Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Folk Music

This is a lovely Appalachian folk song performed by the Chieftains with the Pistol Annies.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Last Night in Columbus

After a long (almost) two weeks in Columbus, MS, we will be traveling to Paducah, KY.  Highlights of this week have included:

*Swimming at the "lake", which was actually a muddy pond
*Swimming at a swimming pool at a citizen's house
*Shrimp boil with aligator sausage!
*Tons of individual practice time

We are all very grateful for the generosity of the citizens of Columbus, MS, and especially to Rufus, our extremely kind guide and organizer.

Now we will travel to Paducah, give concerts on Sunday morning and evening, rehearse Monday and Tuesday, and have the Fourth of July off.

I am quite sad because for Monday-Wednesday, we were going to go back to Pittsburgh to rehearse, but as of today, we are staying in Paducah.  Pittsburgh would have given me the opportunity to see my wonderful boyfriend, Justin.  Now I have to wait two more weeks to see him.  I guess I have to get used to this if I am going to finish school in Canada.  Luckily, school will only be eight months of separation.  I know people who have been apart because of school much longer.  It is still hard though.

Speaking of McGill, check out this orchestra audition list!  Yikes!  At least I have worked on everything in the past...

Mozart: Concerto for Oboe, K. 314, 1st movement

Bach, J.S.: Cantata no. 82 (“Ich habe genug”)
1. Aria; 2nd bar to downbeat of 4th bar of letter B

Beethoven: Symphony no. 3, op. 55 in E-flat major (“Eroica”)
Mov. II, complete
Mov. III, m. 7 to downbeat of m. 163
Mov. IV, bar before letter E to the end

Bizet: Symphony no. 1 in C major
Mov. II, 6 bars before no. 4 to the end
Mov. III, 4 bars before no. 5 to 3rd bar after no. 10

Brahms: Symphony no. 1, op. 68 in C minor
Mov. II, complete

Debussy: La Mer
Mov. II, no. 17 to downbeat of no. 36
Mov. III, no. 50 to 9th bar after no. 55

Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 3, op 56 in A minor (“Scottish”)
Mov. II, m. 3 to m. 100

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
1. Prelude, complete
2. Forlane, first ten bars of no. 1

Rossini: Overture to The Silken Ladder (La Scala di Seta)
4th bar at beginning to 4th bar after no. 4

Strauss, R.: Don Juan, op. 20
m. 1 to 16th bar after letter E
4th bar of letter L to 6 bars after letter Q

Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite – Sinfonia, Serenata, Toccata, Gavotta, Variation 1A (all complete)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

McGill University!

Hi all!  I have been accepted to McGill University for the Fall!  Why did I apply, you may ask?  My brilliant oboe professor was offered and accepted an oboe professor position there as of late April.  In these years of trying to master my instrument, is important to study with only one person, who is dedicated to my improvement and accomplishments, but is also dedicated to pushing me to excellence as opposed to stuck on "good".

I was not expecting a transfer to ever happen.  I as of now, only have my official status on McGill's books.  I haven't searched for all the other details.  I need to withdraw from BGSU and send me official transcripts to McGill after that happens.  I need to apply for student loans, but I have already filled out the FAFSA.  I will need to apply for a student visa.  A place to live would be nice as well.  Luckily, my professor offered to let me stay at her place for a little bit if I really need before finding an actual place to live.

I suppose I should also find out when orchestral auditions are and when school begins.  Minor details :)

So much to do and I am stuck in Columbus, MS until Saturday morning!  Argh!  Everything will be okay.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Law Posts on the Arizona Decision

If any of you are following the news, you may know that the Supreme Court struck down 3 of 4 challenged provisions in Arizona v. United States in a 5-3 decision (Kagan recused, but I haven't figured out why exactly), but still have upheld the Arizona law as a whole.

The problem with every single news source, is that it is heavily biased in opinions. If you click on all the links I post, you will agree.  Those who opposed Arizona v. US are the people who say, "My neighbor is an illegal alien and so nice!" or, "We will turn into a police state that will shoot people, starting with Arizona."  Those who support the law say, "These people are illegal and are draining our tax system, which I pay into!"  These are all emotionally loaded statements, and are also kind of true statements, if you agree with the notion of the slippery slope.

Fox News was very upset about how President Obama is not following the court's decision, believing that the Court should have completely found the law unconstitutional.  You can read his comments on the decision here.  He did say, "At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally."  Does he realize that the Arizona law is based on a Federal law requiring non-citizens to carry their papers with them at all times?  Not to mention that he supports a Federal ID program, requiring all citizens to carry around an ID like in Belgium and France. (And people complain about voter IDs, sheesh.)

