Thursday, February 24, 2005


Today was the woodwinds exam for my Instrumental Methods class: I had to play chromatic scales on the flute, the oboe, the clarinet, the bassoon, and the saxophone all consecutively. It went really well! It's fun, learning all these instruments. I play the clarinet in our little class "band." My Mom used to play the clarinet when she was a kid. Hey Mom, if you're reading this, I hope you're proud of me, your own little clarinet-playing daughter. I can play chromatic scales, I can play the tunes from the band book we're using, and I can play the clarinet melody that the red-haired girl plays in Mr. Holland's Opus. Brava!

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Today the Symphony Orchestra and the combined choirs of the College Choir, Symphonic Chorale, Women's Choir, and Children's Choir performed Mendelssohn's Elijah. I know it was not perfect, but in a way it was still everything I hoped it would be, and more. I mean, the whole project of preparing for Elijah was just... wow. Rehearsals were so much fun - and so much work, too - and the music is just so amazing. I loved every minute of preparation for this performance. Today was undoubtedly one of the biggest thrills of my life. (Oh, and FavoriteBoy's dad came, and I got to meet him.)

The soloists, Craig Hart, Huw Priday, Elizabeth Woolett, and Heidi Clark were fabulous. The audience turnout was incredible: the entire chapel was completely packed out and they ended up having to turn away over 50 people. The performance lasted about three hours including intermission. At intermission, Dr. Ou rushed backstage and told all the violins that our descending scale at the end of Thanks be to God had been absolutely perfect, absolutely together. She was so proud, and it made me happy seeing how much she cares for us. I think I saw her crying during Blessed are the men who fear Him. With the last note of the oratorio, the audience literally leapt to their feet with a standing ovation, and the applause went on and on. After it was all over, my teacher (who is also our conductor) hugged me tightly and asked me, "was it worth it, coming to Gordon, just for this?" It most decidedly was.

Memorable moments:

The overture - playing that fugue is thrilling.

The ascending chromatic line transitioning into Help Lord, and hearing the choir come in.

His mercies on thousands fall, on all them that love Him and keep His commandments. The violins have the most beautiful part here, beneath this text. I almost cry every time I play it, just because I love it so much and it's so gorgeous.

For He shall give His angels charge over thee; that they shall protect thee in all ways thou goest; that their hands shall uphold and guide thee, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. The words are beautiful. The music is beautiful.

"Give me thy son. Turn unto her, O Lord my God, O turn in mercy; in mercy help this widow’s son. For Thou art gracious, and full of compassion, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Lord, my God, let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live!"

"Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that His word in thy mouth is the truth. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?"

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, love Him with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. O blessed are they who fear Him!"

Blessed are the men who fear Him; they ever walk in the ways of peace. Through darkness riseth light to the upright. He is gracious, compassionate; He is righteous. It doesn't get much better than this. I love the bit about light rising through darkness - the music sets it perfectly.

"And then we shall see whose God is the Lord!"

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. He never will suffer the righteous to fall: He is at thy right hand. Thy mercy, Lord, is great, and far above the heavens. Let none be made ashamed, that wait upon Thee!"

Thanks be to God, He laveth the thirsty land! The waters gather, they rush along; they are lifting their voices! The stormy billows are high; their fury is mighty. But the Lord is above them, and Almighty! Learning to play the sixteenth notes during the bit where the waters gather and rush along was so difficult... but today it was so worth it.

Though thousands languish and fall beside thee, and tens of thousands around thee perish, yet still it shall not come nigh thee.

Lift thine eyes, o lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help. Thy help cometh from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He hath said, thy foot shall not be moved, thy keeper will never slumber. This was sung by the Children's Choir. It was not sung perfectly, but I thought it was quite perfect all the same. This is one of my favorite movements.

He, watching over Israel, slumbers not, nor sleeps. Shouldst thou, walking in grief, languish, He will quicken thee.

He that shall endure to the end, shall be saved. This was one of my favorite moments. After we finished, Mr. B. waited, holding his hands over his heart as he let the whole feel of the piece just settle and remain on all of us for a few moments.

And after the fire there came a still small voice. And in that still voice onward came the Lord.

Holy, holy, holy is God the Lord, the Lord Sabaoth! Now His glory hath filled all the earth.

And then there was a wonderful pause, and as we waited to begin the next chorus, I realized that it was almost over. The chorus would begin, and move into the next quartet attaca, and then the final chorus. I imagined the majestic, triumphant, wonderful sound of the next chorus beginning... it is a great moment in the oratorio.

