Monday, April 4, 2005

Okay, I'm finally posting something.

Let's see... I suppose an update is in order, since I haven't really written since before spring break and choir tour.

First item on the update list: Choir tour

Choir tour was pretty good. All the host homes I stayed in were really great - Betty from FavoriteBoy's church, the Coca-Cola family in Michigan, and the Wheaton family with two adorable little girls - and I ended up with pretty cool roommates, too - on various nights I was with Jaana, Cara, Holly, and Lindsey. Home stays were fun things, and lots of good conversations took place. (And I won't mention to anyone that Cara kicks in bed!! Haha!)

We went to FavoriteBoy's church in Erie, PA, and it's the most beautiful church EVER. I saw his dad again, and met his mom briefly. The concert that night was fun... but apparently people kept asking choir members, "which one is Nathan's girlfriend?"; I felt a little awkward. Heh.

Bus rides were fun, but very long. Being a person who needs time alone, I'd say the tour was a little difficult in that respect. But I did enjoy spending time with people. I hung out with Nathan most of the time (of course), and also spent some quality time with Cara and Gregg. One day of the tour Nathan and I went on the van with the brass players, and that was an experience! It was really, really fun. We laughed a lot and sang a lot of Sunday School songs and had a great time.

We were at College Church in Wheaton, and I had about an hour of free time, during which of course I walked through the Wheaton campus again. It was bittersweet. FavoriteBoy came with me, and listened to me ramble about all my memories from Wheaton. A lot of things were just as I remembered them, but there were new things, too - the Beamer center, of course, and a new plaza thing near Saga. Everything was locked up for Spring break; I wished I could have walked into Saga and the Conservatory, just for old times' sake.

We went to Chicago for an afternoon. We mostly just wandered around a lot. I went to the Gap with Cara and Nathan, and to the Chicago Symphony store, where I bought Jaana a cute magnet of a trombone. That evening we all ate at Burghoff's - music department's treat! Fun times. My dinner was dee-li-shus!! Another night we went to Cracker Barrell for dinner, and that was pretty great, too. So all in all, tour was fun. Our concerts were pretty good, and we did some workshops in schools that were really enjoyable. Bus rides were long, hotel stays on the way back were alternately creepy and fun, and having to stop for coffee for the addicts every few hours was very annoying. And that is the summary of Spring Choir Tour 2005.

Second item on the update list: You learn something new every day...

...and shortly after returning from choir tour, I learned that drinking three martinis and half a beer in one night can make you feel a little bit, well... different.

Third item on the update list: Tenebrae

The whole Tenebrae was disorganized craziness. Well, whatever... we all survived, and it's over. In the midst of all the insanity, it was meaningful, too. A little blonde girl read the following poem:

Brier: Good Friday

Because, dear Christ, your tender, wounded arm
Bends back the brier that edges life's long way,
That no hurt comes to heart, to soul no harm,
I do not feel the thorns so much to-day.
Because I never knew your care to tire,
Your hand to weary guiding me aright,
Because you walk before and crush the brier,
It does not pierce my feet so much to-night.
Because so often you have hearkened to
My selfish prayers, I ask but one thing now,
That these harsh hands of mine add not unto
The crown of thorns upon your bleeding brow.

E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913)

(I cried. Both nights. I also cried when the chamber singers sang O Sacred Head Now Wounded. It was beautiful.)

And in the end, I realized that the real problem I felt with the composition we premiered was just this: there seemed to be no concept of text-painting in the music itself. It was cool to use the seven modes for the seven interlocking stanzas by Donne, and it was cool to go from darkest to brightest mode as the narrator comes to a new understanding of the line: "Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise." However, the music itself didn't fit with the poetry of Donne at all, at least not to my ear. That said, I suppose I appreciate the intellectual basis behind the work to some degree.