I have never formulated an opinion on immigration laws due to being bombarded with both conservative and liberal viewpoints, the latter happening like the Blitzkrieg during my college years.  Even without an opinion, I feel that Arizona is doing what it thinks it needs to do to uphold the laws of the US.  Our President however, is not being consistent with his opinions on policy.  If he wants to track citizens, why not track immigrants as well?  And what will he really do with illegal immigrants if he stops catering to his traditional voter pool and try to find solutions to problems?  More importantly, how can we protect our southern neighbors from their horrible government without hurting our own nation?  Politicians: start thinking outside the box.  The debates over immigration policy have been the same for thirty years.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oboe d'amore

Scherzo for Wind Orchestra by Patrick Zuk has an oboe d'amore.  Guess who gets to play that?  Me!!!  Here is a video of oboe super star Albrecht Mayer performing on the d'amore.  It is a little bigger than an oboe with an itty-bitty bocal.  It is in the key of A, so it is a little lower than the oboe.

Separation of Church and Music, etc.

Sunday we played at a Black Methodist Church here in Columbus, MS.  It was a unique experience.  There was no "liturgy" per se, but there were aspects of the mass such as the Invocation, Gloria, Lord's Prayer, Apostles Creed, Sermon, Doxology, and Amen, all done with different hymns.  There was a lot of traditional hymn-singing (What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Amazing Grace, etc.).  The choir led the congregation with genuine enthusiasm.  The singing was not always in-tune, but it was filled with joyful praise towards God.  The readings were the stories of David and Goliath and the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), which was the sermon text.  The sermon was filled with an almost sprechstimme-like vocalization as well as elongated syllables (Lo-o-ord).  It definitely was an emotional experience, and the congregation would respond with Amens and other interjections when they agreed.  "Praise the Lord..." inspired clapping.  However, the content was general and vague, causing the non-church musicians to think that it was a good church for people to attend.  He never mentioned the historical context of a talent being money, but kind of shifted between treating it like money, and talents like playing instruments, and a how we need to do good works as Christians.  He totally left out the part of the Master being a hard man, reaping where he did not sow.  I believe this passage is about evangelism and not about how I should play my oboe because God gave me the talent to do that.  God also gave me the talent to be a glutton.  God is reaping souls, and that's why we need to share God's Word to the best of our abilities instead of hiding the message.  Eventually, the preacher did say Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus."  So, there was the tiny bit of Law and Gospel.  Leave it to St. Paul to balance out a sermon.

Our group did the Hummel Octet, movement 1 for preservice, Haydn Sinfonietta mvt. 2 for offertory, and Haydn Sinfonietta mvt. 1 for postlude.  The music didn't fit in with the style of the service at all.  We played super well and the people loved it.  Music for church is supposed to praise God.  When the musicians are mocking Christian beliefs and the music was written for secular purposes 300 years ago, I don't think we should be playing for a church.  We can't glorify God if the point of music is to solely entertain.

The people were extremely nice and fed us well.  When we were all bored, we practiced singing hymns in four-parts.  We then debated whether fixed-do or moveable-do is a better solfege system.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Giant Concert #1

Hey, hey!  Today started with a 7:30 AM rehearsal.  On a Saturday. Joyous.  It only lasted until 9:30 and we had all afternoon off until our call time of 5 pm.  This was my day after 9:30:

10:20-11:50- Slept
12-1:45- Ate a wonderful Caribbean Shrimp Salad at Chilis
2:00-3:30- Slept
3:30-4:15- packed my big bag
5- back to the boat
7-9 concert!

Playing outside is forcing me to play with a lot more air and sound.  This is a good thing especially for English horn.  We had some absolutely fantastic soloists, including the best percussionist I have ever heard. She is from Japan and is a stunning musician.  The worst part of the concert were the biting bugs after the house lights came on.  I can deal with heat, but bugs drive me insane.

I am glad I had time today to sleep.  Yesterday I was emotionally drained and couldn't hold myself together by the end of it.  Now I have energy again.  It could be residual effects of mono.

I'm a little perturbed about tomorrow (Sunday).  We have to play for church services and even if we wouldn't be playing, we are required to go.  Yes, I have played for Catholic services, but I chose to do those gigs because I had alternative WELS or ELS church services to attend.  None of us were under the impression that we had to play for churches with this summer gig.  A bunch of people are upset because they wanted to sleep in or are atheist, but I just want church choice.

The ship has an art gallery in the basement.  Mr. Boudreau is very much against the Cuban embargo and was able to go to Cuba a few months ago and bring back original work from Cuban artists for his ship.  He wanted to bring the ship to Cuba was not able to pull enough strings to have that done.  He keeps talking of how they are a beautiful people who live more peacefully than Americans.  I don't know what anybody else's opinion of the Cuba situation is, but if we are allowed to travel to China, I think we should be able to go to Cuba.  I don't know the politics of this topic though.

