Chorale Trip

This past weekend was amazing because I got to go on the annual Chorale trip. This year we went to Atlanta, GA for our tour. This is an opportunity for one of Belmont’s premiere choirs to travel to churches, schools, and other venues to sing to others and to represent Belmont along with the great things that are happening here. This trip was a blast and will be truly unforgetable!
The trip started off on Saturday at 8 in the morning as we loaded the buses to depart for Atlanta. It was about aDSCF0080.JPG
four and a half hour drive, but it was a lot of fun watching movies on the bus and hanging out with people I don’t see very frequently outside of chorale. I strengthed many friendships on this trip and started new ones. For instance, I didn’t realize until the trip that one of the tenor’s lives right around the corner from me back in St. Louis. It is such a small world!
Anyway, we stopped at the mall in Atlanta. Many of the girls went shopping while the guys in the choir tended to tag along with them. Later Saturday night, we went to Medival Times, which is a dinner and show that takes place in a castle. Now I have been to Medival Times three times before with my high school band, but it is always fun getting to eat food with your hands and cheering on your knight as they try to win the competition.
Saturday was our free day because the rest of the trip was spent singing in various locations. We went to several churches where we would sing for the service and for their youth choirs. We also went to several high schools and sang for them. It was amazing seeing the reaction on their faces as when sang, they were truly inspired and it was a blessing to sing for them.
But the highlight of the trip was that we helped premiere a brand new hymnal. This event was amazing becauseDSCF0085.JPG
they had been working on this hymnal for more than twenty years, so the event had people from all across the country. Although we were only one of many choirs at the event, it was amazing being in the church, hearing the hundreds of people sing sing the selected hymns.
This trip was truly amazing! Next year, chorale gets to travel internationally. I am really excited about this.

Luna Nova

Last week I went to an incredible concert in which a guest group, Luna Nova performed. Luna Nova is modern ensemble the was made up with a flautist, celliest, and pianist. All of the musicians in this ensemble are experienced musicians and have truly mastered their instruments. They played a wide variety of works, but the one the caught my attention was a George Crumb piece called Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale). If you don’t know who George Crumb is, he is a historical famous composer, being one of the first to use recordings in live performance. Although there was no particular recording used in the performance, the cello was amplified so that the harmonics of the notes he played could be heard.
Many advanced techniques were used during this song. The song used a prepared piano, which is when the strings of a piano have been labeled and objects have been placed on them so the pianist can pluck the strings witht their hands. The flute player had to sing and play the flute at the same time, which would require months of practice to accomplish. In addition to this both flute player and the cellist had to whistle at times. My favorite part of this piece was when the cello played smooth legato notes as highest string. This effect sounded like a whale call, it was amazing.
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If you are interested in hearing more music by Luna Nova or learing more about modern music, visit their website at: lunanova.org

Carmina Burana

This weekend the Nashville Ballet Company is presenting Carmina Burana in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center DSCF0008.jpg
(TPAC). Belmont’s very own Oratorio Chorus will be featured along with the Nashville’s Ballet, Nashville Symphony, the Nashville Children’s Choir, and several Vocal Soloist. The performance is going to be amazing because it is featuring a cast of hundreds from the Nashville community.
This semester I was fortunate enough to be able to get a spot in the Oratorio Chorus. Oratorio is a required ensemble for all music majors and minors. I have to take two semesters of this particular ensemble because of my music education degree, but the number changes according to an individuals emphasis.
Being in Oratorio this semester has been a very rewarding experience. We have been working on this piece since the beginning of the semester, and let me tell you it has been very difficult. The piece is sung in several variations of Latin. Also in several movements the text are a tongue-twister, along with the rhyming word and the difficult pronunciations at faster tempos. The range of the notes were also difficult forcing the baritones to go up to a high G and the tenors to go way above the staff.
Although the piece was difficult to learn, it is a lot of fun to perform. This was a great opportunity for me to work with professional musicians and performing artist who have been mastering their craft for many years. An opportunity to sing such a powerful and emotional piece comes once in lifetime. So come out and see Carmina Burana showing this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at TPAC. Tickets are on sale at http://www.nashvilleballet.com/performances/tickets.php. I guarantee that the performance will be truly spectacular.

