ETS Fling 2009

For complete pictures, click on the days below.

For a narrative of all five days, please see below for Christine Lambert's account.



2009 Fling Chronicle

Christina Lambert



Although a grey fog dampened the sky, nothing could dampen the atmosphere Wednesday morning as students flocked to the Hinrichs’ home for the Spring Fling. Hugs and hellos were exchanged from local friends and cross-state classmates as the group congregated in front of the hall. Although many of the students had seen each other the night before in Coronado for a delightful GBT IV dinner and play, the Fling really seemed to begin as Mr. Hinrichs welcomed us with the Fling rules and took us on a tour of the Hinrichs estate. Fruit orchards, the new house and sports fields led us back to the lawn and ready for the annual name game. Those of us at the end of the circle anxiously awaited our turn to repeat the 60 or so names. “Uhhh…” or “Oh I really do know your name” were the catch phrases of the game. After the game, a few of the braver students competed for glory and honor (and a Toblerone chocolate bar) by having the fasquiz time saying everyone’s name. While Hannah Foster and Jessie Schnoebelen’s times were neck and neck, Jessie triumphed in the “Name Game Tournament” by just 0.5 seconds!

After the group picture, an intro to Fling sports and the all-important singing, a hungry group of students found their way to the potluck.  A baking conquiz followed lunch with some really tasty entries. Kylee Henson and Jena Larson’s chocolate cake won, closely followed by some very delicious desserts.   During lunch, myself and the other thespians met with Mrs. Helland for our first rehearsal for our Fling production The Great Divorce.  While Mrs. Helland instructed us on how to block our scenes and helped us figure out costumes, other students found their way around the Hinrichs property engaging in a few of the many sports Mr. Hinrichs had recently added, including, croquet, basketball, volleyball, badminton, bocce ball and outdoor chess - there was definitely no lack of entertainment for the sport-inclined!

“Ding-Ding” the bell rang, calling the students to gather in the hall for the annual Homeric Read-a-thon! Due to a faint hearted group, Mr. Hinrichs took charge of reading Homer’s epic tale of the trials, travels and triumphs of the wonderer Odysseus (with some assistance from the Helland ladies).  “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending…” the words of the Odyssey rang out as Mr. Hinrichs passionately read the timeless story.  Mrs. Helland and Amanda took up the tale next, fabulously and deftly taking turns reading to the next punctuation point. Dexterously they wove the tale using all their dramatic talent!

Following the exciting Homeric read-a-thon, the group adjourned for dinner - excitingly awaiting the always delightful practice dance!  Spinning and twirling we laughed our way through the patty cake polka, Virginia Real, Gay Gordan, St. Andrew’s Cross Real and other dances. Our excellent musicians set the cheerful mood with their outstanding playing. We faced a daunting challenge in the New Castle Circle dance, and I can’t say we completely conquered it, but all in all the evening was a terrific success! In closing we lifted our voices in song, said our goodbyes and headed home. The lovely music subconsciously drifted in my mind as I fell into bed that night- supremely happy with the first fling day - ready for another.



Thursday morning started right off with the Toblerone questions of the day. We students tried to rummage through our dusty summer brains and remember… what was the last battle of the Peloponnesian war? Hmmm…. How do you explain St. Athanasius’ “Divine Dilemma”? Oh and what exactly is the chemical formula for salt? It’s amazing how the motivation of Toblerone chocolate could conjure up even the most forgotten details of past readings. After the questions we headed into the hall to tackle a brand new song for the GBT repertoire – the jazzy and harmonized “Greek Alphabet Song.” We sang “Alpha Beta Gamma” like you’ve never heard it before! After singing we dove into the first reader’s theater of the fling: Shakespeare’s tragedy Coriolanus. Wonderfully coordinated by Amanda Johnson, a collaboration of students joined in the fun with Mr. Hinrichs as Coriolanus. Suddenly butter knives hit together turned into the fatal din of swordplay, student’s voices rose and became the clamor of battle and GBT students drew back to ancient Rome and transformed into Senators and Generals.

Being powerful Roman political figures can really work up an appetite, so after the reader’s theatre we broke for lunch! Students engaged around the property in intense games of volleyball and croquet while the drama group got back to work on the play. With only four days to put together the production, we worked vigorously!

