Puns, books, and sleeps.

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I apologize for my long absence. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been absent from my review site as well – though I’ve been keeping track of what I need to review when I get the chance.

So, life…it’s pretty good, but also pretty busy, though not for the reasons it should be. My music classes this semester – Form & Analysis, Brass Methods, Goin’ Band, Music for Children, Symphonic Band, and Conducting – are all pretty basic and easy to handle. It’s my one non-music class that has proved itself to be a little overwhelming. It’s an honors humanities seminar called Western Intellectual Traditions. I signed up thinking, “oh, Western philosophy, that could be pretty cool!” …but then I walked into the classroom on the first day and was handed a 12-book reading list. From the first class to the second class we read The Epic of Gilgamesh, and we have since then read Homer’s The Iliad, 64 chapters of the Old Testament, about the same number of chapters from the New Testament, Antigone and Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Plato’s Phaedo and a chapter from Plato’s Republic, Marcus Aurelius’ MeditationsThe Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, Beowulf, Dante’s Inferno, and two chapters from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. We’re finishing up The Treasure of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan by Thursday, and then we only have one book left to read: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas á Kempis. On top of all of that, we have a 10-page paper due on the last day of class. So yeah…very busy, and most of the reason why I haven’t posted here very often.

Aside from all of that nonsense, everything about this semester has been great. Goin’ Band has been a lot of fun; Rachel and I have worked together as section leaders really well and we’ve been lucky to have a great section this year. I’m also in my fifth semester of voice lessons, which are going well…I’m preparing for a just-for-fun recital that will take place sometime in the spring! In addition to that, I’m sort of in a class (meaning I’m participating without enrollment) called “Scenes,” in which we auditioned and were assigned to groups in which we will prepare and eventually perform a scene from a musical theatre/opera production. I’m a part of three of these scenes, which also contribute to my busy-ness, but I’m having lots of fun being a part of them.

Let’s see…what else has happened this semester? I got the iPhone 5, bought a new, fancy horn case, ordered my official Texas Tech ring (which I will have in less than two weeks!), and voted in my first presidential election. I also saw more movies than I should have – Looper, Finding Nemo 3D, Sinister, Wreck-It Ralph, Flight, and Skyfall…I think that’s it, though I saw a couple of those multiple times. And there are more to come! Lincoln comes out this weekend, Rise of the Guardians comes out the week after that, and in December we have The HobbitLes MiserablesDjango Unchained, and a couple others…it’s been a good year for movies.

There are only 13 days of class left of the semester…not that I’m keeping count or anything. Thanksgiving break is next week, so I’ll get to go home! That’ll be fun. In a month’s time, I will be sitting at home for Christmas break. I’m too excited!

I know that wasn’t too much of an update, but I’m still trying to finish up The Treasure of the City of Ladies…goody. I promise it won’t be three months before you hear from me next!

Stay fresh and God bless.

Chad

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Life goes on.

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Okay, it’s nearly been two months, but I assure you all that I am alive and well and enjoying my summer thoroughly.

I’ll try and walk you through everything so far, so this may end up being pretty long. Probably.

First off, final exams. Everything went really well, and I ended up finishing the semester with 10 As and 1 B. Okay, okay, I’ll confess…one of those was an A-, but who’s counting that?

Well, besides him.

Actually, one of those As is still listed as a B, but I queried my professor about it and confirmed that it should be an A; it’s in the process of being fixed, supposedly. What I’m most proud of this semester, concerning my grades, at least, is that I got As in my two most difficult classes: music history and honors integrated science. Hooray!

During our final weekend at Tech for the semester, Andrew’s parents and my dad came up and helped us pack up all of our stuff. Mr. and Mrs. Grant went back home on Saturday/Sunday (Mrs. Grant left a day early), while Dad stayed until Monday morning. While he was there, the three of us watched the last few episodes of How I Met Your Mother that were on Netflix. What a great show! There’s still one more season to watch before we’re caught up, but it wasn’t on Netflix yet, so maybe we’ll get to it later in the fall sometime.

After meeting up with Lexi for lunch and taking my final final exam, I climbed in my car and began my long drive home. Lubbock wept that day.

Relevant.

And then summer began! The day after I came home was the Poteet Choir’s Spring Show, which my brother is still a part of, so I attended that and sang with the choir onstage for the traditional end-of-year song, “May the Music Never End”. Fun times! Mrs. Westgate was just over a month away from having her baby at this point in time, so that was exciting, and this was also right before Blake was elected to be president of the Poteet Choir! Congrats to him!

That weekend, Andrew, Seth, and I bought lots of food and traveled out to Lake Tawakoni State Park for our now-annual Bro Camping Trip. We were there for three nights, and we had a blast. Also, our menu was pretty delicious. Here’s the walkthrough:

SATURDAY

Breakfast – Waffles and eggs.

