Monday, October 12, 2015

Oragami Jazz Festival

Last Friday night, I had to baby sit at my arch rival's house.  Conveniently, his name is Arch Rival.  His wife Nem was busy and he had to speak to a preschool program about his children's gifted program.   In Chicago, we call GAT "options". 

I sat there for an hour in the family room while the kids slept.  This room looks like a library only with more books than could fit in a library.  Archie goes to 2nd hand stores and buys boxes of children's books.  But that's not the worst part.  There was a book on tape coming from the room of the 2 girls.  It was audible when I arrived a few minutes before their official bed at 8 pm, and it didn't end until about 8:40 pm..  Are you kidding me?  Books on tape during bed time?  Curse you Arch.

Saturday morning, I went to the library with my youngest and we checked out stacks of books on tape.   After a few hours of listening, my kids and I decided that this was not going to be our thing.

It's hard to compete with the Rivals.   They don't follow my academic regimen.  Instead they become super readers and eventually their kids get into gifted programs.  Nem teaches high school math so I am going to have a hard time competing on that front.  The kids are super nice and socially well adjusted.   And we both do music.

Music is one of those activities like reading wherein if you do it well, everything else will follow, everything else being success academically and otherwise.  My oldest and I practice together every day, so he gets a daily lesson if needed.   The youngest is going to join this routine when he starts band, but for now he is expected to teach himself piano.

For my wife's birthday, we took the kids to the Jazz Showcase to hear a Tammy McCann with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.   On Sunday's at 4 pm, the Jazz Showcase has a 60 minute performance and kids get in for free.  The performance was amazing and I'm glad I live in Chicago.  We went so that our kids could see a big band.  I didn't expect Tammy McCann to be so darn good.  (Normally, I would have invited the 5th grade Rival because he's a friend of my son's, but this was a birthday outing with dinner to follow.   There was a 3 piece jazz band playing at dinner, by the way.)

Here is a picture of the Test Prep Pioneer and his brother Test Prep Ninja with Tammy.  We almost always talk to the performers after each show.  In this case, it was hard not to.  Tammy was extremely bright and her extremely bright children were there.  I wanted to interview them at length, but since that would be totally inappropriate, I had to settle for confirming the fact that her kids are very friendly and articulate. Her husband was in attendance, and from the stage she announced that he is running for a judge position.  If we lived in Beverley, they would make great rivals, but we don't, so I'll just admire the family from afar.  

During the show, my kids replicated the stage with origami.  The oldest is on the left, and always liked origami.  The youngest is on the right, and looks a lot bigger than he really is because he is closer to the camera.  He went to COGAT folding question school so can fold almost as well as his brother.  If you look closely, you can see Origami Tammy next to the piano.

This doesn't fully address my problem with the Rivals, but it's a start.


  1. Curious what music instruments the Rivals play?

    1. Piano and clarinet. I think the clarinet is falling by the wayside. My approach is piano until the 4th grade and then my kids choose their own band instrument and take over ownership of the whole enterprise. Some parents continue with Piano. This is great if your kid wants to pursue music as a primary activity, but I think band has its own set of great skills and playing piano alone for then next 10 years is not on our agenda. Music is not a precondition for life success either, but I am not going to pursue that experiment..