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February 12, 2009

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

Since everyone's talking about their crazy new schedules, I may as well add my voice to the fray. This semester is what I've started referring to as my humanities semester, just like last semester was all about math/science. I guess that's what it's like when you're a double major who didn't plan very well.

Interestingly enough this is also the semester that's going to break my record of never having to write a paper during my college career. (I don't really count the one I wrote for analytical chemistry last year, for various reasons.) I haven't written a paper in almost two years. We'll see how this goes.

It's also good to note that all my classes (except for the lab part of my chem class) are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving Mondays and Wednesdays completely free. I'm still trying to adjust to this very bizarre schedule of class all day and no time for work and then time for work but no scheduled activities.

(And one more interesting thing. This is my thirteenth post here. I figured publishing it tomorrow would be a little much.)

But now for the schedule.

Late Nineteenth-Century American Literature: The Re-Making of "America" - Toni Jaudon
I signed up for this class mainly because it fit into my schedule. I think it's going to turn out to be pretty interesting, though. I secretly hoped that we'd be reading Southern Gothic literature, but I missed that by a decade or so. Still, the American Civil War is one of my (not so) secret interests, so reading the fiction of a country picking up the pieces after that is going to be fun.

Bioorganic Chemistry - William Fuchsman
Every semester, there's always a scary class, and I've already discovered the one for this semester. There's a quiz every week, which means that if I get behind on the reading, only bad things will happen. I guess in retrospect this will be a good thing. Right now, given how much reading there is to do, it's pretty scary.

Poetry/Prose Workshop - Pamela Alexander
Remember when I turned my application for this class in last semester and got all philosophical? Well, I got in! It's a small class, which is good--I'll definitely get to know everyone. I'm a little worried about the poetry aspect of the course, since I'm definitely a prose person, but I look forward to having a good excuse to sit down and write.

Classical Music of North India - Hasu Patel
This is my ExCo for the semester. I did this last semester, too, learning Indian-style music on violin. It's very hard, but also very good for me, since most of it is just hearing a sound and copying it. Aural skills have always been my weak point as a musician. (Well, one of my weak points.)

Secondary Violin Lessons - Cassandra Bequary
Or, my Western-style violin time. My teacher is a Cons student and fantastic. She's really enthusiastic about teaching and always has good suggestions. I really appreciate the fact that I can take private lessons for credit, something that definitely didn't happen in high school. (I took the lessons, but there was no credit involved.)

This isn't even touching on all my non-class activities, which I'll briefly detail for you:

College Orchestra
This is a student-run full orchestra for only college students. It's also very awesome. It's less stressful than you'd think, we play good music, and the people are all really nice. I'm also in first violin this semester, after two stints in second violin, which is a bit scary. High fast notes tend to be at least a little intimidating.

Unfortunately, SPARK (Street Performance and Rhythm Kollective) is at the same time as my orchestra rehearsals, so I'm trying the two places at one time thing. It's not going well. Hopefully things will work out shortly, though, so I'll actually be able to do both.

By this I mean ballet and Bharatanatyam, since I have to keep up with both. Practice or stretching every day is ideal, but we'll see if that really works. Maybe stretching and reading my chem book at the same time? We'll see.

I suspect I'll be doing more than just this--for one thing, there's Asia House hall council meetings--but this covers at least the basics. It's another busy semester, but if I wasn't busy, I'd get bored, right?

Responses to this Entry

Did you have to audition to join the orchestra?

Posted by: Stephanie on February 13, 2009 6:26 PM

I was going to say no, but then I remembered there actually was an audition, which goes to show you how informal it actually was. The audition is mainly for the conductor to get to know your playing better; we honestly welcome anyone.

There are two other ensembles specifically for college musicians out there, College Community Strings and College Community Winds. I can't speak for CCW, but I know for CCS there are auditions, but again, that's mainly for seating purposes.

If you're interested in College Orchestra, don't hesitate to get in touch with me!

Posted by: Zoë on February 14, 2009 10:28 AM

Hi, I have a bunch of questions regarding the college orchestra,

Is it also conducted by a student?
When/How long are the rehearsals?
How big is the orchestra and what kind of repertoire do they play?
How many of the strings take lessons at the Conservatory?
Is it for credit?
What if you miss rehearsals?


Posted by: Alex on April 12, 2009 7:12 PM

Hey, Alex! I've got a bunch of answers:

Is it also conducted by a student?
Yes. Right now it's conducted by a Con student who's going to go to grad school for conducting. She's fantastic.

When/How long are the rehearsals?
This semester, rehearsals are every Saturday for two hours. They'll probably continue in some variation of that next year, too.

How big is the orchestra and what kind of repertoire do they play?
Right now we're playing Smetna's Moldau, Ravel's The Thieving Magpie,
Britten's Matinees Musicales, and a couple smaller pieces, one of them a featuring trumpets because we have a huge trumpet section. In the past, we've played everything from student compositions to Beethoven.

As for size, the orchestra has about thirty people in it, give or take. I don't know how many people there are on all of the wind parts, but we have six violins, four violas, four cellos, and one bass at the moment.

How many of the strings take lessons at the Conservatory?
I'm actually not sure about this one. Some of us take lessons, but I'm relatively sure that not everyone does.

Is it for credit?
It's not for credit. That's something we're working on, but it hasn't happened yet.

What if you miss rehearsals?
As long as you're still practicing your part, missing rehearsals isn't a big deal. Of course, everything in moderation, but you certainly won't get kicked out if you miss a rehearsal here or there. (I've had to do my fair share of missing from time to time.)

Let me know if you have more questions. :)

Posted by: Zoë on April 13, 2009 10:36 AM

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