at ease on stage.  She used the stage well, and told a very entertaining story of, “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”.  In her category, there were four other students.

For this category, there were only 5 awards to be presented.  I’m positive, after seeing the performances, and being as unbiased as possible, Elva must have at least 2nd place, if not 1st.

Level I – Nadia:  I got the impression that Nadia felt nervous, or for some reason, didn’t feel comfortable.  Her movements were a bit ‘stiff’.  She had no set, so the attention was on her all the time.

In this category, there were 10 other students.  There will be seven awards in this category.  All these seven students receive a trophy.  This means that at least five will go home with nothing.  Unfortunately.  After watching the performances though, I’m satisfied that she may only get third place.  There were a couple other students who were very good as well.

Level II – No one.  Jonas was not invited to participate.  In the regional competition, only the top two received invites.  I’m not sure now what place he did get, but it was not the top two.

Level III – Marcus:  Marcus had gone through a bit of emotional turmoil today.  His dad is a really decent guy, but I think he does push Marcus a lot.  Dad does invest a bit of money in set and costume design and creation, so I guess he feels like he’s in the competition with his son.

Marcus’s performance was good.  Listening to him in the theater though, I think his voice was not ‘appropriate’ for his character.  Marcus is still a little kid, so trying to do voice characterizations, is not easy.  It would have been more effective, I think, if he had been able to make his voice a bit harsher.  He was supposed to be a Shrek-like character.

As I hadn’t seen the first three or four presentations, I can’t give an actual opinion.  However, there were 12 students total in this category.  Marcus was competing against another former student of ours.  Not to be the devil’s advocate, but Brian did do a good job.  At the regionals, I was not impressed with his performance.  For the nationals though, he was a lot more in control, and ‘easier’ on the ears!  If Marcus doesn’t receive 1st place, then he must have 2nd.

Level IV – May:  this is May’s 4th or 5th time at the nationals.  She has competed so much, this is old hat for her.  She still can’t help but get more excited and nervous at the same time.  There are only three students in her category, so to me, she already has third place.

After watching the three performers, May must have snatched 1st place.  The first performer’s story was a bit simplistic for his level.  And, he actually looked a little silly.  May was incredible.  I guess all that worrying pays off!  It was the first performance from her, that “I” felt she was talking about herself.  Very animated, used the stage well, voice changes and attitude were all spot on!  Based on the last few months, and watching her perform in practice and at the regionals, this was, by far, her best performance.  The last performer was a bit, ‘dark’.

Remember the movie where people watched a video and seven days later, they were dead?  There was a woman in the movie, thin, wearing a long gown of sorts, bare feet, hair hanging straight down over her face, and her head cocked to one side…  this is how the last performer came on stage!

I didn’t bother watching the remainder of this production!  Time for another break.  I think for Taiwan, this kind of a performance, especially in front of little kids, is a bit much.  Easily, May has first place.

The final results of the competition:

Kindergarten – Elva:  FIRST PLACE

Level I – Nadia:  FOURTH PLACE

Level III – Marcus:  SECOND PLACE

Level IV – May:  FIRST PLACE

Averaged out, this means they all got second place each – which is better than I had hoped.  Very exciting.  Each of our students got a trophy.  I have to keep in mind a few things, and try to let our students realize as well, that there are kids going home today, with nothing.

Our school had the most number of students participating – four.  Apparently there was one or two other schools in the same situation – four competitors.  Most schools present, only had one student, and a few more with two.  With our school, have 4 times the chances of an award, for us to capture each category, that left a lot of other students out.

I am so happy and proud of each of these students of ours.  Each of them – Nadia, Elva, Marcus, and May – should all be equally as proud.  All that practice, late nights, set designs, practice, demonstrations, suggestions, criticisms, practice and yes, practice, does help.

As much as the national competition is a demonstration of how good one is in the country, the regional competition is more of a competition.  At the nationals, the top student in each region competes.  It’s tough competition at times.  Especially in Level II and III.  This is the bulk of the competitors, and they are the age group with the highest population at the school.

Now for my hope for next year…  I’m hoping again, we will have five levels to compete in.  This time, I’m hoping each of the five get the invite to Taipei. That means that at the regional competition, they must get at least second place.  Kindergarten and Level IV need first place, the other levels need first, second, and possibly third place finishes.  It will be really great, if each of our five get to compete nationally.

That’s it, that’s all… for now.


1 Comment

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One response to “August 12, 2012

  1. Beth

    Excellent! Congrats to you and your students. Nice to see everyone’s hard work paid off.

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