The Quotable Floyd, part II

There are a lot of “best parts” about concert weekend, and later this week I will do as I promised and share my thoughts about the Marquette Choral Society program. Tonight, in my complete and blissful exhaustion, I offer you the part that makes the most sense: The Floyd Quotes. If you missed the Winter 2012 Quotes, you can read them here.

If you use a tritone in a piece, it invites the devil into the Church.

The Choir in my head never misses a beat!

We’re going to take several detours into error.

Please sing your rest.

You want an “ah?” I’ll give you an “ah!”

Everybody sing everything. Bar 10.

I don’t want you to lose the two-ness of this music.

It’s called a phrase.

Suddenly, rhythm breaks out after all that smoothness.

Jim: Don’t look at me like that.
Floyd: I was just imagining you dancing.

Might or all: Sounds like an Alto line to me!

We really need more “ah.”

We need a “G,” and we need an “L.” We also need a pitch.

I can’t possibly preach without consonants.

I don’t think Schutz liked Tenors very much.

It’s not Boston; It’s Schutz.

You. Be very metrical.

The key is making sure God is not held too long.

Bars 9 and 10: Don’t get caught by the devil.

This rest is for you.

Page 264. The funky German hymn.

Try to release all your dots.

Too fast? Too bad.

Just take a breath and sing.

I kind of helped you there in a wrong way, Altos.

Seven Robins

I had a great idea this morning. I awoke and thought, “How ever many robins I see today, that is the number of things I will share on my blog.” Of course, I realized early this afternoon that I had no chance of seeing any robins if I stayed home all day. I could have justified staying in (strep and bronchitis and green phlegm, you know), but I took a gander and went for a drive and a short walk, which presented me with seven robins. So here we go. Seven Robins for you on this beautiful April day.

Robin One
I awoke to the sound of honking geese this morning. You cannot know (unless you live in the Upper Peninsula, where winter–which is always long and fierce–felt particularly long and fierce this year) how the sound comforted me. Mother Nature, nice try; but the geese have voted for spring. It reminds me of what Pastor Drake used to say: “Faith is believing, in the middle of winter, that spring will come.” How I’ve clung to those words this winter. How thankful I am for geese, and the underlying promise of at least a few months of warmth and sunlight.

Robin Two
We are in the final countdown–the last week before the Marquette Choral Society concert. If you’re in the area and you need details, please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to see you there. This concert is going to be amazing. I am praying today that my voice returns so I can perform with the choir. I, however, am surrendered to the knowledge that God knows what He’s doing. I don’t want to miss what God has for me, even if it’s not what I think I want.

Robin Three
My goal was to write letters today. I’ve written one. It seems about par for the course, and I refuse to feel bad about it, considering my current state of phlegm. I have received several in the last few days that deserve my attention, however–and the promise of one to hopefully arrive this week. I love receiving letters. I need to love writing them again.

Robin Four
I am reading The Lord of the Rings again. It never gets old. I am always slow to start. I find that it takes me awhile to suffer through the first part of The Fellowship (Book One). I want to pull my hair out and scream, “Just get out of the Shire!” It takes so long, but I suppose that is my movie-centric instant-gratification nature. And, I’m sure, it’s also that The Two Towers is my favorite, and I’m eager to get there. Still, it never gets old. It’s like visiting old friends.

Robin Five
I’m considering a trip to Israel next year with my sister. There is someone in my life (not really “in” my life so much as…”randomly appearing once in a blue lagoon”) that I spoke with a few years back and shared (for the first time in my life, really) my desire to visit Israel. I never thought–not even in my craziest dreams (and Lord knows I’ve had some doozy dreams)–that I would actually be telling you that I’m possibly going to go there. It’s not written in stone; it’s not even written in ink or charcoal. It’s pretty much just feathers in the wind right now, but…feathers can give you flight, I suppose.

Robin Six
I’m also considering…very prayerfully…a Compassion Sponsor Tour. It has long been a desire of mine to travel to a third world country; and it has lately been wedded with my desire to meet and hug and take a photo of myself with Joseph and Moise–my two boys. It’s a long way off, and it would require funds that I can’t even fathom having to my name…but…there’s something stirring in me about Burkina Faso. I want and need to be there. I think. I’m not sure. I need to pray about it more and think about it less. Compassion has a tour going next year, so I have time to pray on it. I invite you to pray with me. Registration opens late next month, so I hope to have made a decision by then.

