Archive for August 11, 2020

On the Eve of the Repeats

Posted in Covid-19, Education, Maynooth with tags , , on August 11, 2020 by telescoper

I won’t deny that I was caught on the hop by Friday’s sudden announcement of a partial lockdown in an area that includes Maynooth but at least we’ve had a couple of working days to activate Plan B and get all the online assessments ready to replace the repeat examinations that were due to start on campus tomorrow.

Happily all the necessary supports were provided quickly over the weekend and I think we’re now ready to go, with the first paper(s) starting tomorrow morning at 9.30am. There will be several of these per day for the next week or so so it’s going to be a busy period supervising them (remotely) and then marking the scripts when they’re finished. At least we have now got some experience of these tests, having done these before (in May). There are also fewer candidates for the repeats than first time round so it should all be manageable.

When the repeat exams are all marked and the Exam Board finished, we should have a firm idea how many students are progressing to the next academic year so we can draw up plans for lectures and tutorials in September.

Apart that is for the first year, where we won’t know the numbers until September. That will cause a bit of a rush but I’m sure we’ll manage.

All of this assumes that we are doing on-campus teaching in September, which would require the local lockdown to have been lifted. If not we’ll have to do everything online, including tutorials. A ray of hope is that the number of new cases is just 35 today, down from 174 on Saturday, but we’ll have to have nany more days like that to feel secure. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Bluegrass Jordu!

Posted in Jazz with tags , , on August 11, 2020 by telescoper

A couple of weeks ago when I was looking on Youtube for a recording of Jordu by Duke Jordan for a blog post I stumbled across this version, which seemed so unlikely that I had to listen to it and, somewhat to my surprise, I loved it and decided to share it. Those of you out there who like your jazz and your American country music will no doubt feel the same way.

It’s by a band led by virtuoso banjo player Bill Keith consisting of fiddles, mandolins, guitars and string bass (as well as banjo), the type of ensemble you expect for American bluegrass music so I couldn’t imagine in my mind’s ear how they would sound playing a bebop standard. As it turns out they sound great! The middle eight of this tune sounds so funky on those instruments. Hats off to Bill Keith for this adventurous choice of number!

P.S.  My Dad used to play the drums in traditional jazz bands, some of which included a banjo player. He never had a good word to say about banjo players, accusing them (rightly or wrongly) of always “speeding up” (which is anathema to jazz musicians).