So the fair is done and I've now tried the most scumptuos ginger biscuits ever!
Here are a few pictures that I took or people took for me (I'm in some of them or involved in the background) during the day!
Last night was the first time that I have attended a symphony concert (and not been playing) since August of last year. Gosh it's been awhile. The orchestra had some tough acts to follow too....the last three orchestras that I heard were the Orchestre Symphonique du Quebec, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Orchestre de la Francophonie du Canada. So going from world class recording and touring orchestras back to the one that I spent the last two years playing in was a bit of a jump! It was nice though! This year the symphony has been undergoing a change in music director, I don't agree with the board of director's decision to basicly let the audience pick by having them fill out these pink voting sheets that include questions like "how does the conductor connect with the musicians?" Really, does the average concert attendee know what is good and bad about a conductor aside from if his tux is clean or not? *shakes head* anyways...to move on. I enjoyed the concert very much. The orchestra was more cohesive than I last remembered it being, there weren't as many intonation errors (although there were some) and our wonderful principal trumpet player, Audrey Tannant graced the stage in a gorgeaus performance of the Haydn Trumpet concerto. Bravo Audrey! Not to mention he looked equisite in a strapless gown, the most elegant color of pink that matched her complexion perfectly! When all was said and done I can say that I really miss orchestral playing and look forward to school being over and being able to once again hit the road, rehearse late and drive long hours all for the joys that come from the performing and the people you work with.
Today it is a beautiful sunny day, though a bit windy oudoors. The weather is perfect though, for an outdoor Spring Fair that the music school I work at is putting on. This is the second such fair, we had one last year but I was unable to attend and help out. This year I'm going to be there though! I'm helping set up sound equipment and tuning violins before the event begins at 11 (which means I need to leave soon...)and then there's a faculty and student picture being taken at 2 and then the majority of my students are performing at 4:30 near the close of the event. There's food, a garage sale (that has some very neat things!), games and even a treasure hunt for the kids and then of course, live music throughout most of the day! The wind is the only thing that concerns me because it has that cunning ability to pick music up and make it move. I'll have to go and dig around and find some close pins to hold the music down. I'll try and take some pictures and post them later!
In other news: I can't wait to go down to Vancouver on Tuesday and try out some more instruments!!!!!!!!!
Enjoy your day everyone!
Everyone is looking for or getting a new instrument or bow for some reason these days. How come I'm not being as rapidly sucessful?! Actually, I am making some "headway" on the search. I've contacted someone out east about a couple instruments I'm interested in trying, I have a couple of new found possibilities that are still in my province and are approachable so things are looking up! First off, if anyone cares to send my donations or entirely endorse the purchase of an instrument for me, I'm definetly a taker! ;) Secondly, life is good because I have new glasses that I can see out of and here's a picture to show off my new "Lisa Loeb look-alike" frames! Thirdly, please don't insult the level of tiredness on my face, I just completed an AP mock exam for English after being at school all day (I got a 15 minute lunch break because I left math early) without much break time. And with that, I'm going to head off to the wonderful world of sleep and look forward to sleeping in tomorrow and skipping my first class. :D
Have you ever experienced that feeling of trying really hard at something but for some reason, despite hard work, the effort to get help etc. things just don't make sense? Well that would be mathematics and me. Welcome to this tumultuous relationship that is going to end in divorce. The day math and I split for good will be a day for great happiness and the roasting of marshmallows ....over the burning textbooks.
Ah graduation. *counts on fingers* only 10 weeks away and then I will be free! Free to roam the world, making music, not making music, not feeling guilty about practicing instead of studying and vice versa....ah the day I become a free musician...I mean human! Despite my deepest conflicts with math and the school system and general school enviroment where I go, I am grateful for an education and a good one at that. I have the most amazing English and History teacher (same person teaches both) who inspires me to love what I'm doing an instills me this want to work harder and not only be an actively thinking and questioning student but also a good listening one. I still remember my first class with him where he showed how people just have phatic communication and very little substance in their conversations and how when someone says something you automaticly respond with some way that you can relate or your own experience before taking the time to truly understand and see where that other person is coming from so my math mark might (sorry Mr. Lines) "suck" (Mr. Lines' class is a "no sucks zone" and "nice" isn't a good word either) at the end of the year but my appreciation for people, communication, language and literature will have been propelled to heights that 3 years ago wouldn't have even seemed a posibility had you challenged me directly.
I may have mentioned awhile back that I had the opportunity to perform as part of a historic photography exhibition that's being displayed in the building that I currently teach in. The exhibition is called "Joyful Noise" as it is an exhibition showing the performing arts (dance, music, theatre) as they were in this area from the 1920's through to the 1950's. There were several reputable people in attendence at the event ( no pressure at all!) and I had prepared a couple of Bach mvts along with three movements from the Suite Italienne by Stravinsky. There was an article printed in the paper a few days following the event that had me as a male performer....hmm... there was a correction in the paper a few days later but it was quite funny to see myself referred to as being a "professional" player with "style" and also being male. But to the point! I ran into the person who approached me about doing the performance today and he apparently recorded my performance and will be giving me a dvd of it as soon as he has it finished and compiled!
