Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Here I Stand

In honor of Reformation Day:

I grew up not knowing much about Martin Luther - aside from the very basics, anyways. However, over the past few years I've really grown in appreciation for a good deal of what he did as a part of his life and ministry. Part of that growing appreciation is thanks to my worship studies in seminary. (Luther had a lot to say about worship and music. He did quite a bit to revive the practice of the congregation singing in church.)

Also, though it may sound a bit shallow, there was a movie made about Luther a few years ago - and I've seen it a few times. I highly recommend it...it is made by the Lutheran church (so a bit rose-colored) - but it's not often you see a movie on church history that is as compelling as this.

And today I'm thankful for Martin Luther's commitment to Christ, to His Word, and for his willingness to stand up for those commitments regardless of his personal comfort. It makes me wonder what I am willing to stand for...

In his own words - when he was asked to recant or be excommunicated:

“I can not submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is as clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and I will not retract; for it unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other. May God help me." - From the Diet of Worms, 1520

Friday, October 27, 2006

Have you seen this?

Haven't had much to say...of any substance...

So I'll just share some random links that may or may not be of interest:

From my boss: How do they do this??

From the .net: First, I can't imagine losing my voice - but this is really wild

From my little sis: Amazing what can be said in just 100 words

And finally: There are no words

Friday, October 13, 2006

Catching up

So, I've been out of the primetime TV loop for a while. I can blame it on being in school - or I can blame it on being lame - it's probably some combination of both. And truth be told, I wanted in on some of the conversations you hear when people make jokes - or when they talk about theories of what's going to happen next on (insert a show here).

So lately I've been checking out a few shows. I don't have DVR or anything fancy, so I've either watched them on TV or rented them on DVD. Here's the downlow:

Scrubs - This one apparently just got syndicated because it's on twice a day on a couple different stations. So, I haven't been able to watch it in order. However, it's pretty funny - I like the inner monologue stuff. And it tends to mix in some poignant moments, which I didn't expect.

The Office - I'd seen an episode here or there and decided to rent the first season (which is only 6 episodes long). I'm not familiar with the British version. I've laughed a lot (and Kara laughed really really hard once last night) - and I'm looking forward to watching more.

Lost - Now this one I wasn't real sure about. First, I tend toward comedy/light stuff for entertainment. I like an occasional drama/thriller here and there - but I also like closure (Rachel Green voice: C-lo-sure). And I also know from observing people that there's a lot of uncertainty even now in its 3rd season. Sometimes I get squeamish/freaked out by scary/intense shows or movies. And finally, people who get into this show seem to be REALLY into the show. In a little bit of a scary way. Regardless, I decided to rent the first disk of Season 1 last night. I watched the first 2 episodes this morning. I already feel a little sucked in. We'll see how that goes.

I've also thought about Gilmore Girls and 24 - but haven't made it there yet.

However, there is one show on TV I haven't missed an episode of yet this season - Project Runway. It's become a staple of Wednesday nights (post-D'Arcy's with the girls). I'm both excited and a little sad that next week is the finale. I have been a Michael fan most of the season, but something tells me one of the girls is going to win. And I love Tim Gunn.

Carry on.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cue the cannons

I had an orchestra gig last weekend, and going into it I was a bit hestitant. See, I don't play as often as I should, and the finale of the concert was the 1812 Overture.

Now, most anyone, whether they're familiar with classical music or not, is at least familiar with the main theme. You've heard it during fireworks, in movies, and probably in cartoons. It's a little iconic. The thing with music like that, though, is that often the larger piece - and its original context - get buried beneath all the pop culture. And in most cases, it's a bit of a shame. It's like only knowing a caricature or parody...and in the case of the 1812, it's all cannons and huge brass (which is admittedly cool).

The full work is quite beautiful. The first time I really experienced it was as a senior in high school at the All-State music festival. The honors orchestra played it as the finale, and I got to play in the extra brass section. I rank it as one of the top music moments of my life thus far. Honestly, it was one of those rare moments when everyone - conductor, performers, and audience get taken in by the music and the moment. Unforgettably powerful...and I knew it was because the piece was just. that. cool.

And so I was nervous about tackling it again - especially when myself and the orchestra...and did I mention myself were not nearly as capable as my earlier performance.

Which brings me to last Saturday. At the rehearsal, we basically ran through it once - stopping only when we needed to. The opening bars (by the low strings) were underwhelming. Well, I thought, this is rather disappointing. Then the horns came in for the introduction of the really familiar theme. Aaaand now I'm underwhelmed with myself. Great. But we kept plugging through.

But then something unexpected happened. We got to the section where the brass plays the opening theme again and the bells go nuts. And I kid you not - I got goosebumps. If I had not been playing, I probably would have cried. I was completely taken in by the music again. If I could describe the end - it's pure joy. And it's really hard to play the end of it with any kind of restraint, because it just begs to be played ALL OUT. And we definitely did. In the performance, it was not the most artistic or skilled rendition there has ever been - but when we got to the end, we played it with all we had. Awesome. (I do wish the "cannon" had been a little louder, but you can't have everything.)

And as I've listened to my recording of it again and again this week, I realized (and am embarrassed to say) I'd never really read any background on the piece. Surely a piece this well-known has some cool history. So I read the short article on Wikipedia, and sure enough, it's pretty amazing and interesting.

So, this is my ode to the 1812 - to its ability to inspire with and without context - AND its ability to cause grown adults to play it no holds barred.

(And it's a chance for me to say that I'm glad I get to play in an orchestra now and then.)