Lunch – Chili Cheese Hotdogs

Dinner – Made-from-scratch lasagna

SUNDAY

Breakfast – Eggs, bacon, and sausage

Dinner – RIBS (the most delectable, delicious ribs you can possibly imagine, courtesy of Andrew)

I don’t know if these are supposed to be ribs or popsicles, but you get the idea.

Yes, it was a menu fit for 5 kings. We didn’t just eat, though; we played frisbee curling (a game of our own invention) for several hours, walked a couple of trails, sat around the campfire and made s’mores, and watched lots of movies. Let’s see if I can remember everything: Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy (yes, all 12 hours), Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, Thor, The Phantom of the Opera, and Get Smart…I think that’s it. So yes, it was a very involved, busy, enjoyable weekend.

The day after we came back, Tuesday, was the Poteet Band Spring Concert, which was super exciting because the Honors Band premiered a piece that was commissioned in honor of Mr. Coulson, called “Elixir”. Composed by Michael Markowski, whose music the band had played a couple of times before, the piece was lots of fun, and the whole ceremony/involvement of Mr. Coulson made it even better. Here’s a YouTube video of the premiere:

Later in the concert, Mr. Davis, who had also retired this past year, made an appearance, presenting a new scholarship named after both him and Mr. Coulson. Overall, it was just a great night full of fun reunions and awesome music.

For the next week or so, I spent most of my time in the living room watching TV with my parents, mostly Criminal Minds, but with some CSI and others interspersed into that. For Memorial Day, the four of us Hopkinses went up to my grandparents’ house, where we feasted on more delicious ribs. It was a good day.

I’ve been reading a lot this summer, mostly just before bed every night. I started off by finishing the second volume of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers, which finally got moving about a quarter of the way through; Tolkien’s usually a slow read. After having finished that, I decided to take a break from Tolkien before reading Return of the King. Here’s everything I have read with a short review attached:

Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf – This has been on my reading list for quite a while. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the film directed by Robert Zemeckis, is based on this book and is one of my favorite films, so I gave the book a try. Just about the only similarities between the two are the character names and, even then, that’s only four similarities total. Sure, there’s a few things here and there that I can tell influenced the film, but, overall, they are entirely separate entities with entirely separate stories and characters. All that goes to say I LOVED it!

I loved it thiiiiiiiiiis much!

Wolf’s novel reminded me a lot of another, much older, crime book I once read, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. It definitely had a darker “noir”-type feel to it than the movie did, though it was definitely present there too. I sat down with it one day and finished it in a matter of a few hours.

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord – This book is a documentary-style book about the night the Titanic sank. The author interviewed several survivors and other people connected to the disaster, so it’s just about the most accurate description of the Titanic ever. It was adapted into a film in 1958 that is excellent; I bought the movie on Blu-Ray shortly after finishing the book. The Titanic fascinates me, so this was an awesome read for me, albeit pretty depressing and eye-opening.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – This book was the basis for the recent film with Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer. The film did a good job adapting the source material, but the book is even better. It explores the characters more in-depth, and there are a few plot additions/differences that I really enjoyed. Bonus fun fact: Octavia Spencer, who portrayed the character of Minnie in the film, is a friend of the author, who actually based the character of Minnie in the book off of Octavia. How cool is that?! If that was confusing to read, here’s the gist: Octavia Spencer played a character who was based off of her in the first place. Better?

What’s It All About? by Michael Caine – This book is is actor Michael Caine’s first autobiography. I actually read his second biography first, The Elepehant to Hollywood, and rated it five stars. Had I read the two memoirs in the proper order, WIAA? would receive its deserved five stars, while TETH would only receive four. In WIAA?, Michael Caine gives us a fascinating, detailed tour through his entire life: his life growing up in the countryside of England, his time spent in the army, his rise to fame, and his life since. He introduces us to actors and actresses he has had the pleasure of getting to know throughout his long career, and he reveals to us the things he finds importan in his life. His second autobiography repeats much of this before moving on to new material. If you’re a fan of Caine’s, or if you’re at all interested in what it’s like to be film star, What’s It all About? is for you. Make sure to read The Elephant to Hollywood afterward, but know that it is repetitive.

Now, I’m finally getting to The Return of the King. I haven’t read more than a few pages just yet, but hopefully I can really dive in soon. As long as it doesn’t take me all summer like Fellowship of the Ring did last summer, I’ll be happy.

My group of friends from high school and I met for a couple of dinners/hang-out nights together before going on a pseudo-campout at Seth’s family’s land out in East Texas. They have a small cabin and several acres of land that they use for hunting, and it’s out in the middle of nowhere, so there’s no cell phone reception.

Just let it out.

