Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Friends...and missing treasured ones

There is nothing that can ever replace the best friends that I've made in my life. There are so many of you that I miss so much. To Andy and Jenifer, Brent and Christy, is kills me that I can't be more involved in the lives of Aubrey and Brooks and to watch you guys develop as parents. I miss hanging out with Brandon, Watkins, Fern, Schmiddy, and Skate. You know I love you guys like family, you are family and I miss our time together too. I miss going to FBC A and seeing the smiling faces of Mother Bike and Janie, Cheryl Kilpatrick, Diane Schmidtke, and Mrs. Brantley; the warm greeting I always received from all my choir "mommas" like Mrs. Mullins, Donna Smelcer, and Debbie Kennedy. And I often think while walking into church here in Eugene, "Man I wish Sharon Joiner was singing 'I Know My Redeemer Lives' ..... 'and I know that I know, that I know, that I know, that I redeemer lives' (Nicole C. Mullin ain't got nothing on Sharon Joiner!)." I miss my "other moms," Marion Lynn Stewart, Debbie Newman, Diane Schmidtke, and Janie Byars...And polish mistakes, you just can't get those up here in Eugene! And there are so many others who've helped to influence and shape the person I am today. If i tried to mention you all, this post would go on for days. I guess moving 3000 miles aways really reveals to you what true friendship is. Thank you to all of you for the calls, emails, and facebook messages wanting to know what I'm up to and how I'm doing they mean the world to me!
You should all know that I talk about you all the time to my friends here in Eugene, so I thought it only appropreiate to tell you treasured friends about the new friends that i'm making here. I must say that this transition has been made so easy by the wonderful people I've met here in Eugene. I haven't felt alone or isolated at all. First you should know about Becky Hunter. She is the reason that my transition went so well. One of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, Becky bent over backwards to introduce me to new friends and to include me in social gathering when I first got here. Becky and I met when I came here to audition back in January and she's been wonderful ever since. She is an AMAZING violin player studying for her doctorate in violin performance and she's helping me out by playing violin at my church in a few months. Becky introduced me to Clark and Holland (among others) and the three of them are my "string" friends. (This is unusual in the music world because normally singers and instrumentalist don't hang out with each other -- but you know me, i'll make friend with anyone!) Clark is an awesome guy who loves Jesus and plays Viola. He's a graduate of Boston University and is completing his doctorate in viola performance here at UO. Holland is another violinist and is from Mississippi; Starkville (home of MS State) to be exact! She and I speak Southern to one another sometimes! Through these folk I met Jeremy. He's a PhD in composition student finishing up his degree. Jeremy is a very gifted composer and has been around the OU school of music a while so he knows the ends and outs. I'm conducting on his graduate recital and very excited about it. I'll be conducting the premiere of two awesome choral works he's just finished on the poetry of Langston Hughes.
My music ed./vocal friends (i'm working on uniting the school of music) are a blast and we spend at least a portion of almost everyday together. Julie, Amy, John, Gene, and I pretty much pal around and cause as much ruckus and havoc as we can. We set aside every Tuesday night, deemed "Taco Tuesday," to go to this great Mexican restaurant that has $.99 tacos on Tuesday nights. (Being in grad school, cheap is always good) Taco Tuesday is our incentive to get through the rest of the week. Julie is from Oakland, California and is a scream! Very out going, Julie says exactly what she is thinking with no filter and I love it! Amy (Julie and Amy are roommates and are BFF) is from all over and even lived in Georgia for a while. Amy is a fantastic teacher and came back to do her masters after being offered a teaching fellowship. She has an awesome beagle named Abby. John is from Montana and has the lowest bass voice you've ever heard; sort of "Barry White-esque" but packed in a small 160 lb body. John and I play racquetball two days a week and he kicks my tail every time cause he's so dang quick! Gene is from Malaysia and has a fantastic voice. He is working on his doctorate in vocal performance. Gene and I give each other "the look" in choir when people mess up or say really dumb things! The five of us bring riotous laughter and tons of fun where ever we go.
There, of course, are many others that I've met along the way, and many more to meet, but for now I thought I might introduce you to these few. To those of you from Alabaster, Samford, UA, or Huntsville that may read this, know that I miss you all! Keep checking back and I'll try to keep things updated on here as to how things are going!
(the pictures are of myself and Amy, and Amy, Jules, and I at a party for music grad. students.)
And PS. Before you even ask Becky, Holland, Amy, and Julie ALL have very serious boyfriends.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's been a while...

