Friday, July 27, 2012

Overture of 1812

Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture @ Deer Valley
The cool mountain air, breathtaking vistas, energetic spectators, cuddled on our blanket eating a picnic dinner~
created an ideal atmosphere to enjoy the delightful Utah Symphony.

The concert was wonderful....
a highlight of our month...
A perfect summer night.

p.s.  Sorry Mr. Tchaikovsky.  Ellie informed me that the cannons were your least favorite portion of this overture...but we thought they were pretty great!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

to bass or not to bass

(an illustration Ellie drew in the midst of deciding which instrument to play- flute or bass)

Ellie and I began talking about instruments several months ago.  It wasn't the first time it had come up.  She wants (really...lets be honest...I want and she agreed) to participate in a group music opportunity while in junior high and high school.  She also wanted an instrument that would be a good compliment to play with her sisters (violin + cello).  There aren't many options for acoustic guitar in those settings.  We have asked every music teacher we know, friends, kids in orchestra/band...and we have received wonderful suggestions-
  • bass guitar (jazz band)
  • marimba
  • flute
  • viola
  • saxophone
Where the idea of double-upright-bass came from...Ellie saw it played @ a Lower Light's concert.  The upright bass wore a hat at that concert.  She LOVED it!  She wanted to play it.

At first I was excited for her.
We interviewed a few teachers...I loved them!
Then reality began setting in:  $, the size (it is a BIG instrument and Ellie is NOT big), carrying it around, etc...
Talking with a musician I greatly respect---she cautioned me---the music written for upright bass in orchestra is very simple and in her opinion boring.  She worried she wouldn't like it.
Again flute and viola were suggested.

Viola, for Ellie was out of the question (too close to violin).  We decided to look into flute.  My good friend Heather has wonderful taste in music teachers (we share a few of them!) so I asked her about her daughter's flute teacher...who they LOVE.   We went to her house.  She was WONDERFUL.  We LOVED her teaching style.  Ellie knew she would like her---but we both knew, as we walked away from the lesson we observed, that the flute is not Ellie's instrument.  I asked her to write down a pro/con list for bass/flute (she illustrated it...see above)---
  • She likes the size of flute (I do too!).  
  • She liked the flute teacher!  (I loved her!)
  • But she also really likes the bass teacher she had chosen.  (I do too!)  
  • She loves the uniqueness of the bass.  (She doesn't know anyone who plays the upright bass and that appeals to her.)
  • She loves the rhythmic side of music
I emailed my concerns to the prospective bass teacher explaining what we hoped to accomplish by adding another instrument to Ellie's learning (she is continuing with guitar as well).  His response to my concerns (boring, big, $) changed my perspective-

"The bass section is the foundation of the harmonic and rhythmic structure of the string orchestra.  And to a violinist, playing long tones for 60%+ of ones existence can be quite a violinist.  One of the things I instill in my students is without the bass, the orchestra would sound thin and empty.  Listen to any classical music and you'll hear the beautiful melodies in the upper strings, but you will feel the bass,  in a deeper, almost metaphysical way.  It's very interesting when I demonstrate in seminars how important the bass is, by taking them out of recordings.  The orchestra is lessened by the loss of presence with the bass.  Some of the most difficult orchestral passages ever composed are for the double bass.  That's why many universities around the world give hefty scholarships to good bassists.  For every 1 excellent bassist, there are 50+ violinists.  Bass is vital. We are a rare breed.

"Also, bass is the only orchestral instrument (also adding the bass guitar, same strings etc) that can play in ANY musical situation.  Jazz, bluegrass, rock , folk, you name it...they all need a bass.

"Another aspect of the bass is it's a fantastic (and under-estimated) solo instrument."

...but what he said at then end wouldn't leave my mind,

"I think the MOST important thing is Ellie needs to really decide what she wants to do.  If she REALLY wants to play the bass, in her heart, but isn't sure about the physical aspects of being a bassist, give her time. And I'm always willing to help. One thing I hear from so many 'ex-musicians' is: 'I wish I'd never quit playing my [insert instrument here].'  Regret.   I'd hate for Ellie to be a trumpet player trapped in a bassists body, if you get my drift."

She has worked hard, sold different things around the house, completed extra chores, saved...and we bought her double-upright-bass this week.  Lessons start next month...and I couldn't be more sure that she is a bassist trapped in a bassists body---a wonderful combination.  

She will love it! (And I will too!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

in the waters...

...of baptism

Kate chose to be baptized on July 7th.

I have created a photo book for my girls as a keepsake for their baptisms.  (See book here)  I have included a page for them to write their memories, for Danny + I to write our thoughts, special words given in the blessing as they receive the Holy Ghost, a few pages for family + friends to write thoughts and feelings to them on that day.

These books have been such treasures for Danny and I.  I hope the girls will love them as much as we do.  

Her memories as she wrote them....

