"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagnination, and life to everything." ~ Plato

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Girl Who Reads

A friend posted this on facebook -- both a wonderful message and wonderfully written!  :) 
(pick me, pick me!)

Date a Girl Who Reads.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Inspirational Reminder...

"He loves us because we are a beautiful creation of His and we are beautiful because He loves us, and no one can take that away from us. People can gossip about us or steal from us. They can ignore us or be unkind to us but they can never, never take from us what really matters- the beauty and love that come from God. How freeing. How freeing. What matters most can never be taken or stolen."

From: http://soltsisters.blogspot.com/2011/11/do-i-love-you-because-youre-beautifulor.html


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Well it's been a long...

month... or five - eh, more like 3, so it's not too bad... haha.  I'm sad to have to have given up on the 365 project, but as a student (at least through this year) it just hasn't been feasible... so much to do and not enough time to do it!  But I've (mostly) been having so much fun and making a point to take pictures, so it wasn't all worthless.  :)

Let's see, September... Steph and I are in South Hall this year, which is on-campus apartment style housing.  We've each got our own small room, a shared bathroom, a kitchenette, and a considerably spacious living/common room.  We're having a grand old time cooking for ourselves and hosting study parties for various classes. 

From when we got our "wands" for conducting!
Hosting family dinner!
This semester I am taking:
Geoscience 103 - Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and other Geologic Hazards
Conducting 2
Music History 2 - 18th/19th Century
Diction (learning how to pronounce languages correctly)
Analyzing Music

From my Geoscience Saturday field trip to Mt. Rainier... my first ever college field trip!
My performance based classes are:
Voice lessons... my junior recital with Stephanie is this April!!
Opera Workshop - performing scenes and the one-act opera Gianni Schicchi by Puccini
Choir of the West   :)
Soprano section at COW retreat!  Yay choir!
I spent the first half of the semester as the Music Director for Night of Musical Theatre (NOMT), which is an annual student-produced project in the Theatre department that showcases an array of musical theatre songs.  It's hard to explain beyond that, but this year we (myself, director Jack Sorensen, and choreographer Jill Heinecke) put together a loose plot based around the idea of love/the way we connect memories of love with music; we called it "Elaborate Lives" and, if I do say so myself, it was beautiful.  :)  It was a crazy up-and-down process, full of learning for the three of us, as well as our amazing cast.  I was worried throughout about putting together and successfully leading the band for the show, but I chose the right people and the music was on FIRE every night!  Some of our favorite songs included "The Club" from In the Heights, "December 1963" from Jersey Boys, and "He Lives in You" (changed to "They Live in You" for show purposes) from The Lion King.  It was fun to rock out and I got a lot of practice conducting... :)

Stretches at NOMT auditions!  The one part I missed this year was not getting to dance...
I am also in HERmonic again!  I finally feel like I'm really a part of the group and I'm happy to say that our rehearsals are such a haven for me this year.  Especially when NOMT was getting frustrating.  The audition process was eye-opening and intense.  We had about 40 or more auditionees and only 4 spots we were looking to fill.  It was a long day, but we did it!  The new ladies are all super talented and bring great individual dynamics to the group and the group as a whole is really fulfilling our "sassy, brassy, and classy" motto!  Musically, we have made leaps and bounds in just these first couple of months and our new outfits are sparkly and freaking awesome!!  We are bringing the a'capella lady-power to PLU this year like never before!

Singing "And So it Goes" at our first non-PLU concert of the year - yeah sequins!  That's right!
Even though opera is technically a class, it has taken a lot of extra-curricular work and, of course, our performances have been in the evenings.  We had opening night this Thursday (November 10th) and it is a FANTASTIC show!!  The first half is called "Grand Moments in Opera" and features six well-known operatic (and one "musical theatre") scenes from shows including Falstaff (which is the one I'm in), Nabucco (chorus of the Hebrew Slaves), Lakme (The Flower Duet, which Steph is in and it is beautiful!), and Sweeny Todd (which is actually a weird sort of musical theatre-opera hybrid...).  The second half of the night is a performance of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.  Several of the roles are double cast, creating a fairly different show for each of the four nights.  The plot of the opera is based on a briefly mentioned character in Dante's Inferno, a man (Gianni Schicchi) who takes advantage of a greedy family, rewriting their deceased relative's will to benefit them and ultimately himself.  I am singing the role of Lauretta, Schicchi's daughter, who sings the aria O mio babbino caro.  I have had soooooo much fun with this show - the casts for both the scenes and opera are made up of incredibly talented people and it has been amazing to both share this experience with my good friends in the music department and make new ones because of it.  :)  We've just got two nights left!  Then I don't know what I am going to do with all of my free time... haha...