My colleagues are making-fun of my accent.  These are words I am apparently saying strangely: sorry, bag, baggage, Wisconsin.  I know there is more, but I can't think of any right now.  Ta-ta for now!  Drink some sweet tea and think of me :D

Friday, June 22, 2012

Newspaper- Columbus, MS

Mississippi- Week 1

Hey ya'll!  I've been in the south since Monday!  This place is amazing because they all serve fried chicken :)

I am really enjoying the AWSO.  It is crazy busy though.  This was the first time I was able to get on the internet.  Thankfully, I only had junk mail in my inbox.

Our rehearsals start at 7:30 AM.  They tend to end around 9 pm or later.  We rehearse on the boat, which makes our instruments quite warm and our skin burn.  We have a large ensemble which consists of:
4 flutes
4 oboes
4 clarinets
5 bassoons
6 horns
5 trumpets
2 tubas
6 trombones
6 percussionists
1 harp
1 piano

Mr. Boudreau has commissioned over 450 works for this instrumentation over the last 55 seasons.  This is unique because it is like playing in a Mahler orchestra, but without strings.  Our music can be crazy hard, but everybody is super awesome, which makes music-making fun.

We also all have quintets.  My quintet is currently working on the Irving Fine Partita.  I love my quintet.  We play well together and have drastically improved over the last four days.  Yesterday (Thursday), we performed at Columbus, MS Exchange Club.  Tonight we had a concert for the people who donated money to AWSO.  It consisted of chamber music.  I played on the Mozart Piano Quintet in Eb (for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and piano) and The Good Soldier Schweik Suite on English horn.  It was a blast!

In the afternoons, we have been going to Columbus High School to coach the band kids. They are having a summer music clinic right now in honor of the AWSO being in town.  There are no oboes and bassoons, so we were given the saxophones.  I took charge with my band-director personality.  I even corrected their fingerings :)  However, about 20 minutes into the session, the band director comes in with six oboes in his arms and asks me to check them and teach some of the kids oboe.  He did the same with four bassoons.  Only two of the oboes worked.  That was a joyous project.  At least he had oboe reeds.  Adam, a bassoonist, had to let the kids use some of his old reeds.  Today I gave a private lesson to a kid who actually wants to switch to oboe.  He told me about his part-time job at a pharmacy and how he works about 14 hours a week to make money.  He is 8th in his class.  His school has about 3,000 kids, so that is a great feet!  Good thing he's switching to kids tend to do well on that instrument, just sayin'.

This brings up an interesting observation; segregation is still alive and well in the south.  It isn't mandated by law, but it is obvious when we all have been out and about the community.  The school's band is completely black.  It's a good school too.  That's totally racist to say, but from the movies I have seen and what I have heard about Milwaukee schools, I was happily surprised.  But when we were at the country club for dinner, everybody was white, except the caterers, who were all black.  I thought of "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" due to the atmosphere.  I asked a clarinetist what he thought and he asked, "Haven't you seen the Mississippi flag?"  I had not.  The flag includes the Confederate flat within the design.  Last year, the MS Congress voted on changing the design.  They voted against instituting a new flag in a 2-1 vote.  Tonight at the chamber concert, people of all races interacted normally and were excited to see one another.  I am just confused by the racial politics.  For the record:  I am just observing.  The south has a complicated history, which I feel insufficient to comprehend.  I mean, I am used to "racial tensions" between the Germans and Norwegians in Northern Wisconsin.  It amounts to this: What type of Lutheran are you?

Oh, and MS is hot, hot, hot!  I don't know why I take a shower in the morning.  I am starting to get used to the sweat running down my back. Yugh.

Tomorrow night is our big concert.  The city made this week a music festival.  I'll find newspaper articles and news clips to post here as well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Boat Tour Video

Traveling: The Beginnings

I am currently in a hotel outside of Nashville, TN.  The week has been CRAZY!!!  Here is a recap:

*I moved completely out of my BG apartment
*I packed to live out of a suitcase for six weeks
*Justin now knows how to shape oboe cane.  w00t!
*I forgot the connecting cord for my camera, so I will not be able to post as many pictures as I would have liked.
*The glasses I have had for four months broke.  Awesome.  Good thing I brought my other broken pair for backup.
*Justin and I attended an amazing concert of authentic Irish music and story-telling in the Cleveland area on Friday evening.
*I had the privilege of meeting the rest of Justin's family on Saturday
*Today, I left from Pittsburgh with 19 other people in three giant vans.
*I am a driver!  (Apologies to Mom and Dad for not telling them that this was the case.)
*Nothing brings strangers together like a road trip :D

Tomorrow we will continue to Columbus, MS and learn more about our unknown adventure.  Hopefully we receive some music along with time to individually practice before the first rehearsal.  The girls in our room were saying they heard we will be possibly performing some chamber works by Poulenc and Mozart.  I am personally hoping to play Villa Lobos.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

American Wind Symphony Orchestra!

This summer, I am playing oboe and English horn with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.  We will perform music for orchestral winds on a boat named "Point Counterpoint II".  You can read about the group at their website.

We will have short residencies at various cities in Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

I will be blogging and posting pictures throughout the trip.  Enjoy!