“I Can’t Feel My Face”

Last night’s Symphony Orchestra concert was a truly phenomenal performance. One of the trumpeters in the orchestra, Jonathan, spoke to me after the concert and stated “I can’t feel my face,” after he played the song, Pines of Rome. If you had seen the concert last night you would totally understand why he responded in such a blunt manner. During the final movement the brass instruments were playing extremely loud and difficult passages as they kept up with the numerous strings, woodwinds, organ, harps, and percussive instruments.
DSCF0003.jpgThe orchestra was larger than normal because the performance was actually the 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert. Many alumni came back to perform for the special occasion, including several musician from the first Belmont orchestra back in 1984. Overall the concert was spectacular. The literature that was play was the Overture to La Gazza Ladra, Sinfonia Concertante featuring faculty members Elisabeth Small and Sarah Cote, and of course Pines of Rome.
Tomorrow night the wind ensemble is performing along with two local high school bands. If you have time, come check us out, we are performing amazing literature including John Mackey’s “Strange Humors” and Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium.” I promise that it will be a concert you don’t want to miss.

In The Studio

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This past weekend I got the great pleasure of recording a couple of my songs, yay! My friend Patrick was kind enough to gt me some studio time and we had a good time as I laid down a few tracks. I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome. I’d been needing to record one song, called Many Waters, for a while now, but just hadn’t figured out an ending. I was finally able to break through through the creative block and finish the song a few nights before I went to record, placing it about 9 and 1/2 minutes long. It’s pretty intense, and definitely the longest song I’ve written, but it kind of wrote itself. The song is inspired by a Madeleine L’engle novel of the same name, so Iook at this as my way of tipping my hat to one of my favorite authors. Anyways, it’s up on my music myspace and I can’t wait to share it with friends and family.

Music City

Last Sunday (I can’t believe it’s already been a week!), I had one of the most amazing nights of my life. I had been looking forward to and counting down the days until November 2nd ever since I found out that Sara Bareilles would be performing at the Ryman Auditorium that evening. Raychel (my best friend and former roommate) and I are HUGE Sara Bareilles fans. Her CD, Little Voice, was the soundtrack of the road-trip that Raychel and I took to Branson over the summer. So there was (obviously) no question that we would be attending the concert. Fortunately, Raychel knows someone who works in the box office at the Ryman, so she was able to call him and get two, third row tickets at a very reasonable price. SOFT.jpg (Way to go, Raychel!!!) From that day forward I just had to wait patiently for November 2nd to arrive.
The evening of the concert was absolutely perfect. We both dressed up, ate a delicious meal at Panera, and enjoyed some coffee on our way to the concert. The opening act was an indie/folk rock band called Raining Jane, followed by the wonderful Marc Broussard. After a brief intermission…Sara Bareilles took the stage, opening with one of my favorite songs: “Vegas.” She had an incredible performance – every song was just as amazing as I had hoped it would be. Raychel and I sang along to every song, of course, but especially her hit song… “Love Song.” Actually, I would venture to say that the audience actually sang more of that song than she did! It was awesome. Sara.jpg
I enjoyed every minute of the concert and can’t wait for the opportunity to see her perform again!!!
Last night I enjoyed even more live music at the Urban/Pop Showcase here at Belmont. All of the showcases are fun, but Urban/Pop has to be one of my favorites. The artists that performed (all Belmont students, of course) were: Robert Kelly, Marie Hines, The Nerq Twins, and Future. It was a great night!
I must say, I do love living in Music City.

Music in the Soul

Ever since I have come Belmont I have had a new passion for volunteering. I believe it all started at SERVE during welcome week. SERVE is when the new freshmen class splits up into groups and volunteers for several hours all across the Nashville community. My group was sent to a children’s home. While volunteering there we did a lot of hard work such as cleaning the bathrooms, mopping the floors, and landscaping. I never really understood before coming to this school, why people gave up their time to volunteer in the community. Through the SERVE project though, I discovered why people choose to do it. I serve because I hope to make an impact on someone‚Äôs life. I know I am not going to be able to change the world, but volunteering will make the world a better place.
During a music assembly several weeks ago, a representative from the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School asked if anyone wanted to volunteer by teaching private instrumental lessons at the school. I quickly took the offer because I love teaching and playing with other musicians and I also want to get a music education degree. So every Saturday morning I wake up at 8:00 to teach saxophone lessons at the school. The W.O. Smith music school offers students private instrumental lessons for only 50 cents if they qualify for the program. I give half hour saxophone lessons to two 11 year old students, both of whom have never played the saxophone before. I really enjoy teaching them because they both really want to learn how to play. It takes a lot of patience and diligence because learning to play the saxophone takes time and hard work. Its definitely worth volunteering at the school because I am making an impact on someone’s life and I am gaining valuable experience teaching at the school.
I would challenge everyone to volunteer during college. You can really change a person’s life and you will learn from your experience as well. After a lesson one day, I had a student say to me, “I used to not like the saxophone, I wanted to play the tuba. Now I really like it, its my favorite instrument.” Comments and thoughts like this make it worth while to volunteer. I will definitely continue to volunteer here during my college years.