Day in the Life of an ISAS performer

Students relax on the grass outside Hockaday.

Grace Sanders

Students relax on the grass outside Hockaday.

Tyler King, Staff Writer

5:30 a.m.: I wake up and frantically pack everything, having fallen asleep watching Netflix the night before.

6:30 a.m.: I toast a few pieces of bread and lug everything downstairs without realizing that all of my music is upstairs, so I have to run up and get it last minute. We leave the house a few minutes later, though I constantly check Apple Maps to make sure I won’t be late.

7:00 a.m.: I arrive at Caven barely on time, but we wait for a few extra minutes for other people to arrive. Soon, we are on the road, and I settle in for the five-hour ride to Dallas.

12:00 p.m.: We arrive at Hockaday and unload all of the things we would need for the day—instruments, lunches, music. I get to push a box of orchestra materials to our home rooms before everyone disperses to the activities around the campus.

2:00 p.m.: After waiting for about an hour in line, we grab lunch at a pizza food truck, which was annoying as we had chosen that specific truck because all the other lines were longer. Still, the food was definitely worth the wait.

3:30 p.m.: We realize that Hockaday has a very confusing campus layout after circling through the same area three times on the way to our dance showcase, which happened to be right across the lawn from where we started. I wasn’t complaining, we had been able to listen to some of the Coffeehouse performances, an open outdoor venue where students showcased a variety of talents from singing to yo-yo-ing.

4:00 p.m.: The dance showcase starts, and we are all amazed by the performance. Theme: New York State of Mind.

5:45 p.m.: Quickly rush back from dinner to change into my tuxedo so I won’t be late for our orchestra rehearsal at 6:00. However, there seems to only be two male bathrooms in the building (Hockaday is an all girls school), so I guess I lost my head start on the rehearsal.

7:00 p.m.: Our orchestra concert begins, and we sail through our pieces, and it seems as though everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterwards, the audience leaves and the adjudicator gives us a few comments on our sound, which he enjoyed. He also spends quite a bit of time reminding us how great of a director we have. We declare the performance a success and leave the venue.

9:15 p.m.: We are relaxing in one of the home rooms when a volunteer tells us that we need to leave the room, and more importantly, leave our bags in the room. We had been told ahead of time that Hockaday was taking security very seriously and that there would be drug dogs on campus, but we didn’t know they would be taking them around the campus. After forcing us out into the hallway, they close the door and draw the blinds while everyone disperses.

9:30 p.m.: After the dog incident, a lot of our students show up to the Kantorei concert, which is a blast to listen to and a great way to wrap up the first day at the festival. Once it finishes, we make our way to the home room to get our things and walk back to the buses. Although I expected it would take forever to find our bus, we get there relatively quickly despite there being ten other buses identical to it near us.

10:45 p.m.: We arrive at the hotel and head to our rooms. When we arrive there, I realize how tiring walking around for ten hours is. I quickly shower and proceed to watch a few hours of Animal Planet with my roommates, Albert He, Casey Propst and Edward Chen. There goes my sleep.


6:30 a.m.: We “wake up” but decide it is too dark to stay awake after a call from Mr. Benitez.

7:20 a.m.: I jolt awake and see that it is 7:10 on the hotel clock. However, I then remember that the clock is ten minutes behind and wake everyone up. We frantically get our things ready for the day and run downstairs to the buses.

8:00 a.m.: Since Coach Mercado had decided that even though we are at ISAS, our track training shouldn’t stop, I meet up with Elizabeth McNeely and Collin Fullen in the hallway, and we head over to the Hockaday track to do a quick workout.

8:45 a.m.: Our workout is interrupted by the arrival of rain, and we grab breakfast right before they force us into the gym because of a lightning warning. It appears that Hockaday also utilizes the THOR guard storm warning.  Inside the gym, we look through the collections of 2D and 3D art displayed inside.

9:45 a.m.: Because our workout had been put on pause, we decide to head over to a zumba class after the lightning warning ends. After an hour of movement, we agree that we had met our exercise goals.

11:00 a.m.: I head over to a practice room to find a piano and FaceTime Elise Anthony, one of my friends whom I haven’t seen in a while since she moved last year (hint—she went to SJS last year). After finishing my preparations for my piano recital later on, I head over to get an early lunch.

1:00 p.m.: My piano recital begins, and after receiving some useful verbal comments from the adjudicator, I notice that there were many more people than I had expected.

3:30 p.m.: After chatting with a few people in the hallway, I begin a workshop I had been looking forward to — Intro to Composing Music for Film & TV. We participate in a strange triangle of wrist-tapping, then dive into the composition process. Our instructor, composer Chris Heath, shows us a scene from a pilot he is working on and we set out on creating music for one of the scenes.

4:10 p.m.: Our brainstorming session for the scene results in us creating the scene’s music with our scratching on a chair, banging on a table and a few additional instruments. We put some reverb on the tracks and watch the finished product.

4:45 p.m.: I catch the tail end of Heritage Hall’s improv show, which is absolutely hilarious. I only get to see two sets, which is disappointing, but I enjoyed them. One of the sets involved a very odd Italian restaurant, a few random lines that needed to be incorporated, and maybe a few too many jokes about chlamydia, but everyone was laughing.

7:00 p.m.: We walk to the (SJS) Scenes and Monologues performance, which are really fun to watch. After four incredible scenes, we head out and walk across the campus to Houston Christian’s Showcase, featuring “Legally Blonde.”

10:00 p.m.: Houston Christian’s Showcase was a blast, but we are under another storm warning and can’t go outside. I discover that there is a path connecting the theater to our home room and am amazed at its existing, but am overwhelmed by the sea of people that are going in the same direction. Of course, it doesn’t seem like it is raining outside, and we are able to walk back to our buses, but at least I discovered the connecting passageway.