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Woke up to a dreary Monday in Jacksonville, FL.
The view was still pretty good despite the rain :)

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I was nervous about the audition, and wanted a little extra time to myself. And felt like a little pampering. So for only the second time in my life, I got room service. Smoked salmon and capers on a bagel and a "side" of fresh fruit (that huge thing is a side??).


Luckily I had a clean tupperware in my bag, so managed to save half the fruit for later.
After that lovely meal, I decided to walk to the performance hall as it was only 1/2 mile away. It was raining but I didn't care. Audition personnel were waiting to sign me in.


For those who don't know, here's how orchestra auditions work. Typically an orchestra/symphony/philharmonic posts an opening on their website along with an address for you to send a letter of inquiry before a certain deadline. You send your letter, and after the deadline you will get a response: either "We have reviewed your resume and have decided that you are not qualified" or "We have reviewed your resume and would like to invite you to audition". To reserve your audition spot, you then have to send the orchestra a personal check to be held against your appearance at the audition (If you don't show up, they cash the check. If you do, they void it). Once the orchestra has received your check, they will send you more detailed information, such as your audition time and location.

(CLICK HERE for a pretty accurate...and funny!...song about auditioning.)

Most preliminary auditions are screened. You are assigned a random number to be used in place of your name, and you never see the audition panel. Orchestral trombone auditions are usually only ten minutes long.

Anyway, I signed in and was given the number 17 (a lucky one for me!) but no warm up rooms were available yet. I chatted with the two guys who'd signed me in until a room became available.



My audition was super short. I played the first two excerpts, then heard a "Thank you" from behind the screen. This is the panel's polite way of saying, "You're totally not what we're looking for, thanks anyway!". :P

I was led to a side room where the other five trombonists who had auditioned in the past hour were waiting. We didn't have to wait long, as I had been the last audition in that group. The personnel manager came in and thanked us all for taking time to audition, then told us that we were excused except for No. 16, who would be moving on to the finals. That's right, THE GUY WHO AUDITIONED BEFORE ME. Sigh.

Well, I wasn't taking this audition to win anyway. It was a good experience.

I spent the rest of the day driving north to Greensboro. The train arrived on time and I got to the yard a few hours behind it. After a good night's rest, I got to enjoy a day off! I walked down to a small bakery near the train to scope out their treats, then visited an antique book store. At the "normal" bookstore down the street, I tried to sell a few books that I haven't read, but they only offered me $11 for six books! Forget THAT! I walked back to the train, unpacked, took a short rest, then walked to the bowling alley near the train. Brett, Jameson, Richard (clown/crew) and Chantelle (production) and their kids were already there knocking pins down like it was their job.



We were tickled to see that the bowling balls had our show's "name" on them!


Jameson got TWO turkeys! The best game he's ever had!


We had a lot of fun :) It brought back memories of the last time we were here, and Slick was with us.
I miss him.

The next day was my birthday! Tons of people posted on my facebook (thank you!!) and I spent the morning trying to respond to all the love :D Then my thoughtful, sweet boyfriend came by to give me a big hug and a bag of gifts...two Game of Thrones graphic novels!!!
I loved the first one and can't wait to read volumes 2 and 3!



At the arena, I skittered around trying to avoid the clowns. For the past two years my birthday has been over train runs, so they haven't been able to nail me with the shaving cream pie (a circus birthday tradition). After the dress rehearsal I was talking to Bill (trumpet) and not paying attention...and they totally got me!
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It was Chase and Brian. Great job jerks!!! :P
For dinner several band folks went across the street to Stamey's BBQ. You would not believe how awesome (and affordable!) their food is. I had a sliced pork sandwich with slaw and it was delicious. They guys had the same but with "shut up dogs"...that's Slick slang for hush puppies!
Then we had peach cobbler for dessert. Yum!


(photo courtesy Brett)

Then we did our night show and walked home. I had a wonderful birthday thanks to my circus family, and my dear friends and family near and far. Thank you everyone <3

Friday was a split. The morning kiddie show was absolutely freezing thanks to the ramp being directly behind the portal...the wind cuts right through onto the floor. Luckily the band gets a few space heaters. The poor dancers must be succumbing to exposure back there!! Even with the heater it was difficult to play, so for the evening show I wore a thermal shirt even though it's a dark color and might show through my white shirt.

My best friends Jeremy, Charlie, and Mary K came to see the show, and we had time to hang out afterward. We went to 913 Whiskey Bar, a new place near the train. They had some pretty good menu items, like fried okra and various creative flatbreads. I had "the sparrow", Knob Creek bourbon infused with apple, vanilla and cinnamon (there was a LOT of ginger in there too). Yummy!

I was so happy to see these three after such a long time! Jeremy and Charlie and I used to live together back when I was going to school in NC. Now Jeremy is working for the North Carolina Zoo! And Charlie is a real estate agent!! They told me they've made some great progress on their house (under construction as of last year). I'm hoping to drive up and see it while the circus is in Virginia. For my birthday, they brought me some lovely gifts!



I'm excited to see them again soon :)
Saturday was a typical day. Tim conducted the last show, his first time since we got this new music. He did a GREAT job. Charlie's mom and a friend came to the midday show, it was wonderful to have them in the audience :)
We found out that the train will likely be parking in Uniondale while we're in Brooklyn...that being a heck of a commute, many folks have started looking for housing in the city, especially over the nine pack.

On Sunday morning my aunt and uncle grabbed me for brunch at Mad Hatter's, a new Greensboro restaurant. I wish we'd had a whole day, better yet a whole week, to catch up. We talked about Obachan's funeral of course, and how my cousins and siblings are doing, and what we've been up to. Too soon it was time for the show, and we had to say goodbye. But I'm really hoping to see them again while we're in Virginia. Love you Aunt Chris and Uncle Andy <3

For the final Greensboro show, my friend Ken Wilmot came and brought friends, including a gaggle of young ladies who were super excited to see the elephants and tigers! I think the "cannon girl" might have been their favorite part though ;)

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I think a good time was had by all. The Wilmots even gave me a beautiful "Thank You/Valentine" card, and some sugar cookies! Thank you guys so much!


After the last show Jameson and I drove to his parent's house in VA. Next up is Philadelphia!!


Other stuff:

I wasn't the only one who got pied this week! Happy Birthday Melissa (backstage) and Bernadette (elephant handler)!!

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(photos courtesy Lindsey, clown, and Melissa)

Applesauce doing some drone magic.


Eryn (teacher) got this awesome photo of the two trains beside each other in the Carolinas. The Blue Unit was headed to Raleigh.
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Some great photos were taken this week. Here's Gemma after firing her pyro gun, and an awesome shot of Benny Ibarra at the top of the wheel act.
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