You’re writing a TR? Really? (Christmas at POR, 2010)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes, May 9, 2011.

  1. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 8 – Day-5

    - Part 4: O Canada


    After that little flight of fancy, we started off toward the World Showcase. As it was still a bit before the official starting gun and we weren’t in a hurry, so a few pictures got snapped along the way (which mean that you now have to endure them).

    Firstly… here’s a couple of shots of me and my lovely. She thinks that I look better in one of them and that she looks better in the other, so you get two to choose from. Truth be told, neither of us very much like the way we turn out in photos, so these are actually a pretty rare commodity.
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    Epcot’s main tree
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    A few shots of the various pavilions across the lagoon
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    And from the other side of the water looking back at Spaceship Earth
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    The real mission for today was to catch at least a couple of the storytellers taking part in EPCOT’s annual “Holidays around the World” presentation. We’d loved to have caught all of them but a couple of thing stood in the way of that goal. First, the World Showcase doesn’t open until later in the morning. Second, we needed to get on the road by about 2-ish or so (if we wanted to have any chance at making it back home some time before O-Dark-Thirty). As such the plan was to walk the WS from one side to the other and stop the listen to any of the stories that were going to be starting up anywhere near the time that we happened to be in that particular pavilion. If the wait was more then about a quarter hour, we’d likely have to come back and catch that one anther time. Now that a master plan had been devised, we started on the west side of the Showcase and rolled into Canada about 10 minutes before the first show.


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    A couple of CMs were setting up the final props for Poppa Noel’s visit. A moment or two later and we heard a thunderous voice bellowing out “Merry Christmas... Merry Christmas one and all…” Up the walkway came a bewhiskered woodsman. He had a double edged ax resting on his shoulder and continued to holler out joyful salutations as he strode up to the little stage. This jolly fellow greeted all the folks that had gathered around and then started relating his recollections of Canadian holiday traditions. As he talked and entertained comments and questions form the kids (because we all know they can’t keep quite long enough to hear a good story), our lumberjack began his transformation.

    He had a seat and pulled off his work boots. While doing so he talked about the diverse cultures in Canada and how they each had their own take on the holidays. He noted that some folks followed similar traditions as those in the States except that a fair number of people referred to Santa as “le Pere Noel” or “Poppa Noel”.

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    As he began the process of polishing and pulling on a pair of black fur trimmed boots, he talked about the more uniquely Canadian elements of the season such as the Belsnickles”. These devilish creatures do the work of determining which children have been “naughty or nice” and are known to enter the homes of the more unruly boys and girls and cause great mischief.

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    While pulling on a pair of gloves he related how folks in Quebec, would celebrate “le Reveillon”. This is a sumptuous traditional French dinner served after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Then he picked up a long walking staff and imparted on us the tail if the “Naluyuks”.

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    These mysterious creatures are known to visit Canada’s Inuit children and will pound sticks on the floor before questioning the kids about their behavior. The youngsters must answer truthfully and sing Christmas carols to satisfy their visitors who will then open special gift bags full of presents.

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    At this point our storyteller slipped on a red and fur trimmed overcoat and related that most of Canada celebrates Boxing Day on December 26. This honors the ancient English tradition of giving filled Christmas boxes to the poor as well as to servants and tradesmen for their help during the year. With the transformation now nearly complete, our woodsman picked up a fur trimmed cap and placed it over top of his walking staff.

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    As he did so, he asked the crowd if they believed in “Pere Noel”. The kids all shrieked back in approval, and he said: “Good… I do as well, but I’ve never actually seen him myself you know…”
     
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  3. jamiesmom07

    jamiesmom07 Mouseketeer

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    AWESOME, as usual, loving the tr!:cheer2::cheer2:
     
  4. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    :wave2: Howdy!

    Can't wait to read about it! :thumbsup2

    Coincidentally I think the title of this portion of your TR is also trying to become the main topic of the DIS Dad's podcast thread. :rolleyes1

    Cool story! I'm hoping to get to catch a few when we're down there. Look forward to seeing what other countries you got to visit.
     
  5. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Looks like I have quite a bit to catch up on here.

    First of all, thanks for the little pre-dawn tour of POR. That's been our resort of choice for the last 2 trips, and it really feels like home to me. Beautiful grounds.

    Sorry you missed out on Soarin' again. If I had known you didn't know about the FP return time thing, I'd have told you! If there's something else that you don't know that I might know so that if you know you won't make the same mistake had you not known, just let me know. You know?

    Love the Canada storyteller. That sounds like a cool way to relate the story. I'm sure the kids ate it up.

