Saturday, April 25, 2009

Attempting to concertize

Here: enjoy this first: the mass email announcing the concert coming up on May 8...hopefully

I know what you are thinking:

“I haven’t heard a good art song IN A MINUTE!”

“Gee, I always thought Webber’s Phantom was completely overrated! Give me Yeston’s version any day!”

“Philip Glass?! I LOVE Philip Glass!”

“What I wouldn’t do to see some decent ballet!”

Faure is so rarely recognized for his remarkable vocal lines!”

“I’d do anything to get my peepers on some good old fashioned musical theatre, or my name isn’t Evan Buffington!”

Well, pine no longer friends! You can have all of that and more! Join us:

Dwan Adams, dance

Julia Cannon, voice

Leslie Ann Shaffer Chamberlain, voice and guitar

Tysen Dauer, piano

With special appearances by: Nathan Chamberlain!

MAY 8TH at the Bayankhongor Drama & Music Theater

Come for all your favorites like:

· Bach

· Weill

· Quilter

· Schwartz

· Beethoven

· Lerner & Loewe

· Some other dead guys…

And stay for the “life size” dinosaurS!

So it turns out that getting a concert in Mongolia (or more correctly Bayankhongor) to happen is more difficult than my previous experiences. First I thought I had won the war when the pedal on the concert piano got fixed. Then I rediscovered that some of the keys don't work period. Some bass keys ring incessantly. I tried not to cry. Turns out we need to get someone in from UB to fix this situation and some powers that be are less than excited about doing that...we don't have time to lose...two weeks now and need to do rehearsals next week.

Also the season of English Olympics which means angry teachers and students sending you hate messages, and the traumatizing realization that your college students are a little behind the fifth graders at speaking English. Yanaa ("Oh dear" my phrase of the month).

School searches are going well though I heard back from a few schools that I was hoping would cut me slack with the live audition requirements. Turns out they won't. Which is exciting.

BACC grant got pushed back a month because the grant sources dried up...temporarily. Maybe starting to televise the current classes at the BACC on Monday. Yeah!

How could I forget! Mr. Molon Khaan was neutered today. Turns out he only had one external testicle which the local French vet and her Mongolian assistant removed with the warning that the internal testicle may be fertile. Yanaa again. Said they didn't want money so I made them cookies and gave them the last of my walnuts. Molon is currently sleeping and hasn't moved in about 5 hours.

That's the news from Bayankhongor. Going to eat some huushuurs with the Chamberlains and Peder, do some laundry, and hit the sack early to get rid of a sore throat. Ah, tea with excessive amounts of honey!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


One of the most noticeable differences between Americans and Mongolians who I have known is their level of publicly-expressed nationalism. Almost every Mongolian I know is very patriotic of their country and culture making sideways comments about excessive fat in one's buuz an occasion for muttering and negatively flavored eye-contact.

Most of this isn't terribly upsetting though I don't completely sympathize with it. This sort of moderate nationalism exists side by side with more illogical kinds. A number of political groups have formed here that echo all kinds of been there, heard that nationalistic and even racist ideology. This week at the city wide advanced conversation class we will discuss nationalism's pros and cons. After providing a short preview of the topic at last week's class I was told that it would "start a fire".

I tried to set up this upcoming discussion by talking about good and bad reasons to dislike things (food, people, etc.) last week. Some interesting positions resulted including some people advocating a benefit analysis process for creating and maintaining relationships!

Check out the following UB Post article about right wing nationalistic groups here in Mongolia and their strange links with Third Reich ideology and iconography:

Wiffle ball season is upon us. Grant writing for the BACC in full swing and the recital preparation moving steadily along. Take care and let's hope that the long underwear can stay packed away...