Tuesday, January 17, 2012

With the Rain Outside

While reading this blog, please listen to the following piece and you'll know how I'm feeling:


I’m currently tucked, cozy and content inside my mosquito netted bed and outside the heavy rain falls on our tin roofs. It smells like one of those wonderful summer rains, when you welcome a cooler and fresher breeze to pass through open windows. I’m taking advantage of this moment to sit calmly, think clearly, and take a moment just to write before all craziness launches starting tomorrow. Yesterday and today were already full of meetings, planning, and feeling only slightly overwhelmed. Let me sum up my semester’s projects for you here:

  1. Teaching at Umoja- regular private lessons in piano, flute, and voice, and teaching group classes
  2. Makumira University- teaching the composition/arranging class a couple mornings a week
  3. Meru Animal Welfare- volunteering as their fundraising coordinator, helping to apply for grants, etc.
  4. Organ Concert- giving my first full organ recital in March on one of the two organs in Arusha!
  5. Umoja Collaborative- ok, this is the big thing for the term. I wrote about it before but I’ll briefly explain it again. Basically, this wonderful artist and my previous teacher when I studied abroad in France is collaborating with me as a composer and Tiana (who works for Umoja) as a choreographer/composer to put on what will now likely be Umoja’s big annual fundraiser performance. Through visual art, music, and dance, the Umoja ensemble and Umoja teachers will tell the story of Maasai children who at night change into ants! They craw through the earth, fly through the air, run to escape the stomping elephants, and at daybreak, they simply turn back into the maasai children. Is it all just a dream?? That’s for you to decide! I have to start working a lot on composing the music and getting it all down on paper. Then there’s a lot of planning logistics, drinks, food, venue, performers, donors, advertising…ahh! It will be a fantastic show I’m sure. Now the hard part for us is what to name the show!
  6. Orchestral piece- exciting news! My first orchestral piece that I wrote last may at Vandy, titled Whippoorwill Winter will be premiered by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Provence in France. The performance will take place April 20th and I’m really going to try to be there for the premier. Eeehh… if I can manage to take the time off from work, that is.

At any rate, you see how crazy it’s all about to get.

Now, I want to share with you a bit about an amazing person I met on the airplane from Atlanta to Amsterdam. I was lucky enough to sit beside a Dutch woman who I guess to be about 70 years old and who had an incredible wealth of stories, history, experience, and life. I learned that when she was 21 years old, she moved to Pakistan to teach in schools. She then married a Dutch man and moved to South Africa where they lived and raised their children for 25 years. Her children now live in America and one of them teaches at Vanderbilt! (a small world indeed!) Oh we talked about life, music, culture, children, marriage. She was one of those incredibly beautiful and wise souls that you hope to become someday and feel privileged just to have met. When I arrived in Amsterdam and bid her farewell, I wrote down a few of the messages from her that I wanted to remember. Of course, they all make much more sense in context, but you’ll get the idea;

- “If there is a problem that you cannot solve, manage it.”

- “To have a raise a child and see that they develop into a helpful and productive human being, that is a true accomplishment”

- The latin proverb “non scholae sed vitae discimu” … “We learn not for school, but for life”

- Hug your husband (she was talking about the importance of showing your children that husband and wife/father and mother can be affection and are loving to one another)

- Do as much as possible before you settle down

I have her address and plan to write her letters from time to time, as she doesn’t use email.

So, tomorrow we start school. I just sort of feel like taking a nap but, alas, the holidays have ended already!

1 comment:

  1. Am listening to the Schubert piano sonata while I enjoy the the thoughts of you there in Africa, such a wonderful experience. Your plans sound enterprising but fulfilling, and I wish you luck on it all. How I wish I could see the "ants musical" when it's premiered! An what a serendipitous experience to have met that amazing woman on the plane, who brought so much into your mind in such a short time. I met a woman like her once, also on a plane, and we talked the entire trip. She was a psychic and one thing she told me, I'll never forget: "The best years of your life are yet to come". And she was right, because very shortly thereafter you were born!