Robin Seven
And finally, Robin Seven: If you’ve seen the Dove video floating around the web, don’t believe it. Beauty is about so much more than physical appearance, and even those of us who greatly lack in that department…are beautiful. Your worth, your identity, your character–these are not determined by whether your face and body appeal to others. Go out and be who you are, and be fully that. Change the world. Find your purpose. Chase your passions. Forget beauty. Those who love you don’t need it; and those who need it don’t love you.

Pax Christi,
semmie.

Watch Floyd

Watch Floyd.

Or…Look Up.

Or…Fix Your Eyes.

Or…”Then Let All the Living.”

I can’t decide on an appropriate title for this blog. There are so many good choices.

In just under two weeks time, the Marquette Choral Society will be performing our spring concert. I can’t wait to tell you about it. I think I love this music even more than I loved the music last spring. I feel connected to this program for a few different reasons, but I won’t bore you with those details tonight. In two weeks, I promise to share my thoughts about the concert, the material, and (best of all) my Floyd quotes from the semester. It hardly seems like we can be so close to performance…

Anyway, I had something of a revelation last night during rehearsal. We are singing several incredible (and difficult) pieces of music (those Germans know how to write a hymn, yo). We were working on a piece from one of my newest favorites, Heinrich Schutz, entitled, “Dank sagen wir alle Gott”–or, We Offer Our Thanks. It’s a beautiful hymn in a sort of flowing 6/4 time.

At least, the first page is. I confess that I’ve been struggling with measure 11. It’s right there on the page, easy as can be–a half note (two beats), then a quarter rest and half rest (three beats of silence), and a quarter note (one beat). It doesn’t sound hard, does it? The two notes are even the same pitch, so there is absolutely nothing about this measure that should be difficult. All semester as we’ve worked on this, I’ve chided myself: “If you were able to sing the 7/8 song last semester, and Zadok with the organ the semester before that, there’s no way you aren’t going to master this simple measure.”

Yet…I struggle. Why?

Well, I could tell you it’s because of the page turn. That could be part of it. I’m not turning soon enough. I could also tell you it’s because this nice flowing piece of music, beginning with that last quarter note of the measure, suddenly moves. And I could tell you that I’m not being diligent about counting my rests, so I’m not hitting the quarter note with anything that could be mistaken for confidence. It could be that I’m still feeling “new” to the piece, and the movement of the next page still catches me off guard. I could tell you that I’m not breathing when I should. All of these things, I suppose, are true; but none of them (individually or together) are the reason I struggle with this measure.

And I realized that quite clearly last night when I did everything right–the counting, the breathing, the page turn, the expectation of the next page. I had it, folks. I was there, I was ready, and still–I missed it. How did I miss it?

I know I wasn’t the only one because Floyd stopped us and made us do it again. And as I sat there, wondering how in the world I was going to conquer this measure–this stupid little measure that was half silence–I had a brilliant idea. “Stop trying to figure it out,” I said to myself, “and just watch Floyd.”

The amazing part about it is that even as I forced myself to not look at the music, to turn the page a measure earlier than normal and fix my eyes on Floyd, I have to confess to you that there was an enormous part of me that didn’t expect anything to happen. I’m embarrassed to tell you that it surprised me when Floyd gave me my breath, and my cue, and by gosh, if he wasn’t movin’ to the rhythm of the page turn in expectation of what we were barrelling into!

It shocked me.

It shouldn’t have.

Poor Floyd, who tells us week after week, “Watch me.” Poor, poor Floyd. Hahaha.

I just had to laugh at myself. Of course the answer is to watch my director. What’s really amazing is that I knew it all along. I pride myself in watching Floyd, in paying attention when he’s talking, in following his lead. But me, in my pride, in my folly…do I trust him when I am faced with something I am struggling with that I shouldn’t be struggling with? Nope; I decide I’m going to conquer it alone, rather than trust the man at the front of the room who really knows where we’re going.

