Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friendship, Food and Summer Solstice-ing!

This past weekend my dear friend Elizabeth came to visit me. Elizabeth and I met our freshman year in a production where we were cast in opposite roles in the spring musical. We also ended up taking the same advanced writing course that semester. 

After our sophomore year we both individually decided to transfer out of that university and have now gone our separate ways. But our friendship has lasted the transition. We try to talk via social networking or phone when we can but the distance makes it pretty difficult to communicate face to face. So when she was able to make some time in her busy schedule and come visit me at Ohio Light Opera, I was thrilled. We hadn't seen each other since this past Thanksgiving and I had really been missing her company. 

Most of the weekend was spent catching up on each other's lives, laughing and, of course, eating delicious food. We went back to that darling coffee shop which I mentioned here and ate more wonderful Hungarian pastries. Later that evening, after realizing that it was the longest day of the year (!), we celebrated summer solstice by eating delicious summery foods which are featured in the cluttered photo below. 

During Elizabeth's stay:

I was encouraged to take my art seriously and revel in this amazing summer experience 

I was encouraged to regularly exercise in a way that fits my personality and schedule (which means NO RUNNING. I have therefore added yoga to my daily routine)

I was encouraged to eat well and often.

I remembered how much I love to dance! 

I developed a slight addiction to Kombucha tea

I realized that frienships last forever. Now matter how much time goes between your visits

Thanks for the great time, dear friend! Hope to see you soon!


Monday, June 17, 2013

An Honest Moment - From A Young Musician

am cellist.

But, you all knew that. What you don't know is that though I consider myself a cellist, am currently studying hard and hope to make a career out of it, sometimes I get tired.

I get tired of music.

Most people have witnessed my excitment. They've seen me talk overjoyed at the prospect of a performance opportunity or the chance to teach another student. But there are few people who witness my frustration as I work through pain, through difficult passages and through my doubts that I'll ever "make it".

Good days are actually more of an oddity than the days when I doubt myself.

I say this not as a way to make myself seem like less of a musician, but instead to make other's aware of the fact that doubts do not lessen your devotion to your craft. Sometimes it's hard to keep focused when you're in a career that's competitive and grueling. It's hard to focus on the good that you're doing rather than all that time you spent in the practice preparing for that one moment of satisfaction.

Most days for me are "practice-room days". These are the days when I spend my time working through intonation issues, penciling in fingerings only to erase them once again, and slowly gaining confidence in the nose bleed section of my fingerboard. I work through all of these difficulties and at times, I easily lose sight of what I'm doing. This is being an artist? These hours spent under florecent lights, staring at notes until my head aches. No. This can't be it.

But then.

Somehow, those notes turn to music. And then a glorious thing happens on performance night - I've felt this every time I've stepped into the orchestra pit this past week. The audience listens, hums along, taps their foot. It is then that you realize that the happiness they're experiencing is something that you helped to bring. That your performance encouraged certain discussion topics at the dinner table, reminded a family of their love for one another, encouraged a child to begin studying an instrument. It's not often that I get to see the product of my long hours spent in the practice room. But from half a floor down in the auditorium I feel the energy and excitement of hundreds of people clinging to my every note.

That's why I'm here. That's why I keep going. That is why I'm a musician.


If you're a struggling artist then be encouraged.

You are making a difference whether or not you see it.

You are changing perspectives.

You are enlightening minds.

You are impacting those around you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Just Had a Perfect Weekend

I'm here. Back in my musty smelling room with the empty spare bed that makes me lonely. But I'm not lonely now (Not yet at least). I'm coming down off of the high of being around my family.


Family at times can be exhausting and, if you're Italian like me, deafening. So there have been many times when I'm not as thrilled at the prospect of spending a weekend with them. But it's times like these when you've spent night after night coming back from rehearsals to an empty room with only the internet and a Madeleine L'Engle novel to keep you company that you realize how much you actually belong with that loud obnoxious family.

I like to think of myself as introvert - someone who would rather spend time by herself. But now I've realized, I'm an introvert with the innate desire to be with people who understand her, understand life as I know it, and will feed me (both figuratively and, of course, literally).

