May Play Projects + Anniversary Celebrations

May 4, 2021, 9:07 AM · Happy May! It's really starting to feel like graduation is just around the corner! I'm starting to think about all kinds of summer projects and job possibilities, potentially in the music publishing world? We'll see. For now, I wanted to briefly mention a few things I have planned for the moment to be finished at the end of this month.

First, the Reddit Symphony Orchestra! If you haven't heard of them before (and I hadn't until last summer, as I don't use Reddit), they're essentially a community orchestra where people send in videos of them playing their part in various pieces - famous orchestral works, topical contemporary pieces, video game pieces, etc. The group reminded me a lot of the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra I performed in during summer 2016. I was going to play something for them last summer, due to the pandemic and my friend letting me know, but got busy with my own projects. This month, I am determined to record with them Steven Verhelst's "A Song for Japan", for trombone and orchestra. It was originally a trombone solo he wrote in 2011, and I believe there have been many versions of it, including for wind band. It's a beautiful work in dedication of the Japanese tsunami victims, and it has been a pleasure to start practicing for it. Putting in fingerings really brought me back to orchestra rehearsals! I'm hoping to continue to take on more projects throughout the summer to keep me busy practicing - and I wonder if I could add one of my planned orchestration projects to the repertoire pool...?

The other main project for this month is a piece my friend Caitlin is recording with me! She's a brilliant harpist who has recently appeared on my Animal Crossing Christmas cover I did right at the start of the year. (What a wonderful way to open 2021!) She's still getting the ideas from her head to Finale, so I don't have much to say at the moment. Hopefully by this weekend, she might have a rough draft to send to me to play through! I played one of her pieces (and in turn, my Painting of Japan) in 2016, so it'll be really great to be able to play something else she composed specifically for me! I'm sure she knows my playing style well enough by now, like when I played Ravel's "Blues" at a recital at Augustana in 2017 - I hope throughout all these projects, I can really learn more about what my playing style is!

I am also hoping to get going on a musical album with one of my other violin friends from high school! I'm not quite sure when we're going to start recording, but now that school is wrapping up, we can finally really start focusing on these arrangements we've had since last summer! School just kept making things really busy for me, so I'm excited to have a little bit of a break. Especially as I'm turning in my composition portfolio and other things, it really is starting to feel like I've gotten past the really busy projects!

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Finally, before I leave writing this post to work on writing my harp piece (hopefully for Caitlin to record this summer!), I wanted to connect back to a post I did in December 2019, where I was mentioning the amazing violin YouTuber Patti Rudisill and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Well, Patti Rudisill released an album a couple months ago called Memories of Hyrule, to celebrate The Legend of Zelda's 35th anniversary! It's a really great listen, with lots of great violin renditions of some of the standout tracks from this incredible game. I've heard a few of them since 2017 when she was first releasing videos! It's really been getting me towards doing a potential Animal Crossing album of my own... Once I actually start seriously considering this, I'll do an update blog later on.

I also mentioned the Zelda limited edition soundtrack release from Japan in that article. As it turns out, Nintendo released a special 7-disc soundtrack for Animal Crossing: New Horizons as well, to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary. I didn't know there was a piano collections book coming out as well! I just thought I'd share this, as I really like the live-recorded instruments used in this game, finally bringing live strings for a few tracks to my favorite gaming franchise!

As there have been so many Nintendo anniversaries these past couple years, I've completely forgotten about my own 5-year anniversary of owning my violin I got from Sapp Violins in 2016! So... this footnote is the belated celebration, I guess, for now. I'm sure I'll do something exciting for 10 years!

I think that's about it for now. Just wanted to have this post to look back on. I did recently finish recording a fantastic final song for my Songwriting class last week as well called "Paradise" - recorded the violin parts a few times over to make the recordings sound like a strings section! I will definitely share this and our "digital album" once it's all ready to go and we've gone through the mastering stage of all our tracks!

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