Monday, February 7, 2011

Obligatory Blog About Music



Dr. Z. Randall Stroope
Thank you, those of you who were concerned about my absence from school last Thursday and Friday. No, I was not at home sick, but thank you for asking. I was actually feeling better than I have ever felt before. I auditioned for the All-State Senior Mixed Chorus this year, and I managed to make it in! Despite being listed as the last chair Bass I (the men's voice part that's not quite really high and not quite really low,) and as hailing from St. Elizabeth High School in the program, I was excited and happy to be there. Even more exciting was the chance to learn something new about being a good musician, not simply a good singer.

As a part of this very special group, I was given the opportunity to learn and perform very difficult, high-energy, and beautiful music. Another fantastic treat was being taught by our guest conductor, a professor at Oklahoma State University and man who wrote one of the pieces we were to sing. It was a lovely piece titled "Song to the Moon (La Luna)." While St. Mark's High School was dismissing students early and preparing for the teachers' luncheon on Thursday, eleven other students and I from our school were in Dover, DE for an all-day rehearsal beginning at 9:00 A.M and ending at 4:00 P.M. I didn't mind, though. I don't think many of us did too much. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me (and a fourth or fifth for some of the other St. Mark's students.) We performed a truly excellent concert last Saturday in a large and absolutely packed theater. The following video is not a recording of our concert, but it is a video of a piece we performed. For the quick, manic, and impressive"With a Lilly In Your Hand," view the video below. Have it playing in the background as you read.



Musically, the past few years have been very important to me. I've learned everything I know about music from joining the chorus (I was terrible at singing before making this decision,) playing in the bands, and performing the spring musicals. I've traveled from the St. Mark's stage to places all over Delaware and even as far as Myrtle Beach and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Dollywood) to perform with these groups. The band and I will be performing in Montreal this spring. I could probably write an entire blog post about being a drum major or my experience with the Drum Major Acadamy, so I will save those stories for a future post. I must say, though, that when I graduate, I will leave this school a drum major who is without words to describe how proud he is of his band.


Music You Should Know About


This Canadian sensation is all about well-made, funny music with a lot of heart behind it. I have been a fan of them ever since my dad bought me their album Stunt. I'm sure all of you have heard of at least one song on this CD: "One Week." It's the one that has a ton of really fast rhymes and mentions Chinese chicken, X-Files, and Sailor Moon, remember? They also were the genius behind the song "If I had $1000000," which is another one absolutely everyone knows. I highly recommend looking them up if they're your style. FYE sells their older CDs for $4.00 each. So far, I've picked up a copy of Stunt, Everything to Everyone, and Gordon. If you don't want to go out and buy a CD, I highly recommend listening to any of "The Bathroom Sessions" videos on YouTube, though those are just guitar and vocals. Oh, yeah, and they perform the theme song from The Big Bang Theory, too.

While the Barenaked Ladies are my favorite band, Jonathan Coulton is my favorite solo songwriter. A graduate of Yale University, JoCo worked in software engineering for several years before quitting his job in 2005 to start a career writing and publishing his own music. He writes hilarious songs that fall into various degrees of the rock and folk genres about robots, monkies, zombies, and other popular geek rock subjects. And trust me, it is a lot better than it sounds. I skipped the Ring Mass last year to attend his concert with a bunch of friends, I reference the guy and plug him on the blog every chance I get, and even Mrs. Mattick is a fan! You can listen to all of his music for free on his website, and it's all released with the Creative Commons Liscense! What are you waiting for?!


If you have heard of or ever listen to BNL or JoCo, be sure to say so in the comments and/or tell me what your favorite song is! What kind of music do you listen to, readers? Please leave a comment and share the blog as I leave you this video of Dr. Z. Randall Stroope's "Song to the Moon (La Luna.)"



13 comments:

  1. JoCo! Also, Code Monkey. Best. Song. Ever. It's way too good at describing me. :D

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  2. Needs more about saxaphone :P

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  3. You're a very good writer, Johnny. :)
    Also, look up Eric Whitacre's Lux Aurumque. I played it with some other musicians from marching band in an ensemble for Sarv last fall. Whitacre does some amazing things!

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  4. Also, Jonathan Coulton is the embodiment of epicness!

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  5. I thought you had died, I was very very upset my friend haha That sounds really awesome though to have a intellectually stimulating experience that was also enjoyable (a rare occurence). The band this year is phenominal thanks to those dedicated like yourself and I can't say I know those two singers, but I'll be sure to check them out.

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  6. I have to say that I am jealous that you were there because I am sure that the music was phenomenal. The song with a lily in your hand songs like a difficult song to sing, but Im sure that it sounds beautiful when it is mastered. Congratulations on being chosen to go and keep up the good work. :)

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  7. JoCo rocks!!! I only found out about him cause I am Wil Wheaton fan and someday want to attend a wootstock.
    He has written a song for @wilw. Yes!

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  8. Moxy Fruvous. must listen, if you like BNL

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  9. Wow, I really need to get into JoCo, haahaha. He seems really cool. I listen to a lot of indie rock that nobody understands...Neutral Milk Hotel (the lead singer has a crush on Anne Frank), The Rural Alberta Advantage (some angsty Canadians), and Modest Mouse (awesome lyrics, lead singer with a lisp = love). I've also been trying to get into Bo Burnham, who I think you would enjoy.

    Your writing style is really engaging, I really need to scroll through the rest of your blog.

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  10. You are a god writer man! also, you most certainly should write a blog about drum majoring. I'd be really interested in that, honestly. Gonna have to look up that music, haha

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  11. I do like BNL. I had no idea that they are the ones who sing the theme song for The Big Bang Theory. I love that show! Anyway, I knew you were at All State. I am glad it went well and you enjoyed yourself. I wish I could have heard the All State chorus in person because it would have been so lovely. I just love music. It makes me happy. :)

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  12. Thank you all for your comments! I'll be sure to look up some of those groups and more from Whitacre. And Spencer, I love Bo Burnham. He's hilarious.

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  13. Bo Burnham rocks. how about Broken Bells, since someone mentioned Modest Mouse??

    also awesome blog for someone interested in games and lit:
    NCTE MEDIA BLOG
    Feb 20 post is about lit and games--lists, etc

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