The Power of a Story

I have always had a weak spot in my heart and in the back of my mind for good stories. The story of a soldier. The story of a lover. The story of a father and provider. And I suppose these kinds of stories somewhat shaped my image of the man I wanted to call husband, and the friends I wanted to call brother and sister.

Last night I listened to some of these stories from one of my favorite artists, Billy Joel. He has an uncanny ability to capture the human condition into his songs, and I highly recommend clicking on one of those links up there if you’re looking for a good story.

Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis,
And I still have my hands on the wheel.

The Real Music

I really like Imogen Heap. A lot. She cheers me up, she knows what I’m thinking, feeling, needing to express. I regard her as a pop-acoustic artist similar to how I regard Lady Gaga as a pop-r&b artist and how I regard Whitacre as a composer: they’re doing with the industry what I love to see done. They’re pushing the limits, giving me rich textures and catchy phrases; wringing tears from my eyes and stealing laughter from my soul. They’re breaking the mold. Just like Mozart. Just like Beethoven. Just like the greats that everyone remembers. Now, don’t get me wrong, Imogen Heap has almost definitely been active with drugs, and Lady Gaga’s morals are nothing to really apply functionally, but the music they are creating makes me wish that such high standards were applied throughout the industry. Then all I would be complaining about would be how shitty their morals are and not how much their music sucks. [Though I’ve yet to see dirt on Whitacre, and as such will not denote his name to any extent.]

All of this being said, a friend and I managed to find our ways into a discussion about music similar to one I have with my husband about film from time to time. And the question still remains: is art more communicative when it is a subjective string of emotionally charged phrases (ie. Reliant K talking about teenage angst/apathy/loneliness by describing eating cereal and staring out the window), or is it more communicative when it presents a story with a moral (or at least a theme) to be embraced (ie. Passenger talking about how the only true failure is never trying in things you’ve never done). Continue reading

Finlandia

One of my favorite songs my school has ever performed, I can not find the lyrics particular to the arrangement I am most familiar with, so I have decided to post them for you online, here. Also see this video for the closest recording of the song I can find.

Oh gracious Lord, by whom the morning dawneth,
Now in thy mercy bless our native land.
Let thy light shine to drive away the shadows,
And free our homes from war’s cruel hands,
To Thee our people pray for Truth and Justice,
And in thy faith united they stand.

Thy wisdom infinite is our reliance.
Thy hand shall keep your people strong and free.
They sow the seed, they calmly wait the harvest,
And give Thee thanks whatever it be.
Our honest toil and zeal shall bring us gladness,
For joy is theirs whose hopes rest in thee.

To such a nation such as this I could pledge my allegiance.

I miss the hymns like this:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

 

(Yes, I realize this is not an old hymn, but I do miss the days hymns like this were sung more frequently, and with more conviction.)

Headaches and Tsunamis

So I have this nasty headache I’ve had for about two days now and I can only guess that it’s related to the weather and to the dissipating cold/virus I’ve had. Come to find out whatever it was that I had has been going around at a fierce rate, which is encouraging that my immune system isn’t as weak as it would have seemed when I got this cold.

I had a dream a few nights ago that I was caught in a town awaiting a Tsunami following a nuclear explosion off the coast of Florida. The wave took two hours to hit the town and we were able to escape on one of the last flights out thanks to one person’s internet capable phone. We purchased tickets online, signed in online and went through to the flight with minutes to spare. Now this was the first nightmare I had for a long time, and most of my dreams that are so memorable and vivid have some form of meaning behind them that I’m to dwell on. I’m pretty sure the key part of this dream was to bring up a few subjects with a friend of mine in conversation. In addition to that though, I was forced into a very realistic situation where I was horrified that the three people I was with would be the last I would see. Two were some of my best friends, one I’d just met. I couldn’t sleep following the dream, I was so shaken up, realizing just how precious life is. I can only think to assimilate it with being in a near-death situation, though I would doubt it was even nearly as intense. The night after I had a dream about hurricanes and friends helping to secure their position so that they would not come to harm. Perhaps storms are coming in my life and I need to know who to depend on and who is most precious to me.

