Emanuel Ringers

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

First Full Day


Today we did a lot of tours and shopping. We toured a Korean Palace, Seoul, and a Buddhist temple.  We went to the river and got our feet wet (some fell in and got their upper body wet as well), and we went to two markets. At breakfast, Caleb had to teach me how to use the jam.  You have to fold it to open it, and then squeeze it onto whatever you're putting it on. At the palace there was even a room where you weren't allowed to have your shoes on! There was also a Korean cultural dance that started a little before we left, and went on until we had gone te the temple.

We went to the Korean tower observatory. It was really high, so we had to take an elevator up, which wasn't fun since I don't like elevators. The view at the observatory was amazing, though. You could see the city, and mountains in the distance. Straight below you, smaller than gnats, you could see all the little people where you were just standing, waiting for the elevator, or having just gotten off it.

-Rachel

Our Concert for the Troops at the DMZ

Sorry that you weren't able to make it to our performance last night...please see some of the musical highlights below:

Meditation on Beautiful Savior

Arirang

The Prayer

Allegro con Moto

Visions of Peace

Symphonia on Hyfrydol

Jesus We Want to Meet

Now the Green Blade Riseth



After the concert, soldiers were invited to touch, play and admire bells and speak to the players.







Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seoul Tour Day

Well, today was certainly a busy day for us. After a lovely breakfast at the Tmark hotel, we boarded our tour bus and headed to Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was conveniently close to our hotel. This palace, along with being the first Joseon Dynasty palace built, contained some amazing sights. Dragons were in flight on the ceiling while royals were being coronated were seen in frescoes. From there, we ventured on to the bustling streets of Insadong, well known for its many vendors and unique sights and sounds. After a delicious meal in a Korean buffet-style restaurant, we visited Namdaemun market. This place was like all of New York City packed into a much smaller space. The smell of deep fried treats and the shouts of sellers filled the air and fueled the chaos. Lastly, to round out the day, we visited Seoul Tower, a Space Needle copycat that was just as impressive. Once we reached the observation level of the tower, we were treated to a gorgeous 360 degree view of Seoul in all its glory. Afterwards, and after a fantastic Korean barbecue meal, we headed back to our hotel.





Overall, the day could be summarized in three words: busy, tiring, exhilirating. We saw new parts of the city that we never knew existed. We went from the lowest bargain shop peddling iPhone cases to the top of the whole city (not to mention the highest post office in Seoul). Although the city seems chaotic and random at times, deep down it has a frenzied but steady beat to it. The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Seoul are truly unique to this city, and can never be felt anywhere else.

-Jake

Blog authors: Rachel & Jake

Departure and Arrival

Today was our departure day! We met bright and early at Emmanuel at 9:15. After getting our assigned cases and organizing our luggage, we boarded the coach bus for about an hour to JFK Airport. We pulled up to Korean Air and unloaded our mix of bell cases, chimes, and personal luggage. After getting organized, we proceeded to start our regular airport duties,(checking in customs, security, etc.) After we arrived at Terminal 8, we had a short hour wait where we charged up our phones, got some quick snacks and drinks, and talked about what we expected the trip to be like. Once we were called to board, we noticed immediately that this plane was no ordinary Delta airline. This state of the art Korean airplane was a fully equipped double decker with flat screens for every cubicle in the first class. We were seated in economy, but there were no complaints there. Nothing but smiles and welcomes greeted us by the very stylish airplane attendants. The wait to takeoff was fairly quick and takeoff itself was very smooth. The kids switched around to be next to each other. In front of every seat was a nicely sized touch screen tv, equipped with movies, tv shows, games, audio, and an interactive flight map. Each of these options came with many detailed options within. For example, in the movies option it had, "Recently out, Hollywood hits, Classics, and Different cultural movies." I was very surprised and impressed with the surplus of options of entertainment the airline supplied. Most impressive though, was the option of seeing not only the normal flight map and where we were currently, but the view from an actual camera from the front, tail, and bottom of the airplane. At any time we wanted we could see what was in front of us (usually clouds), behind (clouds), and under (clouds and water!). Besides the entertainment, the food was very good as well. About two hours into the flight we were given lunch and the choice of a traditional Korean meal, beef, or chicken. The chicken was good and we were given 2 side dishes plus water. What was interesting was that they had given us refreshing wipes and water before our lunch, which is not typical of airlines in the west. We were also given a hot towelette before dinner which was very nice. After lunch most of us tried to sleep while others watched movies or explored what the cool touch screen had to offer. It was hard to catch some shut eye though, as it was in the middle of the day back in New York. Towards the middle/end of the flight it became very easy to sleep, because it was the very early morning in NY. Dinner was given towards the end of the flight and we were given a choice between pasta, chicken, and beef, all of which were better than average airplane meals. 



