Friday, November 18, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Music

I love music, always have. I'm not emotional but good music can get me crying all the time.

I don't appreciate visual arts as much as some (weird that I'm into quilting, isn't it?) but darn if I can't gush over a musician's instrumental tone and genious (voice or actual instrument).

I love singing and pretend I'm Broadway quality by belting it out in the car (without anyone else in it, of course.) I thoroughly enjoy picking out and singing the harmonies instead of the melody, too.

I used to play french horn (mellophone in the marching band), trumpet in the jazz band and occasionally flute.  I enjoyed violin when I first started playing music but moved to brass and never took it up again. My sons play clarinet and viola and I'm thrilled they choose to. 

I won a solo position with the Binghamton Youth Symphony when I was in highschool. 
(Clipping from the Press & Sun Bulletin just to prove I was a big-haired teenage, too!)

I pondered going to performing arts school (but realism ruled & I decided if I wanted to play my horn as an adult, I didn't need school to do it but I did need a job that would feed me.)  I went to the University of Scranton where, it turned out, I had exceptional experiences and contacts with professional musicians (and it wasn't a music school!)

I was able to enjoy being a back up musician to Eric Ruske (french horn) and be able to take a master class with him. Eric was then a part of the Empire Brass Quintet. (He's not listed on the Scranton music website, though, as a past performer, but I promise I did not make it up.) There were other members of the quintet I also played back up to (as part of the symphonic band) but I just want to highlight my top 3 musical experiences overall.

I was also able to play jazz with Wynton Marsalis.  Yes, you read that right... Wynton, people!  All I can say is it's awesome to be near gifted musicians.  It just rubs off on you, you're jazzed (forgive the pun) to play better. Check it out, Wynton is on the left, my ex-husband next to him and then there's me!
(The photo is pulled from the University of Scraton Music website linked above. The direct photo link is here:

Finally, my most memorable and rewarding musical experience while I was in college was being able to play under my all time favorite composer. I fell in love with his music in 7th grade (even as it was modified for our age group) and in highschool, when we played his pieces as written, I remained in love. In college, Cheryl Boga, the music director, worked with and brought Vaclav Nehlybel in as the composer-in-residence at the University of Scranton.   My loves, this meant I played under my favorite composer!!!!   (I used "my loves". This should express to you how my heart still sings at that experience.) It was such a gift I received, to have been able to play one of his pieces as he heard it in his mind when he composed it, underneath his own direction.  I think I remember this better than the birth of my first child... almost. :-)

So there you have it people, I love music. Singing, playing and listening. Maybe one day I'll play often enough to be able to join a community orchestra but for now, I'll just reminesce.

Check out other Favorite Things by linking over to Quilting in My Pyjamas today.



thea said...

How wonderful to be able to do all those things and what a great favorite! I love the pictures (especially the big hair) and that you shared such a special time with us.

The Thompsons said...

Me, too! (thus the 2 degrees in music), but I was more of a choir & musical kind of gal. Love it, love it! Thanks for the post!

Barb said...

I loved reading your post and finding this out about you. How awesome!!

Shay said...

How long have I known you ? And I had no idea you had this hidden talent!

I can tell from your post that you're still passionate about music and that those memories of accompanying gifted musicians are among your most favourite.

I am not musically inclined and cant play any instrument at all!

Shevvy said...

I had perms to get the big hair, so I was paying a lot for it.

I played the recorder in junior school but that was it. No talent at all, but its lovely that you have such wonderful memories.

I have to admit, no one you mentioned on the list is known to me, but there you go....

Michelle said...

My dad was an accomplished musician. Alas, I did not inherit the genes, although he tried his darnedest to teach me. That said, I have a great love for music. It was always a mainstay in our house and continues to be an important part of mine.

Michelle Ridgway said...

Wonderful post....I loved reading all about your musical prowess and loved that you got to play with some of your idols. Great photos.

susan said...

I am musically inept, other than listening - but I do admire people who have a tallent and joy for it. Great FTF!

Shocking Hocking said...

fantastic - i love to sing too - and i still harp on that i won 3rd place at the morecambe musical festival when i was 9 - i have a newspaper clipping somewhere!....and 'o mio bambino caro' still makes me smile, no matter how often i hear it (i didn't sing that at the festival - it's just my favouritist piece of opera)