Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Very Interesting Summer

This summer has not been what I was expecting when I decided to stay in Rexburg. For one, I was expecting to atleast be able to find a job....which has not yet happened. So for the past month and a half of the summer, I have been an unemployed, part-time student wondering where on earth the money to live and pay for tuition is going to come from. It's at times like this, I suppose, that people wish money really did grow on trees. Yeah, if only!!

I also didn't expect when I registered for only 6 credits that my classes would be as time consuming as they have been. I am in Collegiate Singers again this semester. This is the choir that I toured to Alaska with (not all the same singers though). At the beginning of the semester, Bro Kemtom, our director, told us that we had a busy semester ahead of us because we were taking on 4 large projects instead of the usual 1 or 2. Every other year or so, the music and theatre departments of the school produce an Opera and this summer they are doing 2 one act Operas, Dido and Aeneas and Gianni Schicci. Before classes started back in May, I audition for the directors with high hopes that I would land a role in one of the 2 Operas. My voice has been improving dramatically the past few semesters and I really felt as if I had a good shot of making it. Unfortunatly, my name did not end up on the casting list and I have to admit that I was pretty dang fact, I was more than sad for a few days. Anyway... On the bright side, one of the 4 projects that Bro Kempton had signed his choir up for was as the Chorus of the Opera. So, since I was already in the choir, I would automatically be in the Opera Chorus for Dido! Hurray! That lifted my spirits because I would still get to be on stage and sing in the Opera, which are two things I LOVE! So, we've been rehearsing since the semester started and the rehearsals are not easy...and they are NEVER short! As the chorus, we not only get to sing but we get to dance as well! If you've ever seen a Jane Austen movie, we do dances that are very similar to the ones that are done at the balls in those movies; very graceful, balet dancing with a partner! Super fun!
The other three projects my choir has been doing includes the premier recording of an Orotorio written by Robert Cundick, concert pieces performed with the Symphony Orchestra, and 8 -10 regular pieces for the Summer Choir Festival. Thats ALOT of music to learn! Its a good thing I love music!

I changed voice teachers this semester. Ever since I started in the music program, I've wanted to study with Kris Ceisinski, an Ex- Opera Diva who had an amazing international performing career in Opera until she decided to teach at BYU-I, where she's been for the past 12 years. I did Opera Scenes in the winter, which Kris runs and directs several of the scenes, yet I was not in one of her scenes. Well, I aproached her at the end of winter semester and told her how much I wanted to study with her. I wasn't even sure if she knew my name or who I was because to be quite honest, she always scared the socks off me! She's an intimidating person...she's a professional and very good at what she does. However, when I spoke to her, she looked me straight in the eye and immediatly told me that she would take me in a heartbeat. So, I signed up with her and what an experience It has been. I can't really go into all the details without boring you all to death but lets just say that my vocal quality and technique has improved immensly! And because Kris is a pro and so good at what she does, she demands alot out of her students. She told me from the get-go that she expected me to practice more than I ever had and come to lessons more than well prepared! Intense stuff, but it has worked wonders with me and someday I will be in her shoes with an amazing performing career behind me and a university full of young music students that I can intimidate and teach!

I am also taking an acting class. I figured that since I want perform Opera sometime in my future, I might want to learn to act! I love the class! It has been helping me let go of alot of my insecurities and become more open...not only a more open performer but a more open person in general. That is something I've struggled with my whole life and I feel like the class is changing my old guarded habits! As a class, we are performing 2 seperate scenes from 2 differant plays. This requires added rehearsal time and memorization to my already crazy music stuff!

Rexburg is beautiful in the summer. All the students are outside on sunny days playing at the park, jogging, walking, laying on the lawns or simply hanging out in the parking lots. Its a bustle of activity that is so differant from the frigid and freezing fall/winter semesters here. I love it!

All in all, it's been a very intersting summer unlike any summer I've ever had! Where I have been lacking in the job department I've made up in the music and performing department which I hope will pay off sometime down the road!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's the Ocean!! We were in Homer, Alaska, on the Homer Spit, right on the was pretty chilly!

The waves coming in

We ate the best fish and chips EVER. They had just caught the halibut that morning from the ocean that was right behind the resteraunt! yum!

This saloon is appearantly the most famous establishment in will see why next. And if I appear a little tipsy its because I went in and threw down a few shots while my friends waited outside...
just kidding!! Don't worry mom, I just thought it would be appropriatly funny to look a bit intoxicated since I am standing in front of a Saloon.

Inside, every inch of the walls are covered in dollar bills. The bills are autographed or written on, and yes, that is a bra. Scandelous but very funny! The Salty Dog Saloon in where the cream of Homer, Alaska go and if your anybody who's anybody, you will go in a see what all the hulabaloo is about!


Boat Harbor!


