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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

November 30, 2012
Being with Family is the Gift!
Enter to Win Free Tickets to the Nutcracker!
Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre presents The Original Santa Cruz Nutcracker
Nutcracker
"What?" Auditory Processing Disorder
Gateway
A Great Way to Learn and Absorb History
Springhill
This Week
Holiday Events & Craft Fairs
Click to view our Business Directory
  Being with Family is the Gift!

(Photos General) CarynJuniperTaff_oneweek.jpg(Photos General) WhitneyandJohnny.jpgI'm in Nashville with family and simply being together is the best gift of all.  As I sit here writing to you, adults and children are playing fiddles, guitars, mandolins, banjos and bass while singing old bluegrass songs.  Even the new baby in the family appreciates bluegrass!  Musical talent landed in my childrens' generation and I'm well entertained, informal in the home and out and about in Music City. 

We came together to help my daughter fix up their new fixer upper in Nashville. It's a charming 1930's house with beautiful wood trim that required the removal of many layers of paint, long hours of scraping wood floor cracks and on and on. We each bring different talents: plumbing, electrical, muscle, organizing, cooking and the most fun of all -making music. 

The gift of family grows more important with each passing year.  Add a little music and it becomes magical.

Be sure to read Suki's notes from the National Association for the Gifted.  There's information here for all parents.

Enjoy your families, Parmalee

  Enter to Win Free Tickets to the Nutcracker!

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WIN TICKETS TO THE NUTCRACKER!!

We have tickets for the Nutcracker

by Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, Dec. 14-16. 

You can win up to four!

Send us one new subscriber's email (please ask them!) for each ticket.  We shall enter you into a drawing to win free tickets!

  Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre presents The Original Santa Cruz Nutcracker

(Special Event Images / Graphics) SCBT_PartyScene.jpgSanta Cruz Ballet Theatre celebrates its 10th Anniversary performing The Nutcracker with incomparable Maestro John Larry Granger conducting the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre Orchestra. Over the previous nine years, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre has set the holiday mood for over 27,000 audience members. No matter what your relationship to this wondrous music, no matter how many times you may have attended, danced in or played in the orchestra, all agree that The Nutcracker is a gift. The performers truly enjoy telling the story and bringing the magic alive, not just for children, but also for those who count on The Nutcracker to welcome in the season.

Musicians who have extensive Nutcracker experience, have said that they are happiest with this production. Not only is it glorious looking, but because the musicians are not playing from an orchestra pit but rather are in full view of the audience, they are more involved and immersed in bringing this story to life. After all, Tchaikovsky is renowned for being a master of orchestration, and this work gives every instrument something special to do! The pleasure of playing the music is something that John Larry Granger encourages, at the same time expecting-indeed demanding-each musician's best effort.

Of course, where there is tradition, there can be a bit of nostalgia. Polly Mahan, who plays viola in the Ballet Orchestra, was introduced to this holiday tradition as a child. She says, "My family always attended The Nutcracker. I was five the first time. I was thrilled and insisted on starting ballet lessons immediately!"

Co-Artistic Director Diane Cypher says that adding live music to the production has changed everything about the performance for the dancers. "They are so very fortunate to have the experience of waiting for the conductor's downbeat before they start to dance and making eye contact with him on certain phrases for tempo. It is a thrilling experience for them and contributes to the electricity of live performance." Diane also notes that, "A great dance conductor creates nuances in the music which impacts each dancer's performance."

(Special Event Images / Graphics) SCBT_Girls.jpgMany dancers "grow up" through their participation in The Nutcracker. They start as a Ginger Snap in the Mother Ginger variation, and as they get older and more accomplished, they will dance roles in the Act I Party and Battle scenes, then move on to the various divertissements: perhaps in the Spanish, Russian, or Arabian variations, with the challenge of Snow or Waltz of the Flowers as the pinnacles of ensemble (or solo!) technique and performance. Returning patrons experience the continuity of watching the growth of Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre dancers.