    Can't wait to hear about your cruise! 2 stops at CC and a bonus stay at WL sounds pretty close to heaven to me.
     
  6. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Thanks. I must say that I’m slightly embarrassed. I’m not quite used to have words like “awesome” associated with anything I’ve bothered to put into print. Either I’ve found my audience, or y’all have just gone plain nuts. Either way, I’ll be continuing on so stay tuned and thanks for following along.

    :wave2: Back at ya!

    Cool! I’ll have at least one reader then. I hope to start up on the new one pretty soon.

    I haven’t listened to the last couple of pod-casts yet, but now you’ve got me curious.

    All the stories that I got to hear were really well done. There were still a number that we missed, but I’m going to try to include at least a synopsis of the story lines where possible.

    You’re welcome. This was our first stay at that particular resort and I must agree that it’s one of the most beautifully maintained grounds I’ve encountered.

    :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:
    I’ll try to think of all the other things that I don’t know and get back to you.


    The kids loved it. All the folks we encountered were pretty good at spinning a yarn. They are defiantly worth the effort to catch if you down there during the holidays.


    That just about describes it. :cloud9:
    We were on a very different pace during that trip as opposed to the one I’m writing about here.


    Speaking of which, it’s time for a couple more chunks of that story, so here goes…
     
  7. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 8 – Day-5

    - Part 5: Punked (but in a good way)


    From Canada, our journey continued on around the “world”. We arrived in England and found that Father Christmas wouldn’t be making an appearance until later in the afternoon and well after the time we really needed to be heading out. Not good, however, I was able to come up with a copy of the story line that the Imagineers had put together for the scroll set up on one side of his designated stage area (and I’ll try to include these where possible through the rest of the TR).

    It read something like this:

    Many wonderful Christmas traditions originated in the countries of the
    United Kingdom. Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
    Each have unique holiday customs,
    and many of these have been shared worldwide.
    Well-known Christmas carols such as
    "Deck the Halls" and Here We Come a Wassailing" were first sung in the
    United Kingdom.

    The tradition of Christmas cards also began in the United Kingdom.
    In 1843, John Calcott Horsley sent a card depicting an English family brimming
    with cheer to his friend Sir Henry Cole. The original card caught the attention
    of a British giftbook company, which published a thousand lithographed copies
    and sold them for a shilling each.

    Not surprisingly, the hanging of mistletoe is one of the
    United Kingdom's oldest and most popular traditions, dating back to the
    Druidic ceremonies of the winter solstice. Each time a kiss was claimed under
    the mistletoe, the young man would pick off one berry. The kissing would end
    when all the berries were gone!

    For children, Father Christmas,
    with his long white beard,
    green robe, and crown of holly,
    is still treasured as the jolly gift-bearer who
    brings holiday joy to the well-behaved.



    We also did think to take a few pictures, so you get a little bit more to look at as well:
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    The phone boxes over in the north corner of the pavilion are not just an interesting bit of décor. They’re also functional. The pay phones still work in these bad boys (this is the part of the chapter where I’ll finally get around to explaining the title of this section so just hold on for a little bit longer there).

    Now then… since, not everyone who visits the “Big-E” is aware that these phones actually work, there is an opportunity here to have a little bit of fun. Just pull the phone out of your pocket or hand-bag (I know you’ve got one we all do now-a-days), and call one of the boxes. The trick is to see if anyone will actually answer the phone. If they do, wish ‘em a great day and a magical rest of their vacation and in a flash of pixie dust, you’ve become part of the magic. If it’s a youngster, you could tell them that you’re looking for Mickey or talk to them in you favorite character’s voice (assuming you are any good at imitating said voice). For you ladies out there, imitating a princess is no problem at all because there isn’t a set character voice for any of them. If you get a little girl on the line, tell ‘em that you’re Cindi’ or Aurora or Arial or Tiana and just make their day. You could call it being Disney Punked, but the object here is to get a laugh by making someone smile rather then being entertained by a random strangers humiliation (certainly beats the tar out of nearly all possible forms of Reality-TV). Heck, you can do that little trick when you’re vegging on the couch back at home (just to keep in touch with the magic so to speak). Here’s the numbers:

    Left Box: (407) 827-9862
    Center Booth: (407) 827-9863
    Right Box: (407) 827-9861


    …now go give it a try!
     
  8. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 8 – Day-5

    - Part 6: Now that’s a Snack


    Leaving the UK, we headed on up the road toward France. It might just be me but, somehow or other the geography isn’t quite working here. Shouldn’t we have to cross over or under the water in order to get to France?