-Kristen

As expected, the flight to Korea was long and tiring, and largely filled with watching as many in-flight movies as possible, with the occasional meal or nap. That's not to say that it was an altogether bad flight, however. The food was actually pretty good (guava juice, beef buns, bibambop with ultra-spicy hot sauce), and it was pretty neat to see daylight for 15 hours in a row. We landed perhaps an hour before sunset, which led to to some particularly pretty views as we drove to our hotel. Our guide, Kristine, explained what some of the buildings we were passing were used for, along with explanations of Korean culture. One of the most striking things was the school system, which actually sounds quite nice, if a bit competitive. The Korean school year starts in March and ends in February, with a one month winter vacation and a 40-day summer vacation. The school week is normally 5 days long, with a sixth day of school on Saturday every other week. Getting into college is apparently so competitive that any student who sleeps more than 5 hours a day is unlikely to get the college they want (due to extreme amounts of studying).

The city itself seems very nice, and very unlike New York City. The buildings here seem a bit more uniform, and the land is far more mountainous than it is in New York. We arrived at the hotel pretty late in the day, so we just broke off into small groups in order to find some satisfactory sources of food. Wandering around to find food was actually pretty neat, as the streets near our hotel are relatively small and winding, if not a bit smelly at times. I can't speak for the others in our party, but Akimoto, Caleb, and I all ended up settling with instant ramen noodles. Tomorrow would bring a breakfast buffet, and we were all too sleepy to care too much about what we were eating.

-Benjamin

Authors: Kristin & Benjamin

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Arrived safely in Seoul

We arrived safely in Incheon airport  and were met by the president of Korean Handbell Association John In-Chu Lee and Emmy Okazawa from Canada who will be playing with us.


Directors at Incheon (Seoul) Airport
 Abi, John, Eileen, Emmy and Eiko
peeking out between Abi and John is Miyako (future director?!)


Kristin Lee our guide for this week. 


Loading bus at the airport





Monday, July 28, 2014

Safely at JFK

We all arrived safely at JFK.     Korean airline check-in was smooth and eventless.      We now wait for the boarding.

Packing and Final Preparations: 7/27/14

It’s the final sprint to our trip now.  We had a couple of great rehearsals and packed up the bells.  Now it’s time to finish our shopping for items to take with us and pack up our luggage.  

Deciding what to pack is always one of the hardest decisions for me.  I don’t want to take too much but want  to be prepared for different situations.  In the end I’m sure I’ll have everything I need and if I don’t I might be able to borrow from someone else or wing it.  Much of this travel anxiety I think comes from the unknown of travelling to new places.  It’s exciting and at the same time a little scary.  These feelings are especially heightened by travelling to a foreign country.  I’m not sure but some of the kids going with us may not have been out of the United States before.  At least I had never been out of the country at their age.  

I imagine we will all have some interesting experiences in our travels and hopefully make new friends as well as reconnect with friends .  This trip would not be possible without the planning and coordination by our directors Eileen , Eiko, & Abi.  A huge thank you to all of them!  They have crossed their T’s and dotted their I’s to make this trip happen and for it to be as smooth and successful as possible.  

Now get me on the plane so I can get some sleep and relax before our two week marathon through South Korea!  

Author: Leslie Wickham

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Final rehearsal and Packing to go

July 24th was the last day of joint rehearsal at Emanuel.        After the DMZ concert music and some of the symposium music practice we carefully packed the bells and we are now ready to go Monday morning.     Abi recorded these activities.     Thanks  Abi.





Thursday, July 24, 2014

Getting Ready: Pre-Trip Rehearsals

With the excursion to South Korea less than a week away, we gathered at Emanuel Lutheran Church on Wednesday night for the first of three consecutive rehearsals. For many of us, it was our first time ringing bells in about a month, so it was good to get back in the groove of things before our big journey. After rehearsal, ringers and chaperones gathered together to discuss guidelines for the trip. We talked about preventing jet lag (when preparing meals in the days beforehand, just remember “Protein-Protein-Carbs!”), the weather (bracing for heavy humidity and temperatures as high as 97 degrees!), and concert attire when performing at the DMZ (no sandals or shorts for us). We also practiced some basic Korean words and phrases – below are some of the ones we’ll be commonly using:

·       Ye (or Ne) = Yes

·       AneeYo = No

·       Anyung Haseyo = Hello

·       Anyunghee Gaseyo = Goodbye (if you’re staying and the other party is leaving, or you both leave)

·       Anyunghee Geseyo = Goodbye (if you’re leaving and the other party is staying)

·       Gamsa Ham nee da = Thank You

·       Mat ItuhYo = This is delicious

·       Hwajangshil uhdee It seo yo? = Where is the bathroom?

Author: Adam Shuler, Riverside Ringers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A few days more to Korea!



Combined Katonah and Emanuel Ringers at rehearsal being ready for our trip to Korea.   
(Thanks Abi for the video and photos.)











Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 4th at Caramoor



About 20 of us from 8 to almost 80 years young were among 60 invited local ringers at the Caramoor 4th of July concert by the Westchester Symphonic Winds.       We enjoyed listening to the performance of 60 strong wind ensemble, alt saxophone solo and vocalist and at the finale of the concert with now traditional Independence Day music by Tchaikovsky's 1812, we played handbell with the band.       You can guess where we played; at the end where all the fireworks starts.     Due to the unfortunate huge rain in previous day there was no fireworks that night so our handbell added special color to the concert.


Sorry there is no group picture!    We were all busy practicing and playing!
Westchester Symphonic Winds has a home page HERE and there may be a photo album of the performance later on.    Check it out.