The audience also has the thrill of seeing alumni who studied with Robert Kelley and Diane Cypher, returning to perform guest artist roles. For example, Gabriel Williams, who will be back again this year as the Snow King and in Act II's Arabian variation. Gabriel started dancing locally as a young teenager, prompted by his participation in musical theater (Mountain Community Theater and San Lorenzo High). In high school, he came to The Studio (the official academy of Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre). "It was actually cool that I was dancing... hanging out with girls...," he remembers. Even though Gabriel may have had selfish motivations early on, by the time he was applying to colleges he realized that dance might be a professional possibility. With an eclectic dance background and body strength honed as a high school wrestler, Gabriel landed an apprenticeship with a Los Angeles dance company, which included more classical ballet training. He has never looked back. He acknowledges that "ballet is exacting and demanding in its ideals", but also that in this art form, "each dancer is allowed to be himself." Gabriel enjoys his annual work with The Nutcracker because "it is full of athletic dancing and bravura technique".

(Special Event Images / Graphics) SCBT_Beauty.jpgMelody Mennite, our favorite Sugar Plum fairy, is a native of Santa Cruz. she trained at The Studio and at the age of 13, Ms. Mennite began her training with Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy. Prior to joining Houston Ballet (where she is now a principal dancer), she performed numerous leading roles with Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre: the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker; Kitri in Don Quixote and Odette in Swan Lake. Co-Artistic Director Robert Kelley remarks that, "Melody had an impeccable sense of musicality as a child." It is no wonder that she has remarked that one of her favorite things about dancing is the music. Her devotion to expressing the music as well as her desire and ability to always push her own limits as a dancer have made her a favorite choice at Houston Ballet for both classical and contemporary ballet roles.

(Special Event Images / Graphics) SCBT_Directors.jpgRobert Kelley himself has been in or around The Nutcracker since 1977. During his years at the Sacramento Ballet, he performed The Nutcracker up to 60 times in one season. What did that mean to him as a performer? He says, "It was all about delivering the goods... to make Christmas happen." At this point in his career, however, the emphasis has shifted. As a teacher and choreographer, he says that now "it is less about the audience for me, and more about the young dancers in the production." Every year he talks with his cast about their part in giving the gift that is The Nutcracker. Every year he watches dancers get stronger and approach their roles with more depth.

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre celebrates not only the holidays but also its community. In the large cast you will find community leaders at the Act I party, dancers from Cabrillo College's Dance Department part of the Spanish quartet, young dancers from all over the area with roles that are age-appropriate to the story. We hope you will join us for one of the world's most popular ballets, alive with beautiful sets, sparkling costumes, and Tchaikovsky's unforgettable score.

The Original Santa Cruz Nutcracker is an enchanting production that delights balletomanes and family audiences alike and is your entrance into the holiday season.... Continue your own tradition or create a new one!

  Nutcracker

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  "What?" Auditory Processing Disorder

by Carol Murphy, MA, CCC-SLP,
Director- Speech, Learning and Psychology Services,
Santa Cruz, CA, www.carolmurphy.org

(Graphics) AuditoryProcessingDisorder_3.jpgThe weird thing about the diagnosis of auditory processing disorder is that, although most everyone agrees on the variety of symptoms, the actual testing of it can differ widely. Assessments, and therefore instructive strategies, can fluctuate by state, district, profession and resources, both public and private. The California Office of Administrative Hearings for [Public School] Special Education has over 500 notices of fair hearings with the term Auditory Processing Disorder, meaning that either a parent or a school district was attempting clarification or a decision regarding some aspect of this disorder. Further, the California Speech-language Pathology, Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board has published a notice- "It is incumbent upon the licensed audiologist and licensed speech-language pathologist to use only diagnostic assessments and therapies that are supported by rigorous empirical evidence."


While it is important to conduct research studies on new and emerging assessment tools, such studies should take place within the confines of an approved experimental protocol, and it should be clear to consumers that assessment with such tools is experimental only and provided at no cost. In keeping with B & P Code 51(b)(7), licensees are prohibited from making scientific claims that cannot be substantiated by reliable, peer-reviewed, published scientific studies." Even those websites designed to help navigate the issue can be confusing. This makes who really has it questionable and therefore what is done for it inconsistent. Just the term "auditory processing disorder" is one of those phrases that make parents and teachers ask, "What?"


