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Sophomore Year 2010-2011 May 12, 2011

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Well here I am, nine months later and officially half-way done with my college career.  It really is scary how fast time just melts away. I thought last semester was fast, this semester was just one quick flash.  I feel like I just went on auto-pilot this semester and just watched everything speed by me.  Last semester was very manageable compared to this semester.  I was always busy all the time and everything just kept piling up one thing after another without end.  In spite of everything, I managed to survive and here I am.  Overall, this school year has been very good to me; I have learned a lot and have realized how much has changed in just this year alone.

Coming into my sophomore year, I found myself with the same nervousness I had as a freshman.  I think this was partially because I was afraid of my emotions repeating themselves again.  Last year, I felt lonely a lot and felt like I had no friends; it felt like I was in high school again; I had a lot of friends in class but I never hung out with them outside of the classroom.  This year was different for me.  I tried to be a little more social and tried to reach out to people rather than staying reserved and waiting for someone else to reach out to me first.  I always prefer when other people make the first move with me because of my own personal apprehensions.  I finally realized if I sit around all the time waiting for someone to reach out to me, I’ll be lonely all the time.  I decided to be a little more proactive with everything.

This semester I became closer with a lot of people I already knew and made a lot of new friends.  I started hanging out with people more and just trying to create friendships.  Some of my new friends I met without even trying and I became close with people without ever realizing it.  I feel like one of the things that helped me the most with everything is being a part of Phi Mu Alpha.  Being a part of the fraternity has given me a sense of belonging.  I feel like I belong somewhere and it helped open me up to so many new possibilities both musically and non-musicially.

As I’m sitting here in my dorm, I can’t help but smile thinking about how happy I have felt throughout the semester.  I can not remember a time when I ever felt this happy and loved by so many people.  I have had so much fun this year and have loved every moment of it in spite of the all the work I had to do and the amount of complaining I did.  I truly am going to miss everyone over the Summer.  I know I will see some people of the Summer (hopefully) and I’ll be back before I know it, but just thinking about the people I will miss makes me feel so sad.

I haven’t only just learned things socially.  As cheesy as it sounds, my flute has taught me a lot about myself.  This semester I took on a really hard piece that was just a little out of my reach.  I remember trying to make my way through it when I was in high school and failing miserably.  A few years later, I managed to get through it and do well with it.  Being able to play a piece you never thought you could do is such a satisfying feeling.  My flute has taught me nothing is really impossible, it just takes time and patience.  It has taught me how far I can really go and that nothing is out of my reach if I just try hard enough.   I never realized how far I could go.

This year has been so good to me in many ways.  I have become a better musician and have strengthened and formed relationships with many people.  Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I smiled this much and had a smile this huge for any given amount of time.  To any of my friends who happen to read this, I care about you all and value your friendship more than anything.

My Summer in Review – 2010 August 27, 2010

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So here we are, another Summer gone by in a blur.   I must say this has been the longest yet fastest Summer I’ve ever experienced, it felt like forever and yet came and went.  Overall, I would say my Summer went pretty well, it had some major downs but it definitely had its ups.

One of the big highlight’s of my Summer was all the performing I did.  Right when I got home in May, I had a rehearsal to attend.  I was asked to perform  chamber music on two of my friend’s senior oboe recitals.  I think I only rehearsed the music twice with each soloist.  Both of these performances were really good and pretty amazing.  Both performers were without a doubt prepared.  It was a pleasure to play with friends again and I would definitely perform with either of them in the future.

June was mostly uneventful, the most I did was go to the movies, had my flute lessons, and occasionally visited my Grandma.  However, July was very packed.  Once July came, I had rehearsals and performances with two town bands and a one week chamber music camp.  I performed with the Guilford Town Band and we rehearsed for 2.5 hours for 4 rehearsals and did a performance on a Saturday.  Performing with them was extremely satisfying.  I played in the band last year and it only improved a year later. The repertoire we performed was way harder than it was the previous year and musically satisfying.  This year’s repertoire included: Shostakovitch’s Festive Overture, Whitacre’s October, Gershwin’s Someone to Watch over Me, Strauss’ Second Horn Concerto, Grantham’s Exhilaration and Cry, Vaugh Willam’s Folk Song Suite, Selections from West Side Story, Colonel Bogey March, and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever.  Normally this performance is held outdoors at the town picnic, but sadly, the picnic was canceled, the scheduled fireworks for the evening were also canceled, and the performance was moved indoors (a huge plus!).   The performance had it’s flaws, but it was a good performance overall.

