December 2005

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2005 02:05

I might not have a chance to blog over the holidays, so I'm greeting everyone a couple of days early... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Hope you all have fun, eat lots and drink lots, make merry with friends and family. I'm going to be in church at Christmas Eve to play lots of Christmas carols. Thankfully, not all of them require finger gymnastics. I have made major improvements in Bach's Christmas Oratorio (part 1 only) after my teacher helped me and some of the girls in the string section work each bar out. I still skip some of the 32nd notes, but I'm getting there.

Noon of December 25 will find me in church again to play during the service. I hope to be able to make time to meet my family afterwards, so that we can enjoy our annual Christmas dinner. Fantastic food goes around each Christmas. Our tables are laden with all sorts of stews, ham, cheeses, wine, pasta, breads, cakes and nuts. We don't have eggnog; hot chocolate is the norm. Chicken porridge is also a must for some families (we call it arroz caldo).

I'm also looking forward to spending a quiet evening with my kids, Jacky and Chichi, a pitbull and a mongrel. We'll sing carols by the Christmas tree. They hate it when I play the violin. They either hide under the bed or roll over and sleep.

I wish we all enjoy our Christmas. I wish everyone warmth and joy, hope and peace. See you all in the new year!

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Christmas Oratorio

December 12, 2005 00:13

Here we go again...

The musical director gave us a new piece to be played at midnight December 24 (or is that 12 AM of Dec 25)? It's an arrangement of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The notes appear simple enough, most are in the first position. However, when he played the music to give us an idea of how it should work, my mouth kinda dropped. Gee, this is fast. I kept counting... 1,2,3... 1,2,3...1,2,3... and kept getting lost somewhere between the rests and the eighth notes. Every now and then someone would shout the bar number, and I realize that I'm at least two counts late.

It's the Messiah piece all over again. I had to be booted out of the Messiah concert coz I couldn't keep up with the pace. Sometimes I wonder if the musical director is just rubbing it in or he's giving me a chance to keep at it, til I finally make it. He gave us all a CD to listen to at home, to help us practice. Let me see, how many days til the 24th? Oh, 12! Miracles happen everyday.

My teacher canceled the lesson yesterday, too many concerts this Christmas. Just when I needed it. After more than a year of not having a teacher, I realize how many bad habits I've picked up-which I now need to unlearn. Practicing where we had left off was painful. I couldn't believe how difficult it was to execute some of the simplest exercises, just because I'd gotten used to doing things wrong.

Last Saturday I watched the philharmonic rehearse for a free concert. The string section was just breathtaking. It was like a dance, a simultaneous bowing - up, down, up, down. Each time the music intensified, their faces were unable to restrain the emotion. It was like being lifted up on wings, like riding above the wind.

It's so inspiring to watch real violinists play in an orchestra. I kept telling myself, "I want to play like that." Oh, I've got a looooong way to go, but there must be a reason why difficult pieces keep coming my way. Maybe I'm being challenged. A friend of mine said that, whenever she's up against a hectic schedule or a difficult task, she won't look at the whole picture. She'll focus on what needs to be done one task at a time. Like climbing a mountain, if you look up at how far you are from the peak, maybe you'll get a bit discouraged. But if you just keep climbing one step at a time, before you know it the peak will be nearer than you think.

I'll do my exercises every day. Who knows? By next year I could be playing the Christmas Oratorio like a breeze.

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