Friday 20 March 2009

9th Period Life Lessons

I have spent the last 9 (1) years of my life playing music in concert band. I've played hundreds of pieces, from Ants Marching to Pirates of the Carribbean, Holst's Suite in F to Escape from Plato's Cave (2). Today I asked myself: what have I gained?

When you're 8 and you start to play in band for the first time, you almost always believe that you have the melody and need to play as loud as you possibly can. Everything you play sounds great to you - so why not bring it out? Everything on your page, even if it's just half notes, sounds like a melody.

You grow up a little, and one day you hear the flutes playing something, and it sounds fantastic. At this point you realize that maybe your part isn't the melody, maybe it doesn't need to be heard over everything else. Maybe your part is not the most important part. Maybe you have another purpose.

You hit high school, and learn about chords and chord functions, take a music theory class, and things start to make more sense. (3) By this time, you know that you're not the melody; maybe you're a counter melody that spices things up, or you're the root of the chord in the bass, or you're just a light, pretty little trill on top of everything else. You know now that you're not the melody, but that's okay, because you've found your place and you have another purpose.

It's the hardest thing, to have this part that sounds like a song to you by itself, to hear these whole notes and put huge meaning into them, and to not play out for the world to hear. To you, nothing else could top it, your part is so great, it has to be what's important! Somehow, You've got to let it go and do what's best for the piece as an overall product. When everyone does that though, it doesn't even matter what part you've got. You're now part of something bigger than yourself, bigger than your individual part. You're not just a A flat, you're a fifth in the most beautiful chord you've ever heard. You're a part of the man escaping Plato's cave and running into the light! And you're thinking: music can do this??

(1) Confession: I actually have no idea how long I've been in band. It's between 7-10 years.
(2) Other notable kick-ass band songs we've played include : Vesuvius (hands down most badass), Shenandoah (cried every time), Shadows of Eternity (would make an awesome blog subject), Russian Christmas Songs (those Russians can rock.), Brick House, and obviously the Family Guy Theme Song.
(3) Or, you just make videos of trolls and ghosts running around, attacking kids who don't play, to 12 tone!

Saturday 14 March 2009

This summer concert lineup is going to drain my bank account

My dad just tells me, "Oh hey, I heard Coldplay is at Darien Lake in June!" and is confused when instead of jumping up and down, I say, "what the hell."

Sure, I'm excited that I get to see one of my favorite bands live at a very convenient location, but I'm kind of angry because this summer, I'm going to spend ridiculous amounts of money.

I just went to see Dropkick Murphys, which cost me 40 + 55 for the train. 95 extremely well-spent dollars.

Here are the other events that might be stealing my funds this year:

March 23rd - Ben Folds at Waterstreet (with jim... and Meholick!)

April 26 - Third Eye Blind at Brockport (they're at canisius april 19th too)

April 29 - OAR at RIT (also at Fredonia May 2nd, I believe)

May 27th - Dave Matthews Band at Darien Lake

June 1st - Coldplay at DLake

June 12 & 13 - DMB at Saratoga Springs

Warped Tour at DLake - I'll go if Flogging Molly is there, but Less Than Jake and Big D & the Kids Table are on the tour too! :]

Allman Brothers come around every year, I can't imagine they wouldn't play in the area this summer. Obviously going to hit that up with my dad.

You might be saying, well, Molly, no one is forcing you to go to any of these concerts! While this is true, if I decide not to go and don't buy tickets, by the time the concert rolls around, I'll be sitting home alone, bored and wishing I went.

To justify this spending spree, I have been working since I was 15 and saving every penny. I'll work this summer too (but not at the town pool, which is closed this summer :[ ) and so I think I deserve this. It'll be worth it.

Respect Crowe

About a month ago, word started getting around school that Pat Crowe, the 12th grade English and AP English teacher, was going to be teaching 9th and 10th grade next year, and not by choice. After 38 years at LeRoy, administration is apparently trying to coax him into retirement, because they have to pay him so much since he has been there so long. These actions are finding strong opposition from one student-created website, four facebook groups, and about 520 facebook users, spaning two generations.

Anyone to graduate from LeRoy in the last 38 years will gladly tell you how awesome and kickass Mr. Crowe is. He runs out in the halls screaming "THE KING IS DEAD" to help us better understand Shakespeare; he has us make posters expressing our extreme hatred of Lady MacBeth; he shows us a plethora of great movies, some of which aren't even book we read, but are extemely relevent. He chooses topics that any high school senior would think is interesting - criminology, Helter Skelter, Sociopaths. I was personally elated that we got to watch two Liz Taylor movies so far this year.

I think that students really like about Mr. Crowe is that he treats us like adults. He doesn't talk down to us, something that teachers do all too often. He'll joke around with us, and he'll take us seroiusly too. I think that having Mr. Crowe senior year helps get us ready for whatever is next because we feel like adults in his classroom, and therefore start acting like adults.

Administration would certainly be putting the needs of their students aside if they were to follow through with this. While Mrs. Brotherton is certainly a fine teacher, most agree that the younger grades are her forte. Having Mr. Crowe's class senior year is a blessing that students at leroy have had for 38 years, and that's something that money should never play a part in. True, in this recession, schools are going to have to look at their budgets with a stricter eye, but their most experienced teaching staff should certainly not be the first thing to go.

Sunday 1 March 2009

Green 17

And so it begins, St. Patrick's...Month.

For me, this time of year rivals Christmas. For the next two and a half weeks, I'll probably wear green everyday, sometimes in excess and with awkward amounts of gaudy, plastic jewelry. I will listen exclusively to the Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Pogues, The Tossers, The Dubliners, and so on. On the front of our house, we'll hang a nice big Irish flag along with a light-up shamrock. On weekends, I'll rent the great Irish-American movies of our time: the Departed, Boondock Saints, Gangs of NY. Trips to McDonalds will be more frequent than not for those curiously delicious (and now low-fat!) Shamrock Shakes. Next week I'm shippin' up to Albany to see the Murphys themselves, which should be a riot. Finally, on the 14th, I'm running Johnny's Runnin' of the Green race in Rochester: five miles of crazy irish runners with a few kilted gentlemen (who probably lost a bet or something) and a small number of leprechauns who sing "wild rover" for the entire race.

You're probably thinking one of two things. Either, "Wow! Your family is really authentic and must have just stepped off the boat!" or "Wow, you're a bunch of hypocrites that think you are Irish." The latter is absolutely true. While, yes, we do contain Irish blood, and perfer those around us to be well-aware of it, my family is really what some would call "plastic paddys". An actual Irishman might be disgusted at how we think we are "Irish" just because we put shamrocks all over the place and listen to "50 Irish Drinking Songs" all weekend. We might be slightly out-of-touch with the motherland and more wrapped up in the commercial Irish-American culture... but today in America, it's hard to be involved in any type of heritage, and it's rare to find an opportunity to celebrate European ethnicity. So, although it might be some level of "fake", we take culture and heritage where we can find it, and I think that's something worth celebrating.

Check out my March Playlist! Although I have loads upon loads of Irish Drinking Songs I could use, I opted for a more subtly Irish list... with some Irish-American artists, or some Irish-pop groups, like my favorites, the Cranberries :]