Right after Guilford, the rehearsals and performances for the Wallingford R Band began.  This band does four to five performances every Summer and only has four to five rehearsals.  In this band, we get one rehearsal, then we perform.  Most of the repertoire we do is pretty sightreadable  and mostly pops music.  We perform and rehearse at a senior center and the audience consists of mostly senior citizens, so we try and do music that appeals to them (ie film music, themes from musicals, jazz, etc.).  All of the performances with this group were fun; every performance and rehearsal had its jokes and laughs.  Some of the music we did was quite satisfying.  My personal favorite was the medley of Lion King songs.  Parts of it gave me chills, especially because I can remember watching Lion King as a kid and now, more than 15 years later, I got to play the music from it as an adult.  It’s funny how things come full circle sometimes.

One of the last things I did musically was the Neighborhood Music School Summer Chamber Winds Program.  It is a week long chamber music program where you are placed into two ensembles.  This year I was placed into a woodwind quartet and a flute quintet.  In my quartet, we played Janacek’s Three Morovian Dances and in my quintet we played an arrangement of Debussy’s Bohemian Dance.  All the chamber groups were quite good and the program put on a great performance.

After my Summer performances ended, I had the entire month of August to unwind and wait until it came time to return to Syracuse for the the fall.  I’ve been waiting to return all Summer and couldn’t wait so I could see all my friends again, and yet, I feel a little weird.  Here I am entering my second year of college and I’m having the same trepidations I had going in as a freshman.  There’s no questioning I want to go back, but perhaps I’m just nervous for the upcoming semester because I know things are going to get a little harder and there are a few things I need to start working on and complete within in the first month or so of school.  I don’t know what this feeling is, but there is no doubt I’m excited to go back and I can’t wait for the new adventures I’m going to have.

Rest In Peace JoAnn Dee August 6, 2010

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JoAnn was one of my Neofriends on Neopets.  We were both a part of community called the “Lost Desert Bunker” on the Neopets Premium Charter Board, which was created to help people solve the current site-wide plot.  Even after the plot had concluded, many of us still stuck around to talk with each other.   I stayed on for many years after the plot.  JoAnn was a lovely person who was always more than willing to help anyone she came in contact with.  I still remember how she would always cheer me on and encourage me to push forward.  I realize now how amusing she found me; I was always going on about something and was always full of energy.   Eventually, I left the Bunker because my real life had started to become busy.  I popped in occasionally, but I just stopped coming all together because I no longer used the premium service.  I guess it’s true of all children, we all have to leave the “nest” at some point right?

JoAnn, you were one of my closest friends on the Bunker and I hope you are resting peacefully in heaven.  Say hello to my Grandpa Oscar, Ma’ama, Stan, and Debi for me.  Just watch out Ma’ama, I heard when she was younger, she was something else.

With lots of love,
Willie

My Biking Adventures July 26, 2010

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One of the things I started doing again was bicycling.  Prior to this Summer, it has been about six years since I rode a bike.  The old adage is true, you never forget how to ride a bike.  I started riding again in June and once I started, it felt GREAT!  I can’t remember a time my body ever felt so good.  From that point, I rode every day without fail (except for the one time it rained).

One of the very rewarding things I discovered on my biking adventures was a goat farm.  There’s a small goat farm about 2-3 miles up the street from my house.  The baby goats are so cute and I took a picture of one of them.

The best feeling I ever had was when I decided to ride to the commercial section of town.  It’s about a ten mile ride round trip from my house.  I had tried doing it a few times, but I was exhausted before I even made it.  Every day I tried to go a little farther than the previous day.  With each passing day, it became easier; I could go faster, go farther, and it all felt easy.  The big day came: I decided I was actually going to do it this time.  All the hills seemed a lot easier and even though there were many steep hills, I made it.  When I finally reach my destination, I felt great!  I  wassweating profusely, my legs were a little worn, but dammit I felt great!

