Letting Serendipity Steer

Dear Liza,

Saturday was predicted to be our last warm, dry day for a while, so we went out for a drive. We headed for Sauvie Island, where we always enjoy mazes, roasted corn, and lots of fun folks and farm animals.

As we headed north out of town, though, the traffic got very slow. Grandpa Nelson looked at the road directions on his phone and realized that all those cars were headed to the same place we were! No crowds for us, thanks.

We turned right around and headed back the way we had come, but we didn’t want to go home. Grandpa Nelson said “Well, we’ve never been on Germantown Road, let’s turn there.” And we did.

The Germantown Road goes right up into the west hills, twisting and turning and going up and up. We drove through shady forest with the afternoon sun lighting up the trees in the distance, looking just like the landscape paintings I have been learning to paint. It was so pretty!

From there, we navigated by Serendipity, which means randomly turning at various corners and seeing where we end up. We were driving through a very expensive neighborhood with fancy houses and big yards, called Oak Hills.

Then all of a sudden, we saw groups of kids with band uniforms, playing marching band music. Turns out, we had stumbled upon the 32nd Annual Sunset Classic, a band competition, being held at Sunset High School. Eight High School ‘show bands’ from Grants Pass, Tigard, and other schools near and far were performing their combinations of music, marching, flag work, dance, and stagecraft. After some parking snafus, we bought tickets and found seats in the sunny bleachers.

We sat there, totally impressed by the level of playing and choreography.
The first piece we saw all the way through was performed by local Century Marching Band, from Hillsborough. The title was “Per aspera ad astra”, or “Through Hardships to the Stars.” Besides really interesting dance moves and great, modulated playing, this number featured a giant inflatable moon!

The sun was beating down on us, (who thinks to bring sun hats in October?) but we were determined to see a few more. The next really memorable piece was performed by Kamiak High School of Mukilteo, Washington. They performed with backdrops of famous Banksy street paintings and their graphic design was really good.

I wish I could let you hear the music! The drum cadences were strong and fast, made more interesting by half a dozen marimbas, gongs, and other instruments you don’t usually see with a marching band.

After the last band played, there was an intermission before the evening’s awards and more performances, but the sun had done us in. We got back to the car and talked about music, dance, and High School all the way home!

Serendipity had done well for us today.


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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