Post-Fall break madness, as promised

It probably did not come as a surprise to you, but I had two really busy weeks! Sometimes I am amazed at how Holy Cross was able to provide so much activities going on for us all the time. Although I miss being at Ireland and having more free time to relax and practice, I feel this has really realized my full potential, and sometimes I honestly have no idea about how quickly I could get things done sometimes!

So for the last couple of weeks, we successfully hosted Music Madness on Friday night, had a first rehearsal for Percussion Ensemble for the Christmas tunes that we are gonna perform in Cool Beans, and rehearsed a lot for the family weekend concerts. School work went on, grad school search went on, and I am slowly starting to get the hang out a future research project with Prof. Royden in the Computer Science department. We dug out some code written in 2011 and we’re gonna brush it up for our new projects!

Music Madness happened on a fateful Friday night, where the instrumentally talented, but no so much, has gathered together in Brooks Hall. We had pizza, got paired into six random groups, and I was with students who played the guitar, ukulele, and the kazoo, and I sang (in front of people and not in a group) and played the kazoo! We decided to do the theme song from friends, since we are doing a theme of music from TV shows or movies. Other performances have included a rather dramatic rendition of Let It Go, a group of students who never touched the instruments they are playing, an arrangement for Bet on It, Dancing Queen and the Star Wars theme, and so on. It was quite the fun and relaxing evening, and I got to discover the powerful kazoo!

Here’s a video of the highlight of me playing the kazoo and singing! Just to warn you though, I am not a huge fan of my recorded voice. The kazoo sounds good no matter what though.

That was the kind of fun and silly evening that I needed! The week after, we had some long rehearsal days, and prepared for two family weekend concerts. We sang a concert on Friday called “Milestones” featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, music dedicated to MLK and a couple of folk songs from different parts of the world including but not limited to US, China, Ireland and Scotland. My favorite songs from the selection are probably Best of All Possible Worlds, If I can Help Somebody, a Chinese folk song called Fengyang Song, and Carrickfergus, which is an Irish song. Best of All Possible Worlds is by Leonard Bernstein and is from his operetta Candide. The protagonist, Candide, has a teacher who expounds his famous philosophy, to the effect that all is for the best, and that is what the song is about. It was a very bouncy and silly song, having lyrics as “pray classify, pigeons and camels – pigeons can fly, camels are mammals”. I really enjoy the musical qualities that reflected the different actions going on in the song too. If I can Help Somebody has got a swing kind of rhythm to it, and we had an amazing soloist singing with us. I really enjoyed Fengyang Song because I got to sing in my native language and also got to do some research about the background of the song! And Carrickfergus reminded me of my times in Ireland – the first time I sang it I was very tempted in doing the song in an very Irish accent. “I would swim over the deepest oceans, only for nights, in Carrickfergus (or maybe Dublin in this case). But the sea is wide and I can’t swim over”. Lol, it would be hard to swim across the Atlantic ocean.

It turned out to be a successful concert, and I finally got to take concert pictures with my friends Joanna, Lauren and Michelle, now all four of us are in the US at the same time! I also hanged out with my boyfriend and my friend Teresa’s family afterwards. Although it is a bit of a stretch for my family to come over from China to see me in a concert, it still felt like home here plenty much. I also will be sending them recordings from the concert so they won’t miss out!

with Michelle, Lauren, our choir director Prof. Martin and Joanna!
with David at Casino night 🙂

Apologize for the photo spam if you had already seen it on my social media!

Chamber Singers, which is another choir group that I am involved in, also participated in a concert on Saturday. We sang selections from the Little Match Girl passion, a piece written by David Lang which intersects the story of little match girl with chorales written in the format of St. Matthew’s Passion by Bach, substituting Jesus’s suffering with the little girl’s, from a perspective of both of them being innocent people who are suffering. We also closed the concert with “O Quam Gloriosum”, which is a Renaissance piece meaning “Oh, how glorious the kingdom”, and forms quite the contrast with Little Match Girl Passion. We will be doing the full piece for Little Match Girl in mid-November as a collaboration with Arts Transcending Borders, and we will incorporate puppets in the show, which is something that I am really looking forward to see how it works out!

It was also really heartbreaking to see how events related to hate unfolded this weekend. If you’re reading this blog right now, I hope you’re trying to support one another, and trying in continued effort to educate yourself and others on those issues.

But that was a really basic recap of my prior two weeks. Next time, stay tuned for a new piece that we are learning in Balinese Gamelan Music that is not as much instrumentally related, an art project that includes drawing that I am currently working on with Illustrator (I really fear drawing but I am curious about how this will turn out!), and more about Little Match Girl Passion perhaps! I am also excited to see my piano teacher conduct the orchestra playing Beethoven Symphony No.2 on next Wednesday as it will be my first time watching him conduct!

New Beginnings

Hello, to whoever is reading this blog post right now! It’s been a while since I bid the sad goodbye to dear Ireland, spent some time back in China, and now I have been back on the Holy Cross campus for four weeks now. During the summer, I worked an internship at a headhunting firm, decided I wanted to take some cura personalis time and therefore had two weeks off – which was planned to be dedicated to reading, but turned out to be dedicated to Netflix and seeing old friends mostly. Afterwards, I have worked a job that I have previously worked for, which is being a tutor for kids who needs a bit of extra help for their TOEFL and SAT exams.

I got back to the Holy Cross campus during late July, and started doing some planning and preparation for International Student Orientation. This year, we had 6 amazing teammates leading Orientation, and we eventually had 23 international students joining us. Here are some highlights!

Team dinner in Bollywood Grill!
Post Laser-tag!

Returning back to campus was pretty weird and wild after being gone for a semester, a lot of things are still the same despite it feels a bit different. It mostly definitely felt weird to be the oldest ones on campus. It felt weird not living in Loyola after living there for a year and a half. It also felt weird that I cannot bear to carry on with some of my extracurricular, but it also rejuvenates thinking about all that I ended up doing.

This semester, I am finally taking four classes (back to a normal courseload, finally, phew) again. I am taking Artificial Intelligence, Computation Visions for my computer science higher level electives, Balinese Gamelan music for cross-cultural and music elective, and then a digital art class for fun. All of the classes has been intellectually challenging in their own unique ways, and it is definitely so good to be back in HC taking classes that are just below 20 people and sitting in office hours for 2 hours sometimes.

Outside of class, I am continuing with College Choir and Chamber Singers, and we will have our first concert of the year in St. Joseph’s Chapel next Friday! I am involved with Student Advisory Council for both Music and Math & CS. For Music SAC we are planning a Music Madness concert for this Friday – each person who signs up plays some instrument that they are amateurish or not very good at playing, and they get paired into ensembles of about 4,5 people, practice a song (from a TV show or a movie since this is our theme for this year) for 30 minutes and perform it in front of judges and audiences! So that is definitely something else that I look forward to. I am also involved with Senior Interviewer Program by the Admissions office, and we interview prospective seniors who are looking into Holy Cross.

I still can’t believe that fall break and a third of the semester is over already! During fall break, I got a chance to get out of campus and admire the beauty of fall in New England for a short while. I also just took a lot of time to rest up from the two midterms that I had before break and did just enough homework to leave me not so stressed post-break.

Fall in Acadia National park

Now I am feeling more rested and plenty recharged for post-fall break craziness, as the concert and everything starts to hit. I am also excited for this year and what it brings forth for me, as scary as that is. Stay tuned!