Groovin’ Grapevine

grapevinetexanGrapevine Texan
(Venue for the NAfME Annual Conference – November 9-13, 2016)

DISCOVERING ANOTHER FASCINATING FACET OF TEXAS took a lot out of Lolita and me this past week. We were familiar with Dallas from a past conference we’d attended there in the last century, but nearby Grapevine was a whole different experience. Let me explain……

Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state, and Grapevine is at the center of it all. Not only does the city boast of ten wineries, it also hosts GrapeFest, the largest wine festival in the southwest. If you’re a wine enthusiast, Grapevine is your destination. The obverse side to that perfectly good and well-deserved claim is that it’s a ‘dry’ destination for those who prefer something stronger than a grape product to keep them going. In that event you needed to collect your ‘hard’ drinks during fixed hours at the bar and repair to your hotel room with your friends in order to enjoy their company in a quiet private setting.

We were exhibitors of Lolita’s brainchild, NotePerfect Project, at the annual conference of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and over four days we had the opportunity of intermingling at the Grapevine Texan hotel with some of the 1,500 attendees, comprising of both adult music teachers and students from various high schools around the country.

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High School Students from New England and Lolita
playing 
with NotePerfect Project’s Popular Rhythm Cards

The building itself is unusual in that, unlike the traditional multi-storied edifices, the GT is comparatively flat in its layout with literally miles of corridors to be trod in order to get from A to B – let alone to Z! On the plus side, there were many nooks and crannies which one could explore in between sessions that were occupied by inviting cafes, shops, boutiques, fitness centers – you name it – sited alongside the attractive river walks.

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Taking a Break at a River Walk Cafe

img_1127The large exhibitors’ section  was somewhat sparsely occupied people-wise, but was marked by sudden surges of activity coinciding with special events, which staged some really talented mixed choirs and wind ensembles featuring both classical and popular music. Memorable in the former category was a moving performance by a teenage choir of a vocal arrangement of Samuel Barber’s ethereally beautiful Adagio for Strings.That has always been one of our favorites, but this was the first time we’d heard the choral version.

<—-NotePerfect Project’s Booth at NAfME Conference

[The YouTube version of Barber’s composition, hotlinked in red above, is sung by the excellent University Singers of the University of Missouri, Columbia.]

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