Earlier this week, while rehearsing with the Ohio Light Opera, I found out that I would be playing all of The King and I performances by myself as it calls for only one cello. The other cellist, instead of playing half of the performances would be playing Lady, Be Good, a Gershwin musical, by herself. Which meant (lucky me) that I got two and half days to do absolutely nothing.

So I went to visit my sister ;)

While there I hung out with this guy. He's pretty cute, I know.

He also makes some amusing facial expressions. 

He learned from the best. What can I say? 

We do also smile normally. 

The family reminisced about "the good ol' days" when everyone sat around and ate pasta - oh wait, that's always!

And when they wore awesome clothes like this. 
I'm actually really wishing I could pull that look off.  

So then we danced the polka. 

And tried it with three people. 

I'm not quite sure that worked. . . .

 Sunday dinner was good. Not only was it good to eat real food that was cooked rather than the cereal and veggies I've been living off of, but it was also great to see my grandparents and one of my older sisters. 

They unsurprisingly sent me back with enough food to last a week (or more) and these.

My grandpa is too sweet. Such a softy. 

Back at my older sister's house that evening, E and I played restaurant for a good while with our homemade chef hats mine kept falling off :( . 

Being with my siblings is therapeutic. I miss you guys. A lot. 

Okay, I'm being sentimental. I'll stop. :P

Thursday, June 6, 2013


As I'm writing this post I'm sitting in my dorm room bed at the Ohio Light Opera, my hair wrapped in a towel as I'm sipping tomato soup. (Campbell's has never tasted better). I know I should have updated earlier but between the two-three a day rehearsals and the fact that I didn't have internet for the first 4 and a half days I just hadn't gotten around to it. Today, however, is the company's day off and I am enjoying getting caught up on outside life and chores and enjoying taking a lazy afternoon shower. The best.

The past few days were a complete blur and it honestly felt more like a couple weeks than five days. So far we've rehearsed 3 operas/operettas - Silk Stockings, The King and I, and HMS Pinafore. 3 rehearsals (or, services, as they are known to all my music friends) are allotted for each musical and so in the span of 7-9 hours we're expected to have perfected the music for a two hour performance. I don't remember the last time I've played this many hours a day. So far I'm averaging between 6-8 hours of playing/rehearsing. Yes, it's insane. I'm sure there will be many back rub chains in the future after all of our joints and appendages get over the shock of this week.

Yesterday, however, was a nice respite from the craziness. Our conductor, in a moment of pity ;) gave us two rehearsals off which (taking into account the fact that today is our day off) essentially added up to two entire days with no rehearsing. I, of course, still practiced (there's too much music not to!), cleaned my room some and checked in on my class schedule for this next semester. By the time evening rolled around I was pretty much ready to get out this musty-smelling, 1920's-era residence hall.  The musicians here haven't had much bonding time since we're almost always in rehearsal (in which, of course, there is NO talking). When we're outside of rehearsal we're either doing our private practicing or napping. Exciting life, eh? This is why it was a huge blessing to be able to go out with some girls I recently met and explore the surrounding area.

Our adventure consisted of:

Exploring a Hungarian Coffee Shop and Bakery 

The shop was lovely. When I walked in I immediately thought to myself "this is the essence of a coffee shop". It had excellent lattes, delicious pastries, friendly staff, polished wood, and bare brick walls. I was really missing coffee and the coffeeshop atmosphere this past week so it was so good to just sit and soak it all in. I have a feeling I will be visiting this place quite a bit ;)

Eating Out at Spoon!

Next we went to a really cute deli/market where we all bought delicious sandwiches (which were served with kale fries! I'm hooked!). 

And then. . . we found a bookstore. Those are famous last words, I'm sure of it. This darling book shop is located right downtown and looks completely unassuming. It's a tiny storefront that takes up just about 15 feet across but when you walk in IT JUST DOESN'T END! And (even better news) there's an upstairs too. Somebody better find me before I spend all my money on books. This is a dangerous place for me. 

On the side of the bookshelves you can find little pictures of the store owner's travels. Too cute. And, for the record, this lady looks to have had quite a dandy life.

After our exploring we went back and watched Doctor Who until 3 in the morning. 
Friendship? I think yes.

Check back for more pictures!