Jason Robert Brown – The Old Red Hills of Home (from Parade, performed by Jeff Edgerton and Don Chastain)

This week, for the first time since high school I’m playing in a musical pit orchestra. The orchestra I’m in is playing for my university’s production of the 1998 musical Parade, and it’s been a lot of fun to struggle with challenging pit music again.

One of the first things our orchestra director told us about the musical is that it wasn’t your typical happy, feel-good Broadway show. Set in Georgia in the 1910’s, it tells the story of Leo Frank, a Jewish New Yorker who was accused, seemingly falsely, of the rape and murder of one of the girls he employed at the pencil factory he oversaw. After being convicted despite lack of evidence, the governor of Georgia commuted his sentence to life imprisonment, Frank was taken from his prison and lynched by citizens who were still convinced he was guilty. The incident and its adaptation for stage highlight some of the lesser-recognized issues in race relations at the time, especially anti-semitism and black-white relations in a region that still felt wronged by the Civil War and its aftermath.

This is the opening of the show, which starts with a flashback to a Confederate soldier leaving for the war, and is continued by the same character, only older and wounded, as he praises the efforts of the Confederates with the rest of the people during Confederate Memorial Day. The scene sounds, looks, and feels patriotic. Even knowing the rest of the story to follow and the complicated history it references, it is powerfully written and is exhilarating to perform. That feeling has given me an important reminder that I think everyone should have from time to time, especially in the current political climate: to constantly be self-aware and critical of why you support what or who you do. It’s way too easy to get carried away with the music of those around you.

Advertisements

Thoughts about Relationships

For the past four months, I’ve been reflecting on and off about the one “Facebook-official” relationship I’ve had. Even though it’s been 14-20 months since it ended, depending on when you’re counting from, I still don’t really feel over it, whatever that means. While she isn’t on my mind daily like she often was in the immediate aftermath, she still pops into my thoughts a maybe two or three times a week for random reasons, and a couple of days ago I dreamt that we were walking and talking like we used to. It was very vivid, and I definitely felt some disappointment when I woke up. When I visited my grandparents this past summer, relationship things came up once and they told me that “you never forget your first love,” but I’m still working on moving on from that relationship.

Despite the scars that remain, time and distance have let me reflect more clearly on the relationship, on both its positives and negatives. One of the most difficult things for me when it ended was how quickly she moved on and started dating again, but even that is probably a reflection of how we were on different pages in the relationship and perhaps in life in general. The point of this post, however, is not to reminisce but to look ahead.

I know I want to have a relationship. I want to get married, have a family, live “happily ever after,” etc. The thing is… that requires finding and starting a relationship with someone, which is somewhat terrifying for my introverted self. It always takes me a long time to really feel comfortable around someone, so I’m not the type to just ask random girls out. I don’t know if I should be actively trying to meet someone right now, or if I just need to wait until someone finds me or for friendships develop. This is my biggest anxiety around relationships right now. There is a corner of my mind that tells me that I am never going to find someone or, if I do, I will get rejected, which is saddening to the point of fear. So while there is obvious value to not having every point of your future planned out, being a bachelor for the rest of my life is close to the top of my list of least favorite imagined realities, somewhere under watching the world slowly burn due to climate change.

As far as I know, the best option for me right now is to pray and to trust that God has a plan. This is definitely one of the cases where I wish His intentions were a little more clear (DO I need to be more social? Should I be looking for a life partner right now?), but I need to continue reminding myself that He knows what I need and want, and He knows what He’s doing. Like Brandon Heath wrote:

“There is hope for me yet
Because God won’t forget
All the plans he’s made for me
I have to wait and see
He’s not finished with me yet”

God give me patience and faith.

The Chainsmokers & Coldplay – Something Just Like This (Don Diablo Remix)

Vincent Persichetti – Pageant (Performed by Eugene Migliaro Corporon and the North Texas Wind Symphony)

I’ve been taking a class on the history of the wind band this semester, and have listened to a few pieces that I played back in high school, including this one. Whether due to time or musical maturity, I appreciate many of them much more now than I did then. It would be fun to go back and play them again.

deadmau5 – Aural Psynapse

Ryan George – An Gé Fhiáin (Performed by Kenneth Collins and the United States Navy Band)

Just got back from a short tour with the University wind ensemble. We’re playing it this semester and I think it’s one of my favorite pieces for wind band that I’ve played.

Zonderling – Particle Parade

Somewhat fitting that I discovered this while working on a biochemistry lab. Very well may be my favorite track by Zonderling yet.