Monday, December 29, 2008

Black Angels

I don't have anything new to say. But I thought I'd share the video of our performance of Black Angels. The video quality itself isn't that great, but the sound quality is (the recording guy video'd it on his hand-held camera, but synched it with the quality audio recording). To read up on the piece, you can check this out. The video is hosted by Google video, here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Prettige Kerstdagen!

Well, not so much has happened since my last post. I'm on holidays, so I've been creating some diversions for myself. Sleeping. Gym. Researching for my Master's project. But no "normal" Christmas activities to be found. It's weird too, because it didn't feel so Christmas-y to me here, partly because it's been such balmy weather! I'm used to freezing my ass off at Christmas time - that's what makes it festive! But it's been anywhere between +5-10C here, so it feels kind of like fall weather to me. It's probably just me though, since I grew up in a sick and twisted atmosphere.....known as Saskatchewan...... I'm getting together this afternoon with some of us ex-pats from the Conservatory who are still hanging around town. We're all kind of bored and lonely, because our social life (aka the school) is closed. :) Just a group of us who are too far from home to go for Xmas - America, Canada, Australia....the non-European continents. Then tomorrow I'm going to a Couchsurfing Boxing Day dinner. But not your traditional fare - it's going to be some sort of vegan Asian food. Starting a new Christmas tradition! Funny tidbit - there's no such thing as boxing day here. There's the Eerste Kerstmas Dag (1st Christmas Day) which is Christmas Day, and the Tweede Kerstmas Dag (Second Christmas Day) which is Boxing Day. Prettige Kerstdagen allemaal!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


What an exhausting week! The orchestra concert went quite well, and was a lot of fun. And as is usually the case with tours, we had a bus party after the concert on Sunday. And the best part was that the school bought us beer, wine, and munchies to consume on the bus. They really know how to placate the music student masses! Yesterday was Melissa's end exam, and our performance of Black Angels. It was really amazing to perform, and I must confess I'm a little sad that we don't have a chance to perform it again. And after Melissa's exam we went out with her parents for dinner and then went to the Waterhole (a dive bar at the Liedseplein). Greg's band performed a set at the open mic night there, and then we hung out and partied it up. Then Raf, Jimmy, Olaf, Mel, and I all headed back to Melissa's place in Amsterdam North and had a slumber party! Today I've been catching up on things that have fallen by the way-side a bit. Already planning my schedule for January and February....... I'm looking forward to the holidays, but I have a lot of work to do! It's unfortunate that the school is going to be closed for 2 weeks, from December 22-Jan 5th. I can practice at home, but it's just not the same.... And speaking of home, I just found out today that I'm going to be moving in February to Amsterdam North. My landlady is buying an apartment there, so we're moving on up. It's actually closer to school than I am now, so that will be nice. And it's a really nice neighbourhood with a big park nearby. And I'll ride the ferry every day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mijn Sinterklaas-gedichte

For my Dutch class part of our homework for this week was to write a Sinterklaas poem. So here it is, for your perusal (the translation follows the Dutch).

Op de avond van Sinterklaas
Eten wij broodjes en kaas.
De mannen hebben lange baarden,
Maar geen appelen voor the paarden.
Dan horen wij een geluid klop:
Kijk! Daar draait de deur knop!
Het was de zwarte man, naam Piet,
Hij heeft zijn zak niet.
In plaats daar van brangt hij ons niets
Uitgezondered nieuwe lichten voor mijn fiets.
Piet ons aan te keuken een haas
Maar wij veel liever onze kaas.

Translation (approximate):
On the evening of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas)
We eat broodjes and cheese (broodjes are a Dutch roll that you can get with various fillings)
The men have long beards
But no apples for the horses (Sinterklaas comes on horseback)
Then we hear a loud knock
Look! There turns the door knob!
It was the black man, named Piet (Sinterklaas' "friend" Zwarte Pieter)
He has his sack niet (not)
In its place he brings nothing
Except new lights for my bike
Piet wants to cook us a hare
But we much prefer our cheese.

Isn't is wonderful?????? I wasn't really going for sense-making, to be quite honest I was just trying to find words that rhymed. Hence Sinterklaas rhymed with kaas. I think my teacher was quite impressed with that one ;) Tot ziens!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Holy pants Batman!

Holy pants. I have been pretty busy lately, partly because I got recruited into this week's orchestra project at the last minute. One of the violists had to back out, and so I'm filling in her place. So I have orchestra rehearsals every day this week from 10-5, and then I have to squeeze in Black Angels rehearsals and practicing around that. And last week we had two days of rehearsals as well, which messed up my schedule a bit. But the program is pretty cool - it's all American music. Two pieces by classical American composers (John Adams and Samuel Barber), and then three jazz pieces - two with jazz orchestra and one with jazz quartet. Last night I also went to see the Tokyo String Quartet play at the Concertgebouw. I managed to score the very last ticket for the concert, so I was pretty stoked. It was really fabubus, and after the concert I went backstage and surprised Martin Beaver (the first violinist). He was faculty for the chamber music session at Domaine Forget when I was last there a few years back, and he created this running joke wherein he would sing my name while choral-conducting it (Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-tya). You know, music geek fun. So he was pretty surprised to see me, but I ended up going out with him and the quartet for a late dinner and drinks. I also got to manhandle the violist's Stradivarius viola. But being me, and being that I'm rather clumsy, I didn't hold it for too long since I was afraid I'd drop it or something. Today I had a really good study session for my Dutch class. It was just three of us, and we basically went through the two chapters that were our homework and talked a lot, answering all the questions and helping each other out with vocabulary and stuff. But 3 hours of having to think really really hard about everything you're saying was exhausting! Tomorrow the hell that is orchestra week begins. I will most likely be very exhausted and will lead a very boring life until after the concerts on the weekend and Melissa's end exam next Monday. Then the holidays start (for me at least - I don't have any exams).