Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm Alive!

Hey there! This is going to be super short, but I just wanted to reassure you that I am, in fact, still alive and well. We've seen a lot of neat things on this trip so far including enormous trees, diving pelicans, and incredible sunsets. Anyway, see you all in a few days!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Soundtrack Review: Tangled

Hey there! It's been a while since my last soundtrack review, hasn't it? I can't believe I haven't done a review on this one yet.

Alan Menken, an American composer, has written the score for numerous Disney movies, including The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and more recently, Enchanted.

Before I saw the movie, I wasn't quite sure what to expect as far as the score goes. Needless to say, I was very impressed. Menken was able to retain a more traditional feel that really enhanced the movie, while the songs with words were definitely more modern sounding. Mostly, as it usually is, it was the instruments he chose. The very traditional sound was created by using a blend of solo wind (don't know what exactly) and (I'm guessing) violin along with what sounded like a bodhran, or a traditional Irish drum, and a tambourine. This can especially be heard in the track Kingdom Dance, which is by far my favorite track from the movie.

Menken also did a great job capturing moods. The track below is a great example. I heard this track before even seeing the movie and I could tell that the scene took place at night because of the guitar, and I could hear light, and something grand and life-changing taking place. I was happily surprised when I saw the movie that I had been pretty spot on.

Finally, here's what the composer himself has to say about his music:

Notice the wall in the room there- Isn't it epic!?

Alright, I think I'm done raving about Tangled for a while. Enjoy the break while it lasts.

And in case you haven't heard it yet, I posted another composition in the previous post and I would love love love some feedback.

Also, I'm leaving for a trip tomorrow and probably will have little or no internet access. So just consider this your Soundtrack Saturday.

And finally, please pray that we don't have any more car trouble. We've had a lot of that lately and we certainly don't need anything going wrong while we're on our trip. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Live Recording of the Lost Journals

I finally did it! I got a MIDI keyboard about 2 weeks or so ago which means that I can now record my compositions into Garage Band! I'm extremely happy about this because I can get the dynamics and the tempo changes and special things like that just the way I want them. And the piano doesn't sound all clinky like it does on Sibelius. It sounds... real!

So yesterday I made a decent sounding recording of this song and am here to share it with you all.

This is a monumental day, folks!

Live Recording of Lost Journals by composer4christ

Monday, July 25, 2011

I've Had an Exciting Few Days

After escaping the rainy weather earlier this week, we returned home and had some pretty nice weather!

On Thursday, my dad and I went boating out on the river near our house. I used my kayak and my dad tried out his new solo canoe. We saw a blue heron. It kept flying ahead and landing, flying and landing, and we followed it about half a mile up the river.

On Friday, I went on a wonderful bike ride with a friend. There was a book sale at the public library that we stopped at. Then we crossed the street and visited the farmers market and an annual art event called Art Splash. Art Splash is where local artists get to show off their work and hopefully sell something. Later, around 8:30 or so I rode my bike alone down to the park. The light was perfect and I took some great pictures.

On Saturday, we experienced what I believe was the first day this summer, maybe even this year, where there was literally not a single cloud in the sky. I rode my bike to the park and was there by about 9:30. There was nobody there yet so it was wonderfully quiet. I sat by the river and read for about an hour, two ducks keeping me company.

When I got back it had warmed up quite a bit so 2 of my neighbors and I decided to get in my inflatable pool.

Yeah. That was interesting.

Then another friend called and invited my parents and me over for dinner. It was quite tasty. My parents and her parents have so many similarities, they're practically twins!

On Sunday morning, I got up at 6, just in time for the sunrise. It was spectacular!

Once we were all awake, we went into town. It was just the right temperature.

To finish off the day, I rode my bike to the park again and captured the sunset. Those pictures are still on my camera, but it looked just like the sunrise, with the rays, and the clouds, and the color...

Around 4 this morning, I was awake and I thought I saw a flash of lightning, but I always think that so I tried to go back to sleep. Then I saw another. It was definitely lightning.

Back-story: About a week ago I prayed for a good thunder and lightning storm since it's been a pretty long time singe I've seen one. He obviously answered my prayer.

So I kept watching and eventually I heard thunder, waaaay off in the distance. And after a few soft flashes and rumbles, I noticed it growing louder, brighter, and closer together, but still a good way off.

And I prayed silently, Alright Lord, I asked for a good storm. Can you give me just one good flash before I go back to sleep?

Not 2 seconds after that I see the brightest flash I have ever seen, followed closely by the loudest thunder I have ever heard, followed by the most startled parents I have ever heard. It even shook me up a bit. Okay, a lot.

Okay Lord, thanks, but I think that's enough... Can I just go back to sleep now?

And the storm passed over without any more super bright flashes or super loud rolls of thunder, and I fell asleep to the sound of distant thunder and falling rain.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soundtrack Saturday

This weeks selection, from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Harry Gregson-Williams is probably my favorite score out of them all. In fact, I once had a dream where this was playing. I love it because it has a very mystical, soothing, yet adventurous and curious feel to it. Also, I love the use of vocals, dynamics, the sudden mood change around the 4 minute mark, and the use of the movie's various themes, not to mention the exquisite use of strings around 4:50ish. Talk about remarkable in every way!

Monday, July 18, 2011

What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?

(This post was originally titled "So Much For Escaping the Weather" but was changed after I had a sudden realization. Just thought you might like to know.)

So after writing yesterday's post about our miserable weather, my parents and I decided that we just couldn't take it anymore so we packed up and headed to my grandparents' home. You see, they live in a part of the state that is notably drier than where I live. It seemed like a brilliant plan at the time.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm happy to be out of the house, it's just that it doesn't seem to matter where I go because it's still raining. But at least when I look longingly out of the rain-spattered window, I see a change of scenery. That's nice.

We did actually get out a bit earlier today despite the light drizzle. We visited a couple of nearby waterfalls and walked around. We had a good time, even with the rain.

(I'm testing out some watermarks. What are your thoughts?)

I realized something though: It's weather like this that makes my home such a lovely place to live. Without all of the rain we get, there wouldn't be so much beautiful green.

I also recall seeing a fire danger meter on our way. The fire danger was "low" because of the rain.

You've got to love the rain. It drives us crazy sometimes, but after a good downpour, everything is so fresh and clean. It smells wonderful, it feels light and refreshing, and I think to myself, that wasn't so bad.

It got me thinking: The Lord sends us rain whether we like it or not. We'll complain, we'll beg Him to make it stop, we'll try to escape it, but He knows that we are like plants; without water, we can't grow. He sends those downpours our way in order to help us grow and make us stronger.

Isn't that thought reassuring? It was for me.

And, of course, being the music nerd that I am, two songs popped into my head:

So as much as I would love to see some sunshine, I know that I am truly blessed to live in a place where it is frequently raining. It's summer, and a bit of rain can't change that. I'm going to make the most of it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This is Not Summer.

I woke up to the sound of steady rain- for the fourth morning in a row. The morning is cool, wet, cloudy, not at all like the summer mornings one would expect this time of year. It's the middle of July, but here, it looks more like April.

Lately, I've been lamenting over the fact that I would really really love to go swimming but the weather doesn't want me to apparently.

But one good thing ("good" thing) about the lack of nice weather is that there's tons of time to read! Yesterday I finally got my hands on a copy of Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and read it all in one sitting. Now that was one riveting story!

Also, our public library has these things called "book bundles". They're groups of 3 books, all with different themes like "pirates", "horses", etc. and you read the three books in the bundle, fill out a little tag that goes with it and turn in the tag for prize drawings. Well, the other day I actually won a drawing. And I never win drawings.

My prize? 2 coupons for frozen yogurt. That made me very happy. Now if only the weather would warm up a bit so I could use them...

Right now I have this song running through my head. It describes my predicament perfectly.

I wish I was in California...

What about you? You all have been strangely quiet... How's your summer going?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What!? Another Giveaway!?

That's right! God's Daughter is holding another fantastic giveaway!

It ends on the 22nd, so enter now! Just head on over here!

Soundtrack Saturday

Here's another wonderful score from my favorite composer, James Newton Howard. This one is from the movie Dinosaur. This piece in particular caught my attention because it seems especially 'moody', if you would. As in even though I haven't yet seen the movie (I got it from the library to watch though) I was able to infer what might be happening based entirely on what I heard.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

If You Give A Neighbor A Computer...

If you give a neighbor a computer, then they might want to see what fun things you have on it.

Their search will end when they discover photobooth.

But they aren't done yet! Now that they've found photobooth, they'll want to take a picture:

Or two...

Or three...

Until they've tried out all the different styles.

And in case that wasn't enough, then they discover the video option...

And they make just as many videos.

And one of the videos happens to begin an inside joke.

'Cause when you give a neighbor a computer...

Well, you never know what you're in for.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pictures and Major Happenings From the Choir Festival

I apologize ahead of time for the picture-heaviness of this post, but I figured you'd prefer to see pictures, rather than have me go into lengthy descriptions. 
Choir festival 2011:

I was very excited since my choir hadn't gone on a trip since 2007. We'd tried to go to some, but there were never enough people. However, with only 8 singers this year, we still went. Singing in such a small group was a great experience. It brought us closer together and gave us confidence.

I'm not really sure why we flew since it was less than an hour long flight, but I was excited to get some good shots from the plane.

And besides, you don't get pretzels and soda on a bus, do you?

This is where we stayed.

Lovely, isn't it?

This was one of my favorite songs that we sang. And not just because it was catchy. Take a closer look:

This had us laughing pretty hard!

On the second day, we got to walk into town. They allowed us to wander around before our flash mob. We pretty much had free reign as long as we were with a partner.

This is the view from the path leading into town.

I went with a few of my friends to try on accessories. That was amusing.

And then we got food. (My friend, featured in the above photo, was completely oblivious to the cameras as she gazed lovingly at her ice cream)

The clock tower that plays obnoxious music very loudly and for an unreasonably long time.

 We stopped at a very tiny amusement park and since I'm not one for crazy rides, I was the official photographer.

Then we rushed to the location of our flash mob (sorry, no pictures of the actual mob, and my video didn't turn out so great).

After the mob, we were escorted to...

A giant red wagon!

Yes, the handle is a slide.
We took group pictures on the wagon.

And then we made a pyramid.

On the way back to the place we were staying at we stopped to feed these little guys:

That there is a marmot. They like to eat cheerios.

But even more, they like to eat cheerios from our hands!

Other than feeding the marmots, I was also amused by 2 of my friends in particular.

Yeah. You get the point.

Giant rubber bands. They were meant to help us with vowels, phrasing, dynamics, etc. But they also made a great weapon!

My director set aside 10 minutes for me to talk to Dr. Brunner the composer, about, well, composing! I'm actually working on a separate post laying out what I learned. No photos though :(

On our last full day, we had a concert at a theater in town. 

Someone doesn't know how to spell. See the mistake?
 We were laughing pretty hard about that. It's choral, people! Choral!

After the concert, we had a catered dinner which turned into a full-blown dance party, thanks to these two again:

(Love this shot!)

Yeah cameraman! (He had a super cool camera contraption)

Sometimes I wonder...

But I haven't even shown you all the best part yet!!!

The best part: The wardrobes!

My roommate and I kept expecting to open it up and find Flynn Rider inside, knocked out cold by a frying pan while the girls in the room next to us were in search of Narnia.

We went to Starbucks on our last morning, then flew home. It was fantastically clear and sunny.

Phew! Sorry, that turned out a bit longer than I had anticipated. If you read looked at the whole thing, then you deserve a prize. Unfortunately, I don't have one for you. Except that you're finally done with it. Isn't that rewarding enough?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Soundtrack Saturday

This week I have selected the first 2 tracks from Air Force One. Yes folks, it's another incredibly heroic and hopeful melody. And it uses snares. I'm partial to heroic music. I love the way the string and horn parts sort of intertwine, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Giveaway at (life is too short not to) wear read shoes

Seriously, you won't want to miss it!

 So the theme is bucket list. So here's part of mine.

  • Work with a well-known composer
  • Conduct an orchestra
  • Adopt from China
  • Adopt from Africa
  • Go dog sledding
  • Play an uilleann pipe
  • Win an Oscar for best score or whatever it is
  • Get 100 followers
  • Get 30 followers (so close...)

That's just the start of it too, but I won't bore you with my far-fetched dreams. Well, maybe not so distant after all. I did get to shake the composer Dr. Brunner's hand.

But anyway, enter!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Soundtrack Saturday

This weeks selection comes from Tarzan. And no, it does not have singing, in case you were wondering. No, this one is completely instrumental and completely awesome! I love it because it goes through so many different moods. The different moods are created mostly by the dynamics.