This past week I had the opportunity to visit one of the native villages in our listening region. The village of Wales is just about 45 minutes away from Nome by plane, and its population numbers around 150 people. I stayed overnight, sleeping at the public school, which has about 40 students, 13 in Junior and Senior high combined. The reason for my visit was to gather some recordings of requests and dedications of songs to put together a special hour long show that is entirely dedicated to one village, and which will be called a Village Detour. I had the opportunity to record the Jr+Sr high bilingual class singing in Inupiaq which will be featured in this special show. The bilingual class is where the students learn Inupiaq and native crafts. I had an amazing time hanging out with the kids and teachers at the school and walking around the village. All the people were so friendly and helpful! The village had just finished butchering the first whale that had been caught there in over six years, and everyone was very excited about it. Unfortunately I arrived after the whole whale had been processed, otherwise it would have been awesome to experience subsistence whaling in person, and to taste muktuk! I did get to see some of the bones from the whale. The villagers burned the remaining flesh and carcass to ward off predators. Polar Bears can be a nuisance in that area.
I am really excited to get this new show off the ground; it will give the music director position more opportunities to visit villages. I am hoping to be able to visit a few more villages for more Village Detours before I head back to Pennsylvania in August. If the rest of the villages in Western Alaska are half as awesome as Wales was, I’ll be in for a fun ride.
On the weather front (get it?) it is cold and snowy again, but with refrozen puddles underneath, so pretty treacherous footing. Sunset is around 11:40 pm these days, so I have been finding myself up much later than usual. My mind thinks that it is afternoon still! But this past weekend I barely left my room because I was sick with some sort of evil mutant cold. It is wondrous what nearly 40 hours of sleep, proper hydration, and limited nyquillation (to be medicated sparingly with nyquil) will do to an invading force of germs! This was only the second time I have gotten sick since I have been here, going on 9 months now, so not too bad. Although being sick is less than stellar, it does make you appreciate being well so much more, when you are finally better!