So, it's been quite a while since i updated this thing.  I was under that assumption that no one even read it. However, after emails from a few friends, it appears as though at least a few of you read this thing.  So, what have I been up to?  Allow me to run a few bullets:

  • Mid August road trip with Fawn to Eugene (amazing trip!)
  • Getting settled into Eugene
  • Flew back to Jackson, MS to attend my grandfather's funeral
  • Interviewed for a church job as Bethesda Lutheran Church
  • Took the job at BLC
  • Attended "Week of Welcome" meetings for Graduate Teaching Fellows (GFT)
  • Began first week of classes at UO
  • Had my first rehearsal with the UO Concert Choir (the group I'm conducting)
  • Along the way I've met some AMAZING new friends!
Let's talk about a few of these.  My mid-August trip with Fawn was amazing.  I've already posted a few pictures from the trip, but it's worth reiterating how AWESOME it was.  I love you FERN!  We saw everything from "Cadillac Ranch" to the Grand Canyon.  We saw Yosemite, drove the Pacific Coast Highway, and even ate "Lamb Fries"  -- trust me, you don't wanna know what those are!  Once we arrived in Eugene we spent time setting up my apartment and then headed to Portland to meet some friends of Fawn's.  I then put Fawn on a plane back to Nashville and made the lonely drive back to Eugene.
I spent the next 2 weeks or so just getting settled in.  My grandfather's health had been failing this whole time and He went to be with the Lord on August 29, 2008.  I flew to Jackson, Mississippi on August 31 for his funeral the following day.  Pawpaw had told me this past Summer when I was in Mississippi for a visit that he might not see me again.  He told me he was tired and "waiting on Jesus."  I'm selfish and I didn't want to give him up, however, he was old and tired, he was ready for eternity and a body that was not failing him.  I miss him terribly and Christmas will not be the same this year, but i'm so glad that he is not suffering.
After returning from Jackson, I got down to the business of preparing for school and interview for jobs.  I'm the new music director at Bethesda Lutheran Church.  They have been wonderful to me and are a choir to direct.
I started this past Monday with classes at UO.  I LOVE IT!!!  It blows my mind that I am a PhD student.  I'm going to be Dr. Parker in the next four years.  How crazy is that!  I did always tell my parents that I was going to be a Doctor (this is not what they were thinking though i don't think!) hey, i kept my word.  I'm taking three academic classes: Choral Conducting Seminar, Research Methods in Music, and Repertoire and Analysis (Classical Form).  I'm singing in three choirs; Repertoire Singers (the lab choir for Conducting Seminar), U Singers (the University's large - 45 member - auditioned ensemble), and Chamber Choir (a highly competitive, select group of 20 singers - it's the University's top ensemble), and i'm conducting Concert Choir (the non-auditioned, y'all come, choir).  Concert Choir is SO MUCH FUN!! I absolutely love it and the students i'm working with (about 60) are awesome and we are really going to open some eyes this term as to how good a non-auditioned ensemble can be!
So, in short, that's pretty much my life right now.  I'll try to keep this thing a little more up-to-date since I am now 3000 miles from those of you I love so much.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oregon / Apt.

For those of you who have asked, here are a fews pics of the views around Eugene and a pic or two of my apartment (FYI the apt is a work in progress!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Road Trip 2

1) I meant to add this one in the last post.  One of our first stops was Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo, Texas.  There are 10 Caddies buried end up in the ground.  Art?  You decide.

2) Where the last post left off:  We spent the night in Vegas.  We walked around the Strip, Bellagio, and saw the Bellagio water show.  It was amazing!

3 - 5) The last three pics are of our house back ride through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It was amazingly gorgeous!  Pictures just can't do it justice.  We road from the home point to South Lake then back.  Everyone should ride horses thru the Sierra Nevadas before they die!

Road Trip to Oregon

1) at a rest stop in Oklahoma

2) Grand Canyon

3) Being welcomed to Arizona

4)  More Grand Canyon

5)  At the Hoover Dam

Sunday, June 15, 2008

a poem, found in the book "The Perks of Being a Wildflower."

As a teacher, this poem was very poignant.
Just something to jog thought.
I love my job.
These are my students. 
Life is real...honest...shouldn't it be...shouldn't we be?
How many of my students, your friends, people you pass on the street
feel this way?
I hope it speaks to you like it did me.

Once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Chops"
because that was the name of his dog
And that's what it was about
And his teacher gave in an A
and a gold star
And his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his aunts
That was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo
And he let them sing on the bus
And his little sister was born
with tiny toenails and no hair
And his mother and father kissed a lot
And the girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's
and he had to ask his father what the X's meant
And his father always tucked him in bed at night
And was always there to do it.

Once on a piece of white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Autumn" 
because that was the name of the season
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him and A
and asked him to write more clearly
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because of its new paint
And the kids told him
that Father Tracy smoked cigars
And left the butts on the pews
And sometimes they would burn holes
That was the year his sister got glasses
with thick black frames
And the girl around the corner laughed
when he asked her to go see Santa Claus
And the kids told why
his mother and father kissed a lot
And his father never tucked him in bed at night
And his father got mad
when he cried for him to do it.

Once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Innocence: A Question"
because that was the question about his girl
And that's what it was all about
And his professor gave him an A
and a strange steady look
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the year that Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end
of the Apostle's Creed went
And he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
And his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
And the girl around the corner
wore too much make up
That made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway
because that was the thing to do
And at three A.M. he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly

That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
Because that's what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung in on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen.  

Friday, June 13, 2008


I've spent today doing nothing.  Normally, during the Summer, that's not a problem, however this Summer I have to move across the country.  I need to be packing!  I mentioned to a friend today that I needed to go get some packing tape, I have boxes but no tape.  So why haven't I started?  I guess to start packing is a tangible realization that I'm leaving this place that I've come to love.  Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about what's to come in my life, but it doesn't seem real right now.  Packing, I think, would make it real.  I don't know if I'm ready for it to be real yet.  I'm not read to say "goodbye."