Lunch was followed by the annual fling debate. The debates are always a mix of passionate defenses, lively disputes and well-formed arguments – this year’s debate was no exception. Sparks flew as we started with our first topic: whether apple juice is as appropriate a substitution for communion wine as grape juice. The pro and con gave their openers which were followed by an intense round of stand and shoot. Since grape juice is closer to wine and was made specifically for the purpose of communion –isn’t it a more appropriate substitute? But if Jesus said do this in remembrance of me and if the Lord looks at the heart, not the cup, does it matter what we’re drinking? Highly passionate arguments ensued between some opinionated students. (I have to admit, as I am the chronicler the thought of having the last word in the argument is very appealing – but I guess I’ll have to restrain myself and act the nonbiased reporter.) This highly conquized debate was followed by two more, which were no less controversial: “If God completely author's all of history as an author does his book, all significant human action is a delusion” and “The Ten Commandments are the basis of all good civil law.”

When we were all “argued out” (and that’s tough for GBT students!) we were dismissed for dinner.  After a lovely dinner (at my table debate arguments were forbidden), we returned to the property for the movie “Heaven.” Starring Cate Blancett and Giavonni Ribisi (who is a cousin of one of Mr. Hinrichs’ students *GBT trivia*), the Italian film took us on a journey through mistakes, guilt, forgiveness and ultimately love. The movie displays a poignant analogy of Christ’s infinite love for us. Following the movie, we gathered around to the fire for a campfire sing-along! We laughed our way through some campfire classics and raised our voices in praise music. Blanketed by a starry host, we praised the Creator who made special nights like these, “Indescribable, uncontainable, you placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name. You are amazing God.”


The day started out with the “Toblerone Questions of the Day” followed by singing. Mr. Hinrichs then addressed us on the “Contemplation of Gratitude,” explaining that just as the farmer praises God for his crops, other professions should thank God for their harvests. What is ETS’ harvest? Writing.  Pulling from GBT’s “Harvest,” Mr. Hinrichs then read some of the year’s most excellent writing. An wonderfully written piece on John Locke and the constitution and a beautiful description of Vermeer’s Woman Holding a Balance, took us up to peek at what Plato would call the absolute form of writing. These lovely and brilliant ideas carefully put to paper, displayed the intangible yet extremely worthwhile harvest of Great Books.

Next, eight GBT alumni found their way back to their old “stomping ground” to talk to us about their college choices and careers. A variety of ETS legends addressed us, namely, David Martinez, Christy Larson, Autumn Hinrichs, Adria Hinrichs, Everett Quivey, Justin Helland, Leah Lombardi and Amanda Helland.  From Biola to Oxford, Wheaton to Berkeley these ETS alum shared their hearts about their colleges and what has impacted them most following their high school years. 

I think that Mr. Hinrichs used the college talk to lull us into a false sense of security. However, all the preparation in the world could not have prepared a “sports deficient” person like myself for what followed: the Septathalon! The Septathalon consisted of six sporting events on the Hinrichs property and a twist - each girl had to pick a boy to be her partner. (This might have been to teach a lesson to girls on the courage it takes to ask for a partner or a lesson to the boys on the horror of being picked last, however, in either case I think the lesson was well learned!) We paired up in teams of two and started the tournament in which you received points for the amount of events you participated in and how well you did in each sport. The goal of the competition: honor and glory and a silver trophy! My goal: coming out alive! The bell rang and the Septathalon started as the partners ran to an event and began competing. My team, the “septa- succeeders,” participated in croquet and basketball... and were… well… crushed (but we did have a GREAT name!) Pairs all around the property courageously combated in competition and after an hour, the tired and worn out teams gathered to match up scores. Jenny Ruilison and her partner Michael Chung prevailed with a whopping score of 43 points and triumphantly received their trophy!

A worn out group struggled up to the patio – ready for lunch! During lunch students rested under the shady trees and the drama class went back to work on the play. One by one the students slowly left for home, to maybe take a nap, and prepare for the Fling Ball!

Just a few short hours later, students started arriving for the ball. However, these lovely ladies and handsome gentlemen did not look like the battle worn, tired and sweaty “Septathalon-ers” from just that afternoon. No – this faction would even, in fact, have warranted Jane Austen’s commendation as a “handsome assembly.” A bird’s eye view during introductions would have seen a large circle composed of happy families of GBT students – itching to dance! An encouraging push to the gentlemen and a lovely letter to the ladies from Mr. and Mrs. Hinrichs sent us on our way for the Grand March. Touring the property during the (extended version) of the Grand March, we were accompanied by Scott Conner on his bagpipe, which resounded throughout the spacious lawns. Beaming faces accompanied the Virginia Real where couples seemed rather to float than sashay down the lawn. The Bright colors and lovely satins of dresses twirled through the Patty Cake Polka and glided through the Gay Gordan.  As darkness settled around us, we moved to the hall. The lovely chords and notes of the waltz filled the air as couples deftly danced around the hall. Following the waltz, the fun and upbeat strains of swing called us to finish up the night.  Spilling out onto patio, lively couples spun and swayed to the music.