Anyways...I must get back to the books. Spanish Civil War....Salt March...Long March....so many things to memorise for tomorrow! Oh, and I've given up on math for the night.
In the spirit of spring (though it still feels a bit chilly to be spring here) here are a few pictures I snapped yesterday. The first is a tree in my Grandparents front yard. I took it from inside though, so that's why it's got those bright spots. The second and third ones are taken alongside the river channel that in the summer months is filled with people tubing, trying to escape the hot summer weather here. The third one picture is definetly kind of interesting..... hehe...I have never eaten there and in fact, I think that's relatively "new" there.
It's been an interesting, and generally good day. It started off with a good hour of practicing before my 11am appointment for which I was 15 minutes early (wanted to make sure I had enough time to walk there so I left quite early). My appointment went well and the retainer that I still wear since having had braces can now be worn only at night! After a delightful trip to my orthodontist (they are always a lot of fun, today we got caught up on various things and watched Rick Mercer) I paid a visit to my school for just one class. I needed to talk to one of my teachers, which I did and I skipped one class but the really interesting part of school was the class I actually attended. History. We had a speaker come in who's roughly 80. He was a prisoner of war in Japan for 4 years during the second world war. He lied about his age so he could join the air force and not even 6 weeks in he became a prisoner of war. Before those 6 weeks though he had already survived an ambush of a transport train and the explosion of a bridge. It was so interesting, and important to hear this man's story and I'm honored that he was willing to come and talk to my class about it. I really don't think I could talk for 90 minutes on something so horrific and life-changing and remain a stable human being but it's so important that people hear about the untold atrocities of war from those who have experienced it first hand. The prison camp that this man was in had an 85% death rate and only 300 out of the nearly 3,000 prisoners made it out alive from his particular camp. He told stories of being moved, the food rations, the work, being beaten for simply talking to someone who wasn't a fellow prisoner. He should have been be-headed by the camps standards more than once but yet he lived. It's impossible to comprehend what it must have been like living and working in such conditions, and for 4 years. Seeing your friends beaten, tortured and killed on a daily basis, how can a human even cope? The pictures we were shown were horrific. They would torture you, tie you down, bludgeon out your eyes and then one by one, cut off your limbs until you were dead. The thing that really gets me is how can these people who do the massacreing can actually be comfortable with themselves and sleep at night. I guess you do what you are trained to but still, it's horrifying! The one thing that above all the torture and desperateness of this man's situation and the existance that can barely be called life that he experience in that camp, the one thing above all that that struck me as the most moving was that he held no animocity, anger, or grudges towards his captors. I just can't imagine how anyone couldn't be incrediably bitter towards those who had done those things and taken away any quality of life so that you lived lower than the dirt on the ground.
In quick summation, this man was tortured and beaten several times. Survived an ambush, an explosion, a massive epidemic of infection that killed at the rate of 100 people per month, at least 3 times that he should have had his head cut off if things went according to protocol, a ship on fire, being sliced in half by shrapnel (he said that something that he describes as his gaurdian angel pushed him down to the ground at exactly the instant he would have been hit) being re-captured in the attempts to escape, the command to kill all prisoners of war...... how one person manages to have the courage and bravery to survive that for so long and is lucky and blessed to have made it through all that he has and yet he is completely compassionate and willing to talk about his experiences, it amazes me.
There's nothing quite as satisfying as accomplishing a lot in a short space of time after you've been in bed for the best part of a week, sick. Today is the first day that I've felt like doing something so that is what I have done! I have practiced for about an hour, maybe a bit more in preparation for a performance I have tonight (I'm playing some solo Bach and Stravinsky). After practicing I made a double batch of shepherd's pie so that I can freeze some for school lunches and at work as well as have some for the family for dinner tonight. Now I'm here on the computer again. Oh! How could I forget! I spent about an hour looking at different university options. The depressing thing is that one year in Vancouver is almost as much as my entire degree would cost if I did it in Brandon. Hmm... I think I would go mad living in Brandon. I need mountains and large bodies of water near by! But from one extreme to the other, my top two choices are the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and Dalhousie University in Halifax. From one coast to another!
Not a whole lot else new. Oh, someone asked if I would post some pictures of the area I live in currently. Check out the link below. The two albums in the middle are both albums of pictures that I have taken over the past couple of years here. The sunsets one is my personal favorite.