Biking has taught me a few things; it has shown me my limits, shown me what I can really do if I push myself a little harder, and most importantly, it’s given me my confidence back.  There were many times when I approached hills and was extremely daunted, but I kept going and kept pushing myself to make it to the top.  On the other hand, I had to learn my limits, I didn’t want to push myself too far and regret it in the end.  There was one day where I pushed myself to ride to the top of a hill only to find an even large one right after it.  Clearly, I couldn’t make it up the second hill.  I learned sometimes you have to go slow; I hopped off my bike and walked up the hill.

Because I’ve started riding again, I’ve been able to have more confidence in myself.  I now tackle large tasks in smaller chunks, rather than try and tackle the entire thing all at once.  It’s even made me a better musician believe it or not.  It forced me to practice slowly and try and push myself occasionally.  Overall, my biking experience has been nothing but good to me and I have no intention of stopping any time soon.

Another GMH Moment June 24, 2010

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One night, I was walking back to my dorm after a late-night rehearsal.  As I stepped on the curb of the sidewalk, my foot didn’t quite make it and I tripped.  As I fell, I my leg twisted.  I was in a lot of pain and on the ground for about 5 minutes, but the pain subsided and I was fine….or so I thought.  I woke up the next morning and could not walk on my left leg without feeling pain.  Long story short, I actually sprained my ankle the previous night and had to walk on crutches.

I will say this much about crutches: THEY SUCK!  I was stupid and would not suck up my pride.  I decided to tough it out and try walking across campus with crutches instead of using the medical transport service.  HUGE MISTAKE.  I got a ride to my first class, but after that, I wanted to be tough.  I was able to walk to my second class because it was not very far, but deciding to walk back to Crouse College, the school of music, was a very stupid mistake.  Normally it would take me 7-10 minutes to walk there, but on crutches it took 15-20 minutes.  My body just couldn’t do it, my arms were ready to give out, so I decided to just limp around campus, instead of using crutches.  I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.  Why didn’t I just call the fucking medical transport?  Was my pride really that important?

I was becoming very tired, hopping around on one leg, and ready to pass out when some random stranger came up to me and asked if I wanted help.  Being already exhausted, I was definitely not going to turn down his offer even if I was close to my destination.  He let me lean on him and helped me walk the rest of the way.  Also, my foot was in a splint and didn’t get a sandal to wear on my shoeless foot.  Because he saw the dirty, moist sock, he even offered to go find a new pair of socks and sandals.  Random acts of kindness and the kindness of others GMH.

My GMH Moment June 20, 2010

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For those of you who don’t know, GMH stands for Gives Me Hope.  It’s basically the FML for optimists; people post their moments where people were nice for no reason, helped them, and it gave them hope for humanity.  This is my GMH moment.

While I was at SU, I wanted to go see the Syracuse Symphony perform.  I caught a free bus to the civic center and I only had $4 on me (student tickets cost $5 to the SSO), so I intended pay with my debit card.  When I got off the bus and went to the box office to buy my ticket, they told me they didn’t take debit or credit cards for tickets.  I frantically searched my pockets and wallet to scrounge up the full $5, but I just didn’t have enough.  The next bus to go back to campus wasn’t going to come back for another hour, so I would have to wait around and I obviously didn’t have enough money to catch a cab back to my dorm.  I was just about to step out of the line when a guy came up behind me and handed me the extra dollar so I could buy my ticket.  I never met the guy before in my life, he was just some random stranger.  Thanks to that random stranger, I got to see Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed live and it was a great performance.  Thank you random stranger!  People like him give me hope!

This is just made of win… June 17, 2010

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Backyard June 17, 2010

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Here are some nice pictures of my backyard.  We have a pretty big backyard and I’m convinced I could probably get lost in the woods if I decided to go on an adventure.

New Flute and Piccolo…sort of! (My Babies) June 16, 2010

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Here are pics of my flute and piccolo!  I bought the flute in August of 2008 and I bought the piccolo in Mayof 2009.  The flute is an Azumi flute, it’s an intermediate flute designed by Altus, a professional flute maker.  The piccolo is a wooden Yamaha and I got it used.   I am very satisfied with both instruments.  I also named them.  My flute’s name is Yumi and my piccolo’s name is Feggio.

Tiger Lilies! June 16, 2010

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Some of the tiger lilies in my backyard have started to bloom!  Here’s a picture of one, sadly this one looks like it’s about to go any day now.  That’s the thing I never liked about flowers, they never last very long.