Blogging from the Pit

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
Wendy poses with her violaNo, not that kind of pit.  Amy and I are very excited to be a part of the Grace Baptist Church Praise Orchestra!  Ever since we were little, I've wanted to be a part of this special ministry.  I remember always rushing up to the musicians after the service to ask and learn about their instruments and I especially remember one Easter when I told Don Valentine, the percussionist, that one day, I was going to join the orchestra.

My opportunity came in my freshman year of high school.  Because we are enrolled in the A Beka Academy program, we were able to take many courses through DVD.  When I learned that there was a DVD course to teach me how to play any stringed instrument, I was really excited and, after discussing it with Lisa Hernacki, the church orchestra director, Amy and I decided to learn the viola.

At last, our DVDs arrived and as we started studying under the Jaffé Strings Program, screeches filled the house as our family and neighbors had to put up with - not one - but two beginning string players.  I am so grateful that they did support me, and that they never made negative remarks.  It didn't take too long, however, for us to begin experimenting with our instruments.  We were so excited when we were able to sound out Pirates of the Caribbean (the original song from the ride) on our instruments as well as several other songs!

Grace Baptist Church Praise OrchestraAs we finished up the second year of our study under the strings program, we began preparing to audition for the Grace Baptist Church Orchestra.  The first violinist in the orchestra, Patti Graham, was such a big help and encouragement, and she helped us go through an intense three month "viola boot camp" to help us get ready for our auditions.  At the end of August, Amy and I auditioned for Mrs. Hernacki and were accepted into the orchestra!

It 's been a wonderful experience to be a part of this incredible group of people.  It has been such a big blessing to me as I start to pursue music more seriously, and, although we still hear the regular viola jokes (what violist doesn't?), all of the musicians are so positive and encouraging!  I am grateful for the privilege to be a part of this special family.

Directing My First Bell Choir

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010
Wendy directing the bell choir"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

For several years, a set of two octave handbells have been sitting in the attic of the local church, just waiting for someone to come along to start a bell choir - I guess that someone was me.

The bell choirLast year, one of the members of the church mentioned the bells and asked if Amy or I would be interested in directing a choir.  At the time, while I really wanted to help, I couldn't imagine myself directing a bell choir where I would be the youngest person there.  
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LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going through Michael Gasperi's book LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.  I just finished it, and I thought that I would share my take on the tutorial.

As I have read and gone through a few technical tutorials, I realized that it is extremely difficult to present technical information in a way that keeps the reader's interest and attention while exciting him with new concepts or ideas.  I have read books concerning three different programming languages (NXT-G, ROBOLAB, and LabVIEW,) and have found that, while the programming languages are different and unique from each other, the basic information and exercises are the same, causing the various tutorials to seem to blur together.  this book did an outstanding job of keeping my interest while presenting the information in a new and creative way.  

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