Sunday, February 12, 2012

A lot to update

Welllllllll I haven't written in, I think, a couple of weeks. Oops. Things are crazy busy here- but still having lots of fun. If anything, I think I've become more social as I've become busier with work too. Hmmm dangerous combo but I'm manging to keep it under control.

I have videos for you!

1. A slice of life- driving behind a dala dala with two young men holding on to the back of it, wearing roller blades. New meaning to 'hitching a ride'. Also, it's incredibly dry here these days and when we drive out to one of our tanzanian schools on friday, we hit some pretty intense dust. Check it out:

2. Ndoto production is going great and I'm getting pretty excited about the whole thing. Here's a video showing our last rehearsal where we put the first three parts together. Remember, this composition tells the story of Maasai children that dream that they become ants. It's with French subtitles for our French artist, Colette to watch. Enjoy!

3. A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching my class at Makumira University when I noticed that there were thousands of what looked like big snowflakes streaming past our fourth-floor windows. They were in fact millions of butterflies, in route from the North and heading south in their large migration. It was so enchanting to me. The butterflies filled the air of Arusha for more than three days before most of them went onward. I took video and then had to write something about it.

The day it snowed African butterflies

In eyes of staring, quick blinking wonder
I transported my soul far and long out of this bus
where those flakes of white and glittering snow were.
Cascading, rolling in a flutter up and over the roofs
In one heavy sigh of earth’s cool breath

Within me there, childhood awe pulled me back
The millions of wings reflecting across the glaze of my eyes
and standing in the grass alone, I felt them tickle my arms and hair
Closing all thoughts of the dusty, filthy ground around me
I could be lifted as gracefully and joyfully as this African snow

They were there together, one bright body in a river of flight
And you could hear the whisper of their ancestors
(In each patter of a wing)
who had passed the speechless stories
that taught them to fly from Mombasa to Chimoio

I watched as the mountain, arms wide and strong,
Poured out all that is her bounty.
Feeding them nectar and rain for their exhausting passage;
Offering another gust of forward guidance
when they stopped to fall in love with a brighter
and more colorful flower than the last

The rhythm of each butterfly’s lift and fall
brought them closer to a distant place I'll never know.
As I watched their sightless trust in the wind,
their comfort in spinning together or alone,
sleeping only when their journey is finished,
I too could breathe deeper,
knowing that my wings are not alone in this blind voyage.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In my 22nd year of life...

Several time last week I said, "It feels like I have been 22 for a very long time." So much has happened in the last year-- so much that I'm extraordinarily thankful for. I lay in my bed the other night, thinking about everything and I decided to make a list of the big events that marked this incredible year. Most of it wouldn't have been possible without the love that I am so blessed to have in my life from my friends and family. After I made this list, I couldn't help but smile and think... goodness gracious... what could happen THIS year?!

In my 22nd year of life I...

- Presented my senior composition recital.. on my 22nd birthday :)

- Conducted the Vanderbilt Orchestra

- Wrote my first piece for full orchestra

- Helped to start Vanderbilt Community Garden

- completed my senior thesis on orchestrating Mahler’s 10th symphony

- Graduated from Vanderbilt University

- Moved out of my childhood home

- Went to Israel

- Composed with fantastic musicians in Vermont

- Fell in love

- Got a tattoo

- Said bye to my dad when he moved to Brazil

- Said goodbye to my family and moved to Tanzania

- Started working at Umoja Music School

- Started a job as composition teacher at Makumira University

- Went on a hot air balloon safari

- Swam with dolphins in Zanzibar

- Started learning Swahili

- Started volunteering at Meru Animal Welfare Organization

- Started a the collaborative performance titled NDOTO with artist Colette Albiolo

- Received the news that my orchestral piece would be premiered in Marseille, France