16 August 2010

The Triumphant Return of Musical Monday!

Been a while, huh?

For our first Musical Monday back, I wanted to feature something fun. Now, for the past 12 years of my life, I've had the honor and privilege to attend (and the past few years work at) a summer camp for talented young musicians from all over the world. And for the last 5 or so years, in the choirs we've had a full week of learning and performing traditional South African music, dancing and all.

There's no way I could possibly convey to you how much fun it is to perform. Or exactly how touching it can be. So I present to you the next best thing: watching it!

These two videos are of two well known songs, performed by the Drakensberg Boy's Choir. These boys are crazy awesome, and the drummers even more so! Make sure you watch as well as listen. You'll love it.

First, Kwangena thina bo - a greeting song that means something like, "When we sing, people rejoice and sing and dance because of our music." Or at least that was how I remember our conductor explaining it last year. =D

The next is: Shosholoza - a very well known one that means roughly, "Go forward." Little trivia about this one - the South African football team sang this coming onto the field to open this year's World Cup. There are also videos on youtube of this breaking out in the stands at football games in South Africa. Everyone knows this one.

Hope you enjoyed!


01 August 2010

Ease it on back...

It's been a crazy crazy couple of months, and I apologize for dropping off the face of the Internet for a bit longer than my usual summer hiatus. After a messier and more frantic finals season than I'm used to, I finally received my Masters degree in May. I took that triumphant walk down that corridor to the strains of Sine Nomine, and was handed the first degree I actually feel like I really worked for.

Not that I wasn't happy when I graduated from high school, or my undergrad, it's just that somehow those graduation ceremonies were different. Both events felt very much like it was just another thing to get over and done with. The ceremonies themselves lacked celebration, I hadn't felt like I had accomplished anything, and in the end, was just sitting there for two hours in a plastic robe to get a meaningless little piece of paper that will sit in my parents house and gather dust for a few years. Maybe my undergrad diploma will find a place on my office wall someday. Maybe not.

Kind of bleak, right?

But my masters... it's different somehow. I think it's because I finally found exactly what I want to do with my life. The path to this degree wasn't just another two years of going through the academic motions. I finally feel like I accomplished something, and really felt that excitement of commencement that I always felt that there must be something wrong with me for not feeling the first two times.

And now, I work. I work, I teach, I try to publish, and in a few years, Ph.D. here I come.

After graduation, with no clue as to employment, no idea where to go next, I had a number of great gifts and opportunities drop into my lap, including a promotion (in title, not pay) at the summer camp I have worked at for the past three years. It's been an amazing time, as always, and as it winds down, I will miss my students and my colleagues dearly.

On the more fun, frivolous side of life, as a birthday/graduation present, my aunt treated me to a few days at the Hershey Spa in Hershey, PA. What an absolutely beautiful place the Hotel Hershey is! The photo above is from the main patio, and I hope to write a post soon devoted to my few days there, which were relaxing and visually inspiring, as well as full of new experiences.

This summer, I also was given the privilege of attending and participating in a friend's wedding. I realized that I am actually at that age where my friends are beginning to get married, and I am thrilled that thanks to my musical background, I have something to offer as a wedding gift, since I am, to put it lightly, broke as shit.

This wedding was a special one, since both the bride and the groom are members of the German Oompah Band I play with during the Oktoberfest season. So, because of this, I and the other members of the brass band played the ceremony. It was beyond beautiful, and in all my years as a wedding musician (and we're going on 10 as a cellist, and 6 as a vocalist) I've never seen a happier, more laid back couple on the big day.

So, what now? What's up in the more immediate future?

The summer is winding to a close, and before we know it autumn is going to start inching in. I have been granted the opportunity to teach at the University level for this fall semester, so I have a ton of planning to do in the next three weeks. And after that, I make my first walk into a classroom as something more than a student, more than a GA. I'm going to be a real teacher, adjunct though I may be.

It's a little scary.

Okay, let's be honest. It's way more than a little scary. It's downright terrifying. However, I've never wanted anything so badly in my life, and I know that at the end of the day, I'm going to make a college instructor, even if the students in front of me are basically my age. I just have to learn to stop second guessing myself.

And besides, if worse comes to worse, I'll just make sure I'm wearing great shoes. Because really, who can not feel confident in a pair of great kicks?