Sunday, March 18, 2012

First organ recital!

Well last night I gave my first organ recital- and really my first solo recital ever. I’ve never played a full concert program and it was quite an on-taking. I had the privilege to play with some very dear friends here—a soprano (music teacher here) named Milie and a violinist (alison’s adult student) Nigel. Playing with them was so incredibly fun and fulfilling. With Milie, she sang the Pie Jesu from Faure’s Requiem and with Nigel we did the Allegro from ‘Sumer’ in Vivaldi’s 4 seasons. So much fun!

Nigel performing Vivaldi's Summer

Millie performing Faure's Pie Jesu

Lovely ladies- Tiana was a huge help pulling a lot of stops during the bigger and faster pieces!
In rehearsal with Tiana

I love giving concerts and performing and it was so great to play organ again. I’ve also never really been able to share the organ music with other people because I only learned pieces in school for performance exams. Here, I invited all families with kids to come and kids could come up to the organ and pull some of the stops, press the pedals, see how the instrument worked up close. I think that that was the biggest success of all! A lot of adults also wanted to come up and ask me questions about the instrument. Throughout the concert I also spoke to the audience about the instrument, the pieces they were hearing, and the composers. I wanted it to be a real learning experience for the community and I think it was. We also had the organ builder come to the concert and speak about how he built the instrument! Was so much fun! We sold tickets for the equivalent of about $1.75 but raised about $80 for Umoja!

I spoke a bit between every few pieces to tell the audience about the music and the instrument

Beautiful roses from Fraser! (and Nigel smiling in the photo!)

After the concert, we all went to my favorite restaurant, Michels for wine and crepes and then on to the bar across the street for lots of dancing and fun. Was a fantastic evening all together.

Of course I’m very hard on myself about my performance, but I have to be happy. The pieces that I was most nervous about were played almost without any errors! It was amazing to me. Then the pieces that I felt better about- eh… some slips of the feet made me a little unhappy but such is the nature of the beast. It was a fantastic experience and I’m so grateful for it. I also want to sincerely thank my friends here because I had friends taking photos, video, and audio recording of the concert. And some roses from Fraser made it extra special J

It’s a big weight off my shoulders as I continue to compose each week for our big show in June, Ndoto. Check out the website I created for it! Alison wrote a fantastic article all about the show!

Also last week- my friend from home came to Tanzania for safari visits and stopped into Arusha for a night! so much fun to see Sam again!

Easter holidays are coming up soon and I’m very happy for that. I’ll be going to Ethiopia for 5 days to visit some friends!

I feel very happy and incredibly thankful for all that life has to offer.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life in the huraka lane!

I haven’t written in so long! Holybamoley how time flies and so much has been happening! It’s really late right now and I’m waking up early to go running with my friend Jimmy, but I feel like it’s just been too long since I’ve last written.

Ndoto (the show I'm composing music for) is going great. We’re on to the movement where the ants are running from the rain. Tiana made a giant rain stick! It’s a hard section for me to imagine, but it’s coming along bit by bit! Ant by ant!

I’m preparing for my first ever solo organ recital next Saturday, March 17th. I love these pictures- Jimmy brought his little girl, Jamima to play the organ with me! She’s so cute!!

Here’s a shot some of you saw from an early morning run. Beautiful sunrise.

Then I have some images to share of things my students have been working on. This first one was when I asked them to draw what they saw in the music. And, the piece I was playing was Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair”—look at what one girl drew without knowing the title of the piece!

And this was the back of an artwork one of my younger students made. Pretty poignant, I thought. It says "a long time ago there was a beautiful land . But one day people came and polluted that land. And it was no longer beautiful."

Last week we had a big event at the school where I teach called International Day. Umoja Ensemble performed and it was a lot of fun! I even got to try an accordion!

Last week I finally got meet up with someone I've heard so much about but had never met! Craig went to Vanderbilt the same years as me and came to Tanzania at the same time as me! We have tons of mutual friends but had never met! AND he plays violin! AND he donated his travel violin to Umoja! Was so much fun getting to hang out:

Craig came and played with us at Umoja Ensemble!

In other news, I have a wonderful circle of good friends here now and I’m so incredibly thankful for that. A few friends and I went to Nairobi this past weekend to surprise my mom who was coming in with a mission team! I love the video from the weekend:

Life is good here. That’s all the energy I have to report for now.