All Slugs Day

slug fest day

“Mom, come quick!” Susan yelled inside the front door.  “You’ve got to see this.”

I ran outside and Susan pointed to base of the small tree in our front yard.

“Slugs!  I’ve seen snails and ant colonies before.  But I’ve never seen slugs in Bahrain.”

Only six days before the official, last day of school.  This week is an endless schedule of packing and good-bye parties.  Next weekend, the airport will be buzzing as the summer exodus reaches its climax.  And although our plane is reportedly transporting us to summer vacation, according to my calendar, July 28th is our only, unscheduled day.

This morning I woke up to a text message suggesting a boy-inspired, spontaneous day at the water park.  I declined.  Today is Friday, the first day of summer, the eve of the super moon, and a day of rest.

Today is slugfest.

The Muppet Show Versus Swedish House Mafia

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As Susan readied her school backpack Sunday night, she mentioned feeling anxious about their Monday morning concert.

“What are you talking about it?” I asked.

“Tomorrow our guitar ensemble performs at the Music Festival.”

SURPRISE!

Although all the technology exists, there are so many calendars, schedules and websites to consult, things still manage to creep up on me.

Mojo and I wanted to see whether our guitar lesson investments have paid off.  We reorganized our morning and made it over to the Senior School in time to see the eleven Senior Ensembles play.

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The ensembles ranged from classical flute and strings to rock and roll and were equally divided between St Christopher’s School and the British School of Bahrain.  St Chris students are known for their success completing the British ABRMs’ programs.  While BSB’s music program recently gained momentum on the international stage.

James Arthur, the 2012 British X Factor winner, began his musical career at the British School of Bahrain.  During the X Factor, he talked about his four, golden years of living in Bahrain.  After his mother and step-father divorced, he and his mother moved back to the UK.  Like many Third Culture Kids, their return to “regular life” was a shock, and he became difficult.  His mother kicked him out of the house.  He credits music to turning his life around and getting him off London’s streets.

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BSB is mentoring more, potential X Factor stars including Gershom, the young man with over-sized Ray Bans, who sang and accompanied every group on either the guitar or the piano.  Under Lydia Martin’s musical leadership, BSB played songs by White Stripes, Swedish House Mafia, FM Static and Luminate.  Each ensemble also had a catchy name: Against the Tide, 50/50, Noise Pollution, Ehsan and the Rest, and The Getaway.

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On the other hand, St Chris’ ensemble entrants performed as Senior Flutes, String Trio and Saxophone Ensemble covering a range from Haydn, Gershwin, as well as traditional English and Arabic pieces.  The closest thing to a rock band was the guitar ensemble who played Coldplay’s Paradise.

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Our whole clan was part of the Paradise performance.  Mark happily surprised us playing a lead part.  Although, we got a kick out of the St Chris’ brass ensemble’s rendition of the 1976 Muppet Show theme song, admittedly, BSB’s pop and rock numbers were crowd pleasers and had the audience clapping and snapping photos.

After the eleven groups played, the two adjudicators put their heads together.  I wondered how they would view the different song choices.

Coming up, they said, “As always, the variety of music makes it hard to judge.”

They said, “We looked at little things like ‘communications between the group’ and ‘looking at the audience’.

So the Winner was?

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Gershom, Yannis, Daniel, Paul and Saiyf, also known as BSB’s Noise Pollution, for their original song, Ocean Wave.

ROCK AND ROLL!

Second place was a tie between St Christopher’s Arabic Drummers and Arnold Brass.

Third place was BSB’s Getaway who played My Heart Says Go

The four ensemble finalists along with the finalists from the other twelve categories will be playing Wednesday at 2:30 at St Christopher’s Junior School.  Come and see the new generation of X-Factor contestants.

About St Christopher’s Music Festival 2013

Each year St Christopher’s School hosts three music festivals plus several musical productions.  The Music Festival open to schools in Bahrain has started and leads into next month’s Young Musicians of the Gulf which is an international competition.

This year’s participants include the British School of Bahrain under Lydia Martin, Nadeen School, Sacred Heart, Al Hekma, the Japanese School, New Millennium School, AMA International School, Amna Bint Wahab School, Ibn Khuldoon and Hidd Secondary Girls’ School are all participating.  There are 233 entries grouped by Junior and Senior Ensembles, Instrumental, Vocal and Piano.

At the conclusion of each category’s performances, the winners are named.  The Grand Finale takes place this Wednesday at 2:30pm at St Christopher’s Junior School in Sar.

Hunting Ghosts in the World’s Largest Prehistoric Cemetery

bahrain burial mounds view from the air

Bahrain’s ghosts have been around since – well – since words were first scratched into clay.  Back in 1890, writer J.T. Bent described Bahrain’s inner desert as a “vast sea of sepulchral mounds.”

One of the world’s largest, Bronze Age, cemeteries, the Sumerians called ancient Bahrain, Dilmun, the place where no man or woman cried or felt sickness.  The legend was the neighboring countries sent their dead to Bahrain to live out their eternity in Paradise.

Bahrain burial mounds

Today, the 170,000 burial mounds are believed to be the final resting place for five centuries of island inhabitants and not the neighboring countries’ relatives.  Whether or not the dead were locals, the island still carries their ghostly memories.

Funny enough, these ghosts leave their mark on the island’s transient, expatriate population.

Writer and cultural commentator, Deonna Kelli Sayed, was one resident whose years living on the island impacted her life in ways she may not have anticipated.  Although we never had a conversation about the island’s ghosts during our writing classes, it was while living in Bahrain that Deonna became fascinated with ghost hunters.

After she and her family moved back to the USA, she literally began following the Syfy Channel’s paranormal investigators and documenting her experiences.

Paranormal obsession by deonna kelli sayed ghost hunting

Her adventures and interest in culture led to her first book, Paranormal Obsession where she investigated America’s interest in the paranormal since 9/11.

so you want to hunt ghosts by deonna kelli sayed

But her second book, So You Want to Hunt Ghosts: A Down to Earth Guide, is the one you might want to consider if you are interested in investigating for yourself whether or not ghosts are real.  The book “explains how to conduct historical research on your case, how to properly document your discoveries, and how popular media and ghost hunting TV shows have impacted the modern paranormal community.”

deonna kelli sayed american muslim bahrain ghosts

Deonna Kelli Sayed is a fascinating Global Citizen.  She talks about her first paranormal experience in New York, her multi-cultural family and living in Bahrain in this January 2013 interview on That’s Some AmericanMuslim Life.

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