Category Archives: Placed I have learned

104 – Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy

This was one of the most life changing things I have ever done.  When I was a junior in high school, the Oregon Bach Festival started the Youth Choral Academy.  It started out small, probably only about 50 or 60 of us, all from Eugene.  They got one of the best choral conductors in the country, Anton Armstrong from St. Olaf College, to come and lead us with the help of an amazing Dick Clark from the U of O.   I imagine we were not that great the first year, but I can tell you that I left that week of the academy a much better singer and chorus member.  We got to work with amazing singers on vocal technique, body singing and so much more.  We went to the ‘camp’ during the day, but were free to get into all sorts of shenanigans at night.

The next year, the administrators wised up, and put us in the dorm to keep a better eye on us.  We were also much better the next year, coming from all over Oregon.  Dr. Armstrong expected much more from us and kicked our butts a little harder.  I learned even more.  Unfortunately, my college women’s choir was a huge let down after singing with the amazing singers in the OBFYCA, so I quit singing after my first term in the choir.  I did go back as a chaperone for the YCA the next summer.

I was a very strict chaperone.

This year was the 15th anniversary of the academy, so they invited all 700 of the alumni back for a weekend of rehearsals, a luncheon and to since a couple songs with the current YCA (now called Stangeland Family YCA) kids.  The concert was this past Sunday, and I have to say I had so much fun.  Only about 35 alums showed up, but there were 4 of us from the original year.  I took Alma to the luncheon and it was pretty fun to imagine her singing in the choir in 15 or 16 years.  Oh, how lucky she would be to have an experience like singing in the SFYCA.


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Number 91 – UofO Art Museum

I have many beautiful memories of going to the art museum on the Oregon campus.  I really appreciate that my parents introduced us to art and museums at a very young age.  In my memory (which is probably a little bit exaggerated) we went to the museum alll the tiiime.  And I loved it.  It felt like an amazing sort of playground.

My favorite things about the museum were the courtyard, the doll collection and the Asian thrones and other furniture.

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Number 90 – Skiing

Skiing at Sun Valley in 5th grade - I know you're jealous of my neon pink pants

I learned how to ski when I was about 5 years old.  My mom was a ski instructor at Willamette Pass, so she was up skiing most weekends, so my parents decided it was about time for me and Dan to learn.  Also, since I was until 10 and mom worked there, it only cost 50 cents for an all day lift ticket.  Pretty sweet deal.  I’ve always loved skiing.  I have been known to say, “This is the life” while on the slopes.  And that’s because it is.  The life.  For reals.

You are jealous of my head band now. Again, Sun Valley but this time during middle school.

There’s really nothing that compares to a clear, sunny day with perfectly groomed (like they are capable of doing at Sun Valley) fresh powder.  Nothing beats it.  Nothing. I love how quiet it is on the mountain.  The air is so clear and bright.  I absolutely love the squeaks and swooshes the snow makes under my skis.

Mom and me at Willamette Pass


During college I followed in my mom’s tracks and taught skiing at Willamette Pass.  I think I skied somewhere between 30 and 40 days that season.  I was so good that year, let me tell you.

I can’t wait to hit the slopes this season!  Soon, very soon!

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Day 42- Valley Library

I did (a little) studying at Valley Library… I had a favorite table on the 2nd (or third?) floor of the library where I spent a lot of time the Winter of 2000.  My table looked right at a beautiful still life painting by a painter whose name I cannot remember… Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how much this building has really affected my life except in its constant reminder to study (not always heeded).  It is one of the anchors on the OSU campus, and I really do love it and I loved the academic comfort it provided.

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Day 35 – Cal Young Middle School

The above picture is Cal Young Middle School as I knew it as a student.  I spent 3 years as a Cay Young Pioneer.  I loved Cal Young!  I loved my friends, I loved sharing a locker with Brittany Saleeby, I loved the crazy long hallway, but I think I loved band most of all.  Band was cool at Cal Young.  I know, that doesn’t really make sense.  But, for real, all the cool kids did band.  This was mostly because of our awesome director, Chet Peterson. We got to play really fun songs (like the Jurassic Park and nightly news themes!) and marched in parades.  We even did cool formations and stuff.  We were pretty much awesome.

This photo is of Cal Young as I knew it as a student-teacher.  They tore down the old building and built an amazing new building a few years ago.  Last fall I was super lucky to do my student teaching at CY.  It was so much fun to be (sort of) back at Cal Young!  It didn’t feel like the same school, but there were still some of the same teachers.  I would love, love, love to get a job at Cal Young in the future!  The kids are great, the principal is wonderful and the staff is amazing!

I am a lucky girl to have gone to CY and to have taught at CY!


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Day 25 – Corvallis

Corvallis is a lovely little town in the heart of the Willamette Valley.  It is where Oregon State University is located, and I lived there for about 5 years.  I really, really, really love Corvallis.  I have a lot of good memories of walking around, going to the parks, driving around with the windows down, eating lots of good food (the best Chinese restaurants in Oregon), and just being youthful in Corvallis.

I suppose there isn’t anything inherently amazing about this little town other than the fact that it holds so many memories of friends and falling in love with my husband.  Jesse and I love to head up the valley for a day or even a couple hours in Corvallis.

(I stole all these photos from the Internets...thanks Internets!) :/

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Day Ten – Moreland Hall

Moreland Hall (I stole this photo from The Internets)

Moreland Hall was where the English department did their business at Oregon State University.  I spent a lot of time in Moreland Hall.  It isn’t the nicest building on campus.  Most of the classrooms had weird angles of beams in the middle of the room, making it difficult to see the board at times.  But I loved it.  I loved how old and cozy it was.  I loved the old bathrooms and the big stairway in the lobby.  I loved how it was so close to the MU and the dorms.

I really enjoyed being an English major at a university with a small English department.  I had a lot of the same people in most of my upper division English classes, and we had a good time together.  I really liked how my professors knew me and were easily accessible.  I liked reading good books and having amazing discussions with intelligent people.  Fun stuff.

David Biespiel teaching in one of the main classrooms (another stolen image... sorry Internets)

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