    Oh… there it is. ;)
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    I knew there was supposed to be some type of channel crossing here

    I always wondered what this artist was supposed to be painting…
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    And now I know…
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    He’s painting this…
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    We could also see that we’d just missed Père Noël as he had all the kid lined up for pictures and questions.

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    Strike two… now what. Well… it was the French pavilion and that is home to one of the best places to possibly spend a DP Snack Credit: “The Boulangerie Patisserie”. Being as this was the case, we decided to drown our sorrows in a haze of fine pastries (of both the savory and sweet verities). Just in case you’ve not had the opportunity to drop into this little nook tucked away in the back of the pavilion, I’ll go ahead and entertain you with the current menu offerings (and remember that nearly all of these items are considered to be just one shack credit each on the dining plan)

    Cake of the Day
    Apple Tart, Peach Tart, Strawberry Tart

    Chocolate Chip Cookie, Mickey Mouse Cookie
    Elephant Ears
    Croissant Plain
    Croissant Chocolate
    Chocolate Eclair
    Chocolate Mousse
    Marvelous
    Fruit Bavarois

    Raspberry Schuss
    Apple Turnover
    Pralineige
    Napoleon
    Cream Puff
    Cheesecake
    Coconut Pyramid
    Caramel Soufflé

    Ham and Cheese Croissant, Ham and Cheese Quiche,
    Ham and Cheese Sandwich

    Cappucino, Cafe au Lait, Mocha, Espresso

    After nibbling on a few fine pastries, we rummaged around “La Casserole” and “Les Vins De France” for a little bit (I married a cook and baker, so it’s always in my best interest when the opportunity presents itself to let her look around a bit and see if there were any new books or tools that she might be able to put to good use).


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    By the way… here’s what the scroll over at Père Noël's little stage area had to say;

    The magic of Christmas can be seen everywhere in France.
    The shops and baraques, or booths, along the beautiful
    boulevards are brimming with toys, glittering lights, and
    Christmas decorations of every imaginable kind.

    Children eagerly await le Pere Noel (Father Christmas),
    who arrives on Christmas Eve to deliver wonderful presents.
    Most churches and homes display a beautiful nativity scene
    called a creche, which is considered on of the most important
    symbols of Christmas to the French.
    Traditionally, candles are lit around the creche:
    sometimes a special Yule log is also burned on the fire.

    After families return from Midnight Mass, they enjoy the feast
    called le reveillon, which often consists of
    ham, goose, oysters, salads, cheese, champagne,
    and Buche de Noel, a delicious chocolate cake shaped like a
    Yule Log.

    Children then set out shoes around
    the Christmas tree in great
    anticipation of le Pere Noel who fills
    them with
    all sorts of goodies!​
     
  9. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    What I referred to has absolutely nothing to do with any of the podcasts. Just some random posts that were made yesterday. Worth looking at if you get a chance though.:rolleyes1
     
  10. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Yah… I checked out that particular reference and although I don’t think I’ll be reproducing that little image over here, I’ll agree that it’s certainly worth the trip over there. Ohhhhhh Canada!
     
  11. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 8 – Day-5

    - Part 7: Fruit Trees and Field Drums

    From our vantage point in France, we decided to head directly over to the American Adventure.

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    The schedule for the day noted that the storytellers in Morocco and Japan would not be showing up for good while. It also pointed out that the colonial fife & drum corps would be performing in a little bit and as everyone in my house is a musician at some level this was something we all wanted to see. Upon arrival, the first thing you’ll notice here in the Christmas tree in the square (yah… I know… surprise, surprise). Like every other trees in the parks, this one is gorgeous, but in an unexpectedly understated way (especially considering how brash your average American tends to be represented). This tree was covered in fruit, a poinsettia garland and simple trimmings made up of common implements from the colonial period. It was actually very soothing to walk around and look at.

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    If Christmas trees would have been common during the American colonial period, I’d like to think that this might be similar to the way we’d have gone about dressing ‘em up. But then again poinsettias were not introduced into the US until 1825 and the tannenbaum itself didn’t show up in this country until w-e-l-l into the nineteenth century, so we’ll never really know.

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    We hadn’t been in the area but a few minutes when from a distance came the unmistakable sound of a field drum rattling out a marching cadence. The fife and drum corps march out from the far side of the pavilion and took charge of the center of the square to start their drill.

