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Robbie Burns Day at Mackenzie House

Today we went to Mackenzie House for their Robbie Burns Celebrations.
There were lots of things going on!

We printed out the Selkirk Grace.

Bruce recited the Grace with a Scottish accent.

Here's a close up:

Gillian played the harp and she read poetry for us. Her harp is different from an orchestral harp. It doesn't have any pedals.

We got to look around the house.
The dining table was set up differently from the other times we've been here.

We really liked this container.

We decided to take a picture of the relief of Mackenzie from the upstairs window.

We listened to Jeremy playing the chanter.

And we found out all about haggis.

They piped in the haggis.

Paul Federico addressed the haggis. He recited the Robbie Burns Poem, "Address to a Haggis" and he explained the meaning of it too.

I got to help out in the part of the poem where he says:
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned, 
Like taps o thrissle.

Which means 'Look at this person who eats haggis. The earth shakes when he walks. Put in his fist a sword and he'll make it whistle; And legs and arms and heads he'll cut off like heads of thistles.'

Of course we got to eat haggis!

After we ate, Gillian was going to do a couple Highland Dances for us.
She let me join in when she did the Highland Fling! It's the first time I've ever danced with someone playing the bagpipes. (I'm used to dancing to a recording.)
This was my favourite part of the whole afternoon!

Here are links to the videos of the dancing:
Highland Fling

Flora Dance 

It was such a nice, relaxing and fun afternoon!


My Grade 6 Piano Exam

I had my grade 6 piano exam and it went well. I slipped up in the sight clapping and stumbled a little in the Sonatina by Kuhlau. The rest of the exam was good. (You can see videos of the songs I did for the exam in this blog post.)

Here is a picture of the shoes that I wore during my exam.
I like to wear moccasins because they keep my feet warm and I can still feel the pedals when I play. You can't feel the pedals with winter boots on. I got this pair of moccasins from Adrienne's Moccasins at the Na-Me-Res Pow Wow last year.  They're so comfortable! I love them!

Here is a bonus song for you.
I played this one when I got home from my exam.
Song of the Cavalry by Dmitri Kabalevsky
I only played this song this one time in the last few days. I'm getting more comfortable recording.


BBC's God Only Knows

I saw the BBC Video "God Only Knows"
It's so cool!
I have to share it with you!

Here is a link to the behind the scenes video:

They released it to help raise funds for "BBC Children in need".

There are so many talented artists:

I can't believe I've actually met one of the artists in the video.
I met Alison Balsom when she performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra a couple of years ago. I have a picture but I didn't blog about it because I took a break from my blog that month.
She was so amazing!
We bought her CD and she signed it for me. :-)


Ideas for the City Museums

A few days ago my Mom showed me this article about the City of Toronto Museums looking for ways to engage our communities.

I've been to all 10 of the City of Toronto Museums and I think I have a good idea of what goes on.

Here are things that I like about the museums already:
- Hogmanay
- Printing keepsakes at Mackenzie House
- School programs like making ice cream, scones and cookies
- Haggis making (even though I haven't done it myself yet)
- Quilting and knitting at Gibson House
- Tours of historical sites
- Dramatic interpretations
- Reenactments
- Summer camps and PA Day camps

I like the school programs but they don't do them for the people who drop by on the weekends. Maybe they could rotate through them on weekends for everybody to enjoy?
Maybe they could have after-school programs for kids to go?

Mom and I sat down and thought of things we'd like to do at the Toronto Museums.
Here is a short list of what we came up with:
- Open Hearth Cooking - I think they already do this at Montgomery Inn, but I think they could do it at most of the museums
- Making Jams & Jellies
- How to dry, preserve, candy and pickle
- Making candied orange peel and apple pomanders... and maybe show us how they decorated with pineapples
- Making Christmas Pudding
- Making fancy greeting cards
- Home remedies (ones that are safe and effective)
- Healing herbs that can be grown in Toronto
- Making soaps and candles
- Paper making
- Doing a whole newsletter from scratch (I think this would be good as a school activity)
- Getting Victorian Makeovers and taking pictures (it would be even cooler with a 'period' camera)
- How to do different period hair styles
- Learning simple dances
- Needle point and embroidery
- Practical sewing skills... maybe you can compare hand sewing to using a machine.
- Traditional cleaning methods
- Wood carving
- Games like fact or fiction (eg. we could guess if something is a Victorian invention or not, or Canadian or not)
- Etiquette skills

Maybe they could even have programs where grown ups and kids can go and learn how to do things like
- Make shoes
- Complete a sewing project
- Making wooden toys, cutting boards and boxes
- Grind grains, prepare all the ingredients and go all the way through to baking something.
- Learn about foods that are in season

Maybe they could print graphic novels about historical figures like James Austin, William Lyon Mackenzie,  John Howard and others?

