End of Band Camp

"Concert" Waco, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 39mm, f/4, 1/30 sec, ISO640
“Concert” Waco, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today Koa’s week-long band and orchestra camp concluded with performances at the concert hall at Baylor University. Koa was part of the percussion section for the Wind Ensemble, but also played percussion with the Symphonic Orchestra, which was pretty cool. If you don’t know, the band does not have string instruments, while orchestra does. So it was a treat to hear him play with the orchestra today! It sounded fantastic! In the piece below, Koa plays the cymbals.

He enjoyed the camp so much and said he learned a lot – not only about how to play, but also about different ways to learn and I think it really broadened his musical horizons, and he also grew as a person. The band directors are a much higher level than he is used to, and everyone at the camp was serious about their music and were great musicians. I think Koa was both humbled and inspired by his peers. You can tell he is even more enthusiastic about his musical career. It’s really great.

After returning home, we decided to celebrate with some sushi at Kula kaiten sushi. It was pretty fun, although I’d give the sushi a 6 out of 10. The tempura earns a 3 though… But kaiten sushi is was fun and we had a nice time!

"Sushi" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Sushi” Austin, 2018
"Conveyor Belt" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO400
“Conveyor Belt” Austin, 2018

A long long day (I hit the road at 6 am) so it’s time for rest!


Another Pianist

"First Lesson" Austin, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/17 sec, ISO500
“First Lesson” Austin, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So, continuing with the music theme that has dominated the family news lately, Koa has started taking piano lessons. His first class was tonight and he said it was fun but tough to remember all the fingering for the scales. I’m excited to hear his progress, though! And it was fun to dig up Bay’s old piano books for Koa to use. 懐かしい!

In other news, Bay is getting ready to head off to a summer architecture camp. He’ll be gone for four whole weeks! It’s at USC, though, so it’s nice that my family in California can take care of him. I hope he learns a lot and enjoys living in the dorms. I know I had a great time during my university years! They grow up so fast, don’t they?

I hope you had a great day!


End of Middle School

"End is Near" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/210 sec, ISO200
“End is Near” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photo is of Koa leaving the band hall. It’s the last time I will be picking him up from middle school so it was a little sad. He’ll be moving on to high school next year which means both our sons will be in high school, although they are going to different schools. (Bay’s IB Program is only offered at a different campus in our school district)

Koa’s middle school band career has been a huge part of his life, and one that we think made an incredibly positive impact. We’re so fortunate that the middle school has one of the best band programs (if not the best) in the state. They put in a ton of work and the fruits of their efforts are realized in amazing performances, recognition, and awards. It’s really kind of odd to think that a teacher and school program could change someone’s life, but I think it really has for Koa. I’m so happy and proud.

Enjoy one of the tunes from last night’s final performance (Koa is banging away on the djembe):

Tomorrow is the last day of school, but he’ll be going directly to an after-school party so today was the last time I will pick him up from middle school. Sad…

I hope you had a good day!


Friday at Home

"Friday Excitement" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Friday Excitement” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today we took our son Bay to the oral surgeon to get eight teeth removed in order to “clear the way” for braces. This required him to be put under for the procedure, which only took about half an hour. When he came to, he was still groggy and wasn’t all there. It was funny, but scary as well. Just seeing our son sitting in the chair, more or less helpless, is something I never want to see again. It made me imagine what my parents might have felt when I was in the hospital, and I very much regret that ever happened. 😔

But after coming back home, Bay took a short nap and was feeling better, albeit very sore. The bleeding from the tooth extraction stopped pretty quickly and he had no trouble taking his pain medication, antibiotics, and rinsing with the mouthwash so we are thankful that everything has gone smoothly. But because he needed some extra care today, I spent the day at home with him. I’m happy that my job is flexible enough that I can work from home if I need to. It’s a great benefit!

This evening I did some sketches, based off of the artwork for the anime Hisone to Masotan. I love the tumblr animation I reposted a couple days ago, especially the facial expressions so I wanted to try something similar, and maybe simplify my own style. I’m still trying to find a signature style…

Anyways, I had fun drawing the faces, and using the Staedtler 925 09 pencil, with its super-broad lead. I have 2B in it, so it’s soft and dark. This combination of pencil and lead is fun, loose, and it forces you to not get hung up on precision. I like it.

To see all the sketches I’ve been working on, you can check out the Flickr album “My Sketching Journey”, or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.

I hope you had a nice Friday!


Middle School Percussion Concert

"Solo" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 55mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO2000
“Solo” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

This evening, Koa performed at the percussion concert – both solo and ensemble. He was so happy that he got chosen as a soloist, and he did great! He got a huge round of applause at the end, which was really cool. 👏

Besides the solo, his percussion section performed two pieces, and they rocked the house. I’ve heard and seen them perform the pieces before, so I knew it was going to be great, and they did not disappoint.

"Ensemble" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 50.5mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO2500
“Ensemble” Cedar Park, 2018

Next year, Koa will be moving on to high school, and he’ll continue with percussion in the band there. The percussion director is the same for his middle school and high school so the transition will be easier. It’s great that he’s found something that he’s really into! His middle school band experience was truly a positive one, and he learned a lot about hard work, discipline, and respect. I am so glad he was in band, and in percussion in particular. I have to say that a lot of the credit goes to the band director, who is strict but dedicated. We really got lucky that he was the director at our kids’ middle school! 🎶

"8th Graders" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 26.5mm, f/3.2, 1/160 sec, ISO1600
“8th Graders” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!


Contest, Critique, and Misc

"Critique" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/105 sec, ISO6400
“Critique” Austin, 2018

Today Koa’s percussion ensemble participated in a contest and critique. It was very interesting to hear the comments from percussionists at the top of the field. One of the judges is a professor at Florida State University, another is the Principal Timpanist for the Austin Symphony, and the other is a well-respected band director. I think that hearing the perspectives from these experts made a great impression on the kids.

In other news, I took care of some business around the house, including raking, fertilizing the lawn, tidying up our planters, and replacing a license plate bulb on Mariko’s car. Digitally, I decluttered and organized my desktop computer files, and made a fresh backup. And then I almost finished a book I am reading and did my daily exercises. It was a long, but fun, day!

Student Recognition

"Student Recognition" Leander, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO320
“Student Recognition” Leander, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photo is from an event at the school district’s board meeting. The occasion was to recognize the students of three different extra-curricular activity clubs for outstanding achievement, and Bay was one of the kids recognized! He’s in a club called Youth & Government which is really interesting, and honestly, something I didn’t think Bay would be interested in, but he actually took this on all by himself and has excelled. I am so proud!

I hope you had a great day!