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    Depending on when you happen to catch this wonderful demonstration, there will be a varying number and composition to the group. They will always be lead by a flag barer, but the flag being brandished may also vary depending on time of day or whim of the folks making the presentation. For our performance, the corps was made up of two fifers accompanied by one field drum and a bass drum (with the drums decorated in holly garlands for the season)

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    During this performance they were guarding the 1775 Continental flag which at times is also referred to as either the New England Battle Flag or the Bunker Hill flag.
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    Here’s a look at a good image of the flag in question
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    The group performed several pieces and a number of drills that day, but It didn’t occur to me until well into the exhibition that I ought to be recording it. I did get a couple of pieces of the drill on video and you can see the best one by following the link below…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buE8L07nuAo

    And a couple more images just for good measure

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    After the corps had cleared the square, we decided to poke around a little bit more. We noticed that there were a couple of different spots for storytellers. There was one for Santa and the Misses (of course), one for the Chanukah story and one more for Kwanzaa. Now that last one has the unfortunate potential to start all kinds of conversation around where I live (and often with out much listening goin’ on at the same time), but I myself had never actually looked up or been told exactly what the Kwanzaa celebration was all about. As such, I decided to walk over that way to see what was up. As it turns out, the girl that was telling that particular story strolled out just as we got over there, so we decided to give her a listen.

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    The lady giving the presentation also did an excellent job of involving the kids by passing out various percussion interments and having them play & sing along with several parts of her story. The most interesting thing I learned is that it’s not in any way shape or form (or even on any philosophical level) a rival of, or a replacement for the Christmas traditions. It’s actually a celebration of family (as opposed to religion) and is tied more to the New Year then the Nativity. Just in case you’ve never really heard the story behind this youngest of the “holiday traditions”, here’s the synopsis that the Disney folks wrote up for the scroll that they put out in front of each storytellers’ stage:

    Kwanzaa is an African American harvest and community festival that
    has its root in the civil rights era of the 1960s.
    It was founded as a way of reaffirming African American identity,
    instilling knowledge and pride in African rots and reinforcing
    bonds among members of the community.

    Kwanzaa is devoted to seven principles, known collectively as Ngugo Saba:

    Umoja (Unity)
    Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
    Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
    Ujamaa (Corporative Economics)
    Nia (Purpose)
    Kuumba (Creativity)
    Imani (Faith)

    Although it was first observed solely by African Americans,
    Kwanzaa is now celebrated by an estimated 18 million people in the
    United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Britton, India,
    and some African nations.




    I didn’t see a scroll for the Clause’s (and I did look for it, but I suspect that the Imagineers felt we ought to know that story pretty well), but there was one for the Chanukah story and since that tale wasn’t scheduled to be shared for a good while, I’ll show y’all what the scroll for that venue had to say:

    Chanukah
    (Hanukkah)
    The Festival of Lights.

    In 165 B.C.E., with the help of neighboring Hasideans, the
    Maccabees defeated the vastly superior forces of the Syrian
    King and liberated the city of Jerusalem. Upon entering
    the Central Synagogue the Maccabees discovered that the
    temple had been desecrated with the blood and bodies of
    slain pigs. The sacred Torah scrolls had been burned. The
    containers of holy oil for the "Eternal Flame" were
    overturned and spilled out upon the ground. However, a
    small bottle containing the equivalent of one day's worth
    of olive oil was discovered intact. The flame was lit using
    the existing oil and the reconsecration of the temple begun.
    At least eight days were required to send for and receive
    more oil for preserving the "Eternal Flame." The flame
    burned for the entire eight days: Thus was Chanukah
    instituted by the Maccabees. The eight day celebration
    begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month
    Kislev (December). One candle on a menorah is lit each
    day to commemorate the "miracle of the Chanukah" until
    all eight candles are burning on the last night. The dreidel,
    a four-sided toy marked with hebrew letters and spun like
    a top in a game of chance, was created to help tell children
    the story of Chanukah."
     
  12. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Yes... I felt it best to refer you there than to bring it here. :lmao:

    I somehow missed your updates from last week about UK and France. Always interesting to compare and contrast our holiday celebrations against those of the UK. Neat seeing how we adopted some of the same and yet modified them to make it just a bit different. I'm glad you got a chance to have a snack in France and check out the shops there with your wife. Which pastries do you recommend?

    Looks like it was a good experience in the American Pavillion. That's cool that they talk about the Kwanzaa celebration too. That's one that I know very little about, so that would be an interesting speaker to catch. I feel like I'm pretty much up to speed on the American Christmas traditions though. :lmao::rotfl2:
     
  13. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    ‘Morning Andy,
    Let me first toss out a rather large thanks for following along.
    I enjoy hearing your commentary.