The Thursday/Saturday cast is sad about having to lose their hands if they get caught...

Friday/Sunday cast reacting to Buoso Donati's will...  *
I am able to somehow find free time though!!  And spending time with my amazing friends has been another highlight of the year.  Steph, Lauren, Kelvin, and I are fully embracing our "family" status (established on last year's Europe tour) and make it a point to do things together, like going to the Puyallup Fair.  Steph and I also like having people over for our weekly television show viewings, especially Castle and The Big Bang Theory (although I miss BBT every week because of HERmonic rehearsal.... oh well). 
Artsy Puyallup Fair ferris wheel shot...

Waiting in line for the ferris wheel!

Kelvin got a tatoo at the fair and it was a big deal.

Steph and our wonderful friend Katie in the midst of miniature ping pong.

They weren't great at it, but they were really good at laughing about it!

Just another family night... I may or may not have made the abstract sculptures featured on Kelvin's knees.
Junior year is proving to be a lot of work, especially in discovering the art of balance between classes/homework, practicing for classes, and scheduling/practicing for extra-curriculars.  This is the first time I haven't had/gotten a job on campus, but I have come to the realization that (at least for this semester) it is really a blessing in disguise.  I am only human, and there truly are only 24 hours in a day.  But somehow (between the support of my amazing friends and probably literally by the grace of God) I am not only surviving but, between test scores and  performance reviews, succeeding.  So far, this semester is showing me that I am on the right track - I'm glad I switched majors and I'm not looking back (oh snap, she can rhyme)!  Last night in particular, before going on in my final scene of Schicchi, I felt more strongly than ever that I want to make performing my career path, or as much a part of it as possible.  There is nothing more satisfying to me than helping create great music, whether in a choir, in front of a cast/band, or onstage singing my heart out.  :)  I'm so excited to see where these passions are going to take me!

"Babbo, pieta!" (Daddy, pleeeeeease?!) - end of the aria.  :)  *
  • My first paid gig at a church in Tacoma (filling in for a soprano in a choir...)  Whee!
  • First HERmonic/PLUtonic concert of the year for the PLU community
  • Annual PLU Christmas concerts - solo in a featured piece... :)
  • Singing in Vashon Opera's Hansel and Gretel in February
I have so much to look forward to and I'm happy being busy!  Hopefully I'll be able to get better at posting now that I have a bit more time on my hands... but we've heard that before now, haven't we?... haha.


* - taken by the wonderful Stephanie Bivins.  :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Last Days

I'm in my last days of summertime and I couldn't be happier!  haha.  I guess college helps change that tune.  :)
This week was my last one of work at KCDA (hopefully forever!) and my last full week before heading back to PLU.  I am so excited and so ready!  Not that being at home isn't nice or anything, but I miss all of my friends and being musical all of the time and having something academic to do.  Plus, Steph and I are living in an apartment on campus this year, so I'm excited for the adventures that lie ahead.
I still have a lot to do (mostly because I was working full time from 6:00AM to 2:30PM, which doesn't leave a lot of room to do much else with the day).  I am making lists like mad and stressing over music things like making sure my opera parts are memorized and that I have a song picked for choir auditions...
But this afternoon was spent in celebration of my last day of work.  After coincidentally getting off work an hour early, my mom and sister and I had a girls night!  We went and saw "The Help," had dinner at Panera Bread, and did a little shopping.  If you haven't seen the movie and read the novel "The Help" you NEED to!  It is hilarious and heartbreaking and just all around wonderful.  I have to admit I actually cried at this movie, guys.  That hardly ever happens (unless Snape dies...).  I would say that the book and movie are overall equals in terms of quality.  They are rather different in some aspects; each meets a need that perhaps the other does not address.  I don't really think it's fair to judge movies by their books anyway, as they are two different forms of storytelling/art.  (Unless it's Twilight... there was a preview for Twilight movie #4, Part 1 and I was mortified...)
After a fairly long week of waiting to be done, I have busy weekend and week ahead to look forward to!  Along with gathering college supplies, I have a wedding reception to attend tomorrow night, and of course Mass on Sunday evening.  :)
I move in on September 1st!  Woohoo - so much to do!  :D


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Dear Readers (however many of you there may or may not be...),

