You never know…

You never know…

Class of 2013 – Traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to work with the West Indies Christian Mission Row 1: Alison Hendrickson, Julie Jakmides, Jenny Gamertsfelder, Sarah Wroblewski, Jon Borrego. Row 2: Steve Kramer, Amy Ricciardi, Emily Christmas, Kelsey Tomlinson, Naoko Oyabu-Mathis, Zak Suhar. Row 3: Kody Severino, Megan Merlene, Kelly Slutz, Kathy Girton (host), … Read more

DRtrip

Class of 2013 – Traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to work with the West Indies Christian Mission

Row 1: Alison Hendrickson, Julie Jakmides, Jenny Gamertsfelder, Sarah Wroblewski, Jon Borrego.
Row 2: Steve Kramer, Amy Ricciardi, Emily Christmas, Kelsey Tomlinson, Naoko Oyabu-Mathis, Zak Suhar.
Row 3: Kody Severino, Megan Merlene, Kelly Slutz, Kathy Girton (host), Elana Anderson (cook), Mike Patterson, Jonathan Espacio (guide).

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic on a service trip. It was part of the social responsibility and personal well-being course offered at Mount Union, and it was quite an awesome experience.

It was an AMAZING experience. I learned so much about another culture, the other people on the trip and myself. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow and do service at Mount Union, but this one was definitely one of the best.

We did a lot of work while over there. We mixed cement the old-fashioned way, we painted at least six rooms and we helped feed more than 200 people in a dump village. In a dump village, people actually live in little communities next to the local landfill, and that’s where they get their meals.

I also learned a lot about the people on the trip with me. Every night we would share our life stories, and I grew to realize that with any given person, I have a lot more in common with them than not. I look at life and people a little differently now because of that.

BUT! You’re probably wondering what this has to do with music and the arts, since I typically blog about the arts. Well, I’ll tell you.

Before we headed to the Dominican Republic, our host Kathy Girton asked what we were interested in and good at. She wanted to know what we could do with any kids we worked with, and how to make the free day enjoyable. So naturally, I said singing and music.

Well! On day one, we were headed to work with a bunch of kids. And we worked with a ton of kids; that was probably a majority of the trip. We played with bubbles, jump ropes or just gave them piggyback rides. It was awesome.

But I digress. On day one, Kathy hands me this book of Spanish songs. And I’m like: Uh oh. I don’t know any of these songs, if I mess up all the kids will know…

So I look through the pages. Then I realize, I CAN read this music! We’ve been learning solfeg in choir for the last three years! Solfeg is a method of assigning notes a syllable, like do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti. Because the intervals between the syllables never change, I can assign syllables to notes in music and sight-read it.

And that’s exactly what I did. Within minutes I had a song or two completely down, and I was so excited.

First, because it was really empowering. I could have been totally lost, but I wasn’t.

Second, because it was so great to use my music knowledge! People say, “Why do I have to take this class, I’ll never use it.” Well, you never truly know where you’re gonna use the knowledge you acquire in a class. And this Dominican Republic moment proves it!

For pictures of our trip, check out this video!

Music for the show

Let’s talk about the pit band for a minute here. We’ve been working on Company for weeks now, with the vocal music director Ian LeRoy. He’s a junior music performance major, and he’s been doing an excellent job. Come see the show, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The first thing you’re going to hear … Read more

Let’s talk about the pit band for a minute here.

We’ve been working on Company for weeks now, with the vocal music director Ian LeRoy. He’s a junior music performance major, and he’s been doing an excellent job.

Come see the show, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The first thing you’re going to hear is an a capella bit that leads to a cluster chord–basically, a lot of notes at the same time. It’ll make you shiver it’s so good.

So acting, check. Vocals, check. What we needed was the band.

And they are sounding pretty incredible. With everything from two pianists, a ‘cello, trumpets, and more, we are gonna have such an amazing sound for this performance.

I think the only relatively difficult thing thus far has been nailing down the times. But now we’re golden.

Here’s some things to listen for, voally and instrumentally:

1. The opening of the show. It’s just jaw-dropping.

2. The girlfriends’ trio. Their voices are gorgeous and complement each other very well.

3. The sax in the opening of The Ladies Who Lunch scene. Junior Ian Bell :)

4. Anything the husbands sing together.

5. The end of Someone is Waiting and Sorry Grateful. Senior Kenny Leep and junior Jesse Phillips are going to make every girl in the room fall in love with them.

6. Another Hundred People by freshman Erin Bell

(PS, have I mentioned that all the other girls in the show besides me are freshmen? Such a talented freshman class, holy wow!)

Just wanted to give you a couple things to look forward to :) Come see the show!

The show is April 4-6, 11-13 at 8 p.m. and Sunday April 7 at 2 p.m. at Rodman Playhouse

The flutes and the reeds!