    Good call :thumbsup2 (on both the referral and the discretion :lmao:)

    The different takes on the same basic story fascinate me as well. Every culture put its own stamp on every story (we just can’t help our selves)

    Pastries… Hummmmm… The tarts are really good as is anything with ham in it (although that kind’a goes without saying). The other obvious good choices are the crescents. Also grab one of the coffees as they're better then most of the brews served on world.

    I’ve been to Epcot better then a dozen times, but never succeeded in catching the entire performance of the drum & fife corps, so I was very happy to actually see them this time around. As for Kwanzaa, like you, I didn’t know the specifics (unfortunately up to then I’d only heard arguments and/or propaganda) so I was also pleased to see Disney tackle that one. The girl telling the story was very entertaining and I learned the basics and reasons behind the celebration. Context is always a useful thing.
     
  14. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    First of all, thanks for the phone numbers for the UK! One of these days I'll give that a whirl. I know that DisDadDoc had his daughter call FreezinRafiki's daughter while they were down there last week, which just sounded way cool to me.

    Is there any possible way to screw up a snack order if it involves French pastries? My instincts say no. I'd probably go for the chocolate croissant, myself. I generally try to order the most unhealthy things on any menu. :rotfl2:

    Looks like your timing was impeccable on the Fife and Drum Corps. And like you, I basically knew nothing about Kwanzaa. Amazing what can happen when you listen, huh? :thumbsup2
     
  15. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    You’re welcome. :thumbsup2

    And… I’d also like to thank you for keeping an eye on me over here. As a first timer in the ways of the TR, I’ve been flying blind on this little exercise and it always good to hear back on what others think of the work. Writing this up has been a little like my obsession with playing guitar. I love doing it, but just wish I were good enough, lucky enough or strong willed enough to convince someone out there to pay me to do it. :sad2:

    Absolutely brilliant! I hadn’t heard that story yet.
    I bet that was a really cool moment on both ends of the line. :goodvibes

    Can’t think of one off hand now that you mention it

    And that sounds like the single best possible plan (especially when it’s already paid for)

    Some times you win. It was also a decision driven by my boy. He’s currently planning to go into music performance and education as a career and was particularly keen to catch that exhibition.

    They did a good job with that one. Listening hasn’t really been in fashion for about the last twenty years (in the US anyway). I think it’s about time we started exercising that part of our brains a little more often.
     
  16. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Bonus Feature 5

    - The Origins of Corps


    Warning… I’m heading off the rails again so you might want to disregard this post. I do promise that it is (almost certainly) the last “Bonus Feature” that I’ll be slinging into this trip report, but if I were you, I’d follow Megera’s advice and “Keep moving Junior”.


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    Still here? Well then… as you’re surely aware, the appearance of the fife & drum corps held a good bit of prominence in the last section. And that’s what I’ve decided to ramble on about (yah, like you haven’t already figured that one out). Why? I’ll get into that in a while, but as usual, I’ll start out by supplying you with entirely too much useless and otherwise unnecessary background information (because that’s what I do). Remember… I’ve already told you to skip on ahead and ignore this section. Fairly warned you were, says I. pirate:


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    Drums have had a military role going far back through history (just watch anything by Cecil B. DeMille if you don’t believe me ;) ). Their main purpose was to supply a tempo for marching and maneuvering (or rowing… as the case may be). Drums are very old, fairly simple, relatively loud and are a natural fit for military operations. But, just how did the fife come to be associated with marshal dill? Well… given their small size, flutes have been a fairly common bit of personal gear no matter weather the soldier in question were a lowly conscript or a professional mercenary. As such, it is not surprising that the instrument would make its way into official use. Originally called a 'Schweizer Pfeife', or Swiss flute, they were developed in the 16th century as a high pitched variation of common flutes used by chamber orchestras and troubadours alike.


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    At a full octave above normal flutes, it has two distinct advantages (militarily speaking). The higher pitch makes it considerably louder and it also allows the sound produced to carry farther. Additionally the fife is compact and easy carry. Its original military purpose was to provide music as entertainment on long marches (usually in the form of songs from home), but quickly they began to be used to convey specific messages or orders. A short burst of notes could be used as a signal to stop for a rest, reassemble and move out, or even attack in a certain direction. By the time of the American Revolution, the custom was for a company of 100 men or so to be assigned 2 fifers and 2 drummers for such signaling duties. When the companies of a Regiment or Battalion gathered together, it also became customary to assemble the signal corps from each company into a 'band' that would march at the head of the column on parade. While in camp, the corps would provide musical entertainment for the troops and even play background music for plays and official gatherings.