As you might already have guessed, my 365 project has rather quickly degenerated... it is a lot easier to keep up with when I am at a computer constantly - like at school!  I faithfully took pictures for the rest of June and July, but fell down a slippery slope in the last week or so with missing days completely.  This culminated in completely forgetting my camera for our trip to Ocean Shores this weekend!  :(  I used my sister's camera for a few shots on Saturday at the beach... that is, until her camera got dropped in the sand and now refuses to function properly (it's cheap and old, so perhaps a blessing in disguise).  As for the daily posting, well that died a sorry death with the trip to Europe.  *le sigh*
The whole point of my project (for me, at least) was to get me taking more pictures to document my time in school and to get me blogging at a fairly regular pace, which I would say has been mildly to rather successful, depending on the month.  :) 
I will still be posting and taking photos, and sometimes posting photos!  *gasp*  I will try to start another 365 sometime in the future, as I think it is a great project.  As to when this might be, I cannot say... but it will happen! 

Anyway, Ocean Shores!  It was a super fun 48-hour or so escape from the suburbs to the beach for the weekend.  Over the approximately 2 - 2.5 days, I saw a combined total of 8 deer!  That was the most unexpected thing.  Other than that, it was surf, sand, and a very sandy dog.  :)  Apparently my sister erased her memory card, so I will post pics from hers and my dad's cameras at a later edit. 

But yes!  Just so you know what I've been doing and that I'm not dead!  :)
I'll be back! (Read that with an Austrian accent... ;P)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Advice


"The point is, I can’t tell you how to succeed. But I can tell you how not to: Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript—or painting, song, voice, dance moves, [insert passion here]—in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good. I guarantee you that it won’t take you anywhere."


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

169 - Au revoir ~ Europe Day 12!

June 12th, 2011 – HOME!

                We left the hotel around 10AM to get to the airport around 11 to leave France for London around 1:30PM.  We left about a quarter to a third of our choir behind – those who were deviating anywhere from a week or two to a month or more.  We hope we see them again!  Haha.  But really.
                The most exciting part of our travel day was Amanda reading to us while we waited in the French airport.  J  She is the best reader ever. 


Ever.  :)
Our second flight left London at about 3:30 and we got into Seattle around 6:30PM on the same day, after being in the air for 9 hours … that was a weird feeling.  Haha.  It was exciting to see my home-sweet-home Cascade mountains out the plane window. 

Yay mountains!!!
It was even more exciting meeting my family with Kelvin, Lauren, and Steph’s near the luggage carousels in the SeaTac airport.  It had seriously been forever!  Thank goodness for my choir family, or things might have been a lot lonelier.  J  Mom, Dad, Em, and I celebrated with a trip to Kent’s Azteca – yum yum yum!
                Happy to be home, looking forward to a little time off and then a week of camp!


168 - Paris ~ Europe Day 11!

June 11th, 2011 – Our Last Day in Paris!

                Steph, Jessie, and I all opted to take a guided tour of Paris with Jenny and Dr. Nance.  Kelvin, Lauren, and Megan were among the group that was with us (about a third of the choir).  We started out at 9AM by boarding the metro and learning how to navigate it.  The system wasn’t really that difficult – I was more nervous about it than I needed to be, though my more-traveled friends were saying how the metro in places like Italy is much more efficient and easy to use.  Oh well, we managed! 

On le metro.  :)
                Our first stop was the Museum d’Orsay, which is famous for its collection of impressionist painters’ work, particularly that of Monet and van Gogh.  It was interesting and exciting to say we saw the more famous pieces, but wandering around an art museum (which I usually like to do) kind of gave me a headache and seemed to make everyone a little tired. 

I only got a picture of the back of the museum as we were walking by it, as there were no pictures allowed inside... "Paris Orleans" (the words on the building) refers to the street we were on. 
We all woke up on our walk to the next stop, though – the Notre Dame Cathedral!  It was thrilling to see it up close and, yes, everyone was singing “The Bells of Notre Dame” from the Disney movie.  Haha.  The most amazing part to me was the outside architecture and, of course, the famous rose window.  
*cue epic choir music*
The eyes of Notre Dame.  :)

Rose window!

Artsy candle shot.
After seeing other cathedrals throughout France, I realized they all have similar elements and even tend to mirror each other, which makes sense as most are based off of the famous Notre Dame, or were reconstructed with similar elements.  Because of that, I walked through the cathedral a little more speedily than I maybe should have, but a lot of it was like what we had seen before. 

