Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fête de la musique

Hello again, family and friends!  I hope this post finds you well.  As we're wrapping up our first week here, the students are finding their groove and settling in well.  Although this is my second year doing the program, I've forgotten just how impressive a group of students like this can be.  I have the impression that they are a very solid group--that they feel comfortable around each other and that they get along quite well.  The first real test is of course tomorrow, when we will be visiting a couple châteaux (castles) in the Loire Valley.  They will get to tour the châteaux in small groups, making it a much more enjoyable and personal experience than a large-group tour, and it will test their leadership and communication skills as well!  From what I've seen from them so far, I am certain they will do well.

In these last two days, we've begun our regular class schedule.  This has been a great relief for all of us since we are now getting into our normal routine.  We begin each day at 9:10 with either support groups or phonetics lessons, followed by three class periods.  We then walk to the cafeteria (situated in the same building as the instructors' lodging) for lunch, where we have a good variety of food to choose from.  Everyone gets bread, a first course (usually salad, melon, or some other small cold plate), a choice of two or three main courses as well as two or three vegetables, cheese or yogurt, and fruit or dessert.  The kitchen staff is patient and generous with our students--they'll give us seconds on just about everything but the main course, and they help students with vocabulary and pronunciation as they serve the food!  After lunch, we return to the school for announcements and a small break before finishing the fourth class period.  At the end of the day, we have our afternoon activities--choir, theater, or sports--which I will describe at a later point.  By 3:50 it's time to go home.  And voilà our daily routine!

Tonight there was a rather special occasion in France, called the "Fête de la musique," which many of the students were able to enjoy.  This is a nationwide music festival that takes place every year on June 21, which is of course also the summer solstice.  Each year, music groups of all varieties can be found in the streets of cities and towns all over France, with the goal of bringing people together to celebrate music.

There are no private concerts. All the musical groups--including municipal bands, rock groups, and even country/western clubs--play for free and invite everyone to dance with them.  This is truly a unique event, so we were happy to have come across some of the stagiaires enjoying the festival with their host families.

I have more photos, but they will have to wait just a bit longer.  Tomorrow we have a long day ahead of us, but one that the stagiaires have certainly been looking forward to, so we need to get some sleep to be well prepared for it.  Details (and photos!) to come.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like they are staying quite busy mentally and physically. Kathryn had posted on her blog about looking forward to attending the festival with her host father, who plays clarinet with a band. I shall be looking forward to more posts in the days to come (and especially the photos!).