Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lou Gehrig's Disease

The Pride of Oklahoma is raising money to battle Lou Gehrig's disease.
We're competing with the Longhorn band.
We cannot let them raise more money than us.
So you should go to the website below:

And then support the Pride member of your choice. Which is me.
Robert Sparks.


I had a fantastic time in Austria. I know I was going to write every day, but the fact that I didn't make myself do that actually allowed me to enjoy myself more. I have since become very interested in Haydn's music. I have since moved into my apartment, where I have three fantastic roommates. I like my schedule this year, and I like the repertoire I'm learning. I'm a little bit worried about the new kid being better than me, but that's just because I worry too much. I made it into Chorale, which is the top choir at OU. I am very excited for this semester.

Hello, class...

I have actually already done this. I took Teaching Techniques last year (due to my mid-year performance/education crisis), and had two occasions on which I had to be the teacher for the class and announce my name and stuff.
I would like to think that I was calmer this time. I saw the video of the time I taught rote songs to the class, and I kind of slipped into musical-theater-performance mode... you know, bright smiling face, enthusiastic voice, moving energetically.
I believe someone made the comment that I looked as if I was "hitting my spot" when I would move about the room.
But I think I was calmer this time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Austria- Random statements

  • There is seriously like only one building in Eisenstadt that has air conditioning, and that is the Haydn Conservatory. Although you would think this is unbearable, I've gotten used to it. It helps that it only gets up to like 80ยบ here, though.
  • I'm sitting next to my brother A, who is having a skype conversation with his dad about the type of beer he's drinking. It's kind of awesome... I probably couldn't have that conversation with my dad.
  • Tonight I finally got to perform the Mozart Requiem for the first time.
  • I totally resolved to take a picture of every meal I ate... I have only done this once. Oh well.
  • I like white wine. I like wine spritzers even more.
  • My roommate here is SO FREAKING DIFFICULT to live with. I snapped and started yelling at him last night.
  • I really like just sitting at a cafe and drinking "ice coffee" which is coffee with ice cream in it.
  • I had this spectacular bar of chocolate that had champagne in it... it was amazing.
  • I'm going to write more coherent statements later... you know, ones that have more than one sentence in them. I've been taking notes on each of my days, and I'll elaborate on them later.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Austria- Wednesday

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We actually got the chance to rehearse with the soloists today, and they sound absolutely fantastic. The soprano is particularly amazing… we were in Schloss Esterhazy (the palace we’re rehearsing in), because we’d gotten back a bit early from lunch, and we were leaning against the windowsill that looks out into the courtyard, and as we were sitting there, we heard her voice floating through the courtyard (she was rehearsing with a string quartet for one of the chamber concerts) and her voice is pure and smooth, like fine crystal. And it’s possible that I’m more amazed by her voice because I’d never heard it before we came out here (I know the tenor and alto soloist already, and I’ve heard the bass before), but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s marvelous.

I went to an Italian place for lunch both yesterday and today, and it was SO delicious. I know it’s a bit odd to get Italian food while you’re in a non-italian foreign country, but it was close to the palace, and I was hungry. I had penne gorgonzola crudo. It was absolutely fantastic.

We got some more music today for another concert, this one is just with the OU singers (and a couple of people from the Zielinski Singers). We just had a miniature rehearsal and it went very well… I don’t know when we’re performing them, but it’s going to be awesome when we do.

After the big rehearsal today, we went to a reception that the mayor of Eisenstadt had for the participants of the festival, and it was very classy. They had red, white, and blushing wines, several kinds of pastries, and the mayor took some of us on a tour of her office. She showed us a giant sword that was presented to the people of Eisenstadt when they gained independence from the Esterhazy, and we also got to see a giant Italian antique cabinet that’s just sitting in the antechamber to her office.

One of the things that I can’t seem to get over is how beautiful all the buildings are. Like, walking down the street from our hotel to the palace, you feel like you’re on a movie set. The buildings are brightly colored, there’s almost no space between them, and it’s picturesque like you wouldn’t believe. There is a giant church right outside our hotel that we will be performing the Paukenmesse in, and it reminds me of an elaborate cake.

Dr. Moses gave a 10-point lecture today about classical music in conjunction with Dr. Rath, who is in charge of the piano section of the camp (a new addition, Dr. MacGrath is here to observe it and help it grow), and it was very informative. One of the points that I found to be the most useful was the 4th or 5th point (I have it written down on the envelope that my music came in today) “DO NOT make the music sound childish.” I have to confess that I went through a phase where I thought classical era music sounded childish, but fortunately I am past that phase. Singing the Mozart Requiem and learning Mozart sonata started me in that direction, and this festival is taking me leaps and bounds further.