The flutes and the reeds!

Yesterday was another wonderful concert in Presser Recital Hall! Have I mentioned that those are always free? Seriously. Free concerts. Go to them! Anyway, this was a dual concert — two times the music! The Woodwind Quartet and the Flute Choir played very well. I love quartet music, especially the woodwind quartet. It’s cool to hear … Read more

Yesterday was another wonderful concert in Presser Recital Hall! Have I mentioned that those are always free?

Seriously. Free concerts. Go to them!

Anyway, this was a dual concert — two times the music! The Woodwind Quartet and the Flute Choir played very well.

I love quartet music, especially the woodwind quartet. It’s cool to hear the bassoon, oboe, flute and clarinet all working together. My favorite piece they played was Danse Villageoise by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894). They also did a really cool one called Quartet for Wood-Wind On Old Tunes by Herbert O. Sontag, and it was essentially a mash up of a lot of familiar folk tunes.

Woodwind Quartet: Heather Rice, Flute. Betty Shultz, Oboe. Ian Bell, Bassoon. Laryssa Byndas, Clarinet

L to R–Flute: Heather Rice, Oboe: Betty Shultz, Bassoon: Ian Bell, Clarinet: Laryssa Byndas

I love the sound of the oboe and bassoon. If you’ve never heard them played, they have a very unique sound that I find really pleasing. (One of our bassoonists, Ian Bell, will be doing a concerto tomorrow evening with Rep Strings, stop by Presser at 7:30 p.m.!)

The Flute Choir played as well. I love the sound a flute can make, and the songs they played really showed off all you can do with a flute. We even had a bass flute (played by Jessica Kostrab), an alto flute (Cresslyn DiRosa) and a piccolo (Heather Rice).

One song, Swing Along by Nancy W. Wood, made it seem like the sound was actually moving in waves across the line of flutes. Very cool effect.

Flutes

L to R– Cresslyn DiRosa, Rachel Beach, Sarah Hohenadel, Alex Garner, Amanda Manley,
Cayley Briggs, Brianna Searing, Drew Duncan, Jessica Kostrab

Like I always say, the free concerts at Mount Union are great. You get to see the effort our peers put into their music, and you get some classical music under your listening belt.

Word on the street…

Word on the street is that Mount Union’s Department of Music is looking into getting a men’s chorus. Yesterday, all the young men interested in being in such a group met to discuss the possibilities. It seems that next semester we’ll have one more choral group to show off! This is seriously such an exciting … Read more

Word on the street is that Mount Union’s Department of Music is looking into getting a men’s chorus.

Yesterday, all the young men interested in being in such a group met to discuss the possibilities.

It seems that next semester we’ll have one more choral group to show off!

This is seriously such an exciting thing for Mount Union. Getting boys to participate in choir has been like pulling teeth in the past—we never seemed to have quite enough.

This year, and for the first time in Dr. Cook’s career, we had enough men to have a 50/50 ratio between males and females. This makes for a wonderfully balanced choir, so our sound will be great this year!

With so many men interested in a men’s chorus, it looks like it got the go-ahead.

Typically, Dr. Cook keeps his rehearsals open to anyone who wants to sit in. However, all the men’s chorus rehearsals are going to be kept under wraps! During the actual performance will be the first time anyone has heard them!

This is seriously one of the most exciting musical happenings I’ve witnessed at Mount Union. It’s going to be awesome.

I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Learn to love rehearsal

When I was a kid, I know I was always told, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s one of those sayings that gets drilled into your head and becomes some sort of fundamental learning block that no one can escape. But it’s wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time studying … Read more

When I was a kid, I know I was always told, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s one of those sayings that gets drilled into your head and becomes some sort of fundamental learning block that no one can escape.

But it’s wrong.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time studying the arts at Mount Union, it’s that perfect practice makes perfect.

If you take lessons, you have to practice. And if you don’t practice correctly, you won’t succeed. It doesn’t do any good to practice something if you’re not going to do it right. If I slouched or strained my throat whenever I practiced, guess what I would probably do in a performance? Slouch and strain.

You have to treat practice and rehearsal just like a performance. My boyfriend recently said that if you practice poorly, you should leave the practice room feeling the same way you would leave a poor performance.

So true.

Treating rehearsals like a performance is something that I’ve really improved on since I got here. Dr. Cook, our choir director, always says you have to learn to love rehearsing. After all, only 10% of our music careers will ever be spent in a real performance. Everything else is practice and rehearsal.

 I’m studying voice, and I’ve improved immensely since starting to practice regularly. I sang last week at a student recital. It wasn’t my favorite performance, but I was happy because of things that came easier because of being better at practicing.

You learn rules for excellent musicianship and success in general in the Department of Music.

 Time to practice? Perfect.