Happily we grabbed our music books and commenced in song. Our voices resonated through the hall with Jubilate Deo and Fairest Lord Jesus. We gently sang the Chorale and burst forth in Dies Irae! We sang out the lovely and poignant verses of Amazing Grace as the strong notes of the bagpipe gave the song an awe-inspiring sound! Praising God from whom all blessings flow, we officially closed the evening with the Doxology. Blissfully we headed down to our cars at the end of the evening, eagerly chatting about the dances, dresses and fun of the ball! The Fling Ball, which is always a personal highlight, never disappoints! The incredible and irreproducible atmosphere of a Great Books Ball is like a little bit of Austen in the twenty-first century. 



 A tired group of students congregated in front of the hall Saturday morning. However, the spirited battle for the prize won by the “Toblerone questions of the day” was not affected by our fatigue (proving that we’re an extremely competitive bunch – at least where chocolate is concerned!) If singing did not fully wake up the more drowsy students, the tragedy of Oedipus Rex certainly did! The hall echoed with the lines of doomed destiny as the students took up Oedipus Rex, which was superbly coordinated by Alyssa Carr. Voices raged and arguments roared as the riveting tragedy played itself out. The Chorus strictly exhorted us to “Call no man happy until his is dead” as we helplessly watched utter ruin brought to the haughty Oedipus!

Shortly after the reader’s theater we were called for lunch! As the students taking part in the recital took this time to practice their pieces and performances the drama class convened for a dress rehearsal and a final practice before this evening’s play! Costumes fitted and hats on we commenced in a dry run, hopefully inspiring a little confidence in our fearless leader Mrs. Helland.

After lunch, musicians and onlookers alike crowded into the hall and found seats for the annual Fling Recital! From opera, to piano, bagpipe to saxophone, recorder to dulcimer the extremely wide range of spectacular talent displayed a group of dedicated musicians!  The sweet sounds of hard work and beautiful music floated through the hall, resulting in a truly wonderful recital! The musicians left for a well deserved dinner while the thespians got back to work with only a few hours until show time.

Swifter than most expected, seven o’clock rolled around and it was time for our evening of plays! Mrs. Helland’s drama class began the night with their performance of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Jericho.” This hilarious play had the audience rolling with laughter and yet struck with its poignant message of Christ’s constant love and ultimate sacrifice.

Following the Drama classes’ fantastic performance, the fling players began the “Great Divorce.” C.S. Lewis’ brilliant work came alive in the thought provoking vignettes. The colorful collection of characters displayed the different and diverse array of reactions, ultimately, to the same question – do you want eternal life? C.S. Lewis uses the self-consumed impediments and trivial inhibitions that keep most of the characters from truth and God to expose the same kind of petty obstacles in our own lives.  The varying characters each had their own self-made obstacle: a mother’s consuming love for her child which crippled her love for God rather than growing it; an artist’s talent which blinded him to the true beauty of God’s creations rather than opening his eyes wider to it, along with many more character’s struggles with their own obstacles. The Fling Players superbly presented Lewis’ masterful work in an excellent performance! Mrs. Helland had worked her magic – in just four days she put together a stunning success! A huge thank you to Mrs. Helland for all of her hard work!

 But wait… could the Fling possibly be over? Had those four terrific days possible gone by so fast? As if in answer to our unuttered question, Mr. Hinrichs rose and closed the evening in an official farewell to our graduating seniors and to all of us who would be returning next year.  The group gathered one more time in the hall to close the evening in singing! Excitement rose as we sang our ETS favorites one more time. The smiling faces of happy “Fling-ers” perhaps were the best indicator of the fabulous time had by all at the 09’ Fling! Hugs and pictures to be signed were exchanged as we said goodbye to our Fling friends!

Another simply wonderful Fling added to the ETS annals! There’s an undeniable Fling magic each year which is certainly due to event coordinators, the wonderful parents who patrol the property, prepare the potluck, and help clean up but most importantly to Mr. Hinrichs! The incredible fun of the Fling can only be attributed to his wonderful vision for Great Books! What with balls, reader’s theaters, debates, Homeric read-a-thons and plays there’s nothing quite like an ETS Fling! Perhaps my piano teacher said it best, “That man in Escondido sure can put on events!” <Thank you Christina, you are very kind!  :-) >