and welcome to my blog!I'm
Brittany, and I'm majoring in Music here at Judson College. I have a passion for Christ, music, and people; and I love
quotes, polka dots, and the color purple. I live about two hours away in the small town of Dadeville,
Alabama, and I like to think of Judson as my home away from home. Some
of you may
have followed me through last year’s blogs as I had my first
experiences as a freshman. I
invite you to join me this year as I share new experiences as a
sophomore, and keep you informed about Judson’s music ensembles.
I hear the voice of my almost 12 year old sister ask on the other end of the phone.
I try to sound positive as I realize I don't know the answer to her question,
"Well I can't this weekend, but soon I hope!"
"Okay..." her disappointed voice returns.
Later, I hear my Mom come on the phone.
"Your sister asks when you are coming home almost every day."
Rewind: April 15, Friday afternoon
I'm wrapping up things in my room after class, getting ready to go home. I have been looking forward to this day all week. My phone rings, and I hear our Emergency Notification System on the other end of the line. Normally, a tornado warning means spending about 30 minutes in the basement of my dorm, and returning to my room safe and sound. This day, after returning to my room, I received another call to return to the basement. This phone call repeated itself throughout the day, resulting in about 7 hours of "basement bonding time." I finally gave up as I realized going home would mean traveling with the storm system, and called my family to tell them I would not be coming home after all. I looked at my calendar, trying to figure out the last time I had actually been home. Spring Break, 4 weeks ago.
Fast Forward, April 23, Saturday morning
I hear the music to one of my favorite make - me - smile bands, Alvin and the Chipmunks, come on full blast through the stereo, and open my eyes just in time to see my little sister run around the corner to hide. After feeling the walls shake and hearing a few giggles, my sister runs into my room. "HI!" She says with a big smile on her face.
While 5 weeks may not seem a long time to be away from home, it is also a far cry from my typical every other weekend visit. Between Ambassadors, Music events, homework, and other campus commitments I have made this year, it has gotten harder to find a free weekend. Someone once told me, "Brittany, it's not the people leaving that struggle; it's the ones who are left behind that have the hardest time. There is one less person involved in the routine, one less person to see every day, and one less voice in the house.
It is the ones left behind that feel the biggest change.
Freshman year, my college experience involved developing my independence and learning to live away from home.
This year, I am learning how to hold on to my ties and remain close to my family while receiving my education over 2 hours away.
I am so thankful to have a family that understands the changes I have to go through to become the woman God intended for me to become.
If you're reading this as an incoming freshman, I understand the desire to be independent, make your own choices, and "live your own life." I encourage you not to forget the ones you are leaving behind. Make time to maintain and strengthen relationships with your family - I can assure you, they will appreciate it and you won't regret it.
This weekend, I am enjoying my weekend at home while celebrating Easter, as well as celebrating birthdays for 2 of my 3 siblings. Even if I don't finish all of my take-home finals, it'll be okay.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to show my little sister how to make lemonade. =)
"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing"
Here's something I bet you didn't know about me: I shut the children's peepers, and guard the little sleepers.
Believe it or not, it's not quite as creeper-ish as it sounds. This semester, the Delta Omicron Music Fraternity at Judson hosted the production of the opera, "Hansel and Gretel." Members of the Music Department have been working on their parts since the fall semester. Here is a glance at the cast line up:
Hansel: Laura Noble
Gretel: Sarah Jean Watters
Father: Dr. Bullard (The Religion Professor)
Mother: Miriam Hart
Witch: Holly Beth Johnston
Dew Fairy: Molly Beasley
Ballet: Jill Coplen, Amanda Carle, Amanda Fee, and Beverly Cox
The week of the performance, we held rehearsal every night. I have to admit, a couple of those practices made me wonder if we would be able to pull it together in time. We definitely could not have gotten through our performances without our backstage help. So many girls at Judson helped pull everything together! We ended up with some amazing props, including a huge oven, a great looking gingerbread house, and several other things. The night of the performance finally came, and everything pulled together perfectly. We could even hear the audience laughing from our spots backstage during some scenes!
The next morning, we held a second performance for area schoolchildren. While the storyline was the same, the audience proved to be completely different. Shrieking mixed with giggles filled the room when the witch ran down the aisle, hushed whispers filled the room during quieter scenes, and laughter sounded as the Father sang and skipped around on the stage.
