Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Smitors #2 - The "Doc" Emmett Brown vs. Harry Potter

This is match #2 in a series of tournament bouts pitting powerful "Smitors" (as in one who smites), against each other, one on one.

Vote in the comments. You can also campaign for your favourite smitor, by commenting about why they should win. At the end of each match, the smitor with the most votes (or most convincing arguments if votes are tied) will be declared. For true democracy, my vote weighs equally with your vote!

Last time, Batman bat-nihilated Spiderman with precision and skill!

Smitor Challenge #2 - The "Doc" Emmett Brown vs. Harry Potter

The Doc's Advantages/Disadvantages
-can travel through time to steal cool weapons and stuff from the future
-can invent lots of stuff (though it doesn't usually work)
-has seen the future (and therefore knows if/when he would win)
-really cares about not screwing up the time continuum, but ignores that whenever he wants to
-can survive a lightning bolt
-doesn't have magic

Harry's Advantages/Disadvantages
-can travel through time occasionally (but needs Hermione)
-has a knack for surviving things that should kill him
-can escape to Hogwarts (sometimes)
-has magic (but Hermione is way better)
-has a conscience, but is naive
-has a lightning bolt (on his forehead)
-doesn't have a time machine

Monday, March 12, 2007

Godspell, Godspeed

Now I will answer the questions that I've been asked in the past few weeks: "Is Daniel alive?" and "Why can't I get ahold of him?". The answers are "Yes" and "Godspell". Godspell is a musical all about the life and teachings of Jesus, framed in a theatrical setting, with comedy, dancing, and music, and a whole lotta awesome!

My involvement was as the director of music. It was written for just rhythm section, i.e. piano/drums/bass/guitar. However, we had a couple of trumpets that wanted to be involved, so I somewhat foolishly decided that I had enough time to write parts for them. In the end, I was pretty happy with it, but perhaps could have been a little easier on them, even though they performed well for the difficulty! I also was responsible for rehearsing the "orchestra", and helping the singers learn their parts, and playing at rehearsals, although there was another rehearsal pianist who filled in for me, when I was having pasta in Italia, or stuck at work overnight.

So how did this experience affect me? Well I think I can categorise it:

  • Management experience: I learned more about how to manage people effectively, how to provide leadership, how to encourage people and motivate them. Scheduling 6 people to attend rehearsals, making sure they are informed about where they have to be when (not that I was exceedingly clear on this!), and ensuring that I knew what to tell them took a lot more energy than I originally anticipated.
  • Musical knowledge: I feel my knowledge of music, and conducting was greatly enhanced. I remember the last time I did this for Anything Goes in 1996, and it was natural for me, but this time even more so. I felt totally at home in the Director of Music role. I even was surprised at my ability to write parts for both trumpets, and at the fact that I did this at a table, without a piano for most of it. The music seemed to flow out of my hands! Yes there were a couple of errors here and there, but for the most part, I surprised myself. The ability to make musical decisions was deepened, as in "should I take this out" or "should I change that part of the music" were questions that I started being able to answer more readily about midway through. All of my musical talents were tested and improved, and it was great! I'm still waking up with songs from the musical endlessly bouncing aroudn my head.
  • Spiritual development: Not that I ever got to really see the show from the audience's point of view, but I feel that hearing the script over and over again, while not being able to get the music out of my head has really forced me to think about what the show is about: Jesus, discipleship and growth. It brought me new perspectives that I had either forgotten I had or not thought of, and really helped me focus on how I live out my faith life. I resurrected (no pun intended) question like "Am I really focused on any of the things that Jesus taught us or am I simply following doctrines?" It was definitely a re-orienting of my spiritual compass, which I'm thankful for.
  • Community: I made a lot of great friends, and forged a really cool bond with the other two directors, Kristen and Brian. Their energy and passion is where this idea came from, and flowed forth. I was just happy to be a part of it. I feel I got to know the whole cast, and chorus, which was very much a friendship-building experience. The Orchestra was composed of Paul on bass (not the fish!), Kristin on percussion (yeah slide whistle!), DeVeaux on guitar (18 strings of goodness!), and Alex and Franco on trumpets (quit fighting over the parts!). These people made my life so much easier, thanks to their passion and dedication, and flexibility. Thanks a million to everbody!
  • Nostalgia: I found myself thinking back to my days in high school, playing the Euphonium, and I really wanted to be part of the Guys and Dolls pit orchestra. My teacher Ms. Evered, actually wrote an entire part just for me, which I really never fully appreciated until now, having now had to finally try it myself. That dedication of hers came back to me over and over again as I composed the trumpet music. I realised also that a significant source of my inspiration really came through her teaching and encouragement, which says a lot about her ability as a teacher.

Overall, this has been the most gruelling and rewarding experience of late, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thanks to everyone who attended and made it possible. Here's a picture from our dress rehearsal. Check out the band in the top left corner! You can also take a look at the rest of the pictures too!