It reminded me of the verse in Hebrews that tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. How often do we try to conquer situations and emotions on our own? Even when we have all the particulars analyzed and figured out, even after we’ve counted every beat of silence, we blunder; we step without confidence; we don’t anticipate the page turn. Christ knows exactly where He’s leading each one of us, and if we could but turn our face toward Him and trust Him to lead us, we would excel through the most difficult situations.

“Then let all the living, then let all the living join with the angels’ shouts of thanksgiving, thanksgiving.”

God bless you this week as you learn to fix your eyes on Christ.

Pax Christi.
Sarah

I Make No Promises

I apologize. I would be lying if I said that time “got away from me.” I knew very well that I needed to blog. For weeks, I’ve been thinking about it, but I’ve been unable to commit to it. For allowing a month to pass since our last encounter, I apologize.

As I begin this blog, I am waiting on the arrival of my brother’s family for the Easter weekend. I also seem to be having trouble with my “s” and “g” keys. So…I make no promises about the spelling of words containing those two letters, or about the length of this post.

I haven’t much to report, anyway.

Choir is still wonderful.

Work is still a great fit for me.

Writing is still important.

Piano is still therapeutic.

I’m doing alright, yanno? I can’t complain. God has blessed me so richly. I’m considering a lot of big topics right now, and I can’t even begin to address them, so I’ll just list a few of them: Adoption, Theology of Music, Letter Writing, Affirmation, New Dog.

Believe me, these are ginormous topics. I covet your prayers as I tackle them one by one.

And…that, folks, is it. Just a brief update.

Easter blessings to all of you!

Micah

It’s all about perspective.

These four words have become one of the Great Lessons of my life. It seems simple. It seems hokey. It seems almost flippant. Unfortunately, I have come to believe in the truth of this statement quite desperately. It comes, I suppose, from years of observing the Great Lakes Freighters on Lake Superior. It can be difficult to tell where a Freighter is in relation to, say, the dock, or the breakwater, or another Freighter. You may drive along the highway and see her as long as a Summer Day, but turn down Lakeshore Boulevard and be staring at her face-on. It’s about perspective.

I’ve tried to apply this to my life and to situations that stump me, but honestly–that’s when the words seem flippant. When you’re struggling through loss or hurt or frustration, hearing, “It’s all about perspective” is seldom comforting. It’s usually annoying, if you want the truth.

Annoying, but no less true.

Sometimes it takes years to see a situation from a different perspective. Sometimes it takes an enormous amount of willpower to see things differently. As true as I find it, it is none too simple. I struggle with this daily, seeking not just a new perspective but a God-perspective on life and the world around me. I am not too proud to tell you that I fail more often than not.

But last night, in a mustard-seed attempt at changing my perspective on a ridiculous situation I’ve been feeling suffocated with recently, I threw my head into my hands and whispered, “God, what are You doing with me here?”

I woke this morning to this song we used to sing at the Tab, Micah 6:8. Though I love this passage and think of it regularly, I haven’t thought of the song in years. It’s been on my heart all day. It’s a simple song, a simple verse, a simple (and excellent) answer:

What does the Lord require of thee?
But to do justly,
And to love mercy,
And to walk humbly with thy God.

So here I am, in the midst of circumstances that I cannot change, and the answer is (as always) to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God. That’s the answer. That’s always the answer.

We mistake the world around us, I think. We assume that everything that happens in our lives is about us, is about our happiness, is about our desires being fulfilled, is about our contentment, is about our success. Guess what? It’s not about us. Not like that, anyway. If it’s about you and me in any regard, it is simply this: That we are the Body of Christ, His hands and feet to a broken and confused generation that desperately needs Him; that we are being made into His likeness. Rich Mullins (I think) once rote about love–how we mistake love as something that we do to changes others (i.e.: If I love my enemy, it will convert him); in reality, love is our obedience to Christ, and when we act in love, it is WE who are changed.

Maybe that’s the perspective. God is changing me. I think. I hope. I pray.

May He Micah 6:8 you, too.

Pax Christi,
semmie