    Horns have also been used in the same fashion for an even longer period of time (think: Joshua)…


    [​IMG]

    {4th Century Roman Bugle}



    …but the fife was more commonly used by the French & English military and consequently was adopted by the Americans when they initially found the need to develop their own military traditions. By the mid nineteenth century however, the bugle began replacing fifes in the US military. The only remaining fife and drum corps in the American Military is the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, attached to The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, a ceremonial Army unit based out of Ft. Myer, VA at Arlington National Cemetery.


    [​IMG]


    In the same way the fifers would entertain troops and dignitaries, so would horns in latter days. By adding different sizes of bugle to the mix, the corps’ were able to create different voices and play more complex music. With the advent of louder and more durable reeded interments in the form of saxophones, military bands became even more diverse and accomplished. As trained military musicians retired from the services, they often joined societies and organizations such as VFW and the American Legion. Members of those groups they would perform for civic functions and to entertain local town’s folk.


    [​IMG]


    The numbers of these citizen bands lead to the rise in popularity of March style music and made celebrities out of the better writers and performers in that genera. The most famous of these composers was John P. Sousa's whose marches are still known and widely played today.

    Military style bands were also adopted in collages that had military backgrounds and curriculums for the purpose of drilling, parades and performances. Given their ability to be heard over considerable amounts of ruckus, these military bands were particularly good at providing entertainment and even encouragement during loud outdoor sporting events. Interaction with other schools during such contests ensured that the band concept would farther migrate throughout the collegiate system and ultimately into the public schools. In the US in particular, marching bands came to be associated with American Football and have developed into a major (if often ignored) part of halftime entertainment nation wide.


    [​IMG]


    Another development amongst the bands supported by groups like the American Legion, were regular exhibitions and competitions as organizations from area towns and rival posts would gather to display their abilities. These competitions and the performances themselves grew is size and complexity over time. Eventually this would lead to the creation of an entirely new type of Drum & Bugle corps. These mostly nonprofit organizations moved away from strict military maneuvers. They perform more elaborate presentations featuring expanded instrumentation, different styles and tempos of music, fluid nonlinear marching drills, and the addition of color guards, props and even dance troops.


    [​IMG]


    This newer style, often simply referred to just as “Corps”, has grown in prominence. With that growth, the Corps style began to heavily influence the music departments of collages and schools through out the US. For this reason the level of musicianship and showmanship of even the average high school band far exceeds that which is the stuff of common jokes, stereotypes and prevalent advertising.



    Are you still here? Really??? :confused:

    Well then I suppose you’d like to know just why I found it necessary to assault you with that little dissertation on the evolution of marching bands? Well… it’s a geek thing. As I mentioned in the last post… everyone in my house is a musician on one level or another (and that’s why we particularly wanted to catch the fife & drum corps performance in the first place). Tamara learned piano as a young’en and has a very wide and eclectic range of musical tastes. I did time in the music programs during my school days as well. Ultimately I ended up playing nearly everything that had a reed on it and spending an inordinate amount of class time in the concert, marching and jazz bands. I’ve long since given up the saxes & clarinets, but I’ve also been playing guitars since I was about ten-years-old, and am considered in local circles to be fairly accomplished at it (certainly my church band has forbidden me to even consider quitting). Truth be told, if I could make a steady living at it, I’d be a musician professionally. But… I was never willing to give up the day job or endanger my ability to be available for and support my family. As such, music is what I do to keep from going insane, while computers and data analysis is merely the price that I am forced to pay to be allowed to live in this country and have nice things (like food & shelter).

    As you might expect form the previous paragraph, our son has been surrounded by music since birth and has also become rather addicted. He plays a little bit of piano as well, his weapons of choice are Trombones and Baritone horns. Currently he is planning to major in music performance, composition and education once he goes on to collage. A tough choice in terms of work required for the money generally offered, but you have to at least attempt to do what you love. Luckily for him, the schools in the area I call home have extremely strong and well developed music programs (and this is actually one reason I live where I do). This being the case, he has excellent instructors and a great outlet for following that passion. The particular school my son attends has only been in operation since 2007, yet this group already has two second place and two consecutive state championships to their name.


    Max and a buddy after the 2010 championships

    [​IMG]

    (I don’t think I’ve found a picture of him with a bigger smile then that one)




    Ok… it’s shameless plug time!