Our Home stay family in Wasilla was way awsome! The dad was a dentist and a pilot!! He had his own plane and he took me, Helen and Lizzie up in the sky to fly over Alaska.

Yay, I get to fly in a plane!!

Lizzie and I, the excited passengers!

View from the plane

This is a HUGE valley glacier that we flew over! You can't see it too well in the picture but the glacier is brilliantly blue!

Closer to the glacier

Kayla, Lizzie and I before the Fireside in Wasilla.

This is Elder Brady...Boone Brady, best friend and next door neighbor from my childhood in Mt View! After our concert in Wasilla, he approached me and asked my if I recognized him. At first, I didn't until I saw his name tag. We hadn't seen eachother in like 12 years and it just so happened that he was serving his mission in Alaska at the same time that I was on tour with my choir in Alaska!

Karen and I with Ancourage on the horizon!

So pretty!

Yes, that is a volcano in the background...and yes, it is SMOKING! It had erupted only 2 weeks before we arrived in Alaska. The ground was still covered in ashy remains!

My Alaskan Adventure!

Entering Valdez! This was one of the most beautiful towns we went to. Its a Port town tucked is a little valley. So you have the mountains and the water all one city! This was also where I had the most adventerous time! You'll hear about that down further.

Cool view from the auditorium where we performed.

I am famous infact that there is an entire museum named my same name! I was excited!

Kiesha found her perfect match!

Kate stuck in The Snowdrift...the start of a huge adventure! So, after a small group of us left the Whitney museum, we wanted to head down to the Port to see the water. However, there was a big sea of snow blocking the shortest route and we didn't want to walk all the way around. So we decided to walk through the drift (well we wanted to walk over it because we thought it was hard enough to hold us). It was a nice day...the sun was shining and all around us snow was melting and running down the gutters of the street. But still we thought the snow drift would be frozen hard...yeah, we're dumb! We got about 20 feet over the drift until every person started sinking up to their hips, creating tube like wholes that swollowed our shoes. Our phones and cameras fell our of our pockets as we 'swam' through the cold, wet slush! However, we stuggled our way to the other side before we noticed that these precious things were we had to go back in to retrieve them!

I took this video after I had waded back through the snow and found my camera burried and wet. Alex and Travis are looking for Rachels phone and Ray is digging for Kiesha's shoe.

When all was said and done, EVERTHING was found...the shoe, the phone and the camera! And like the nerds we are, we sang Amazing Grace to the mountains and streets of Valdez Alaska.

On our way to a performance

Farewell photo of our host family in Valdez!

This is just awsome scenery! It was VERY windy outside by that little river.

We spent ALOT of time in a tour bus. This is a picture of people taking pictures out the window...ha!

At times the bus got very bumpy and swaying! This is Brad and Travis bus surfing...yes, we are all choir nerds!

Karen and I standing in front of the Alaskan Pipeline!

The boys wanted to look strong and masuline...

My Alaskan Adventure!!

It all began in the Boise Airport. Here's Mattie and I waiting for the plain to arrive and take us to Alaska!

We had some pretty long layovers and had to get creative so that we didn't go crazy! We actually sang as a choir to some passersby who learned that we were traveling to Alaska to tour.

The first city we visited was Fairbanks. Rachel, Me and Karen are standing on ice blocks being very excited to have finally arrived in Alaska!

A group of us found this super cool church made comletely of ice blocks (like an igloo, sorta) The acoustics were fabulous in there so naturally, being a choir, we sang a song!

We sound betting live! Especially when my voice isn't the loudest one :)

Brandon, Rachel and I in the Ice Church.

My Dogsledding experience! There were four sleds each hooked to 12 gorgeous Alaskan Huskies. The dogs were CRAZY! All they wanted to do was go-n-run and run they did!!

The beautiful animals and their fun and energetic!

This is Queenie and Guss! They were waiting to be hitched...CUTE huh?

Uh huh, I got to drive the sled! It was pretty dang cool! It was 40 degrees outside and the dogs were hot...the handlers said the most comfortable temperature for them is below zero. Our sleds went about 25 MPH and the dogs wouldn't stop running for nothing, not even to use the bathroom (they just let it come out, Yuck)

There is a town near Fairbanks that is called North Pole and they keep the spirit of Christmas around all year! All the light poles are candy canes and there are christmas lights up in June!Cassie and I are standing in front of Santa Clause's House in North Pole, Alaska. There are reindeer in the back and a HUGE christmas store inside! Natali, you would've absolutly went crazy in there!

This picture was one the outside wall of the house and I thought it was simply beautiful!

This is a letter to Santa written by a girl named Sara. Whenever a child writes a letter to santa and sends it in the mail to the North Pole, it comes to North Pole, Alaska. In the Santa Clause house there is a huge wall that is plastered with thousands of these adorable letters. It was especially cool to see these notes in a differant language!

Mattie and I on Santa's chair!