While dedicating the time necessary to prepare was not always easy, it sure was fun when performance time came. I even found time for each of those end of the semester homework assignments.
In the beginning, singing in the Hansel and Gretel opera sounded like just another thing on my to do list. By the time the performance came and went, I realized it was just another way Judson was helping me to succeed.
Well, I must say, it was filled with naps, movies, studying, and reading. We also had a new bus driver, Charlie, to take the long drive as we rode from Decatur, Alabama to Raleigh, North Carolina. Of course, we had fun and discovered many random forms of entertainment, but now it is time to tell you all about Day 4, our last performance day for the tour.
Day 4: It's Time to Wrap Up.
Out of all the days on Choir Tour, I have to say this was my favorite. Our day began bright and early doing a service project at North Raleigh Ministries. NRM is a service that takes donations of clothes, bedding, shoes, dishes,...anything you can think of, as well as a food pantry. You can check out the mission of NRM here. NRM has just moved to a new location, and they are currently trying to get their feet on the ground and launch the new location. There were many things for us to do, from sweeping, mopping and sorting, to tagging clothes and labeling shoes. One thing is for sure, I have never mopped such a large area in my life! I've always enjoyed service projects. There's a great feeling that comes from doing a job without pay.
After completing our service project, we headed to lunch before a quick cleanup and change into our performance clothes. Our last High School visit of the trip was Sanderson High School, where we met with the Sandpipers Ensemble. This ensemble has been to Nationals with their music, and shortly after they started singing, I realized why. They were a very impressive group! We learned that in order to be in the Sandpiper Ensemble, the students were required to be able to sight-read music. Their conductor was also very impressive, and kept the students focused on the music at hand.
Next, we headed straight to Trinity Baptist Church for our last concert. It went well, and soon we were off with our last host family. Our family was the Youth Pastor at Trinity and his wife; they were such a sweet and fun couple! After taking our luggage to their house, they took us to get milkshakes, and we had a chance to talk with them a little. They even made us a Breakfast Casserole the next morning!
Story of the Day:
Hanging out with the girls you know and getting to know the ones you don't.
One of the great things about choir tour is the opportunity to get to know fellow choir members. I enjoyed "seat hopping," and since my (Judson) little sister was one of my choir tour roomies, I was also able to spend time with her! After we came back from our milkshake run, our host family just let us hang out. As tired as we were, we stayed up just talking to each other, having a great time.
Day 5: Travel!
As you might guess, we spent Day 5 traveling back to school. The tour turned out to be a lot of fun. I got to know the girls in choir better, and we were able to put the Judson name in several high schools and churches.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
After "Springing Forward" an hour Sunday, I think we all felt a little sluggish starting off our early morning. Our first stop was Austin High School in Decatur. We had the opportunity to warm up with this choir, and listened to a few pieces from them after our music set. I enjoy singing in an all girl's choir, but it sure is nice to hear an SATB (girls and guys) arrangement every once in a while. =)
Next was a short snack stop at Panera Bread, then it was off to Decatur High School for an early afternoon performance. Holly Beth, the Senior Song Leader here at Judson, started us off with a few Step Sing songs (which I believe our audience loved) as a warm up before our set. After singing, we had the opportunity to talk with the students about Judson and answer questions about our school. Because the whole choir could answer questions, we were able to offer personal experience about any major they were considering!
After a short stop for lunch at Parkway Place Mall, we headed to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. Judson even paid for the choir's admission! If you live near Huntsville and have never been to the Botanical Gardens, you are missing out! We had such a great time taking pictures, visiting the Butterfly Garden, and of course, looking at all the pretty plants and flowers.
Story of the Day:
It was mid-afternoon, and we were taking pictures at the Wishing Well in the "Children's Center" when all of a sudden, rain came POURING down!! We all started laughing and ran back to the nearest building. I believe that so many of the memories you make are not about WHERE you are, but WHO you are with while you're making them. I'm so glad to have good friends to make memories with, from singing to laughing in the rain.
When it was time to split up in our host family groups, Maggie, Amanda, Miriam, Heather, and I all got to spend the night at Amanda's house! Amanda is one of my good friends at Judson, and since she lives in Huntsville, it worked out perfectly for us to just stay with her. Amanda's family is so sweet, and I'm glad they were willing (and brave enough) to open their home to 5 girls! Her mom fixed us an amazing dinner, and we were able to relax and watch a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean!) before calling it a night.