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.
It's that time of the year again! Choir Tour is here, and we have plans for several high schools and churches, from Birmingham to Raleigh, North Carolina. After the end of our first day, I can certainly say I'm looking forward to the next few days to come.
I'll give you a few facts about Day 1:
My roommate and I started heading toward the bus . . . or so we thought. Once we arrived in front of Tucker, we saw fellow choir members sitting on the steps with their luggage. There was no bus!! Fortunately, a bus eventually appeared, and we still managed to make it to our first stop on time: Oakmont Presbyterian Church, also known as Dr. Brown's (our piano instructor) church. We were in charge of the entire morning service! After a great service from FAITH and Choir, the members of Oakmont provided us with an amazing spread of food for lunch! We enjoyed our food, then serenaded everyone with a "fun time" of singing. This is when we did songs such as "Boogie Woogie," "Oh Happy Day," and "Sincerely."
Next, we headed to the Galleria for our first fun stop of the tour. This is a huge mall in Birmingham - they even have a Lego store! After our short break, we headed to Decatur for our next stop - Central Baptist. After a yummy dinner and our program for the night, Maggie, Heather, and I met our first host homes of the trip.
I have to say, our host family was so cool! They set up a fire pit so we could sit outside and talk. We learned that the Mom was a Judson Alum, and had a great time talking about the things that have changed and the ones that have stayed the same. We also had a chance to talk with the Dad, and their 2 kids - a girl who is a senior (and a possible future Judson girl), and a 15 year old guy. (Names have been omitted for internet safety reasons =) )
Story of the Day:
Holly Beth is an amazing first soprano! In one movement of the Requiem, Pie Jesu, she has a significant solo that requires going as high as the high "A." Unfortunately, Holly Beth has also been struggling with this solo due to Bronchitis! Sunday, during rehearsal, she still was not well enough to hit the high notes, and we were worried. The song came in the service, and she hit each note without even sounding a bit hoarse. I know several of us were praying that she would make it through, and it was so refreshing to see - on Day 1 - God is blessing this tour. I have no doubt that her ability to perform that solo was a God thing.
I remember answering that question countless times, and watching a look of "is that all?" cross over many faces as they processed this information. Now that I am a double major in Music and English, this reaction isn't quite so noticeable, but for some reason, people have this idea that Music is one of those "easy" degrees.
While I will stick with explaining music, I believe that most degrees have this reaction to some degree, simply because so many people are not aware of the requirements for any given major.
Where did this idea come from?
Music is so much more than sitting down and going to town on a piano, or hitting that high note during your voice piece as if it is no big deal.
To explain a little more, I'll give you the 411 for a few of my classes this semester.
Conducting: I remember watching conductors and thinking they had the easiest job out of everyone in the ensemble. All they have to do is wave their hands a little, keep a beat, and cue entrances, right? My opinion has changed so much since then. Conductors are responsible for holding the ensemble together. Yes, they wave their hands - in a very particular fashion. Down is always the first beat, up is the last. They speak through their hands, somehow telling the ensemble when to get louder, softer, faster, and slower, without ever saying a word! Now that I'm learning how to conduct, I've learned these responsibilities are closely related to the saying "pat your head and rub your tummy."
Music Theory: Who knew each note of a piece was so significant? I'm in my fourth semester of Music Theory, and I've learned so much about the "Math and Science" behind music. Each piece has a logical progression, rules that must be followed, and specifics that make the music what it is. Two years ago, I never would have believed I'd turn in Music I composed from scratch as homework, or put a three-part harmony on paper just by listening to a CD for a final.
Music History: No matter what field you're in, history is an important aspect. Realizing how your field got where it is today is a big step in understanding the field itself. So much has happened to make music what it is today, and though History isn't my favorite subject, I've found this class to be quite interesting!
A music degree is a credible degree with significant work behind it. Each area of study has work that people can't fully appreciate until they know what exactly is involved in the degree. I have to admit, I thought Art sounded like an easy degree until I came to Judson. Now that I know more about it, I see Art majors as some of the most creative and dedicated people there are!
When choosing your degree, just remember that any program you decide to enter is going to have work associated with it - if it is from a credible school (which Judson is!)
Whether you are considering a major in Music at Judson or not, I hope this has answered a few of your questions about what a Music Major does.
"So, what is your major?"
"Oh!" I say with a smile on my face. "I'm a Music Major!"
"The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs."
Clue 1: Our Mystery Guest is a male with ties to Alabama. He lists Ray Charles as one of his major musical influences. He has also performed with Snoop Dogg (yes, really).
Monday, we received our first clue about our "Mystery Guest."
"While the terms of our contract with the Mystery Guest don't allow me to reveal the guest's identity until the performance, I can say that this will be unlike any AE event that you've been to in the past. If you correctly guess the name of the Mystery Guest, your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 iTunes gift card."