At first it was weird not having any Internet of any kind because I’m used to being able to pull out my phone to look something up on Wikipedia at a moment’s notice, but I got used to it pretty quickly and actually enjoyed the limited connectivity with the world. The seven of us were cramped into the small two-room-and-a-bathroom cabin, with the four girls (Megan, Regan, Kate, and Hannah) sharing the bedroom and the three guys (Andrew, Seth, and me) were in the living room area. A little cramped, but we managed to enjoy ourselves. Activities included cooking (yes, there were more ribs), movies, shooting guns at targets (a revolver, a .22 rifle, and an assault rifle), and riding around the property on a four-wheeler. We had a great time together!

Amid all of this was South Pacific, which just finished up this past Sunday. It was a pretty awesome experience for me. Rehearsals started at the very end of May. There were six rehearsals total: three orchestra rehearsals and three dress rehearsals with the cast. The other horn player ended up being a recent graduate of SFA, so she’s just a couple of years older than me. We got along really well, making jokes together and sharing funny pictures with each other on our phones when we weren’t otherwise occupied with the music. The performances all went really well too; I had several friends and my family attend and enjoy the show. Not that I was too involved in the actual production…the horn part wasn’t very active, so lots of the time I was sitting in the orchestra pit on my phone, playing games and whatnot. I even ate chocolate while down there, but don’t tell my horn professor that! Like I said, it was an awesome experience, and the music director, Larry, has said that I’m on the spreadsheet for contacts next year, so hopefully this’ll be a summer-by-summer recurring gig!

Remember when I first auditioned for Garland Summer Musicals a couple of months ago and how I really wanted to be in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying? Well, it opens on July 20, which just so happens to be the day that I LEAVE TO GO ON A DISNEY CRUISE WITH MY AUNT, UNCLE, AND COUSINS! Things definitely worked out for me since I was neither cast in How to Succeed nor asked to play in the orchestra for it, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go. Unfortunately, Blake can’t go because of summer school, so that’s a bummer, but I’m still excited to be spending the time with my family. It’ll be a Caribbean cruise, my fourth, and it’ll be on the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Fantasy, which just launched back in March. I’m super excited! I keep thinking that it’s coming up sooner than it actually is, but we’re still about three weeks away. Counting down the days!

This summer is the Summer of Movies, much like 2008 was a few years back. So far this summer (since coming home), I’ve only seen Brave (review here in a sec), but I have pre-ordered my tickets for The Amazing Spider-Man (next Monday night/Tuesday morning midnight showing) and The Dark Knight Rises (July 19), both in IMAX. In the case of The Dark Knight Rises, I actually bought a ticket to three movies: THE ENTIRE CHRISTOPHER NOLAN BATMAN TRILOGY IN IMAX! AMC is having a trilogy event on the night of the midnight premiere, at which they’ll be playing Batman Begins starting at 6pm, followed by The Dark Knight, and then the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. What this means is no waiting in lines for me! Other movies coming out this summer that I might be seeing include Ted (comes out tomorrow) and The Bourne Legacy, coming out August 10.

Relevant.

Okay, now Brave. I went to the midnight premiere for this, which was really weird because people didn’t start showing up until about 11:40 or so. Never been to a midnight premiere like that. Anyway, though it was a sort of departure/new direction for Pixar, it worked really well and was pretty enjoyable. The trailers did a pretty poor job in marketing the film, so I’m glad I went and saw it anyway. The trailers gave absolutely no hint at what the actual plot of the film would be, which I suppose could be considered a good thing, but it would have been nice to have a bit better idea of what I was walking in to. The story was definitely geared toward mother/daughter combos, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable for people who don’t fall in to that profile. The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle (who I used to shun because I HATE his score to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) was excellent, truly capturing the Scottish setting of the film. And the Academy Award-nominated short film before Brave, La Luna, was one of my favorites. I want a soundtrack album for the Pixar Short Films that has all of the music from the shorts! Some good stuff from Michael Giacchino, among others.

At the start of the summer, I watched through the awesome Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, for the first time; it was incredible. I won’t go too into detail on it, but it’s on Netflix Instant, so you have no excuse for not checking it out. The sequel series, The Legend of Korra, just had its Season 1 finale this past Saturday, and it was incredible too. Can’t wait for Season 2!

I’ve also played through a couple of video games in the past week. I’ve been getting more and more each year, and I only play one or two a year, so I had quite a stockpile to work through. I started off with Halo: Reach earlier this summer, which was decent, and this past week I played through both Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I and II. The first one was pretty excellent, minus some frustrating moments, but the best part of the second one was the incredible screen quality. The graphics blew my mind. Now, I’m playing through Fallout: New Vegas, which is a new kind of game for me. It’s mission-based, whereas I’m used to playing story-based games. It’s not a bad thing, though. It’s a nice change, and I’m really enjoying it, but it’s slow-going.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention my pen pal, Shauna. You may recall that I sent her a package a month or two ago filled with every single kind of Reese’s Candy that I could find. Well, she finally sent her package to me, which was FILLED with all kinds of British candies! Yeah, she’s pretty much the best pen pal ever.

I’ve had a Tumblr account for quite a while now, but I never cared for the service so I pretty much left it alone aside from reading friends’ posts that were linked to Twitter. However, yesterday I decided that I’d start using it as a means to review films and film soundtracks, so there’s about to be some regular posting from there. Here’s the page: Clicky

Anyway, that’s pretty much my summer in a nutshell so far. I probably missed a thing or two, but don’t take offense to that if you were involved. This was a long enough post already. Now, I’m heading off to the Rangers game with Seth! Woohoo!

I’ll try not to wait so long before updating this again, but the truth is that I don’t use my computer all that much during the summer, relying instead on my iPhone and iPad for Internet access.

Welp. Goodbye! God bless.

Chad

Never not be having fun!

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I will post this video on people’s FB pages for their birthdays now.

Well, it’s been an eventful week. I won’t go into terrible detail, but I’ll give you the highlights.

Last Wednesday night, I decided to go to Best Buy to buy Marvel’s Thor on Blu-Ray. I hadn’t seen it before, and, since the midnight premiere for The Avengers was the next night, I figured it was time for me to watch it. As it turned out, all of the Marvel movies were on sale, so I went ahead and bought The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 as well to complete my Marvel/Avengers collection.

Despite the fact that I bought Thor for myself, I ended up going over to Lexi’s house to watch it with her. She has it on Blu-Ray 3D, and she has the capable Blu-Ray player and TV and glasses to allow 3D viewing. Unfortunately, one of the pairs of glasses were out of batteries, so we didn’t watch it in 3D, but the few minutes that I did see in 3D were pretty awesome. I definitely wouldn’t mind having a 3D Blu-Ray Player/TV of my own!

As for the movie, I really enjoyed it. It was definitely different than the other Marvel movies being that it’s topic was considerably more “supernatural”; lots of it takes place on a distant planet. I was glad to finally see it!

The next day, after classes had gotten out, I went and picked up our tickets for the midnight showing later that night so that we could skip the line whenever we showed up later. I then stopped by Target to see if I could find an Avengers shirt that I liked to wear to the midnight premiere, but they didn’t have any, so I went to jcpenney instead, which had LOTS of great choices…I ended up buying two! Very cool.

I ended up going to the theater at about 10ish or so, meeting up with Lexi and her sister Bekka, who had arrived at about 8 and saved Andrew and me seats. Andrew showed up a little bit later because of a meeting he had with his fraternity. When midnight rolled around, I made sure to call Granna for her birthday before the pre-movie trailers started, which was cool because she was definitely surprised!

After I wished her a happy birthday, I turned off my phone and returned to the theater just in time for the trailers. The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus…so many great movies coming out this summer! I can’t wait!

And now, The Avengers. THE AVENGERS. I can say the following with complete conviction: I’ve never had so much fun watching a movie as I did while watching The Avengers. It managed to throw humor, action, and quality acting together to make one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. EVERYONE should see this movie. Really, if you haven’t already, you should go see it. The score by Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Captain America: The First Avenger) was fantastic as well…the track “The Avengers” is now my ringtone!

I only had a couple of classes the next day, and they were pretty evenly spaced out throughout the day, so it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle, even on limited sleep. However, once I was done for the day, I went back to the room and crashed. I slept from 4 to 6:45, at which point I shaved and got semi-dressed up for a musical audition at 7. The audition was for next fall’s musical, Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, and my audition went well, but, after I had told the director that I’m a Goin’ Band section leader next fall, he told me that there would be no possible way for me to do the show. Oh well!

I came straight back to the room and proceeded to sleep some more, this time until about 10:30 or 10:45ish. I woke up, played video games for a few hours, surfed the Internet some, and then went to bed at 4ish or something.

Get this – the next day, I was in bed until 7pm. I know, crazy, right?! There was nothing pressing that I had to do or attend, and I didn’t feel like doing much else, so I just stayed in bed all day. I woke up several times throughout the morning and afternoon, but I officially woke at 5, staying in bed for another couple of hours, playing games on my phone.

When I finally got out of bed, I grabbed dinner and wasted away in the room. I returned to the comics that I had downloaded onto my iPad last summer, reading some Spider-Man, Fantastic 4, Iron Man, and the first issue of The Avengers. Good stuff.

I again went to bed at 4, but I was up early enough to make it to church in the morning. I came back to the room after church, changing into some more relaxed clothes and eating a quick lunch before heading back out and meeting Lexi at the movie theater for round 2 of The Avengers! It was actually Lexi’s third time to see it…her goal was to see it 4 times opening weekend; she ended up seeing it for the fourth time on Monday! It was just as good the second time, and I’ll be honest…I plan on seeing it at least once more in theaters. I’ve got to see it in IMAX 3D back home!

Later Sunday evening, I went to the University Bands’ concert at the music building, which was lots of fun. I went to last year’s concert as well. Though the University Bands are comprised of mostly non-music majors or music majors playing secondary instruments, their end-of-the-year concerts are lots of fun because they typically feature movie music, which, as you all know, is my favorite!

The better of the two bands was the first to perform. They played a piece about/for/in memory of Rosa Parks, which was probably my favorite of the ones they played (Rachel, my co-section leader, had a solo or two! She sounded great!). The first band also played some music from a few video games and an Eric Whitacre piece and music from John Williams’ score for Far and Away. They were really good, though! The second band wasn’t as good, but their program was still fun. They played music from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Star Wars, as well as something else that I don’t remember. Still lots of fun, though!

That night, I did my music theory final exam review that was due in class the next day, which was really easy. Then I hit the hay!

We’re almost caught up…hang in there!

Monday was pretty simple. Theory was spent going over the review, and all we did in woodwind methods was turn in our instruments and notebooks. I got an A in the class, so I don’t have to take the final that would have been next Tuesday, which is a relief…I get to go home a day earlier now! We had our final music history lecture, which was interesting, but it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be; last spring, our teacher ended the year by bringing his accordion to class and playing for us, which was awesome! Oh well. I really enjoyed this iteration of the music history class; after the final on Saturday, I’m done with undergraduate music history classes! Hooray! My only other classes that day were band and piano, which were pretty standard. Done with those too (minus my piano final on Friday)!

Monday evening was spent typing out my 4-page paper for my science class that was due today. It was really pretty easy; it had to be about anything in the field of biology that interested us, so I wrote about stem cell research. Michael J. Fox first introduced me to stem cells in his memoirs. As you should know, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and since has become an advocate for funding further stem cell research.

Stem cell research is also really controversial, but only one area: embryonic stem cell research. This involves taking an embryo five days after an egg has been fertilized, called a blastocyst at this stage. The debate is whether or not an embryo this early in development can be considered “living” or not. My personal opinion? Yes, they are living at this point, so they should not be used for stem cell research.

HOWEVER, there are lots of stem cells are thrown away for no reason, and I think that they should be taken advantage of. No matter your moral stance on embryonic stem cells, the fact of the matter is that further research into this area may eventually provide the key to curing diseases previously though incurable, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease. I need to look further into this area so that I can form a better opinion. I encourage all of you to look into this and other issues of political debate…this stuff matters.

Anyway, I finished my paper and eventually went to bed. My science class was my only real class today, so I woke up and went to class at 9:30, turned in my paper, listened to a brief lecture, and then returned to the room. Back in the room, I finished up my Powerpoint presentation for my movie project that I’ve been working on for the past month, the conclusions of which we presented in our final lab today. It went well.

Our last horn studio for the semester was at 5. I practiced on my horn for a while after it was over, and then I came back to the room and just messed around. I balanced my checkbook, I listened to music, I read some of my book, etc. When Andrew got off work, we walked to Chipotle for dinner, and then I just did more of the same thing. Exciting, huh?

Now, I’m about to hit the hay. I have no obligations tomorrow until 1 in the afternoon, at which point I’m meeting with my accompanist and my horn lesson teacher to practice my jury piece for a while, after which I will be meeting with my friend John (who directed CCBB last year) for lunch. I haven’t seen him in a while, so it’ll be great to see him! Later in the evening, I have my final voice performance lab that I have to sing at at 5:30, and then I am heading over to Lexi’s house for a game night with her and one of her friends, which should also be lots of fun.

Less than a week until I’m home!

Welp, I know it’s been more than a week since my last post, but this is my longest post in quite a while, so I hope it was worth the wait. Goodnight!

Chad

P.S. – Want a good place to read more about stem cell research? Click HERE for the source that I used to write my paper. Do it!

Boomroasted.

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So, this past weekend was pretty much the most boring thing ever. With my music history research paper out of the way and no other homework to hold me down, I pretty much sat around and did nothing all weekend.

On Friday night, I was up until 2 or 3 in the morning before I decided to go to bed. I woke up on Saturday morning at about 9ish, thought to myself, “Is there anything I want to get up and do right now?”, decided there wasn’t, and then went back to sleep. I repeated this process for the next several hours until 3:45pm came around. At this point, I realized that I had to be at a recital at 4, so I finally got out of bed, got dressed, and made it up to the music building on time. The recital was for a graduate student, so it was nearly an hour and a half long, but, since I had had plenty of sleep, I had no problem staying awake the whole time.

