Monday, December 16, 2013

As Good As It Gets

I am finally getting around to posting video from my Junior Recital. The delay in posting this time isn't due to my disappointment with my recital. After the recital I got really sick. Maybe due to stress. Maybe due to the unseasonable cold winter we've been having. In any case, I had to find where I had stashed the videos in my fever induced state. I still have a couple of more videos I need to find.

In the end, I was pleased with the recital. For me I think this might be as good as it gets. If I compare the videos from two and three years ago, I have made vast improvements. So that is good.

My boss was hassling me about being single the other day. He asked me if I was going to be one of those self involved women that never get remarried. I told him probably. There are too many things I enjoy ... too many things I wouldn't want to give up. I love being able to take organ lessons. I love having a piano and an organ in my living room. I love being able to wake up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning to start practicing. I love going to my writing group. Further, I told my boss, it would be impossible to find a spouse who would support these kind of habits.

I felt pretty sure of myself until later that night when it occurred to me that I had just described my father. My mom used to get up to practice the organ at 3:00 so she would be done practicing when I got up at 5:00 to practice. We had two pianos (one upstairs and one downstairs) and a full organ and Leslie cabinet in the basement. Somebody had to haul that upright grand and that theater organ down the stairs. And I bet he didn't complain. And I bet he was proud of how hard she practiced, because I know he was proud of how well she played.

I suppose they just don't make men like that any more.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Concert Season 2013

Despite the unnaturally cold temperatures, concert season is in full swing. This week I got to watch both Naji and Bobo in concert. Below are just a few of the highlights.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter is Here

You know that slogan, "Winter is coming." We don't say that anymore. Winter is definitely here. I got sick. I don't even remember the last time I got that sick. I actually missed two days of work, but it took even longer than that to recover. I could barely hobble around on Thanksgiving, but with the help of a cane and my wonderful children we were able to create a family feast and practice for the Ward Christmas party.

And this week it has snowed in Dixie. Twice. Wednesday was bad. Saturday was worse. We do not have the clothes or tools to match this kind of winter. (Not that that stopped my kids from playing in it all night).

So this is a hodge podge post. This is the post of pictures announcing winter is officially here. And the videos of the Piano Ensemble concert, where I played with a fever of 102. The awful sickness had just begun.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's right with the world

We were talking about autodidacticism the other day. Never in the world has it been easier to teach yourself. (You teachers will see what I did there -- introduced a word and defined it in the next sentence).

But some claim that the youth of today are loosing their curiosity. Learning and knowing has become too easy. And I worry that someday people will prefer pushing the button on a pre-programmed electric organ to spending years learning to master the instrument. And someday, someone will ask, "Where have all the musicians gone?"

They will have to ask the question, because they won't know enough to sing the question. Well last night the answer was, "They've gone to Jazzy's everyone." Open mic at a local dive :) It did my heart good to see all those in the upcoming generations flexing the muscle of autodidacticism. Oh yeah, I was there to support my baby -- who hasn't been a baby for a very long time.

Here are a couple of the originals his band The Nomad Heart performed. (Hi Jake and Cameron)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The magic continues

Remember way back two years ago, when Bobo cried because holding a cello bow hurt her hands. And now she is playing the brandenburg concertos. If that isn't magical, I don't know what is.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Music is magic

I've been thinking about magic lately. 

Ok, some of that is because I am re-reading the Dresden File Books. I sacrificed a lot to complete my Masters Degree and my certificate in digital forensics. So I promised myself that as soon as I finished my degrees, I could read for pleasure. That's right, I reward myself for reading with more reading. 

The one thing I didn't sacrifice while I was earning my degrees was music. And now that I have even more time to practice the organ, I am approaching it the way Dresden approaches magic.

One of the guys I work with teaches his students that computers aren't magic. I think he means that magic is the unknown and computers are the known. I say computers are magic and when we teach students to use them in ways most people can't, we are teaching our students to be wizards.

To me, the only difference between magic and a miracle is whether or not you are in a faith looking out or outside a faith looking in. And even with miracles, there is the knowledge of how the universe works.

To Dresden, magic is faith and belief. To perform magic, one has to really believe something will work and then infuse it with his will. 

My problem with performing, especially on the pipe organ, is that I choke. I practice and practice and practice and then come performance time, I doubt, I second guess, and I worry. I am now trying to believe, to have faith and infuse my faith with my will.
For the first time, I performed a piece for my masters class without choking. Francks' Prelude, Fugue, and Variation took me back to my brief visit to France like some kind of magical time machine.

