Seven Quick Takes -- Saturday!  

Posted by Agnes Regina


Summer vacation. Sigh. Now that my life isn't ruled by an academic schedule I feel like I'm not getting anything done. Now that I have time to practice four or five hours a day, I need to actually sit down at the piano and not leave it until I know I've gotten something productive out of the music. Of course, I suppose the productivity would depend on my state of mind after a couple of hours, but my fingers can certainly manage.


Next week I am going to be in New York for a concert and the graduation ceremonies at BVM Academy, from which a few friends of mine will be graduating that weekend. It is going to be a blast! We're planning all sorts of music for the concert, covering the whole gamut of musical periods from Baroque to twentieth century - from piano solos, duets and duos to violin-and-piano and violin duets, to arias and even a double mandolin concerto by Vivaldi! I hope it is recorded, because it promises to be an impressive piece of work, showcasing the parish talent as well as a few "guest artists" from the Jam Session group.


I can't believe we are so close to moving day! Only a few weeks. After that I may not be able to post for a short while but when we are settled I will see if I can do a post on "Moving After Sixteen Years!" That one should be interesting!


I've begun to work seriously on Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto and a couple of Chopin's Etudes. They are crazy hard, but oh so gorgeous! Here is Murray Perahia playing part of the first movement of the Concerto (this actually begins around the middle and the first part is not posted but it is still awesome!):


I discovered that a couple of my friends who graduated Webster last year (and had been dating for a couple of years) are getting married in June. I am so happy for them! Of all the pairs I saw at college they seemed to have one of the most solid and happy relationships - I was wondering when they would get married and I am delighted that I'll be around for it. Here's to Chris and Alyssa - may they have many happy years!

My little sisters are watching "The new Adventures of Madeline," imitating the style of the original Ludwig Bemelmans stories. They are pretty cute, but I prefer the originals. You really can't beat the first tale of "the old house in Paris that was covered with vines..." and Madeline's attack of appendicitis. I used to be able to recite it from memory... ah, those were the days... :)


The Viking and family and our friend JuxtaCrucem are over to dinner tonight. Oh, the fun!

End of the school year  

Posted by Agnes Regina

Tonight, another school year at Queen of the Holy Rosary ended. For my younger siblings, it was their last, as we will be leaving St. Louis soon. For me, there will be another year as I finish college at Webster, but I will miss my little brothers' smiling faces (and their occasional teasing) in class.

The evening began with the entrance of our students singing "O Queen of the Holy Rosary," which has been, up to now, our unofficial school song. Father Kurtz made a few remarks and then each class came up for a short performance. My kindergarten/first grade class gave a charming rendition of two little songs, "The One-Tune Piper" (the title leaves little to be said about the song) and "It's Fun" (about the delights of singing in solfége!) The second and third grade recorder class followed with "O Sanctissima" in two parts, and then the fourth and fifth graders performed "Dona Nobis Pacem" as a three-part round on recorders, followed by a hilarious poem about the end of the school year. The seventh and eighth graders closed the performance half of the program with "Sick," by Shel Silverstein, which was very funny.

The second half of the program consisted of awards - beginning with the kindergarten graduations, of course, and going on through Jog-A-Thon awards and certificates of excellence to the graduation of our single eighth grader. Unfortunately, the notes of his valedictory speech were misplaced so he simply thanked the teachers who had helped him through the years and then Father Kurtz handed him his diploma. After presenting bouquets to the volunteer teachers (my white and yellow roses will have to go in front of Our Lady after I post this!) Father gave the children "the last lesson of the year," a well-worded sermon on the Last Judgment -- "the final exam that we'll all have to take, and cramming is not going to help for this one." Then the whole school took the stage for a rousing rendition of the "Alma Mater" Father had written for us to the tune of the New Zealand national anthem - "Regina Coronae." The children had learned it solidly in a week, and it sounded beautiful. Then Father led a last prayer, declared the school year officially closed, and we scattered about the gymnasium to have refreshments and chatter. I was quite proud of my musicians and received several compliments on their progress; and after a while we all piled into the van and came home.

I'm glad I have another year to teach these children. Like any children, they can be a bit rowdy sometimes, but they are delightful to teach and I love hearing how they progress. The biggest jump this year was doing a lot more sight-reading with the older recorder classes. They took to it very quickly and next year I hope to give them some real recorder music by Telemann or Vivaldi, or possibly some Renaissance dances. The sky's the limit... :)

7 Quick Takes: Glo-style  

Posted by The Glo-ness

1) Can't take my OCD clients....can't go onnnn....On Tuesday I was informed (via the oh-so-personal medium of... The Written Note) that there were streaks on the floor (I challenge her to prove this-I'm a pretty OCD cleaner myself) of my clients' home and that she now wants me to use not only a different cleaner, but also a different mop. Which, by the way, was a totally crappy mop. So I do what she says and noticed that her method has now added an additional 15-20 minutes to my cleaning routine...GRRRR!!! I can practically FEEL the days of Purgatory being lopped off as I work....

