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Monday, January 9, 2012

New Semester, New Challenges

Today is the first day of the new semester, marking my fourth semester of a six-piece run at Indiana University Southeast. This of course means that I am halfway there, and considering I'm holding onto a 3.6 GPA - it feels pretty damn good. And I honestly believe that last semester was my toughest semester, and now that that is behind me (I finished the semester with a 3.5, btw) the next three semester should be relatively easy. Needless to say, I'm in a terrific spot right now and there will be no greater feeling in the world that I will have than the day that I earn my degree.

One of the greatest achievements was having the IU Southeast Concert band premiere my composition, 'Fantasy on an American Folk Hymn', on November 6, 2011. Despite some minor balancing issues that were much more apparent in the recording, and a few missed entrances the performance was a huge success, and probably could not have gone much better. The next step, which I have been working ambitiously with Don McMahel on, publishing!

Anyway, in case you missed the performance you can watch a video I put together with some pictures showing while the band is playing.

What's next on the schedule for me? Well, Carrie Ravenscraft, a very very talented clarinet player, will be performing my clarinet solo 'Perceptions of Strife' at the first ever IU Southeast Student Composers Concert scheduled for April 16, 2012 (I don't believe in the doomsday prophecy, but I still get a chill every time I write that year). Aside from other works by the many talented composers at IU Southeast, I will be writing a piece for Alto Saxophone, Tuba, Piano and Timpani. The performer line-up I have planned for that concert is New Dynamic Records musicians Krista Wallace-Boaz (piano) and Cory Barnfield (Alto Saxophone), as well as New Albanian area musicians Russ Shartzer (tuba) and Stewart Brewer (Timpani). It should be a pretty amazing performance!

Speaking of Krista Wallace-Boaz and Cory Barnfield, check out this interview where they talk about their new album 'Journey'. I'm so honored to have these musicians agree to perform one of my works!

However, the big announcement I am making is that I am writing a piece for orchestra, which will be my first PERFORMED orchestra composition! I won't say a whole lot about it, except that it will be Superhero themed! The scheduled performance date is November 18, 2012 (--shiver-- see there it is again!) at 3 pm, and the group will New Albany's very own IU Southeast Orchestra, directed by Dr. Joanna Goldstein!

Oh yes - an even BIGGER announcement. I am now going to announce that the date for my senior recital will be March 17, 2013 (whew...hopefully we are all still here by then!). The recital will feature a maximum of two already composed compositions and a minimum of three newly composed works! This means for the next year, I will be BUSY BUSY BUSY!!!

Ok, so I usually put a portion in here where I rant about sports but I haven't been paying as much attention over the past few months - so I will just throw in a popcorn ramble.

1. The cards football team finished the regular season 5-1, but then blew it by losing to an ACC team, which was probably the most inconsistent team in the nation. It wouldn't be the Louisville cardinals if they didn't get that team on their A day.

2. That's ok....the Big East struck back when West Virginia embarrassed Clemson in the Orange Bowl by winning with a score of 70-33. 70 one has ever scored that many in a BCS game, and there are only a handful of Division I games that see that kind of a score in a decade. The thrill of talking conference smack is gone when the team that shows up is leaving anyway, however Louisville did defeat WVU on their home turf earlier in the year.

3. The Louisville Basketball team? Meh. Yes....we've been plagued by injuries, but after muscling through to 12-0 we had high hopes for the team. Then we lost the Georgetown...and then to Kentucky....oh hey we beat St. Johns on the road at Madison Square Garden!.....and then lost to Notre Dame. Not really sure where our team stands right now, but I'm hoping by now we realize that defense doesn't always win games (doesn't that work more in football, anyway?).

4. This is older news, but what kind of a world do we live in where a guy who bets on dogs to fight and kill eachother gets 18 months in prison, but a guy who beats and rapes women gets a 4 game suspension? And after last nights game....we know who the better QB is.

5. Speaking of did bring a smile to my face seeing him get owned by a Rookie QB out of Florida. Even I might jump on the Tim Tebow bandwagon.

6. How about dem cubs? Yes - we wouldn't be cubs fans if we weren't getting excited about the upcoming season four months before the first game. But we have a new man who is cleaning house and his name is Theo Epstein. His deep pockets and his thick resume (he's helped win two World Series championships with the OTHER previously cursed team) are doing some positive damage in the windy city, and don't be surprised if the cubs curse is the next on the chopping block! Perhaps its wishful thinking, but will 'next year' finally be here? Until then - GO CUBS GO!

Well, that wraps it up for today. As always, thanks for reading!

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