Wednesday, November 17, 2004

mid-November update

I've been neglecting this blog, for which I apologize! A lot has happened since I last wrote.

The election happened, of course. I was fairly devastated by the results. However, I have been newly inspired to be a responsible citizen - I'm trying to read the newspaper more often (at least scanning the headlines each day) and I've decided to become a regular letter-writer to the President and to my congresspeople. Last week I sent off a letter stating my position on an amendment banning gay marriage. This week's topic will likely be the appointment of Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. I realize this happened 1.5 years ago, but I feel it's important to keep objecting to the objectionable. (Dr. Hager has religious problems with the idea of birth control, and in his books has recommended such methods as "prayer" for the curing of menstrual cramps, and "getting plenty of rest" for birth control.)

This week is Ensemble Week here at Westminster. This means that we have all our normal rehearsals (and a few extra ones) but no classes. For most of us, this lightens the load, and lets us work on our term papers, which is what I've been trying, with moderate success, to do. Starting tomorrow and going through Sunday, however, we have rehearsals and 3 performances of the Brahms Requiem with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. So Ensemble Week is also a way of letting us rest up before we have a whole lot of performing to do. I'm trying to make headway on my two analysis papers, one for composition and one for Choral Literature.

I also found my "thing" to work on two weeks ago in conducting class - being more poetic as a conductor, aka emotional availability. My project (possibly for the rest of my life) will be opening myself up emotionally to whatever music I may be conducting, allowing the other musicians to open up, too. I tend to keep my cards close to my chest - my challenge will be fighting that instinct.

Last Sunday I went to a performance of the Williamson Voices, who do mostly 20th century music, and concentrate on commissions. It was quite gorgeous. They also do some world music. Unfortunately, being in the Westminter Choir precluded me from joining, as they rehearse at the same time, but at least I get to attend concerts. It was an unexpectedly powerful concert - I spent most of the time crying for Bestemor, who died last Friday, peacefully, in her sleep. RIP, Bestemor - we love you.