When the recital was over, I went back to Sneed, grabbed some food, and then joined Andrew in the room. The Jason Segel movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall was on, which I hadn’t seen before, so we watched for a while before I hopped in the shower and then got ready for our choir concert on Saturday night. This concert wasn’t just us Matador Singers, though. It was all of the choirs combined together, so there were lots of us up there singing together. We sang along with the orchestra/band combo, which was really cool. We sang Mozart’s Requiem, which was really super awesome. The extra rehearsals leading up to the concert were awful, but I really enjoyed the performance itself.

After the concert, Andrew went and hung out with some of his fraternity friends, while I chilled out in the room, getting in bed at 2 or so. I woke up for church the next morning, but all we really did was have an extended Sunday school meeting in which we discussed future social opportunities for us as a group. Somehow, the fact that I’m playing horn for a musical this summer got brought up, so everyone started making plans to visit Dallas as a group to see the musical I’m playing for, to maybe visit Six Flags, and to even go to the Medieval Times restaurant place in June, which is really cool! I’m excited to see if they’ll all be able to come and check it out.

I had a Goin’ Band leadership meeting at 1, where we all took turns teaching each other some of the band’s marching techniques. That went on for about an hour before Rachel and I went and uncased all of the marching horns to make sure that they were in working order and didn’t have to be sent to the shop over the summer before marching season next fall. From there, Rachel and I said goodbye, and I joined a girl from my theory class in the Student Union Building to finish a project that we were partnered for. It only took us about 20 minutes to get what we needed done done, but then we sat around and talked to each other for a couple of hours, which was nice since we had never really talked to each other before.

The rest of my day was spent doing pretty much nothing in the room. I ended up cleaning up a bit, emptying out all of our trash and stuff so that the room was a little tidier, but, other than that, I just sat around, bored.

Today was pretty awesome though, for a couple of different reasons. Theory and woodwind methods weren’t anything special, but today was the day we were supposed to get our music history research grades. Our class rolled around, and, while we didn’t have our own personal grades just yet, all of the papers WERE graded, so he told us how many people got each grade. There were 21 As and only 6 failing grades, with everyone else getting Bs and Cs; at this point, I was fairly positive that my paper wasn’t bad enough to make me one of the students with the failing research paper grade. I was thinking that I would be getting a B or a C, which was fine with me since he was giving us all the opportunity to revise and resubmit our papers for a possible higher grade. Our individual grades were posted online a few hours later, and guess what? I got a 98! It was completely unexpected; remember, this was the paper that I started and finished within a 34-hour time frame of no sleep, so I didn’t think it was THAT high quality, but, wow! I was certainly surprised, and even more relieved…a 98 meant that I was completely done with this paper! Huzzah!

The rest of my classes flew by, and I was back in the room before too long. Andrew and I watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother before he had to go to work, at which point I pulled out my paperback copy of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, the book that I’ve read at least once a year since I first read it for school in 8th grade. In case you don’t want to do the math, that means that this was at least my 7th time reading it, maybe even my 8th or 9th. In any case, Tuesdays with Morrie is the one book that I’ve read more than any other book I’ve ever read. I LOVE it. If you haven’t read it, you should. I’ve learned a lot from this book and from the lessons it teaches; it’s the only book that I’ve willingly highlighted material in. It can change your life if you let it! Anyway, I picked it up, started reading nonstop, and had it finished less than 3 hours later. So good!

Andrew eventually made it back to the room after work. I grabbed dinner, and we proceeded to put on more How I Met Your Mother, watching several episodes before calling it quits for the night; it’s too late to watch any more. It’s time for bed!

I’m sorry if this post has been sort of disjointed and abrupt; it’s late, I’ve been watching HIMYM, and I’m ready for bed. So goodnight!

Chad

Headline boulevard.

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It’s been a busy couple of days, but tomorrow I’ll be home!

Yesterday was long. I made it to my 8am on time and listened to a guest speaker who used the whole class to toot his own horn (figuratively because he was a double bass player), so that was LOADS of fun (/sarcasm), and then I grabbed coffee from the SUB and went to theory. Theory wasn’t anything worth talking about (except for the fact that I had 100s on all of the returned assignments and quizzes), but we started really playing for the first time in woodwind methods on our new instruments. I’ve got a sort of knack for the flute that I didn’t have with the clarinet. It’s not that I’m super awesome at it, but I’m not having any difficulties so far (I think I already said that in my last post, but whatevsies). Anyway. Music history proceeded normally and then I had my salad for lunch before going to band, choir, and piano. After hanging around the music building for an hour or two after piano was over, I came back to the room, where Andrew and I watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother before he left for a church meeting…at which point I napped for three hours. No regrets! When I woke up, I did my science homework and started studying/preparing notes for the science test I had this morning. It was a late night.

