April 24, 2010

The Swiss Family Robinson

The other night I watched Disney’s The Swiss Family Robinson. This is a movie I remember watching as a kid and consider it one of Disney’s classic live action films.

The movie is based on a book, written by a German pastor Johann David Wyss. Written to preserve the tales he and his sons made up while imagining themselves in Robinson Crusoe's predicament. Not originally intended for publication, the narrative was later edited and illustrated by Wyss' descendants in 1812. It is about a Swiss family who are shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to New Guinea.

The family has many adventures they capture animals, rescue a girl and fight off a ship load of pirates, which is my favorite scene in the movie. Tigers in pits, giant logs rolling down the hill and of course the coconut bombs.

Their tree house was later turned into an attraction at Disneyland, though that has now been changed to Tarzans Jungle Bungalow.

I was watching this movie and I realized that half of these animals would not exist on the same continent let alone the same island. I can only assume one of two things. Either Johann David Wyss had no idea what animals lived in South East Asia or a ship full of animals from Africa must have also wrecked on the island many years prior to the Robinsons arriving.

They have hyenas’, ostriches and zebras. I didn’t think you could ride the last two but the Robinsons found a way to tame these beasts that no one else can. Maybe it has some thing to do with the animals diet or the weather in South East Asia that makes them able to be trained.

In spite of the inaccurate portrayal of animals this remains one of my favorite movies from my childhood.

April 22, 2010

Musical Ariane

Ariane is very talented musically and I have had the chance on several occasions to witness this first hand.

She’s a graduate student at the University of Utah getting her masters in music conducting. She works for the music department as a graduate assistant for the band program. What does that entail? She does all the grunt work for the band, getting music ready, hauling equipment around, setting stuff up and doing a little conducting as well. She has also done some really cool stuff as well.

At football games she helped the drum majors conduct on the sideline and even conducted the national anthem at the New Mexico game this year, which I had the opportunity to attend as it was our third date. She got to travel with the band to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl and San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl.

Ariane led the pep band the last two years at the women’s basket ball games. I’ve been to a couple of games this year and watched her lead and she is very energetic and passionate about what she does and she does a great job of doing it. The kids all love her. One of the games I went to this year, the TCU game, went into three overtimes and let me tell you that’s a lot of women’s basketball. Last year Ariane got to go with the women’s team to Maryland for the NCAA tournament.

In addition to the conducting Ariane plays saxophone in the jazz band. She will be traveling to China in July with the jazz band for a jazz festival. These concerts are always a lot of fun to attend and Ariane does a great job and plays multiple instruments during these concerts including baritone sax, base clarinet, flute, tenor sax and clarinet.

This last spring she conducted the music for Layton High Schools production of The Wedding Singer. It was a fun musical and the musicians in the pit did a great job thanks to their conductor.

Yesterday was her recital and she conducted the wind ensemble. It went really good. The band sounded great. They even played a song called “Past Time” a baseball inspired song and she wore her St. Louis Cardinals hat to conduct it.