Elder And Sister Richard and Sharon Porter's Mission Site
The Bee's KneesDate: April 24, 2011
Companion: The other Missionary Porter, of course
Well, well, well. Its the male part of this companionship. Whoever thought he even knew how to write?
OK, enough of your disparaging remarks. Lets just get on with the sharing. Ill share first what has kept us the busiest outside of our regular assignment. In fact it filled more time than we thought it would.
THE BACKGROUND: The 1st counselor in the Roodepoort Stake presidency is President Pienaar (pee (sorry) nahr). He is an effervescent personality to put it mildly. He loves to laugh and have fun. His favorite current joke with me (hes Afrikaans) is to say when he greets me , Well Elder Porter, how m I doin? The catch is that he says it in what he feels is a great imitation of an American accent somewhere between Western US and Southern. Its always good for a laugh! He also loves music, and is sort of the local catalyst that got your mother hooked into doing the huge musical presentation in late July, August, and likely early September. There could be up to 6 performances, and the preparations are huge just to get as many local YSA involved as we can. Anyway, Pres. Pienaar is also over the Single Adult Program in his Stake, as well as the youth program.
Long story short: He was in charge of the Single Adult yearly stake convention one Saturday (April 2) and the Stake annual youth convention the next Saturday. He approached us because he wanted to do a workshop for the SA on music appreciation: one hour presented twice. He figured since your mother obviously had musical talent, we would be the perfect couple to do it. We got the details of what he wanted, reluctantly (appearing joyfully, of course) agreed to do the workshop, and then let everything we could take precedence. The problem really was that we had no ready supply of any kind of recorded music we could use for such a workshop (Tab Choir, anyone?), and had little idea of what we would do with such if we did have it.
THE PREPARATION: We announced in our classes that we would appreciate receiving any sort of a broad range of music that any students would be willing to share with us for the workshops. One girl stepped forward with about 5 (or was it 50?) gigabytes of recorded music, which she brought on a portable drive. My computer now has a nice selection of Sting, Queen, Rolling Stones, Alice cooper, John Denver, Disturbed, Em n Em (or whatever it is), classical, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and on and on and on .!!!!!!!. We finally got a concept: Mom would present the parts of music (tempo, rhythm, lyrics. etc), and the types of music. I would put together a selection of a wide variety of such music, play them about 60 seconds worth, and have them rate on a 1 to 7 scale how they liked it, and another place for why they liked it (or didnt, of course). We gave up at least 2 Friday morning temple visits and the following Saturdays just to try and make it all happen. I listened to way too much music I couldnt stand, and not near enough of what I like, but came up with about 15 songs for them to hear. Your mother meanwhile researched and then put together a handout on her topics.
What we did went over quite well with our first SA group all 4 of them (actually there were 6, because 2 ladies came in with about 15 minutes left. No, wait a minute, there were 8, because 2 more came in with about 2 minutes left. No, wait a minute they were there for the next workshop on some other topic!) Anyway, they really did enjoy it.
Our second presentation was about3 hours later, and went even better. Mom figured out a fun little wordless ditty (which we both recognized, but have no clue what it is). She had the people in the 2nd group na-na-na the ditty in a round, then added rhythm clapping etc. A BIG hit for all 6 who came. 3 of the 6 included one who was at our first session (she didnt want to sit thru a boring lecture her words - so she chose the music in ours), and President Pienaar and his wife (sort of had to come, wouldnt you say?) So we spent HOURS of prep, 2 hours of travel (round trip) and 5 hours on site to present 2 1-hour workshops to a total of 9 different people. But it was fun. President Pienaar absolutely loved the whole thing, but especially your Moms part. As he walked us to our car (we had to get back to the city sooner than we had time to get there) he joked (at least I thought he was joking) about having us come back the next Saturday and do it for the youth at a different campsite, a bit further away. Turns out he wasnt joking. He emphasized that we must be sure to do the ditty thing.
THE RE-PREPARATION: We realized we couldnt do exactly what we did for the old folk I mean this new group will be full of hyperactive teens, with a very healthy mix of white and black. (Our 9 people in the YA were mostly white.) so we took the next Friday away from the temple again, and re-worked it all. Your mom did more with the ditty and the clapping, and I worked up a slightly different selection of songs, and changed their response sheet around a bit.
THE TRANSPORTATION: First you need to know that we got ourselves that morning as far as Magaliesburg (Mah-hall-ees-burg) a very small resort kind of area northwest of us. We met President Pienaar there, and followed him from there to the actual camp. The problem was that he and we were both a tad late coming from our different spots, so we needed a bit of a hurry. We started out well with the speed limit between 90 and 100 k/hr (about 60 mph or so). Then we got behind a funeral where, of course, the road was twisting every which way. We were at best doing about 30 or 40 kph. By the time we passed the cemetery where they turned off, we were a bit behinder than we should have been, because we needed time to set up equipment. That did not inhibit President Pienaar. The next thing I knew this sedate missionary couple were doing 140 kph. Need I say that we got there in time with President Pienaar grinning ear-to-ear and asking how we enjoyed the drive!
THE PRESENTATION: Trapped audience is the best way to say it. We did 4 or 5 40 minute presentations to between 30 and 50 youth in each group. They just herded them from one workshop to another. Now THAT was fun and your mother was absolutely brilliant with her clapping ditty. The kids (and their adult leaders) really got into it. And my part of the presentation also went really well, and got a lot of involvement.
THE REWARD - 1: I met last Thursday with the stake president - President Hall (Hall) of that same stake on institute business. He said that the kids thought I was the funniest man they had ever heard and get this that Mom and I were the bees-knees! He actually used that term in fact I heard him use it once before in another setting and about something else that he loved.
THE REWARD -2: Your mom got a call the Sunday night after our youth presentation from President Pienaar. He wanted her to sing him the ditty, because he wanted to teach it to his family, and do the clapping, etc.!
Well enough and too much for now. Theres more to share on other things. Maybe we can get to it later this week. Easter celebration around here is huge in terms of holiday days, so we get an extra day of leisure this week.
Sure love you all. You see now what you get when you wind up an old man and just let him run down!
Love from The Bees Knees
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