I don't want to sit down and watch another video of what life was like, I want to do stuff and I want to make things. :-)


My Intermediate Rudiments Exam Results

This morning when I woke up, my Mom told me that my Intermediate Rudiments Exam Results were up.  She didn't tell me the grade. I had to log on to my RCM Examinations account.
The pdf of my exam isn't there yet, but I got a 95!
That's first class honours with distinction!
I'm so happy!
I called my Grandma first thing and told her. :-)
Mom told Dad even before I woke up.

I finished my exam very early and I left with over an hour left to go. And I had my orchestra dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker the same day as my exam. It was such a busy day but everything turned out so good.

Thank you Marine for preparing me so well for my exam. :-)


I'm a finalist!

I got an email today from the Royal Conservatory of Music. I'm a finalist in the Share the Celebration: Celebration SeriesⓇ Video Countdown!  
I can't believe it! I'm so happy!

Here's the link to the video online:

We find out who the winner is for level 6 on February 20, 2015.

I've watched all of the videos on youtube for Douglas Firs by Stephen Chatman and all of them are very good. Good luck to everybody competing.

Here's a link to my blog post about my adventures learning about Douglas Firs:


Douglas Firs by Stephen Chatman

I decided to enter the RCM Share the Celebration Countdown competition. I was thinking of doing the grade 5 piece, "Sunset in Rio" by Mike Springer but I am entering the grade 6 piece instead. It is called "Douglas Firs" by Stephen Chatman.

Here is my video entry:

At first I didn't want to play "Douglas Firs" but Mom said I should go out and look for Douglas Firs so I could understand the piece better. 

I wanted to find a living tree but it was harder than I thought. There aren't very many in Toronto.
We found out from that there was one at Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

The map showed us where we were supposed to look but there were a lot of trees there. So, we looked for the Douglas-fir cones on the ground. 

Then we looked to see if we could spot any of the Douglas-fir cones still on the tree.

I was so happy when we found it!
Its trunk is very narrow, so I think it must be young. 

But it's still so tall!

I could reach some of the pines though.

I did a bark rubbing so I can remember the texture of the bark.
(Can you spot the CN Tower in the background?)

I also learnt that Douglas-fir trees can grow to over 200 feet tall in their native habitat and they have entire forests in British Columbia.

But, I now know a Douglas-fir tree right here.


At the Royal Ontario Museum we saw a cross section of a 500 year old Douglas-fir tree that was cut down in the 1890s. It was 2.3m in diameter! That's 7 1/2 feet!

The rings on the tree show how old it is. And we could see that the tree was around from before the invention of the printing press in 1450 until after Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
I can't even imagine how tall this tree was!


We also went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see how they used the wood from the Douglas-firs in the structure of the building. We've been there so many times and we never even thought about it before. The beams and the staircases are made up of Douglas-fir, and the floor is made of Oak.

This is the view from Walker Court. You can see the staircase that can take you all the way up to the 5th floor.

This is where the Art Gallery meets up with The Grange.

We took the elevator up to the 5th floor and walked all the way down.

Mom took lots of pictures...
I loved the lines and the curves.

Sometimes she stretched her hand out so she could get a picture looking down.

And sometimes she took a picture looking up.

And down.

And up.

And down.

Here is a view of Walker Court from the staircase.

And here you can see the support beams for the roof.
It's really amazing what they can do with the wood from the Douglas-fir.
It must be very strong and hard.

I started working on this song on Boxing Day and now I really like it. I know that it's not 'perfect,' but I only really worked on it for 10 days. Even if I don't win I'm happy that I learnt all about Douglas Firs.  I didn't 'just' play the song, I learnt a lot and had fun too!


The Nutcracker 2014 - 2015

Yesterday was my final Nutcracker performance. I'm sad that they are over.
I had such a great time with all of the kids and the chaperones!

I still can't believe I was on stage with Guillaume Côté, Keiichi Hirano and McGee Maddox. They are all such wonderful dancers and I hope to be like them when I grow up. All of the dancers at the National Ballet of Canada are so talented. It was so cool just getting to be around them.

My absolute favourite memory of this season happened when the waiters lifted us chefs up and carried us out for the bow. That was amazing!

Thank you to everyone who came out to see me perform. I hope you enjoyed it!
Here are some pictures of some of my very special guests.



Linda, Sarah & Lee

And of course, Mom and Dad.
Mom saw me perform 3 times this season! I think she has finally gotten over her nerves when it comes to watching me perform. :-)

Thank you so much for coming! :-)