But the Lord from the North hath raised one, who from the rising of the sun shall call upon His Name and come on princes. Behold, my servant and mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth! On him the spirit of God shall rest: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of might and of counsel, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord: "I have raised one from the North, who from the rising, on My Name shall call."

And then shall your light break forth as the light of morning breaketh: and your health shall speedily spring forth then: and the glory of the Lord ever shall reward you. Lord, our Creator, how excellent Thy Name is in all the nations! Thou fillest heaven with Thy glory!

Amen. Amen. Amen!

I was so happy.

What can I say? It's all perfect. The word of God is perfect, and the music of Mendelssohn is inspired.

There is something about playing this work that makes me feel connected to a great history and to a part of something so much greater than myself, and I feel it even more strongly with this oratorio than with most other music. Today, I felt connected to Mendelssohn; to Elijah; to the widow; to every emotion expressed; to everyone who had ever languished in grief; to everyone who had ever walked in the way of peace; to everyone who had ever been sustained by the Lord; to everyone who had ever lifted their eyes to the mountains for help... all these stories and emotions are right there in the music, because music is that powerful to express so much.

I wish we could do it again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. One dozen perfect roses on the kitchen table in my apartment remind me that mine was quite lovely, thank you.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Home Alone

This morning I've been lying on my bed staring up at the ceiling and enjoying the rare privilege of being able to listen to music as loudly as I want to, because I'm the only one in the apartment! I listened to Elijah, and as I lay on my bed listening, I cried because it's so beautiful and I love music so much.

Can you all tell that I'm so excited about the performance on the 20th? Everyone who's not involved in it should make sure to come - I think it will be an unforgettable experience.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Five Things

1) Today I sat through a church service that lasted almost two and a half hours. Then I played a gig in Boston - a studio recording session - for four hours. Then I ate a yummy burrito. Then I went to my violin teacher's recital in Jordan Hall.

2) As a follow up to yesterday's post, here are a few examples of the awesomeness that lies at your fingertips if you just use the two links I provided.

"You apparently didn't put one of the new cover sheets on your TPS reports..."
"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't!"

"Grandma just called and said you're supposed to go home!"
"Uh, well, I'm just not sure about that right now."
"She says she doesn't want you here when she gets back because you've been ruining everybody's lives and eating all our steak!"
"I'm going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there."

"Oh, oh, and I almost forgot... I'm going to need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow. I'm also going to need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday."
"But my lips hurt real bad!"

3) I forgot to mention that on Friday night I watched Seinfeld "I'm telling you for the last time" with all the cool cats from choir. It was hilarious, but some of the lines, like "how 'bout this crack squad of savvy, motivated personnel!" reminded me so much of Kara, my roommate from Wheaton, that the whole experience was really rather bittersweet... I might never see Kara again. Life is funny like that.

4) Photos that will never make the news.

5) I'm not sure if I'll ever go to a conservatory for grad school; first of all because of the financial strain and second of all because I'm becoming fairly convinced that it breeds snobbishness.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

My friends, I am now going to tell you the secret to ultimate happiness in life.

You can find it by going here and here. Open two windows. Line 'em up side by side. Have conversations. Thank me later.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

You know what's a really fun thing to do? If you have mascara on, you can scrape it off between your fingernail and your thumbnail. It comes off in clumps. It's really very satisfying.

Of course, sometimes it also rips your eyelashes out, so if you're going for the thick, full eyelashes look, I wouldn't recommend this, because the long-term results won't be what you're wanting. But for some of us, I guess the pleasure of the moment just wins out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

More Lenten Guilt

Feeling not just guilty, but sad, too. Sad because all that people can ever know about me is what I show them through my behavior and my words, and sometimes I behave and talk like a real jerk. I am sarcastic and critical... I wouldn't blame people if no one in the world liked me at all.

Lenten Guilt

Feeling extremely guilty... because I was so grumpy and crabby for three days straight, and I thought such critical thoughts about some people... and that was something I was going to try to stop doing this year. I'm a bad person... but I guess that's what Lent reminds me, anyway.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Think Happy Thoughts

Oh no, I can't go to bed yet! I just saw that Fievel recommended my blog! And now anyone who does wander over will think that I'm an unhappy basketcase. Let me say something witty, clever, funny, happy, or deep... umm...

Really though, I do want to remind myself that life is good and God is good.

Also, God doesn't want me to harbor bitterness toward mean people or condescending people...

Chin Up

Before I retire for the evening, allow me to apologize for my two-day period of sad negativity... I shall try to have a cheerier outlook on life upon the morrow. Goodnight.

Recital Date

Oh yeah - I have a recital date!

Attention, everyone. Ahem.