Austria- Jet Lag

Tuesday again.

I am so tired. Very very tired. We had rehearsal for hours and hours, and we sound good, but I’m so very very tired. And I’m getting a little bit cranky… I find myself really irritated by a certain un-named individual who oozes pretentiousness, although people assure me that’s because he IS a pretentious show-off, and not because I’m irritable.

We have some sort of reception tonight. It is supposed to start in like an hour, but I don’t know if I can make it to then without taking a nap. After the reception I’m supposed to go out with some people, but I think I’ll definitely put that on hold. I’m way too tired to go out.


Jet lag caught up with me... I'm going to bed. At like 930. What's up with that?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Um… it’s 5:18AM. I woke up at 4, thinking my alarm wasn’t going to go off when I set it for, and after checking to see that I had, in fact, turned it on, managed to sleep for another hour or so. Getting any more sleep at the moment is helpless, though.

The sheets on this bed are strange… it’s comfortable enough, but I can’t quite figure out how they are supposed to work. I will take a closer look at them later. I can't wait for breakfast. It doesn't start 'til 7.

Austria- Traveling

Sunday-Monday, August 2-3, 2010

Traveling through different time zones really messes up your sleeping patterns. For example: It is currently 12:19 AM on Tuesday, but it is 6:19 PM on Monday in NC. Because both of these days basically consisted of traveling, I’m going to lump them together as one post. So the flights were fairly uneventful. I finished reading Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil, which I thought I had lost on the plane ride to Oklahoma, but had actually put into a pocket in my suitcase that I overlooked when originally looking for it. The in-flight movie from Dallas to London was How to Train Your Dragon, which I had just seen the day before (two days before?), so I focused instead on finishing the book. After doing so, I then found out that my laptop will survive the full run of The Dark Knight, but only if I turn the screen onto the lowest brightness setting. I got the entire middle row of the plane to myself, because there were few enough people on the flight that the person sitting in my row could move up to the row in front of us, which was empty. That made sleeping a lot easier, but I only think I got 5 hours. I’m not terribly sure.

We arrived in London, got on our plane to Vienna, and I was seated across the aisle from the cutest Austrian guy: long wavy hair, scruffy facial hair, tight jeans, traveling with his mother and younger sister (I think). We got to our hotel at about 10PM Austrian time, and then went out to a local bar (have I mentioned that I’m legally able to consume alcohol in Austria?), where I had a beer. We got to see a little bit of Eisenstadt on the way to the bar, but I’ll get a better look at things tomorrow, because we have rehearsal early in the morning. That said, I’m going to head off to bed now.

Before I go: My parents are probably mildly distressed at the moment, because they got me a phone with an international plan to take to Austria with me, so I could text them/call them/whatever. However, I have been unable to do so since we left Dallas, because that was the last time I had service. The phone hasn’t had reception the entire time we’ve been in Europe, and I’m not quite sure what to make of that, but I’ll send them a facebook message when I’m able to. The time hasn’t even changed on the phone to reflect the fact that I’m like… 6 or 7 timezones away from my usual one (depending on whether you interpret Central Standard or Eastern Standard to be my usual one). So they might be a bit worried, they haven’t heard from me in… 16 hours? Which isn’t really that big a deal when you think about it, except they were expecting to.

Anyway. Rehearsal in the morning. Goodnight!

PS: I was a bad little international traveler, and the first thing I ate in Austria was… McDonalds. I rarely ever eat McDonalds at home, so this kind of fits into my sister’s only-eat-at-places-you-can’t-eat-at-while-at-home rule… but only kind of. The menu was very different, though… I had broccoli and cheese nuggets. And Coca-Cola, because they use a different formula in each country, and I wanted to see if I could taste a difference. I’m not sure if I imagined it, but I think it did taste differently.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In five hours, I will be on an airplane that will have just taken off the runway to begin my journey to Austria. I'm EXCITED. I'm uploading some music to my iPod that I forgot to put on there or the trip out here to Oklahoma, and then I will be completely ready for this trip.
Did I mention I'm excited?

Yesterday, I went and got two snow cones, one for me and my brother A, and I didn't have to pay for them, because the girl behind the counter found out that I was a singer. So... she wanted me to sing for her. This is really flustering to anybody who is a singer, because nobody walks into the snow-cone store thinking, "I'm going to give a concert now." But I sang a little something for her, and she gave us our snow-cones for free... so that was cool.

If you're going to ask somebody to sing for you, a great way to motivate them is to give them free snow-cones. Seriously.

We went to go see "How to Train Your Dragon" the day before yesterday. Cute movie, and Night Furys are ADORABLE.