Despite not getting to bed until 4, I was awake a good half hour before my first alarm went off at 7:45, and my science class wasn’t even until 9:30. That nap sure came in handy! I ate a couple of slices of warm cinnamon bread for breakfast and grabbed a bottle of water before making my way to my class. The test went fine; I’m sure I got a decent grade, if not an A. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t get an A. I finished my exam and made it over to the music building more than half an hour before my aural skills midterm, so I went to a practice room and made sure that I was singing my stuff right. My midterm also went really well…no worries there! Once that was out of the way, I was essentially done with classes for the day. I didn’t have band today; only the woodwinds were called in today, and tomorrow it’s only brass. I ate a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A for lunch and just hung around the music building, practicing my horn for a bit before my lesson at 3. We finished a bit earlier per my request so that I had time to go back to the room, shower, and get dressed for the voice recital at 5. I even shaved! This was my third time in as many weeks…not likely to happen again for a while.

My performance went really really well! I had no memory lapses or mess-ups, and I sounded great (if I may say so myself). I got lots of compliments, and a couple of people (including someone who I had never met before) recommended that I audition for next fall’s musical, Jekyll & Hyde. And I’ll be honest…I’m definitely considering it. Granted, I have a lot to consider since I’ll be in Goin’ Band during the fall, but, if a schedule can be worked out that allows me to do GB, get good grades, AND be in the musical, all without killing me, I’m definitely willing to give it a try. I’ve already emailed the guy in charge of musical theatre here at TTU (it’s the same guy who wanted me to audition for the summer musicals here in Lubbock), explaining the situation, so hopefully we’ll work something out! Back to my performance tonight: I meant to have Conner record it for me, but he showed up too late, so we didn’t get a recording. A bit of a bummer, but oh well!

To celebrate my good performance, I ordered Chipotle for dinner. When I had finished and gotten back to the room, I started work on my music history background paper that was due tomorrow at 5pm and theory homework, and when THOSE were finished, I watched Cars 2 for the first time. I’ve had it on Blu-Ray for a few months now, but I suppose I was a bit skeptical about whether or not I’d enjoy it. I was never a huge fan of the first one, and the second one got awful critic reviews (I generally agree with critics), but I’ve got to be honest…I really enjoyed it! It was lots of fun and I enjoyed it more than I thought that I would. It was a pleasant surprise!

Now, I’m about to go to bed. This’ll be the earliest I’ve been in bed this week (to be fair, I took naps most of the other days, so I didn’t really lose any sleep), which is good because I’m driving home tomorrow! Classes should be easy: all I have is music theory at 9, band at 1, and choir at 2, and then I’m home free!

Goodnight!

Chad

Coincidences

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As you know, I drove home to Mesquite this weekend for an audition with Garland Summer Musicals on Saturday night. I showed up to the audition and, after filling out the audition paperwork, went into the auditorium where auditions were being held and sat down. The director was having people read from the scripts on stage, I guess as part of their auditions, and I ended up having to wait there for half an hour or more. My turn to audition finally came around, and I did really well. I sang an excerpt of a song from Shrek the Musical (“When Words Fail”) and the final chorus of “Sunset Boulevard”, both of which I sounded really good on, if I may say so myself (the hot earl grey tea I had prior to my audition certainly helped).

After I had finished singing, the director (who must be at least 75 years old) asked me to come up to the table where he and a few others associated with the musical were sitting. He asked me what the top of my singing range was and he made sure that he could read my phone number, so hopefully that’s a good sign. I didn’t read anything, though…oh well. Something interesting happened next…

One of the other people at the table was the music director for South Pacific, the first of the two shows being put on my GSM this summer. I had written on my audition sheet that I play the French horn, and it turns out that he needed another French horn player to play in the pit orchestra for South Pacific. He asked if I had my horn with me and if I could come by the next day and play for him. I said sure! I drove back out to the arts center earlier today with my brother’s horn and mouthpiece (I didn’t bring my own horn home this weekend) and a couple of old solos that I still had lying around the house. I played for him, and he gave me the job! I’m set to play horn II in the pit orchestra for South Pacific in June. Though I wasn’t cast in the show (there’s still a chance I might be case in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, though, so here’s hoping!), the orchestra job also pays, possibly a bit more than a role would have. Pretty cool! This is my first job getting paid to play my horn.

Not much else happened this weekend. I slept late on Saturday after a full evening of driving on Friday night, waking up at about noon to go eat at IHOP with Mom, Dad, and a couple of band chaperons. After that, we went back home, where I got a lot done on my science project, getting everybody officially started on the experiment portion. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Granna and Poppa’s cruise with my aunt and uncle and cousins ended on Saturday, so they got back in town at around 5, at which point the 6 of us went out to eat at Spring Creek Barbecue for an early dinner. It was nice to see them; they didn’t know I was home for the weekend until they got off the cruise ship, so it was a nice surprise for them.