I hate to quote Marilyn Manson, but "Music is the strongest form of magic."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pioneer Day

I haven't posted anything since May! Wow, a lot has happened since then. I'm a master now. :) You can call my Master Joan. I was feeling such a relief from having completed all of my schooling (for now) that I threw a party on Pioneer Day. I LOVE Pioneer Day! My only regret is that I was so busy preparing for my party that I missed the big Pioneer Day Parade. But to make up for it, the kids and I dressed up. We didn't record any video, because one of the reasons we were throwing a party was to make Joseph a live cd (ok digital recording for his mp3 player).

The other reason was to raise our voices and celebrate all that our relations past and present have done for us. If the pioneers could only see the luxury we live in: our three bedroom house, our air conditioner, our cars, our appliances, our electronics, they would think we were the richest people around (another reason I love my pioneer ancestors).

So the following are (rather than moving pictures) photographs and memories and mp3s. I hope you enjoy. We did :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Accordion: Top 5 Reasons

Ok.  I completed my Certificate in Digital Forensics on Friday. My Master's degree is winding to an end. One and a half more classes to go and then my thesis capstone (of which I have already run the tests).  My last two years have been consumed with studies.

When I set out to achieve goals, I put blinders on to block out everything else. But once the goal is complete, I wonder -- was it worth the effort? Was it worth the sacrifice? And worse yet, I wonder -- "What am I going to do next?"

I think the answer to the latter question may be "Accordion". So here are the top 5 reasons that I should practice my accordion when I am done with my studies.

5.  The accordion is an underdog, and I can't help but root for an underdog.

4.  The accordion is squeezable, just like a hug.

3.  The accordion is like an organ, only portable.

2.  The accordion is a voice of the people (the folky people)

1.  An accordion on the train out of Paris -- is the coolest welcome to France, ever.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

For Joseph

Most of you have seen these videos on my sister Judy's blog. But just on the off chance that my wayward (as in away from home) son, Joseph, gets a chance to view any of these -- I am posting them again here.

Love you Joseph, hope to hear from you soon

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Make-Up Post Joan

Ok. So here is my concert coverage. We played at the Tabernacle. Usually I love the pipe organ there and it sounded pretty good on my Dupre piece (I do love L'ecole Francais).

It is with great trepidation that I post this final video. I so wanted this piece to turn out. But I started this blog to document our progress and here's to progressing more -- and celebrating our opportunities :)

For those of you really noticing...yes I did cut my hair. I am just not convinced that I love the new short doo. So it might be best not to mention it.

Make-Up Post, Macey

Yeah! Macey is home from his mission! He won't be home long. He and Jenna are tying the knot on February 16th and then on March 1 they are moving to China, where they both have teaching jobs waiting.

This year's new years eve talent show was spectacular. Macey and Sam played a awesome rendition of "Come Together" on guitar and banjo. I need to get that recorded before Mace takes off again.

Here is a song he is writing. He played it for Jenna's Mom shortly after returning home from Mexico.

He would have played it for Jenna -- but she is in China for another 10 days. Anyway, she is a long time subscriber to this blog, so she might get to catch this video before she boards that eternally long airplane flight home.

See ya soon Jenna

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Make-Up Post, Joseph

I am going to miss Joseph when he is gone (he leaves on his mission in 25 days). Luckily he stuffed himself with music this past semester so he really needs a break. He, of course, is one of the worst when it comes to self criticism. New Year/New Leaf. We are celebrating the things we do - whether they live up to our expectations or not. We are going to celebrate our opportunities!

Here he is playing the tenor sax solo on Ellington's Sugar Rum Cherry.

And this may have been the coolest song I got to play on all year! Sonatina For Tenor Sax - Movement One - Motive Power!

It only leaves us to ask the question, "Do they have jazz in Texas?"

Ooops. I forgot to add a video of the Sax Ensemble. Here is one of my favorite Gershwin Tunes - Prelude Number 2 (more summertime than "summertime")

Make-Up Post With Bobo

Yes. it has been a long time since I blogged. Priorities and pouting, lets call it that. Priorities because I have other obligations that have deadlines like my job and my forensic courses and my masters classes and my boy leaving on a mission and my son getting married and my babies who want to eat. And pouting because the one characteristic I've passed onto my children is that quality which leads us to rarely be satisfied with our performance and so we needed some space before we could revisit these videos.

New Leaf/New Years Resolution - We are going to celebrate our musical opportunities no matter what the outcome :)

Yes, we all made it through concert season in one fashion or another. Bobo is truly amazing! I love watching her "play the trombone like she loves it!" And she and her cello are definitely "so happy together."

Here she is "Taking Care of Business." Watch for her trombone solo.

She also played in a bell trio at the band concert (her friend arranged the music!)

Here she is with Cellopherson. If you look very closely you can see that he is decked out in his cute little Santa hat.

 If you're still with me, here is an encore piece. "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!"