My junior recital shall be held on the evening of Thursday, April 14th in Phillips Recital Hall. It shall commence at the hour of 7:30 p.m. Please come!

Obnoxious Singer Divas

Choir is driving me crazy. Mean people are bad news. Everyone needs to chill out. We can take pride in our work and do things with excellence without becoming snotty to one another. These diva attitudes make me so unhappy... and mad, too.

Also, today The Prick made the most horrid comment. I was talking about how it's difficult having the class general recitals so early in the semester, because when I'm starting new repertoire, it's hard for me to have something really polished for a recital just two or three weeks into the semester. The Prick felt it his duty to tell me, "And you have a full recital of your own this semester? I'd suggest you start learning your repertoire." No kidding. I was thinking I'd wait until the day before my recital to start practicing. Thanks for the advice, Prick... and for the condescension. Not everyone works on the same repertoire for several years in a row like you singers do. Some of us have teachers who hand us a full recital program of new repertoire - four months before that recital is expected to occur.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Eat Worms

Sadness... I went to a Superbowl party, and, being one of the only ones there who wasn't in a particular ensemble, I felt entirely out of place and just sat there listening to their memories and inside jokes from years of being together. And I realized that I'll never have that. They're sad about graduating and will miss one another so much; when my senior friends graduate this year, I'll miss them so much but they won't miss me because I'm not really one of them. I'll never have four years of memories with one close group of inseparable friends. I'll have memories from Biola, memories of friends who were once important but now probably don't even remember me. I'll have memories from Wheaton, of wonderful times spent with people who probably never even think of me now. And I'll have memories from a few years at Gordon, with people who were important to me but to whom I probably never meant very much. This makes me sad.

I think that no one likes me.


Today held many things, including church and the senior recital of Jaana. She was wonderful.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

To The Dark Side

Today I played my violin at Vision New England's Congress 2005. Gordon College had a booth there among the various college exhibits, and they wanted a music student to provide some background music. They offered to pay me plus travel expenses. Melissa kindly offered to go with me (they ended up paying both of us, which was super), and we played duos. In order to make transportation into Boston easiest, I spent the night at her house last night. It was fun. We watched Immortal Beloved, ate the best popcorn I've had in ages, and lit candles. I had a great time.

After playing at the convention, I crossed over to the proverbial dark side - and spent a bunch of money in the process. Let me explain. In this world, when categorizing violinists, there are Those-Who-Play-With-Shoulder-Rests, and there are Those-Who-Play-Without-Shoulder-Rests. For the last three or four years of my life, I have been one of the few and the proud, one of the old-school types, one of Those-Who-Play-Without-Shoulder-Rests. (My teacher considers them a "crutch" - although most of his students do use them.) Then, yesterday I tried Melissa's shoulder rest. It was a revelation! I could shift so much more easily! I could hold my violin without clutching my shoulder in the least! I could play double-stops much more easily! So today I walked into a violin shop in Boston, tried about six or seven different shoulder rests, and settled on the KUN Bravo. Expensive, but oh, isn't it beautiful?

Thursday, February 3, 2005

My essay remains unfinished, as does other busy-work looming over my head. All the work that must be done casts dark shadows of gloom into the far corners of my mind, along with the more visible shadows that it leaves beneath my tired eyes.

I have consumed more ounces of dry Cap'n Crunch in the past hour than I want to consider.

It's times like these when I entertain a slim hope that if I only bundled up in a warm coat and scarf and trudged far enough through the snow, I would find myself at the wrought-iron gates of an old mansion. The very sight, smell, and feel of the grounds would whisper thrilling stories of days gone by into my ears, and the history inherent in the place would beckon me nearer. The snow would crunch beneath my feet. The old doors would creak open, and upon exploring the still old house, I would discover in particular one forgotten old room. Drawn to the back corner, I would find myself standing before the solid wood of a wardrobe. When confronted with a wardrobe, I ask you, what can one possibly do but to step inside? And sure enough, just as in my imaginings as a young child, the doors of the wardrobe would land me in a magical land. There, a lampost casts its orange glow on the snowy ground, animals talk, and everything holds one hundred times more meaning than it ever did before. Or rather, the deep meanings that were always there are suddenly more clear. Best of all, a lion too beautiful for words who is not safe but oh-so-Good nuzzles His head against my shoulder, His breath warm on my skin. I am home. Second best of all, I will never have to do busy-work assignments ever again. The end.

Fate of Classical Music

From Schoenberg to Stockhausen to today... what will be the fate of Classical music? Here is an interesting article.

And now I must get back to revising an essay for my Wretched Writing and Rhetoric class.