It Isn’t Christmas Without Leroy Anderson!

Today, I finished another chapter of college by playing in my last ever IUP Bands Concert.  I’ve played in the Wind Ensemble for the past four semesters, and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life.  

I’ve gotten to play some great pieces with my colleagues, grow as a leader and player (especially with piccolo!), as well as learn from my incredible teacher Dr. Stamp.  Wind Ensemble was one of those things that I always enjoyed going to, no exceptions.  I don’t think we realize how lucky we are to be in part of such a group.  Very few college students, get to experience that – the intensity, the challenge, the maturity it requires – and I think I speak for all of us when I say that Wind Ensemble has changed us into better people, and not just as musicians.  It has taught me, among other things, to be more sensitive, to recognize beauty, and to listen better.

On that same note, I could not have asked for a better section with whom to spend that time.  Most of the flute section was new to Wind Ensemble this semester and I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to gel and work with each other in the same way as in the past, but I can honestly say they have all been wonderful to work with.  They were all willing to play piccolo when I asked (for those of you don’t know, I avoid playing piccolo in Wind Ensemble like the plague), always prepared for rehearsal, and even ready to practice our music outside of Wind Ensemble time. Remember Hammersmith? Yeah, that was the one that needed the sectionals.

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                       Wind Ensemble Flutes, Fall 2013: Karli, Ashlyn, Brenden, Monica, and Meagan

I thought today’s concert went rather well.  I especially enjoyed the piece “Chorale” we played in honor of Robert Washburn written by him, who was Dr. Stamp’s teacher and passed away recently.  The brothers of Phi Mu Alpha sang the choral version and we followed it with the instrumental version.  We played a few other holiday-related pieces, and of course, ended with Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”!  It’s not a holiday concert without that classic, for sure.  I thought the other ensembles did a great job too, especially Symphony Band’s performance of “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” – WOW what a fantastic piece that is.  I love its slow, quiet beginning and how it just slowly grows into this gigantic wall of sound.  

On an unrelated note, some of the other things I did this weekend included accompanying my friend Brittany on her senior recital, at which she did an amazing job!  It was such a fun recital – I loved all the pieces we got to play together, and I think everyone enjoyed listening.  As much as I gnash my teeth and want to rip my hair out when people aren’t prepared/don’t pay me/their professors waste my time in lessons/make me do last-minute rehearsals, I really do love accompanying.  I love playing piano in general and it’s awesome to work with my friends to put together something beautiful.  Especially when we’ve been working on a particularly tricky piece or difficult passage and we just nail it at the performance, it feels SO great.  Some of my most favorite performing moments in college have been from accompanying.  

And on a completely unrelated note, I also went to Joann Fabrics yesterday and bought some fabric to make a jacket for my dog Button!  In the winter we usually end up safety-pinning a towel around her neck to keep her warm!  But I decided it was time to make her something official.  I used to sew all the time when I was a kid – I made several quilts, a bathrobe, tons of clothing for my dolls – and I haven’t done it in a while but I’d like to get back to it.  So I bought this fabric and a little kit with the correct measurements to sew her one. 

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So that’s my little winter project to do over break.

I guess that’s it – my last weekend of the semester is quickly drawing to a close!  Then only one more day of class, a few days of finals, then I am outta here!  We can do it guys.  We’re almost finished.  

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