So many concerts, so little time.

This week has been full to bursting with not only classes, tests, and the normal business, but also many musical events – five in the last week!

To begin it all, last Saturday night my conducting class took a field trip to the Augusta Symphony.  Our professor Dr. Nabholz – who is also the director of the Choraleers – met us there, and we enjoyed an evening of four varied pieces by Barber, Takemitsu, Higdon, and Bernstein.  One of the highlights of the evening came after the concert, when we got to go backstage and meet the conductor, Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara!  It was exciting to be able to talk for a few minutes with someone who is making his living in the “real” world in music, and to be able to see a lot of what we discuss in class applied.  The entire evening was great fun, though, from the hour and a half drive to and from (especially the GPS troubles), to discussions of the concert as a class – the five of us and our professor – over frozen yogurt after the event.

My conducting class after returning to Erskine from the Augusta Symphony.

After the weekend, the week of concerts began.  Monday started with Erskine’s music department hosting a concert by Winthrop’s chorus; we began the event with Erskine’s Choraleers singing a few selections, then we let them take over the stage and sing several of their pieces.  As with the Intercollegiate Choral Festival the week before, it was rewarding and enjoyable to share music with and get to meet another college choir, especially in our own auditorium!

Tuesday night we hosted a Czech string quartet – the Talich Quartet.  They are professionals who are internationally recognized for their talents, and this showed – the concert was absolutely brilliant!  I do love string instruments, and their selections were well-chosen and exquisitely played.

Wednesday was the night off, and Thursday we co-hosted an organ recital with First Presbyterian Church in Greenwood.  Our organist was Dr. Craig Cramer from Notre Dame University, who demonstrated his great skill and experience on the instrument in the variety of styles of the pieces that he chose, as well as his expression in playing them.

Finally, Friday was a concert at home featuring our instrumental chamber groups and the Women’s Chorale.  Although we have more vocal than instrumental students in the department, it is always great to see what the latter can do!  None of the ensembles featured in the concert were very large – Women’s Chorale being the largest, at around a dozen – but they all showed that you do not necessarily need a large choir or symphony to make a great sound.

No one can say that there is nothing to do on campus on week nights!

Sharing through Song

Thursday night the Choraleers had the great experience to sing with five other college choirs from the Upstate of South Carolina.  We carpooled just over an hour to Southern Wesleyan University in Central, South Carolina for the Upstate Intercollegiate College Festival.  There we got to listen to, meet, and sing for choirs from Mars Hill, Clemson, Bob Jones, Presbyterian, and Southern Wesleyan.  Although it was a long afternoon and evening – we left at 3:30 and did not return to Due West until about 11:00! – it was worth the experience of being able to fellowship and share music with people our age who have a love of music as we do.  We get to sing for others all the time, as a choir, but it is not often that we have other choirs sing for us!

If you would like to hear the concert, it was recorded and you can find it archived on Southern Wesleyan’s website at:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/18437444 Erskine begins at around 1:12:00.  Enjoy!

For me, life IS a musical.

Wow, I just realized that I haven’t written a blog in a week and a half. . . the time must be passing quicker than I realize!  Although I am content with my schedule this semester, the fact that 80% of it is music classes can be sort of overwhelming sometimes.  Allow me illustrate.

Besides my one General Education class (Math) and my Spanish-American Civilization class, I have two music history classes – I’m not sure yet if this is an entirely crazy idea or just a good challenge.  Only looking at that, four traditional classes sounds like not too bad of a semester, right?  I’ve always had my voice lessons and a couple of ensembles added to the mix, so I thought that wouldn’t be too bad to handle.  This semester, though, is much more involved than usual, which sort of came as a surprise, though I should have known this was coming.

So, as a music major concentrating in vocal performance, as well as just a passionate musician, I tend to give a hearty “sure!” to every opportunity to sing.  I think this semester I may have reached (though not exceeded yet, I hope) my maximum capacity for the amount of music I can take in at a time.  First, I am part of Choraleers and Chamber Singers, so we have many new pieces that we are all working diligently on, but I also have several extra pieces to learn because of my absence last semester.  This is a good amount of music. . . but wait, there’s more!  I am also part of the opera workshop, so I am learning selections from three different Mozart operas, I am preparing five pieces for a vocal competition two weeks from tomorrow, and to top everything off, my junior recital is five weeks away.

Oh my.

Sorry to bore you with my list (or complaining), but goodness, it just goes to show you how quickly you can get busy at Erskine!  Granted, this is the area that I choose to spend most of my time and energy in because I enjoy it and I am (God willing!) going to graduate with a degree in music next year.  Somehow it is mildly amusing to me when I think about how excited I was to get back into music, after being away for a semester, because even though I knew I would be very busy as usual, I still did not realize that I would be this busy.  But, I can’t complain too much, because I chose it all; regardless of how overwhelmed I feel at the end of some days, I know that when it comes down to it, I am going to enjoy it all and not regret any of it.

Oh, and by the way, if you like music events and want to see some of these wonderful concerts, recitals, opera performances, or other exciting music events, check out http://www.erskine.edu/academics/music/events.shtml – there are lots of great things going on in the department this semester!