    What I’m trying to say here is the next time that you find yourself at a ball game of any type (high school, collage or what have you), don’t just head for the concession stands when halftime rolls around. Take a moment to watch the bands. They put in an extraordinary amount of work and effort and you’ll be very surprised at what they are able to accomplish. The levels of talent, musicianship and showmanship that they will display are far higher then you’d expect for a group of kids (most of whom also make better grades and perform better in school then the average student as well). The power and difficulty of the music being played combined with the complexity of the presentation makes for some very fine entertainment. Not buying it? Well… here’s a video of the performance that won our kids them their last championship. See for yourself.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edFuByxgmyM



    Down this way rehearsals for the 2011 season actually start this Monday. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of show they put together this time around.

    Oh… and by the way… If you happen to be watching the Macy’s parade this Thanksgiving, these same kids will be one of only ten bands marching along with the floats & balloons that morning (that should be and adventure worthy of a TR all its own).​
     
  17. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,129
    Chapter 8 – Day-5

    - Part 8: The Clown and the Witch


    Mimes take a lot of abuse from the general public. Of all the buskers lining the streets of the world with hats and buckets on the sidewalks before them, these folks have the hardest time extracting coins from passers by (except in France apparently). But if you happen to be traveling through Italy (the one at Epcot that is), you may find yourself confronted by something rather strange: a mime that is actually entertaining. The difference you ask? This fellow is more of a silent clown then a mime and like all the atmospheric performers at WDW, he’s quite good at what he’s doing. By the time we made it to the pavilion, his little show was already in progress. He deftly worked through various physical gags involving soccer balls, random objects and dumbfounded members of the audience. There were smatterings of juggling along with healthy glimpses of slap-stick and similar physical gags. There was also a great deal of humor derived form miscommunication as he attempted to convey the moves and actions required for the next trick to timid and at times bewildered guests using no more then gestures and a whistle. I’d have a hard time recreating his antics within the mundane restrictions provided by our paltry English language, but trust me that if you run across this act while traveling around the showcase, it is worth the time to stop and laugh along for a bit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now that we were in Italy, it was time to look around a bit. This is one of those spots in the WS that I’ve pretty much neglected and I was traveling from one spot to another. Since there are no theaters, films or rides here, it’s easy to overlook. But, look you should. The architecture is simple gorgeous (and the holiday trappings just add to the sumptuous views.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As we made our way toward the center of the pavilion, there was a loud cackle of a laugh that filled the square. As we were trying to ascertain just what was going on and from which direction the noise was emanating… a small woman dressed in colorful peasant garb and brandishing a broom and a lantern glided through the crowd and commenced to telling the story of La Befana. The gist of her tail goes like this.

    La Befana was an old and poor woman who lived at the time of Jesus's birth. She was visited by the three kings who asked if she’d like to go with them as they searched for the new born child. She insisted that there was just too much work to be done to be taking time for such an adventure, and declined their offer. She also refused to go with the shepherds who later came by on the same quest. As she was working her small farm, she couldn’t get her thoughts away from the child that those other men were going out of their way to find. She decided that if so many important and busy people were taking time to find this boy, then he must be destined for greatness. So she finally decided to go in search of the baby Jesus herself. She gathered up an old doll, one of her few possessions, and set off. Unfortunately she got lost on her journey and never found the child. To this day it is said that she visits children's houses in search of the baby Jesus. She carries a lantern and shines it on the face of each sleeping child looking for the Bambino and leaves gifts for those children that she encounters before continue on her search.[​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We really enjoyed listening to this storyteller. She gave one of the most entertaining performances that we encountered on our entire trip. If you have the time, this is a definite must see during the “Holidays around the World” festivities.

    Here’s what the scroll had to say about the story:

    “Natale con i tuoi. Pasqua con chi vuoi.”

    This old Italian verse truly expresses the strong feelings
    the Italian people have for the celebration of Christmas.
    It means,
    “You celebrate Easter with whomever you please,
    but Christmas only with your own.”

    In fact, Christmas is often described as the warmest, most intimate Italian
    holiday because it is a special time when family members get together to
    enjoy age-old traditions.

    On Christmas Eve, a ceremony takes place around the presepio, a nativity
    scene of Bethlehem. Then, after Midnight Mass, there is a cenone, which
    is a delicious feast of rich Italian food.

    Children eagerly await the presents brought to them by a good-hearted
    witch called la Befana. She is the Christmas gift-giver who climbs down
    chimneys to fill the good children’s shoes with treats.
    Naughty children may find a lump of coal
    instead!
    Unlike Santa Claus, who appears on
    Christmas Eve, la Befana arrives on the eve
    of the Epiphany, January 6. Year after year,
    la Befana wanders the countryside looking
    for Gesu Bambino, the baby Jesus,
    and leaves gifts just in case she finds him.​
     
  18. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    10,986
    Sorry, had to stop reading for a minute, a song just popped into my head.