The first step in understanding what auditory processing disorder (APD), or central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) means, is to look at the definition. This can be tricky because APD and CAPD are often used interchangeably making them seem like two different but related problems when actually they are the same problem. Essentially the disorder means the person can hear but the brain does not understand.


The symptoms are as follows:

  • Have trouble associating sounds with their meanings
  • Verbally indicate that they don't understand
  • Not respond consistently to the same sounds
  • Misunderstand a lot
  • Want things repeated a lot
  • Be easily distracted
  • Have trouble following oral directions
  • Not receive or express language well
  • Have a slow response to verbal instructions
  • Make mistakes repeating things that are said to them
  • Have trouble remembering things they hear

The second step in understanding APD is to see where the diagnosis is made, typically in the public schools. Unfortunately, this is also where things start getting get confused.... Read the rest of the article >>>>>

  Gateway

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  A Great Way to Learn and Absorb History

I went to Tennessee to visit with family and we all learned a lot about American history as viewed from Tennessee.

Visiting museums and historical sites is a great way to learn and absorb history. California children are exposed to a lot of California Mission history. They visit missions.  Children in Connecticut receive a lot of New England history.  They visit Plymouth Rock and Sturbridge Village. As for Tennessee history, I knew Andrew Jackson was on our $20 bill and that Davy Crockett hung out there so I determined to take advantage of my Thanksgiving trip to learn more.

Despite a relatively spotty education, this tough, aggressive man carved an amazing swath through life as a farmer, entrepreneur, lawyer, and general in Indian and British wars before becoming involved in politics. He led the founding of the modern democratic party --promoting himself as a president of the common man as opposed to previous presidents whom he considered of and for the "aristocracy". Jackson supported the westward expansion of America as it acquired territories all the way from Florida to the west coast. His aggressive and combative role in moving Cherokee Indians farther west [Trail of Tears] contrasted with his adoption of a native child left orphaned by a battle.

He was the only President in American History to pay off the national debt and leave office with the country in the black, however was instrumental in expanding the spoils system during his presidency. Very much in love with and protective of his wife Rachel, he developed a deep distrust of the press because of their treatment of her.  Sound familiar?

(Photos General) Tennessee_Hermitage.jpgWe visited The Hermitage, the well preserved home of Andrew Jackson, our 7th president who lived from 1767 to 1845 and made his home in frontier Tennessee. While building his cotton farming business he lived in a modest log cabin. From his cotton farming and various business pursuits he built a stately Greek revival style home.

Fortunately before visiting the farm, we had spent the previous day visiting the Tennessee State Museum which provided a fascinating, permanent, historical display of the rough and tumble history of Tennessee as a frontier state, its role in the expansion of America from coast to coast and its conflicting views on slavery and the union. We saw furniture of the era, entire model rooms furnished from the period, exquisite portraits, old guns, and diaramas. We listened to sounds of battles, the "voices" of slaves. This background enhanced our understanding of Tennessee and the role of The Hermitage in our history.

From my 21st century perspective I thought Mr. Jackson's varying roles and positions seemed at odds with each other. Jackson considered himself a representative of the common man, an innovative position for the times and a change from the "aristocratic" well educated presidents up to his taking office. This progressive perspective did not extend to women, Indians or slaves.

When touring around the Hermitage, it became evident from the layout and his writings that he viewed his slaves as property "to be treated as well as his cattle and pigs". There was a geographical separation of the house servants from the field servants because a level of distrust was part of this culture. It was suggested that because he was such a highly visible person that he was forced to maintain a model slave plantation, and indeed within that system he kept families together and even made purchases of relatives so that his property would not be tempted to run away.  Nevertheless, when the civil war was over all the slaves chose to leave.

Jackson is worthy of study for understanding historical threads that reach into today's culture: racial relations, political party affiliations and symbols, roles of the press, roles and rights of states and the union and even our southern musical heritage. Learning by visiting and imagining life as it was --walking through the house as those who lived there and walking the paths of the field hands-- was more real than history books and classes and clarified the beginnings of modern cultural/political/economic trends.

Take children to museums and historical sites. Do some reading and sharing before visits! Start with nearby museums. Children can absorb an amazing amount of material.  We parents can too!

Parmalee

  Springhill

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  This Week

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Check the Events Calendar for More Fun!

