Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Eve services (all five of them) were good. I had a lot of villain solo bits this year.  I had a pretty solo part in You Raise Me Up, and I played a verse of Silent Night as a solo.

I love Christmas.

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light...

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end.

After Christmas dinner tonight, Mom and Dad and I were cleaning the kitchen and putting leftovers away. Dad and I sang "Bless Us All" from the Muppet Christmas Carol (one of the best songs ever), and I discovered that Dad can do a great Kermit voice!

I also had the following conversation with Dad:

Sarah: Hey Dad... I eat pretty healthily, for the most part, kind of, and I go running on a regular basis. So how come there are girls who eat junk and never work out who are so much skinnier than I am?

Dad: Well, it's genetic.

Sarah: Thanks alot; thanks for that.

Dad: You're welcome. God genetically designed you much prettier than all those skinny girls. Why are you bringing it up? Just to gloat about it? Don't gloat because you're prettier than skinnier girls.

Oh, my Dad.  He's a good Dad.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My grandparents from Texas are visiting for Christmas. I get apprehensive and nervous about people visiting us. I can't quite describe it, but ever since I was little, I sometimes feel sick to my stomach when extra people are in our house.  A little selfish bit of me misses having just my own family in our house. I'm an introvert, I guess.

A surprising thing happened this afternoon. I'm playing my violin at all the Christmas Eve services at my family's church. There were two services this evening, and there are three tomorrow. At one point in the service, the lights all go out and I play the first phrase of O Holy Night all by myself. I was nervous about this and was worried I didn't know how to make it "musical" enough, so when I got home from work, I practiced it a few times, trying different fingerings and shifts and bowing and phrasing ideas and things. Then I played it for my Mom downstairs. My Grandaddy was there too. Now, my Grandaddy can sometimes come across as being a somewhat critical person... or at least, I'd say he's difficult to please. Also, he's not a Christian. Well, after I played the phrase, my Mom talked to me about how it sounded, and then Grandaddy said he wanted to tell me his thoughts on it. I prepared myself for a criticism, even though he's not a musician or anything. But then he proceeded to try to explain that even though he didn't know much about violin or how I made it sound a certain way, that it was beautiful and that it was the most moving thing he had ever heard played on a violin. And... he was sort of crying. I was so surprised.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I’m doing some work for my Dad again while I’m home. Right now I’m writing the text for his new PatternSmith website, and also looking at making some significant changes to the layout suggested by the designers he’s hired. These things are fun for me. Last summer I made icons for his software, and it was so great... getting paid to draw pictures. Now I’m enjoying making sample web page layouts in Paint Shop Pro. I keep thinking that I might enjoy studying graphic design. I think I might be good at it? Anyway, in terms of income, I think graphic design has a higher rate of success than playing the violin does. But we’ll see.  

I remember hearing an Aquinas scholar speak in chapel once, and she said, "Nobody ever really knows what they’re doing or where they’re going. We all just try to move from one crisis of uncertainty to the next."  Something like that.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


I'm home for Christmas. It's nice to be done with finals and juries and papers and exams and everything.

It has come to my attention (thanks in part to an email from Becka) that I have neglected to inform my faithful blog readers of an important development in my life.   It's been months since things first transpired, so for those of you who don't already know about this, I suppose I should tell you now.

Um, I have a boyfriend. His name is Nathan. He's great. I like him.

And that is all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Friday: violin jury

Monday: piano jury, Newton to Einstein final exam

Tuesday: Interpretive Analysis final exam, music history final exam

I've made it through another semester and I'm alive to tell the tale. All that's left now is my music history paper, which will be finished and turned in tomorrow. My violin jury was okay. Not great, but okay. The cadenza wasn't great at all. Maybe it wasn't even okay. But the Mozart in general was okay, and the Schumann, while less okay than the Mozart, was still okay. Oh, and Friday night after juries, I played at the college president's house for the trustees' Christmas party. That was fun. Wes came too, and sang two Christmas-y songs, and Nathan came along and accompanied both of us. Then we all sang carols along with the party-goers. Mrs. C. told stories of her childhood. And they fed us dessert! It was great. So yeah, being the entertainment for rich people ain't bad at all.

My Newton to Einstein exam was pretty good. And I'm really happy, because they've already posted our final grades and I did WELL! Yes, that's right... the science class that I hated... I did well! Yay.

My piano jury was okay. Scary. I'm glad it's over. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'll continue taking piano lessons next semester. I like Dr. P. a lot, but it's hard finding time to practice two instruments, be in choir, be in orchestra, be in chamber music, do well in classes, and have fun in life.

My two final exams today were okay. Dr. Chung's final was scary and pretty hard... I missed at least half of the chord progressions in the dictation portion. Dr. P's final was hard, too, and kind of unfair, just because it didn't remotely reflect what we've learned and talked about this quad. I mean, we've basically only talked about Schoenberg, which is also frustrating, because Schoenberg is by no means representative of all that's going on in the twentieth century, and also because I don't even like Schoenberg. Anyway, the final was all these essay questions about neoclassicism and about French Impressionism vs. German Expressionism, and about social and historical and technological contexts, and about music post-1945, and blah blah blah. I felt like I knew most of it, I guess. But not really from class. Then there was the score analysis part, and that part was just annoying. I don't believe people who think you can discern great wisdom and enlightenment by doing a melodic contour analysis of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. I think they're just making it up. And that's what I did on the exam - I just made things up. It'll be extra funny if I get a good grade on that portion. I tried to say just the sorts of things that musicologists say. I did some number class analysis too, and said things that sounded good but that I didn't really believe, such as "Here Schoenberg employs frequent use of tones 2, 4, and 6, thus outlining a triad, although obscured by chromatic alterations, octave displacement, and intermediary tones."

In the middle of the music history exam, as we were all analyzing our scores, Dr. P. stepped out of the room for a minute. At that point, I calmly announced, "Schoenberg is poop." I don't really know what came over me; I just said it. Everybody laughed; I think it's what everyone was thinking. Or maybe not... I suppose it's possible that a person or two in that class really like Schoenberg. Seems improbable, though.

Anyway, now I'm writing my Shostakovich paper.

And on Friday, I get to go home. And soon, it will be Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

My violin teacher is back from Korea, and I had a lesson tonight. It was great, but do you ever get that feeling like there's just too much, too much information/knowledge/stuff to learn/skill to aquire out there and you'll never be able to grasp more than 1/1000th of it, and meanwhile the big, cruel, mean, heartless world is waiting to bite you in the behind and watch you fail?

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Friday I had a two and a half hour violin lesson with Dr. O. It was so, so good. She inspires me. I should practice more.

I'm learning the third movement of the Schumann a minor sonata in just a few days. I started it on Thursday, and I'm performing it tomorrow. Bleh.

Friday and Saturday we had the Christmas Gala. It got me into the Christmas spirit, for sure. The theme was "A Dickens Christmas" this year.

I had a really weird dream on Friday night. I wasn't really involved in the dream; it was more like I was a spectator. What I saw was this: Apparently people could live and "walk" in space now, within these special space suits. Americans, and people from all over the planet, inhabited various regions of space... not on planets or moons, but really just in empty space. People were moving around and stuff, and then two men were fighting. It was a scary fight, and I was frightened. They both had these huge guns that sent out whooshing balls of flame. These flaming globs were huge and scary. Finally one of the guys torched one of these flaming globs of fire right onto the others' head, and then they were both falling through the atmosphere, down to earth, and people were yelling that they'd never survive re-entry, it had never been done before... and I woke up.