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Volume 16, No. 6 - November 16, 2009


-- Flu journal --

The misery of the flu

By Marese Heffernan in LIMERICK, Ireland – Two long weeks of body aches, coughing fits, a constant headache and an extremely messed up body temperature. These are just some of the joys of the most fashionable disease of the season – the flu.

Like many people, I spent the first few days in denial about my symptoms. “It’s just a head-cold. It’ll be gone by tomorrow!”  Alas, by the next day I was completely confined to my bed with just a cold cloth and a lot of painkillers for company. For me, the worst part of any kind of flu is trying to sleep. It’s torture. Falling asleep is reasonably easy, but it’s only a matter of hours before I wake up with the dreaded chills – my whole body shaking while sweat simultaneously drips from my forehead.  Read whole story


My hometown -- a new feature

A street in Ermelo, Netherlands

My hometown: Ermelo and Harderwijk

By Caroline Nelissen in ERMELO, Netherlands --  In a way, where you’re from depends on who you’re asking.

To some people, I’m merely from Europe. To others, who either take a better look at the map or oppose too much European integration, I’m from the Netherlands. And to people in the Netherlands, I’m from Ermelo. And when someone doesn’t know Ermelo, which happens from time to time, I tell them I’m from Harderwijk, where my school is. 

Ermelo is a small town in the middle of the Netherlands. It has the quiet coziness of a small town, but at the same time, you’re never far away from bustling places like Utrecht and Amsterdam, thanks to the town’s railway station, with two tracks that can take you almost anywhere.

Ermelo is surrounded by woods. Now, don’t imagine dark and impenetrable forests, untrodden by humans. The Netherlands are way too small for that sort of thing.    Read whole story


Playing the keys off the piano

By Yelena Samofalova in WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut --

Fourteen-year-old Alma Macbride probably never imagined that she would someday perform with famous trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center.


But Macbride did play with Marsalis in New York City earlier this month after winning a nationwide piano competition.


She and 13-year-old Yasiel Sanchez of New York City, were selected as the top two young female jazz pianists in a contest celebrating the late jazz musician and composer Mary Lou Williams.

As the winners, both of the girls performed twice at Lincoln Center with Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.


Macbride, a freshman at Hall High School in West Hartford, is a normal teenage girl.     Read whole story


Experiencing Mary Lou Williams

By Alma Macbride in WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut -- Six weeks ago, I had very little knowledge of Mary Lou Williams, the renowned jazz pianist and composer.

Now I not only know more about her, but I’ve had the opportunity to perform her piece, “Close to Five” with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

I sent in a tape to “Who is Mary Lou Williams?” without any expectations and just relief after the audition process was over.

“Mail it and forget it,” my mother said.

And that’s just what I did. So, a phone call a few weeks later came as a huge surprise. I remember walking through the door after a flute lesson to the sight of my mom pleasantly talking on the phone with a stunned look on her face. I was equally as shocked.

The next week flew by in a blur of hurried practicing, impromptu lessons with my piano teacher, Earl MacDonald, and quite a few congratulatory messages. Suddenly I found myself in a rehearsal studio at Lincoln Center with some of the most prestigious jazz musicians in the world.   Read whole story






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