 

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School Corner

 

Community Coastal Preschool, Night Out 12/1


Santa Cruz Children's School K-6, Open House 12/4

 

Spring Hill K-6 Kindergarten Tour Day , Wednesdays 12/5

 

Gateway School K-8 Open House 12/6

 

Santa Cruz Waldorf K-8,  Waldorf Alive! A Walk Through the Grades 12/12

 

Mount Madonna PreK-12,  Campus tour Day 12/12

(Photos General) SukiRedHead_138.jpgSuki's Notes from the National Association for the Gifted Convention

Re-read Day 1: On the way to the conference I read a wonderful book that anyone with a frustrated teen should check out: Forging Paths by Wes Beach

 

Day 2: My first workshop of the day was about asynchronous development and featured Linda Silverman (her list of accomplishments is long; the latest is a book called Giftedness 101 that is no doubt worth buying if you are just starting to explore giftedness), Jim Delisle (master teacher whom I later heard give a fabulous talk about teaching middle schoolers to write), and Stephanie Tolan (writer about giftedness and also novelist whose books feature gifted children and sometimes homeschoolers). Read more! >>>>

 

Day 3: This morning, I got right on it by turning up with a crowd of other people at 8 a.m. to hear Jim Delisle speak about teaching writing to middle schoolers. It was a very school-focused talk, and I am sure that if I were to do any of these exercises with homeschoolers I'd change them considerably, but his ideas are great and it's clear why he is considered at the top of his field.  Read more! >>>>

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From Christine...

Fun Science for Parents to Share with children!

Chocolate is wonderful stuff. It seems like most things we like are bad for us, but there is lots of research on chocolate that shows it is just as wonderful as we want it to be.


First - a little about chocolate. It is native to Mexico, Central America and South America. It was actually cultivated in Mexico for at least 3000 years. Chocolate is produced from the seed of the cocoa tree, and is intensely bitter without fermentation. Africa is now the number 1 producer of commercial cocoa. The cocoa genome has been sequenced, and it has more genes than humans.

So what have researchers found? Read more...>>>

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Childcare and Preschools

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 Holiday Events & Craft Fairs

For full details of All Holiday Events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 click here!

(Holidays) Christmas_OrnamentMouse.jpgOrnament-Making Workshop - Come join us at the Tannery for a fun workshop making ornaments of your child's holiday drawings. All materials provided just bring your creativity and love of drawing! You'll leave the workshop with cut-out and laminated drawings, ready to hang on the tree! They make great gifts for friends and family members!!

(Holidays) Christmas_ElvesAroundtheWorld.jpg'Tis the Season - A musical romp through some of our favorite Holiday songs - & elves who can really tap!  Bring the whole family and start the season on a musical note! All proceeds support the Market Street Senior Center - good times for a great cause!

Holiday Wreath Making - Come to Quail Hollow Ranch and join Master Gardener Bonnie Pond for an afternoon of wreath making.  Bring pine or fir boughs and wire, we'll supply the decorations.  Class attendance is limited to 12, so call 831-335-9348 Friday through Sunday to sign up  All ages are welcome to attend.

 

Santa's Workshop-Remembering Favorite Toys opens November 9 and runs through the end of January at the Saratoga History Museum. Erector sets, Tinker Toys, vintage dolls, teddy bears and more are all on display-covering the period from the 1890's to 1950. The exhibit additionally includes some of the "timeless toys" that have remained popular the ages. Bring an unwrapped toy for donation for a toy drive. The Museum gift shop features special vintage glassware just in time for holiday shopping!

Holiday Tree Walk 

Santa's Kingdom Holiday Lights Train

Snow in Watsonville!?

Monarch Holiday Craft Fair

Downtown Holiday Parade

Holiday Craft & Food Faire - The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz

Sixth Annual Home & Hearth Holiday Fair

The second annual Westlake Winter Artisan Fair

Holiday Craft and Gift Fair - Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds 

Now, in its 14th season, Fantasy of Lights 

Holiday Events and Fairs through December 31!  Check back frequently as more events are posted.

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Holiday Craft and Gift Fair
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  Holiday Craft and Gift Fair
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY FAIR HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Date: Every day (Dec 5-Dec 7)
Ages: All
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