I managed to find a recording of the mass I’ll be performing in during the upcoming trip to Rome. I found a lovely reccording on iTunes, but it’s been hard to find more abstract files. This is a decent recording of the height of the mass: the Credo. The camera quality isn’t so perfect, but the recording quality is actually pretty good, considering what they appear to be working with. This is the best recording I could find of the Gloria, but I’m still not sure I like the performance very much. This is a gorgeous performance of the Kyrie, and it’s pretty neat that it’s performed in such a large setting. Rooms that large are hard to fill with sound. While we have been practicing, we haven’t had a full orchestra present (like we will in Rome) and it’s been thrilling to hear the music orchestrated. I have realized that one of the reasons I love Puccini’s work is because he reads my mind. All of the fun little ordamentations I wish were speckling the choral parts are found subtly beneath in the orchestra. It’s absolutely wonderful. Listening to the recording in my car today, blasting it along a back road, I realized just how excited I am for the trip, not because I’ll be in Rome, but because I’ll be in the largest global gathering of it’s kind for two purposes: God and music. The two causes closest to my heart (though to be fair “God” encompasses many causes). Another neat thing I’m looking forward to is the culture. As I’ve been told, native Italians understand church related Latin with ease, so they won’t just be reading the translations on their pamphlets, but they’ll understand every word, every note, every syllable, exactly what we’re singing. It’s absolutely inspiring to me to think that Latin, my favorite language yet, and a dead one, will be sung by hundreds in four voices and understood by potential thousands.

I don’t think I could end the post on a higher note.

Sneezes Galore!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Yes, yes, my friends, that’s right!! Allergy season! Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! My mouth is dry, my nose is perpetually itchy/sneezey, and my throat feels incredibly raw. Oh but yes, beautiful spring.

…and people wonder why I love fall.

The past few weeks have gone by in such a blur, it’s so very hard to keep track of things. If I didn’t have to log every event of the weeks previous and yet to come in order to keep my scheduling in line, I would completely forget what I did two evenings ago.(a) Now for today, two evenings ago was fairly substantial, so I can’t really forget that so easily, but get back three and four evenings ago and that’s pretty foggy.

I finished my exams and I passed sociology quite well but apparently bombed my psych final. I’m not so concerned about this beyond my grade point average and as I will have more time to dedicate to classes this coming fall, I’m confident I will be bringing that up easily. I learned a lot in psychology and very little in sociology, so it just goes to show that your grades do not always, if ever, reflect what you have learned. In fact I can not think of a class where what I learned and/or achieved was equal to my grade. For example: I always did well in my artistic classes in high school, but didn’t learn very much in them towards the end of my years. I was just good at those subjects.

After selling back my books, I deposited the money into my bank account. I find it incredibly sad that I spent around $600 on books this year and only got $150 of it back. My math book is no longer in use in the current curriculum at the community college, which means I wasted an unreasonable amount on a math book that I had no option but to buy new. That is so very reassuring.

On a positive note, my bank account has been in the black for an entire month now. This sounds rather simple, but it is a very large weight off my chest that with such  small amount biweekly I was able to support myself in what I needed while living at home. It’s encouraging to know I can live off of so little. I was in debt spottily over the last year, so it’s good to be steadily in the black.

My hair has been sheared off again. This time it’s much shorter than I can ever remember having it. It’s very fun, but I think I’ll be keeping it steadily longer at a medium length, and I will more than likely grow it out again as soon as band season starts. That sounds strange, but I use the beginning of band season as my marker for the beginning of Fall, even if it is August.

I realize I’m very tired of being under the legal age for the consumption of alcohol. Not because I want to go bar hopping and get shit faced on a regular basis, but because I do enjoy a mixed drink here and there and it is keeping me from my music! In some venues, that is. Ram’s Head is a wonderful tavern in Annapolis, MD and they have many shows of great artists, all of which I would be glad to attend. Unfortunately, you are not permitted to the shows unless you are of legal drinking age, with the exception of when the artist specifically sets up the show ahead of time for underage people to be able to attend. I was quite flustered this past Thursday when I found this was the case. The husband of my choir director was performing with another man and I was looking forward to the show, but upon inquiring after tickets, I was told I had to be 21 to attend. Thank goodness I hadn’t bought the tickets yet.