2) I'm into manga! Cue the nerd music....I've always liked Bizenghast and a friend has recommended to me another good manga called Bleach, so we'll see how it is. Considering I am a cleaner-I suppose this is a fitting manga for me, hahaha, although I read the first couple pages online and it seems to be about friend happened to be a guy, so this might explain something :)

3) I found a new Gothic Lolita outfit that I want to buy!!! Yay!! Happiness, it is: (it's a jumper)

With this shirt worn underneath (I think the bow-part will hang down over the jumper quite nicely):
Now I'll just need to call some Swedish Banks and arrange The Funding...mwahahaha ;)

4) I'm going on a trip! My sister is graduating next Thursday, so I'll be hopping on a plane next Tuesday and be out in Cali the rest of the week. Yay! I haven't been in Cali in ages....I miss the "homeland", haha (not to mention my family-duh..that kinda goes without saying.) By the way-if anyone wants to be the epitome of coolness and give me a ride to or from the airport, please feel free to let me know ;)

5) I made a grub-tacular Potato Gratin for a potluck on Sunday! I used this recipe:
And just substituted a bag of coleslaw for the shredded cabbage and two handfuls of Bacon Bits for the bacon. The general consensus was that it was definitely yummy...which is good, considering I had never made it before. :D

6) Speaking of Sunday, Stephanie and Ryan's baby got baptized! Yay...

7) There's a Pirate exhibit at the Science Center!!! :D Must!! See!! Pirates!!

Guest Post, courtesy of Bubblefeet.  

Posted by Agnes Regina

Bubblefeet wanted to do a post on some of the things she and her friends do when they're bored at recess. Enjoy.

Five Things to Do on a Swing

At recess at school my friends and I did all sorts of things on the swings(until the teachers banned them, not so much for our safety as for the little kids' safety). Here are five of them (ordered from least fun to most fun).
  1. One interesting thing is having shoe flinging contests.( Beware, anyone passing in front of us!)
  2. We can also swing side to side and try to grab on to the poles and each other and usually ended up running into each other.This was fun until someone ran into someone else.(Then it gets hilarious,yet painful. :P)
  3. A two-person thing to do on the low swings is to twist around each other's chains, then have someone else push you so you untwist, and sometimes run into a pole.:P
  4. One of the first things we came up with is to put the swing on your hips and keep your legs straight so they don't hit the ground and get pushed that way.(see diagram)

5.Last and definitely not least what we call the "three swing thing". You put one person on each of the outer swings(our swingset has three sections of three swings each)and they put their feet together on the middle swing. Then the third person pushes them one at a time so they go crazy and swing back and forth and jerk around.(if you can't get a mental image, see diagram)

Seven Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 3 - Inés-Style  

Posted by Agnes Regina

Here I go again! This week was Finals Week for me so I may as well give you a day-by-day breakdown.


I'll begin with last Saturday, which was rather a bittersweet day. I taught my last lesson to my student at the Community Music School, whom I was teaching through my Pedagogy class, and we were both rather sad to be parting. She's a bright little lass and I think she will do very well with whatever teacher she is assigned to next. That night, the choirs and orchestra gave their All-Bach performance which doubled as our Dr. Bowers' farewell concert. She has been directress of choral studies and music education for twenty-four years and her departure will leave a big hole in the Webster family. We began with the magnificent Cantata No. 11, a.k.a. the Ascension Oratorio; that was followed by the beautiful Mass in A Major. After the intermission the Chorale alone led off with the motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, "Sing ye to the Lord a new song." I sang the soprano part in the second movement's solo-quartet and received a good bit of praise for my singing afterward. The concert ended with a hysterical rendition of P.D.Q. Bach's mock-oratorio "The Seasonings." I think the audience had fun with that - we certainly did!


On Monday I had Orchestration Review, where we listened to the recording of our final projects as performed by the Chamber Orchestra the Thursday before. We didn't get to mine, sadly, but the ones we did hear had turned out very well! That day I also finished and turned in my Piano Pedagogy final, which was a take-home due on Tuesday. (WHAT?! You mean Inés didn't procrastinate till the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute? Miracles will never cease.)