    Ok, now I'm ready to continue.

    You know... that looks vaguely familiar. :lmao::rotfl2::rotfl:

    Boiler Up!

    Unless I'm somewhere else, in which case I must be hopelessly lost.:scared1:

    I congratulate you on your talent. My wife sings and makes a little money on the side doing weddings and the like. I, however, am not musically gifted in any way at all other than I enjoy listening.:lmao:

    That is awesome! What an experience that will be.


    The Italian story is another new one for me. I've never heard of any of that. Italy is one of my favorite pavillions, mainly because of the architecture, but it might help that Italian food is probably my favorite. :lmao:
     
  19. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,129
    :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

    FYI:
    A song you say… well here’s one way to go about playing that famous little intro-riff:
    e|---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
    B|---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
    G|---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
    D|---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
    A|-----4---5---4---2-0---0-2-0-----|-----4---5---4---2-0---0-2-0-----|
    E|-2-2---2---2---2-----4-------4-0-|-2-2---2---2---2-----4-------4-0-|

    e|---------------------------------|------------------2-------0------|--2--
    B|---------------------------------|------------------3-------0------|--2--
    G|---------------------------------|------------------2-------1------|--2--
    D|---------------------------------|------------------0-------2------|--2--
    A|-----4---5---4---2-0---0-2-0-----|-----4---5---4------------2------|-----
    E|-2-2---2---2---2-----4-------4-0-|-2-2---2---2---2----------0------|-----

    So how do you go about reading that mess?
    The lines denote the six strings from high to low (top to bottom)
    The numbers tell you which fret to depress
    You already know the rhythm (I’m pretty sure)
    Pick up some friends dust covered guitar and give it a try
    “Impress your friends… be the life of the party”


    ;) I suspected you’d catch that pretty quickly, but I chose that image for a specific reason. Purdue actually has one of the oldest collegiate band programs. In some circles they are credited with being the first organization to move away from standard rank and file military maneuvers and realize that you could create geometric shapes as well, thus raising the entertainment factor. So what image did they come up with first?

    The now famous “Block P”
    [​IMG]

    If you’re answering me, then you’re hopelessly lost. :rotfl2:

    Thanks. I don’t get to play out for actual money near as often as I’d like, but just being able to play at all does keep me sane. Like your DW, I did a good bit of time playing for weddings way back in my twenties. you see a lot of interesting things at wedding receptions. :rolleyes1

    As for not being “gifted” yourself, I say nonsense. Go out and try it anyway. :thumbsup2

    It should be quite the adventure and we’re just tickled silly that all the kids will have the opportunity. It’s a credit to their hard work and to their director and staff. Both Tamara and I volunteer with the band and end up working with them most ball games and every contest. They have a busy schedule planned for 2011 (including a planned trip up to Indianapolis for a BOA championship in early November). We’ll be tagging along on the Macys trip as well in a separate parents bus, so I’m anticipating quit the experience.


    I’d never heard that one either. It was really fascinating to hear about this totally different point of view on the holiday traditions. The woman telling the story was an absolute hoot. Listening to her was one of the highlights of the day if not of the trip itself.

    Oh yah… Italian food… :worship:
     
  20. ciadriamom

    ciadriamom Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    293
    Hey there. I've been a lurker for your entire report and have to say that it is one of the most well written, entertaining reports I have read. I am also one of those "geeks" who love your Bonus Features. Your last one is what lured me out of lurkdom.

    I was a "band mom" for five years and loved, hearing and learing about the origin of the Corps. I must say one of my happiest and proudest moments was watching my daughter as she rounded the Hub in the MK with her marching band (and yes, she was a flute ("fife") player). I know you will feel the same as you watch your son march in the Thanksgiving Day parade. My best to them in this season's competitions!
     
  21. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,129
    Well gawrsh…

    [​IMG]

    There’s a lot o perr-ty words in there…
    But I’m sure I ain’t deservin’ of such praise.

    I’m glad that you’ve been tagging along and I hope y’all have even more fun when you go down to Disney this December then we did during our past trip. Nice to meet another band parent. It really is a unique type of dementia which possesses an adult and convinces them to follow along on fundraisers, construction brigades and chaperone duty on long trips out into the middle of the good Lord’s great nowhere. I loved being part of it when I was a kid and it just tickles me silly to see my boy have the same opportunity. Thanks for the well wishes and thanks for reading along.
    :surfweb:
     

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