This past Saturday was absolutely wonderful. Busy. But wonderful. My brother and his house hold (being his roommates) moved to Annapolis and I helped them with this process. There were many setbacks but all in all after a hard day’s work everything was successfully moved from Queen Anne to Annapolis. That evening I attended a concert at St. Anne’s church in Annapolis for my graduated high school’s annual Spring Concert. (b) The concert was wonderful, with many songs speaking to me in many different ways. I will be ordering a CD this week. One song I suggest for any and everyone is the Finlandia Hymn. The link there is to a boy’s choir and thus their vowels are a bit pinched, but it is the closest arrangement I could find. The hymn is close to my heart and lifts my soul on even the darkest of days. After the concert, it seemed that the spiritual realm was a bit perturbed. Naturally with such glorious praise to God there will be a counter soon to follow. It was the first time in a long time I have had such a sweeping perception of such a large situation. I was very sensitive to spiritual underlying going-ons some time ago, but because of my own fear and discomfort at what I did not understand, I shut out the perception, just as I did my dreams. The dreams had returned, but this was the first event where my awareness of something spiritual was so perceptive again. It was a bit overwhelming, really. Not in the way that it used to be, but merely in the simple fact that it was there.

That evening I slept at my brother’s new place, being in Annapolis. I was driving my parents suburban so that we could get a couch the following day. It was wonderful to spend time with everyone in that house hold. It’s been a long time since I was able to spend time with them and it’s lovely having them so near by now. So lovely that I spent another night there. Sunday was supposed to be a piece of cake. Not so much. We headed to Ikea around 11:30. I needed to put gas in the truck. There was no key to the gas cap in the truck. We went to my parents house to get the key, a total of an hour out of our way. We left my parents house. We got lost on the way. I forgot to put gas in the tank until we were lost. In D.C. And there was a bad accident on the route we needed to take to get back to the exit we missed. And then we didn’t know how Ikea worked. And then they didn’t have our couch. We ordered one. Then we picked out pillows. Yay! There were better ones upstairs. Oooo tempting. So we searched for them. *hums “Bonanza” theme* And come to find out they come with a slip cover for a couch…and it costs $130. *sigh* So we got the original pillows. Well we might as well pick out chairs. These chairs are cheap and comfy, huzzah! Chairs ho! What about this pillow! Yes I wants it! Please note that the increasing insanity of this paragraph is both a reflection on the increasing frustration, insanity, and exhaustion of that day in addition to my current sleepy demeanor. In the end, we got a bunch of stuff for a really good price. I went to some good friends house that evening to spend some time with them and do some laundry. I was so exhausted by then that I ended up crashing there for a solid half hour while I waited for my laundry. I hung out there till 2:30ish and headed back to my brother’s pad, clean laundry and all. Now, it sounds really strange that I was out until early in the morning when I was so tired. However. I’m far more of a night person than I am a day person, so although I was still rather sleepy in demeanor, I was in fact far more energetic with the coming of night and my nap. 🙂

Today I had orientation at my new job. I am now a team member of Target, and boy am I thrilled. I am working full time and I start tomorrow with my official training. I’m really looking forward to working there. The company is excellent at communication and organization as far as I can tell, which I value very, very highly as those are the things that were very, very lacking in my past two jobs. So it seems as though Target and I will get along very well.

Less than a month until I venture to Rome. I am thrilled at the thought.

And with that good people, I must be off to bed. I am quite tired from the business over the past few days and looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow very much. Thus, goodnight, sweet reader. Until I post again.

A few side notes:

a. During high school, I was quizzing a friend for a history test she had upcoming and she became frustrated that she was missing questions here and there and decided to ask me a few questions. She asked me who Leo Tolstoy was and what he did that was substantial. I answered the question with ease and she looked at me shocked, complaining that it was absurd that I could remember things like that when I couldn’t remember what I had for dinner the night before. After thinking for a few moments, I realized I actually could not remember what I had for dinner the evening before.

b. If you know how to refer to the high school that you graduated from without sounding awkward or as if you’re still in school, tell me please because this sounds right initially, but still rubs me the wrong way. I feel as if the grammatical structure paints the high school as graduated, and not me.

The MVA through Palestrina

So it’s been a while. I’m finding out more and more people read this (for as few comments as there are) so it’s encouraging to know that this is read and nudges me gently to keep writing. So here I go again. (on my own?)

Note: you’ll have to click the read full post link because this one is a bit long and would clog up my front page nicely. Continue reading