Needless to say, after receiving this email the guessing game quickly became the buzz of the school. Who in the world could be coming here in the middle of the day, and the middle of the week?
Each day, we received a clue. My roommate and I googled and searched for possible vistors, and I have to brag - we figured it out after the first clue. =) Since they couldn't tell us if we were right or wrong, our curiosity remained, and each day we received a clue and confirmed our guess.
Tuesday, Clue 2:
Over the past several years, the Mystery Guest has toured extensively, made multiple appearances on network TV, and performed on Broadway.
Wednesday, Clue 3:
Our Mystery Guest was once named People magazine's "Hottest Bachelor."
Do you have any idea? We did. While I have to admit I don't follow American Idol to the point of watching every show, I really enjoy watching when I have time.
Still, at 2 o' clock yesterday, we still weren't absolutely positive. I mean, we hadn't SEEN him yet so we couldn't be sure, right? Excitement continued in the auditorium as we waited for the curtains to pull back. When they finally did, the whole room cheered.
Wendnesday, February 23, 2011, Taylor Hicks performed at Judson College.
For the next hour, Taylor spoke, sang, and of course, played a little harmonica too. He was sure to thank his fans, and claim his ties to Alabama - Birmingham to be exact. He spoke of his love for his job of touring and putting out new CDs, and reminded each of us of a very important fact.
Find a job you love. If you can do that, you'll never work a day in your life.
After the show, we headed over to Archibald Hall for refreshments, autographs, and of course, T-shirts, posters, and CDs. I was able to get an autographed CD, and was pretty happy about it! As they made the announcement to head outside for a group picture, I looked around for two of my friends - they had disappeared! I headed to find them only to learn they shut down the autographs before they could get theirs. Taylor Hicks had just finished the group picture, and was heading back to the Tucker Hall to pack up. "I have to get them autographs," I thought. As he headed inside, I asked the lady by the door if he would sign one more autograph. She let me go on in. "excuse me, can I get an autograph?" I'm sure those words sounded about as timid as I felt, but as I walked out with a personal autograph for each of them, I'm sure I had a big smile on my face.
After giving them their autographs, I have to say, the smiles and disbelief on their faces were worth more than my own signed CD could ever be. As I watched their faces go from disappointment to joy, I was reminded once again of one very important beatitude:
"It is more blessed to give than to receive" - Acts 20:35
I walk off stage to see my piano and voice teacher from High School wearing a huge smile on her face. A little to the left, and I see my Aunt. Still in the audience, a family friend, and of course, my church family.
When Dr. Ransom first announced we would be doing an outreach concert at my church, I was pretty excited. As rehearsals passed, my excitement only increased. I prepared to sing a duet with a fellow FAITH member that Sunday morning, since FAITH would be singing that evening.
Sunday morning, I received a text from Audra saying she was sick and wouldn't be able to sing with FAITH. I made a mental note and continued to get ready for church that morning. Miriam and I sang "Lord Here Am I" for our duet, and spent our afternoon on homework before heading back to my church to meet with the rest of the FAITH ensemble.
Once we were all at church together, we began warming up and running through our pieces, and then...
....it hit me.
Audra is my buddy, my partner in crime - errr - singing. I would be the only first alto for each of our songs. In one song, this meant I now had a solo. I have to say, it significantly increased my level of nervousness! I suddenly wanted to run through each piece a couple more times. There was no more depending on anyone for a part. As I pieced this information together, we headed to eat a light meal the ladies at the church prepared for us. We shared laughter with a couple of Alums, and reminisced with them as they spoke of how things used to be, listened to how things have changed, and which things remained the same.
Finally, it was time to sing. We gathered around for a prayer, and filed into the Sanctuary to begin our concert of 8 songs. One song, "Be Thou my Vision," included a handbell accompaniment that my church handbell choir was able to play for us. If I had to list my favorite song, it would have to be one of our new songs for this semester, "Psalm 23."
Psalm 23 was the first full chapter of the Bible I ever memorized, through the encouragement of a Sunday School teacher to our class after a lesson several years ago. I can still remember that chapter, after all this time! Naturally, when Dr. Ransom presented the song "Psalm 23" to us, it immediately caught my interest. While it's not the easiest piece to learn, after trudging through each of the learning curves and difficult intervals, I have found it to be a very powerful piece.
We made it through, one song at a time, and wrapped up with our group favorite, "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place." Despite our nervousness, we pulled through. All the glitches that happened during our last rehearsal either improved or disappeared, and now we were finished. While no performance is perfect, I must say, it was easy to sense the mindset of the room as we led the congregation in worship. I left my church that night knowing that while we are leaders in our school and are expected to perform from time to time, my favorite type of performance is the one that is not really a performance, but a mind of worship and reverence with our Savior.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever."