Mountains, Musicians, Museums, Musicals, Movies, and More!

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Monday morning came early. The girls were out of school for the week, yet they were dressed and ready to hit the vans by 8 am. Their destination: Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Water bottles in hand, they made the steep, 1.5 mile climb rising in elevation over 1,000 feet to the mouth of the caves. They were met by a park ranger who gave them a guided tour of the caverns, pointing out geological features and answering questions. They saw all kinds of colors and formations, and even experienced a moment of total darkness when the ranger turned out the lights to show them what early explorers would have encountered. After winding through the different rooms in the caves, they exited and made the trip back down the mountain.

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That evening, after some group therapy and dinner, the girls headed out once more, this time to the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, an outdoor amphitheater in West Valley City. Asante African Performing Arts, a group made up of youths from Africa adopted into Utah homes, put on a fantastic concert with drumming and cultural dancing, tinged with elements of hip hop and jazz.

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Tuesday morning was special at LEA. We received a visit from Ryan Innes, a local musician recently returned from being on the fourth season of NBC’s television show, The Voice. The show, a singing competition similar to American Idol, takes contestants into a blind audition, where four musical celebrity judges have their backs to the singer. As the contestant sings, judges can choose to turn around, signifying that they would like to work with the competing artist. Some people never get a single chair to turn around. Some people get one or two. Ryan had a very exciting audition, available to watch here, where all four judges (Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Usher, Shakira, and Blake Shelton) turned around and fought over working with him. He spoke with the girls about his musical career, his experience of being on The Voice, and what has happened to his career since that time. He answered their questions and even performed several songs for them, both originals and cover tunes. It was an educational and entertaining morning.

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That evening, the girls started working on their entries for the third-annual LEA chalk art festival. They sketched out their ideas and started roughing them out using chalk pastilles and regular sidewalk chalk. Final judging took place on Thursday, after the girls had some more time to work on their pieces. Awards for categories such as best group piece, best individual piece, most therapeutic piece, best use use of space and most original idea were given that evening.

IMG_4672 Wednesday morning, we headed off campus again to The Leonardo, Utah’s museum for science, technology and art. They were hosting a traveling Australian exhibit titled 101 Inventions That Changed The World, featuring an incredible multi-screen production with surround sound and incredible graphics. We also toured other rooms in the museum with hands-on activities related to the exhibit and explored some of the other exhibits from green screen technology to digital painting to environmental projects and more.

That evening, the girls attended a production of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Bountiful’s Centerpoint Legacy Theater. The next morning was a little more low-key, as the girls continued our chalk art festival, sat in the sunshine, and played music. That evening, we set up a fourteen-foot inflatable cinema screen outside with a projector, sound system, and movie theater popcorn machine. We rented the recently released movie, 42 – The Jackie Robinson Story, and waited for it to get dark. Sadly, sunset also brought a thunderstorm, so the girls moved inside and projected the movie on the wall instead. Due to the storm delay, they finished the movie in the morning.

We enjoyed a full week this past week, and look forward to a few more days off of school coming up in a few days.

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