From there the group split up a bit.  Steph, Lauren, Kelvin, Andrew, Abby, Jessie, and I went along with Jenny and Dr. Nance to Sainte Chapelle.  It was built by King Louis IX to house his collection of holy relics from the Passion.  The building is small and narrow, but every inch is beautiful.  The downstairs is elaborately painted with rich reds, blues, and golds.  It also has the gift shop, where I got postcards and a Christmas ornament for Mom.  If the downstairs is gorgeous, the upstairs is mind-blowing.  The walls are literally all stained glass panels – the light up there is dream-like and magnificent.  I’m so glad we went there!

The downstairs ceiling, all painted.
The upstairs walls of stained glass.

The Crown of Thorns relic (I'm pretty sure).
The top of the grand chest for other relics - I was really going for a closer look at the glass.  :P
The tour/lunch group!
The students of our group split off for lunch, as it was already 3pm and we were starving!  We all grabbed paninis at a corner stand and they were super yummy.  Then Abby and Andrew headed off to the shopping district and the rest of us stopped by a little souvenir shop to round out our gift shopping for our friends and family back home.  Somehow Jessie and I managed to get separated from Steph, Lauren, and Kelvin even though we were in the same store, so they left before we did.  That was okay, as she and I had a good time taking about 45 minutes to shop.  I got a pair of paintings of the Eiffel Tower (one day, one night) for Dad, scarves for Becky and Joanna, a poster of Le Chat Noir to go with Haley’s chocolate, a Paris/Eiffel Tower keychain and a pair of tin wall decorations that I just had to have for some reason.  I think that was everything… haha.  Jessie and I finished up our business by 4pm, as we had to be back at the hotel by 5pm, and managed to find our way back underground to the right metro station after a small bit of confusion.  Once we were on, we just had to wait until the end of the line! 

The evening was shared by the choir and orchestra on a private boat cruise on the Seine.  It was a fun way to end the trip, or it started that way, at least.  Dinner was 5 courses and delicious, with intermittent trips out to the bow for sight-seeing pictures.  I got some great sunset pictures of Paris sights, including the Eiffel Tower (like I didn’t have enough of those) and of the bridge where lovers write their names on padlocks and attach it to the wire as a token of their affection. 

We had a few extras aboard (student family members), so Steph and Kelvin ended up at a table for two instead of six, much to everyone's amusement.

Boating down the Seine - it was a lovely evening!
The padlock bridge - I love this picture.  :)
It was great for a while, but the wine was basically free-flowing however … which led to raucous behavior starting after about 2 hours into the trip.  From there on it got exponentially less enjoyable for those of us drinking just a little or none at all (aka my group of friends).  The bus ride back was stressful, with the threat of vomit in the back of our minds and people tipsily not staying in their seats for the 10 minute trip.  Kelvin, Lauren, and Kirsten came and stayed in our room until about 1AM to avoid potentially unpleasant roommate situations *sigh*.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and at least we had each other! 

All in all, a marvelous day!

Je t'aime, Paris!


167 - Chartres ~ Europe Day 10!

June 10th, 2011 – Chartres Cathedral

                The main stop of the day was the historic Chartres Cathedral, where the choir sang our final concert of the year.  We drove for what seemed like quite a while from Honfleur to Chartres … I have no pictures of the ride, so it must not have been that exciting.  The only significant thing I remember was listening to Julian’s iPod and being fairly impressed with his band from high school – fun times were had, indeed (what sarcasm?). 
                Chartres was gorgeous of course!  We had very little time to get some food before having to go into the cathedral.  Luckily, I had saved some food from breakfast, so I got a chance for some quick souvenir shopping, which ended up being some postcards and a rosary.  J

Outside of the cathedral - flying buttresses!

Some architecture close up ... amazing.
Hey!  That's us!  "Friday the 10th of June at 5pm ... Free entry"

We were given a tour by a very old man who I think is one of the leading historians of the cathedral – he has his own book! 
Our guide and expert on all things Chartres.
The most exquisite part of the building, to me, is the stained glass, which shines so brightly in the dark stone interior. 
One of their famous rose windows.  All of the glass in the cathedral was removed by hand during WWII to save it.  The cathedral itself, suspected of being a Nazi meeting point, was almost the victim of a bombing by the Allies.

Over one of the side doors, representing the coming of the Lord.