"I thoght about how many time I would hear Holy gost.  I wondered If I would remember the tile.  And If I would have a memorey that gib Lowe was saying my name during the bllesing.  And that I was qieting him by putting my finger up to my mouth.  Kate"

As I read that I smiled.  I was right behind cute Gib and didn't hear one word :)  Sam Lowe and Kate were baptized on the same day.  They are wonderful friends and it was nice sharing the day together.  Kate and Sam wanted to play a song for their baptism.  Originally they planned on "I Wonder When He Comes Again."  As the time got closer and Sam returned from being in Europe for a month we realized they wouldn't be ready on their own to do that.  When Sam returned (4 days before the baptism) we got together and chose "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."  Sam (piano) and I played a prelude.  Ellie (guitar), Jake Lowe (guitar), Kate (cello) and I (guitar) accompanied as we all sang.  Heidi and Nana Miller sang with us too.

Aunt Sharon shared some thoughts on the Holy Ghost...
"Precious young people, make every decision you contemplate pass this test:  What does it do to me?  What does it do for me?  And let your code of conduct emphasize not What will others think? but rather What will I think of myself?  Be influenced by that still, small voice.  Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head at the time of your confirmation and said, 'Receive the Holy Ghost.'  Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice that testifies of truth."  
President Monson

 After the baptism we had family + friends gather at our home for lunch:  sandwiches, salads, beans, chips, drinks and Amanda's ice cream dessert.  I don't know what we would do with out our families!  They were SO helpful!  After lunch and visiting---those that were left---headed over to the pool with us for a few hours of swimming.  Then for dinner the kids ate at the house with Nana and the rest of the adults went out to dinner.  (Thank you Nana!!!!)  After eating...and picking apricots we set up a movie in the backyard with blankets and treats.  What a wonderful day!!!!!!!  A favorite of Kate's for sure!!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

at a moments notice....

On Thursday Aunt Jossy called.  She had been in town attending a family reunion with her boys (who are no longer boys...but men).  She had been going non-stop with activities.  Her last day in UT slowed down tremendously.  She and Jocelyn (her grand-daughter) were at Skip's with out a car (Skip & Cindy were at work).  It was a rainy day (yay!!!!!!!  we need rain!!!!) and they invited us to join them.  We visited for a bit and then Jossy asked if we could take a drive...anywhere...for about an hour.  One thing I LOVE about Aunt Jossy---she doesn't sit still.  She loves to go, do, learn, create!  I asked her if she had ever been to Antelope Island.  She hadn't.  We got into the car.

The drive felt like 15 minutes.  Once we got there Aunt Jossy immediately noticed the color...several greens in the vegetation, beautiful birds and gorgeous color.  The color on the ground seemed much more vibrant against the muted overcast sky.  It was a beauty I may not have noticed had she not been with me.  As soon as we let the girls out of the car they went straight for the water!  As we got closer to the salty water...brine flies/gnats were every where...Ellie just kept going...walking...hiking her shorts up a bit higher.  Sophie was NOT entertained by the smell and bugs at all...and Kate was caught between them...not knowing if she should follow Ellie or stay back with Sophie.  Jocelyn and Sophie finally decided to brave the bugs and water and keep going.

I had been there a few times, but on this day I noticed the never-ending lake that's water extends in two directions as far as my eye could see.  Being overcast made it PERFECT for photographs.  The next heavily overcast day...I will stop at a moments notice to head right back out to the bugs, brine shrimp, sand...and beautiful hues of green.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

independence day

Independence day (I have said this before) is my favorite holiday!
Yes...even more than Christmas!!!!!
NO stress...beautiful weather...celebrating with the community...flags flying....!!!!!
We had a few family members call to ask if we were going to the fireworks (July 3rd)...YES!!!
A few of us went to dinner (Cafe Rio + Yogurtland seemed like a better idea than grilling this year) before we headed to the golf course.
Dede beat us to the field...and saved some great spots!
The kids rolled, ran and played as we waited for the fireworks to start.
Normally I avoid large crowds at all costs...but the 4th of July is different---
I love seeing throngs of people united in celebration of this country we love!

 On the 4th a few of us went over to an early breakfast at the church...
we spent the afternoon at the pool...
gathered in Park City @ Amanda's for a bbq in the evening...
and then we finished off the night at the rodeo (a first for us).

What a wonderful...beautiful land we live in!
I feel blessed to be a citizen of the United States of America.
We are rewatching the HBO series John Adams this month!
I bought a biography to start next book!
I have been listening to Battle Hymn of the Republic from this album on repeat for two days!
I also finished gathering the documentation I need for my DAR application this month!


Monday, July 2, 2012


summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people.
As I read these words...and watched the beautiful film...
(I could watch it over and over again.)
I am reminded of how much I love these short summer months.
I need to remember to seek out more quiet...
say less ---  and love more
learn and observe
ask more questions
find quiet time to read, learn and ponder.
My favorite moments today were quiet moments---
working in the garden in the soft morning light
straightening a few things while my girls were still sound asleep
being immersed in a book by Ellie's side as she read too
turning around at the end of the day to capture one more image before the sun set...

to have and to hold

Walter + Kathryn @ home on Whitton Ave aprox. 1957

"Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion.  Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small.  Pray for the love to make your companion's joy your own.  Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion."

Our Perfect Example, Henry B. Eyring