Now onto music related stuff. There's a few concerts that I'm really hoping to take in this coming fall. 1st concert is in October in Vancouver. The Vancouver Symphony is presenting Arvo Part's Berlin Mass which is an absolutely stunning work, the program also features Vaughn-William's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis which is another terrific piece! Next concert up is in Vancouver again with the Vancouver Symphony and James Ehnes. If I get to go, it would be my third time seeing Ehnes play and he never fails to astound. The repertoire this time around? Well I've seen him perform Saint-Saens and Walton and this time the concerto slated is Barber's which I've actually heard a radio broadcast performance of his interpretation of it before but it's a concerto I have dearly wanted to see live for a long time and even more since I've played it myself. The third concert that I would like to go to is not in Vancouver but in fact only a 30 minute drive from home! My teacher from Vancouver, Jasper Wood is performing as part of a community concert series near here that consistently presents some amazing musicians. Angela Hewitt, Denise Djokic, Jamie Parker, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra are just a few of the ensembles that have been presented in the past.
And now onto personal music practicing stuff. The past while I've been spending most of my time available to practice on technique and really slow practicing or short segment practicing in order to acheive what I really want to with a particular section or phrase. The technique practice has been almost enjoyable and I can really feel a difference already. It's been really nice to be able to do technique the way I want to now in terms of practicing since I don't have any of those exams that dictate what and how I have to do it. I pick a key a day (sometimes two) and cycle through most of the Flesch system for that key and then move onto Dont 1, 8 and Kreutzer 24b (evil fingered octaves!) and the much easier Kreutzer 2 to work on my straight bow issues.
So a clash of tea mugs to getting better and continuing to practice and improve my technique and an entertaining and diverse 2006/07 concert season!
Ok, I admit it. I enjoy non-classical music and I watched the Junos (Canadian equivilent of the Grammy's only better! ;) last night. I didn't watch the entire show but I was excited to hear Coldplay and Michael Buble (said boo blay not bubble) perform and was interested to hear a new band I've heard a lot about but never actually heard, Bedouin Soundclash – they were good too. I'm really not sure what the head of the Junos were thinking in having Pamela Anderson host the ceremony, I don't think it was a good idea and she was easily sidetracked from the music to protest the seal hunt of the east coast of Canada not to mention it's hard to take someone who's outfit really doesn't fit, seriously in any matter. If it weren't for the other person who helped host, Buck 65 (they should have let him do the whole thing!) I think the show would have been significantly less good. But anyways... Coldplay rocked (literally), Buble (not bubble) rocked... or crooned... I was pleasantly surprised by Bendouin Soundclash and so the acts that I had wanted to see did not let down and were fun! The rest of the show.... well .. lets just say the rest aren't maybe quite as talented (except Bryan Adams) or just aren't my type of music.
Alright... well I am still sick but I'm alive! Yesterday I wasn't so dizzy and out of it that I couldn't get a couple hours of practicing in and today I don't have to attend one of my classes at school as the students are all going to some type of a career fair and I don't have to go!! So that is nice, I can go in in time for my one class and then come home right after.
I'm performing unaccompanied at a photography event this coming weekend on the music history in this city. Initially I was supposed to be background music so I thought my usual wedding binder would work well but apparently I'm now being more “direct” entertainment so people can come in and sit down. Ah! I have to have at least 15 minutes of music to play so I'm thinking I'll do the Introduzione, Larghetto, and Gavotta (with variaitons) from Stravinsky's Suite Italienne since I know those quite well and then I'll include a couple of Bach movements. Any other ideas anyone?
On Friday after school I went to where I work and practiced for a couple of hours. There was only one other teacher teaching upstairs near the studio that I teach in so I thought that since the building was basicly deserted that I would go downstairs into the “lounge” which is a wood floored, high ceilinged and has really nice acoustics and play for a bit! I worked on my Bach fugue in there and either I've gotten good at it recently or that place just sounds really good to play in!
Well I shall vamoose for now.
What a week. A whole bunch of big tests right after the break ....which so far I have done well on. Back to teaching again, Stuff flying at me from all directions! It's crazy! Probably the biggest triumph of the week is seeing my English Literature mark for this term so far. 100% :D I don't ever recall having had 100% in any courses that has been based on more than one assignment. Now it's the weekend. I've managed to stay on top of my homework and have only a very little bit (maybe an hours worth to do) to do and guess what....I'm sick. :( So much for practicing 5 hours today and tomorrow and trying out a bunch of repertoire that I am considering for a gig I am doing next weekend. *sigh* I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers that by this afternoon I'll be able to stand up for more than a minute without feeling like I am going to pass out. One thing I'm disappointed about too is that I had to cancel my violin lesson today. My teacher here is gone for the next month and a bit so she had arranged for it to be possible to for me to have a couple of lessons with my first ever violin teacher. I was looking forward to seeing what it would be like having lessons as an advanced player as in comparison to what I remember it being like when I was small and a beginner. Oh well...hopefully this week I'll be able to remedy that.
I don't know how but I always seem to get more done in a week where I am insanely busy than a week when I have little to do and keep on top of. I've started getting my application for a summer program together and I have started a new choral composition that I have full intentions of finishing. It's already over a minute long in length and I have a choir that has said they'd be willing to try something that I wrote so we'll see if I can make some more headway on that over the weekend and this coming week.
That's my ramble for the day!
Violinist.com is made possible by...