This morning was church, and my friend Hunter was in charge of bible study. He did a great job! It’s always great to be back at my home church, though I’m loving church out in Lubbock, as well as my new bible study that I’m a part of and the Paradigm worship service. Lots of good things happening in my life right now!

The only other exciting thing that happened this weekend is that I finally found Dunkin Donuts K-cups for my coffee maker in the room. I’ve only had the hazelnut so far (I also bought French vanilla), and it was good. Not quite as good as if I had ordered a hazelnut coffee from the store itself, but I still enjoyed it.

Because of my impromptu “audition” for the South Pacific pit orchestra, I didn’t leave the Dallas area until after 5, meaning that I didn’t arrive in Lubbock until after 10, at which point I drove through a quick car wash and stopped by Walmart for coffee creamer and cinnamon bread (I eat it warm for breakfast now; low-calorie) before returning to the university. Once I had gotten everything settled and parked my car back in the garage, I had to start on the little bit of homework I had due tomorrow: music theory (which was mercifully easy after a long day), piano, and a brief music history study session for a listening quiz in the morning. It’s late now, but I’ll hopefully be able to get in bed at least a little bit early tomorrow night. We’ll see, though; last week, Andrew and I made plans to hang out with Jenny tomorrow night, and we haven’t seen her in a while.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it. It’s time for sleepy-bye. Goodnight, everyone!

Chad

Musical word finds.

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Happy Friday, everyone! Not too much has happened in the past few days, but I’ll fill you in the best I can!

Tuesday ran pretty smoothly and didn’t feel as long as it normally does, so that’s a plus. I had a singing quiz in aural skills that I did alright on, and band didn’t feel excruciatingly long (hour and a half long on Tuesdays and Thursday vs. the MWF 50 minutes), which rocked. I was done with my 3-hour science lab about half an hour into it, so I went back to the room and hung out until horn studio at 5, which was also relaxed since the only people playing were the people going to a horn workshop in a different state this weekend…which I’m not. Easy day, Tuesday.

Wednesday was even better! I had a voice lab later in the night at which I was set to perform at, so I spent any free time I had during the day making sure I had my song completely memorized; I listened to it on repeat for more than an hour and a half or so, just to be safe. There also wasn’t any band on Wednesday (Thursday or Friday either), so I had an extra long time to eat. I also met with a new accompanist for the first time. The one I normally use had a baby not too long ago, so she’s still absent due to that, so I had to find a temporary replacement. I felt a bit guilty because I wasn’t able to give her the piano part until the day of the performance…it’s a HARD piano part. Before the performance, I came back to the room, sucked on some gummy worms, drank two cups of hot earl grey tea, and dressed up all fancy-shmancy (I had even shaved the night before!). I arrived at the music building a little early to have a runthrough with my accompanist, and then the two of us went to the room where the voice lab was supposed to be. Guess how many people showed up aside from my teacher, my accompanist, and myself? ONE! Not wanting to waste a performance, though, I sang my song for my two-person audience and did well; it was actually my first time to make it all the way through without any memory slips. The piano was still rough, but, like I said, it’s difficult and she had just gotten it a few hours before, so it’ll be better once she’s had some time to practice. I’m singing part of this song (“Sunset Boulevard”) for my Garland Summer Musicals audition on Saturday, but I’m singing the whole song at the big weekly voice recital next Thursday…I can’t wait!

Today was the easiest day of the week so far. I only had two classes, meaning I was done by noon! I went back to Sneed, grabbed a sandwich from Sam’s Place, and chilled in the room for a while. I also did my laundry for the first time since returning from spring break, and I played Halo: Reach on my XBox 360 for the first time in ages. It was nice to truly kick back and relax for the first time in a while. I went back to the school of music for the voice recital at 5, and then I came back to the room again and decided to get some work done on my science project that I started the other day. We have to design an experiment, collect data, and report our conclusions. I can’t give away any information because the experiment hasn’t even really started yet, but I have the whole thing completely set up and ready to go as soon as I have everyone I need participating. I’m really excited to see how it turns out!

At 8, I grabbed my Bible and walked down the street to the FBC for Paradigm, the weekly college worship service, and sat with my Tuesday Bible study group (forgot to mention that I went to Bible study on Tuesday night as well). It was a good service with some great music and a nice reminder of what Easter is about. I love that I’ve started to get more involved with my Bible and with others who believe in it…it’s a great group to be a part of!

Now, I’m about to hit the hay. I’m up a bit later than initially planned, but that’s what I get for working on my theory homework while watching How I Met Your Mother with Andrew…worth it! Time to pack a small bag for my trip home this weekend before going to sleep. Easy day tomorrow!

Goodnight!

Chad

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