Fourth item on the update list: Easter

Okay, readers... get ready to laugh. I went to FavoriteBoy's house for Easter. Unfortunately, I woke up on Good Friday, the morning we were to leave for his house... and I was throwing up. I called FavoriteBoy, but he insisted that I come anyway, since he and his mom could take care of me, and I'd probably feel better the next day, and I shouldn't spend Easter alone in my room. After throwing up about three more times, I made my way through the shower and the final stages of packing and ventured out of my room and into the outside world, still sick to my stomach and feeling dreadful. I threw up in Andrew's car on the way to the airport. I threw up in the airport terminal at least three times (in the bathroom of the airport, I mean!), I threw up on the plane about five times, I threw up in the airport when we arrived in Cleveland, and I threw up in Dustin's family's van on the way to Erie. All the while, FavoriteBoy was sitting beside me holding the bucket into which I barfed. As my brother said, "that's devotion." And every time I puked in the airplane, he'd get up and wash out the bucket and come back to my side again. I was so grateful. Anyway, the best part is yet to come. As I said, Dustin's family picked us up in Cleveland and drove us to Erie. We pulled up in FavoriteBoy's driveway, I stepped out of the van, his parents came to the door to say hello and welcome... and I grabbed the bucket from Nathan and puked in their driveway.

Yes, this really happened. Can you possibly imagine a worse meet-the-parents experience? Anyway, they were very kind and gracious and wonderful, and helped me settle into the guest room, where Nathan sat with me for the rest of the day, being wonderful... which is what he does best, of course. When I felt up to it, I called my mom to relay the horror of the whole dreadful experience, and she promised me that someday I'd be able to laugh about it. At the time I felt so embarassed I only wanted to cry... but she was right... it's just a few weeks later, and I already do feel like it was pretty funny, really.

But the best part of Easter was Easter itself. I was better, and we went to church, and it was the most beautiful church I've ever been to. The whole front of the church was covered in daffodils and Easter Lilies, and the church choir plus youth choir plus handbell choir plus a brass ensemble plus organ did Christ the Lord is Risen Today (well, their hymnal has Jesus Christ is Risen Today, actually, but it was still great) and I was so perfect that I was just all choked up with love for my Savior and the joy of Easter. And at the end of the service, they did the Hallelujah chorus with members of the congregation invited to go up front and sing, so naturally FavoriteBoy and I went up to sing it, and it was glorious. FavoriteBoy's church is the coolest church EVER.

Fifth item on the update list: roommate

Well, I've had at least five different offers and opportunities for roommate/apartment situations for next year, but I've finally settled on the one that I think will be best for me. I'll be roomming with Cara, my friend and fellow violinist! We'll be living in Chase, which is a dorm... so it'll be weird to go from my apartment this year back to a dorm, but I'm actually excited about the whole thing. We'll have fun times. Yay!

Final item on the update list: my recital

April 14. 7:30 pm. Phillips Recital Hall. April 14 is really soon. And I'm really scared. Tonight FavoriteBoy helped me start making some posters. He also videotaped me playing so that I can finish up my application to Credo. I'm not ready for my recital at all. When I even think about it, I have this scared, panicked feeling in my tummy. Lately I feel this way a lot - I can play the violin okay, but when I think about it, I realize that I don't really know how in the heck I play that thing. It's so difficult... how do I know, really know, where my fingers go? I mean, when it comes right down to it, I could get nervous, my muscle memory could fail me completely, and I'd be left standing on the stage, holding this piece of wood and this second piece of wood with some horsehair strung across it, and not knowing what in the heck to do with it. I don't have this cognitive grasp of playing the violin completely within my grasp. It's a scary thought, thinking that I know how to do something, but at a certain point, I'm not sure how I know how to do it.

Also, I can't play all my repertoire yet. And yes, I am terrified.

Speaking of music, in other news, my teacher has been in rare form lately. In chamber music last week, he was saying the most hilarious things... "I was sitting next to someone playing the largest viola in captivity..." Haha!

Also, when my teacher and I recently talked about future plans such as grad school, he told me that I have the capability to be a "convincing and engaging performer" - or something like that. I wish I could remember his exact words, because they made me really happy. Oh well. The point is, he doesn't think I suck!

Also, I finally got my bow rehaired. Yay!

And finally, I've had good times with FavoriteBoy lately. He helps me practice for my recital. I'm so blessed... and I don't deserve it even a teeny bit.

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