One of the walls that has been restored.  Someday the entire building will be white like this, as it was many, many years ago - absolutely stunning.
I also got to walk the labyrinth, which was profound, both historically and spiritually.  People have been paying pilgrimage to the cathedral for centuries to visit the labyrinth and the holy relic – a piece of cloth thought to be worn by Mary when she gave birth to Jesus.  In reflecting on the relic, I felt like it is not a matter of being “real” or “fake” (as our 21st century minds naturally ponder); what makes it matter is the fact that it serve(d)(s) as a source of belief and faith for so many people.  That’s what makes its power real. 
The relic, behind gates.

People walking the labyrinth, taken before I had done so.
          In terms of music and our concert, I preferred St. Severin’s in terms of coziness and sound clarity; Chartres is so much bigger that our sound felt quite small because it took longer to reverberate back to us.  But it was a magical concert.  Tears were held back until our last few songs together, where the emotion swelled, both literally and musically.  I didn’t end up crying (I usually don’t), but hugs were necessary all around.  COW has been such an amazing experience this year and I have grown tremendously as a musician and a person.  Some of my closest friends were discovered through choir this year and the significance of the group in my life for this year will never be forgotten.  SO MUCH CHOIR LOVE.
Dinner was at a restaurant in Chartres.  We overcrowded it a bit, and half of us were sent upstairs to a rooftop room … the 5 flights of stairs were worth the light and great view ... that I didn't take a picture of.  The only Steph food scare of the entire trip happened here (of course).  Fortunately, it was minor and nothing happened, but she felt too uncomfortable to eat after it.  Of course, it happened during the appetizer.  :/  <3 
Finally, another long drive back to another Paris hotel, the Novotel, was spent listening to more of Julian’s iPod.  It was probably only an hour or so, but it seemed like forever. 

A beautiful sunset accompanied our drive back to Paris.  :)
Jessie tripled with us again (hooray!) and she and I spent some time with our friends Brendan and Jo before bed.  The rooms there were nice, but nothing extraordinary.  In fact, there was hardly room to maneuver around the bed and the two pull-outs, which were very spring-y.  These minor details were fairly easy to overlook however, as we anticipated a full day in Paris on our own for Saturday!


166 - Honfleur ~ Europe Day 10!

June 9th, 2011

                Today was spent in Honfleur!  We were up around 8AM to be in town by 10:30.  The first hour or so was rehearsal in the oldest wooden church in France – it was really gorgeous.  The inside was designed to look like the hull of a ship.  A second half had to be added when the congregation grew too large. 
The inside of the church.
After a walking tour of the town, we got lunch and had an afternoon free in Honfleur, as the concert wasn’t until 7:30pm. 

The main restaurant area of Honfleur ... it's prettier in the sunshine, but this was my best picture from this angle.

From the other side of the harbor.

The other side of Honfleur - more restaurants and touristy shops.
           I spent my time with Lauren, Steph, and Kelvin – yay choir family!  Lunch was along the main food avenue of Honfleur, at a sort of Italian place.  Had what was essentially a crepe with egg, ham, spinach, tomato, mushroom, and cheese in it.  Tasty! 

Yay family!  Good camera work, Kelvin!
"Salty pancake" yummy yummy!  :)
We walked around and shopped (poor Kelvin) for the next couple of hours.  I found a scarf for me and a pretty, handmade, one-of-a-kind bracelet for Emily.  Kelvin was rewarded with a visit to 2 different gelato shops for his endurance!  Good boy, Kelvin!  :P  

Sneaky picture - yes, Kelvin is actually happy to have his gelato!
In the meantime, Julian led a varying group of gentlemen from our choir around  and they made about 42 euro singing various men’s repertoire from our program on the streets.  We caught up with them outside the shop where I got my scarf and enjoyed the spectacle, as well as seeing Dr. Nance join in!
Pan handling at its finest.
After getting back to the hotel around 6 for a quick change, we hurried to the church to sing.  Despite a slightly awkward set up – choir in one half of the church, orchestra on the other – things worked out.  I felt like it was one of our most successful concerts in France, based on audience reception!  I ended up with Adam, Jenny (our tour guide), Kelli (the tour photographer for PLU), Dr. Nance, Jason, and Sam for dinner at a seafood place … might be missing one or two people in my head… sorry!  It was a yummy 3-course deal for 16 euro!  We were last to catch the bus, but oh well.  Plenty of people had an intent to party back at the hotel, including Kelvin’s roommate, so he ended up hanging out again with Steph and myself, as well as Lauren, Megan, and Kirsten K for a while. 

All in all, it was a great day and wonderful evening!