Tuesday, since I'd already turned in the Pedagogy final, I only had to be at college for a few minutes - the length of time it took to sing my voice jury. I sang Er, der herrlichste von allen from Schumann's beautiful song-cycle Frauenliebe und -Leben and Joseph Szulc's setting of the marvelous Verlaine poem Clair de lune. It sounds like moonlight and I love it. That night Tata came home from Argentina and handed out some gifts from the journey - new Jules Verne books for the Three Musketeers, a fan for Stick, a book on Rosas for the Devil's Advocate, and for the rest of the girls, a small heap of jewelry which had been his mother's (R.I.P.) Since we share our collection, these will probably be worn by all of us at some point or another and will be a lovely reminder of our Yaya. To his dismay, however, Tata discovered he'd left behind the pile of Piazzolla and Ginastera scores he'd acquired for me in Argentina. Ah well... now I have something to look forward to from the next trip!


Wednesday was the day of the Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint final and this was the one I was most nervous about, simply because there's so much information to remember - composers' dates, treatises on counterpoint and their authors and dates/places of publication... crazy. However, I acquitted myself well according to our professor, (though he hadn't graded them yet, he'd had time for a look at mine before I asked him,) so I am happy. That afternoon I also taught a piano lesson to my new student Kyle, whom I've been teaching for a month now. At fourteen, he is the oldest of my small group of students; he is doing very nicely and I enjoy teaching him.


Thursday was really rather uneventful. Since all my finals were over, after teaching my recorder classes at Queen of the Holy Rosary I stayed at home to help Maria with the babies, since Mami and Tata were off for a conference Tata's giving in California. In the afternoon I did head over to college for a bit and rehearsed my Beethoven sonata and concerto for a couple of hours before going to meet the children at the Viking's, because the house was getting inspected and we couldn't return until later that night.


Today I taught music at Q.H.R. again, talked to Father Kurtz about music for First Communions this upcoming Sunday, and then came home and helped with the babies until it was time to go to Webster one last time -- this time, for the Senior Honors Ceremony for the College of Fine Arts. I drove the Vespa, and as I parked a little way from college, it started to rain in big, heavy drops. I thought wildly, "Oh gosh... if the road's wet I'm going to get killed going back. Please God, don't let it really storm till I get home." And indeed, the rain was gone by the time I walked into the Community Music School building. The Dean announced the names of those from all the departments who had "Latin honors" and then, between performances by some of the students, the chairs of the several departments went to the microphone and called, one by one, the names of the students of their own department who had been chosen by the faculty. Each one received a white silk scarf with the name of the department on it in black. The program ran thus:
Welcome by the Dean -- Art Department Honors -- Ryan Carpenter, piano, performing Messiaen's Regard de l'Esprit de joie -- Alison Brandon-Watkins, dance-major, dancing a piece she choreographed -- Dance Department Honors -- Music Department Honors -- jazz performance by Pete Lombardo and Andrew Miramonti, jazz honor students -- Conservatory of Theatre Arts Honors -- Meadowlark, by Courtney Halford, soprano, accompanied by Ryan. (I was incredibly proud of him when she announced at the beginning of her piece that since her accompanist was sick, Ryan had been handed the accompaniment at the last minute and figured the thing out in half an hour - and it was not easy!) Then the Dean gave another short speech and I headed for home, looking nervously at the menacing clouds from time to time. God is good, for the threatened storm didn't break while I rode... and indeed, it hasn't yet!

To crown a glorious day, the Devil's Advocate and I went to hear the Cuban concert-pianist Horacio Gutierrez play Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall. The piece always makes me cry and this time was no exception, though instead of tears, this time was more like silent, dry sobs that made my throat ache. I wouldn't have traded it for anything though... the music was pure glory from beginning to end. I could see very well why Gutierrez is considered one of the greatest pianists in the world today. His technique was flawless, but it wasn't just that. Anybody can play the notes right, but he made the piano sing like a living being. It was magnificent.
The second half of the program was Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, for baritone and soprano solos, chorus and orchestra. As usual, the Orchestra and the Symphony Chorus performed magnificently, but the piece is not one I'd choose to hear again. (Coincidentally, however, the premiere performance of this piece was paired with no other piece than Rachmaninoff's Second Concerto... with the composer at the piano. Now, for that, I'd go through the Vaughan-Williams again! Anybody got a time machine?)

Feminism: Driving Down Wages Since 1965  

Posted by The Glo-ness in ,

As I sit here working out a business plan and balking at the sheer complexity of it, I really start to resent the Feminists. This is THEIR fault. Yep..I should be picking out curtains and baking bread, or at the very least, mildly answering phones in some nice, decently-paying secretarial job, but NO. Thanks to Feminism I have very few choices when it comes to getting that decently paying job, and am forced to practically do financial gymnastics just to make ends meet. Why is this, you may ask. Why not get that decently paying secretary job-they still exist! Um, no...for someone with no college degree. No...they don't. And this is why: thanks to the mass exodus of women entering the workforce, the wage pool has been polluted with legions of "hobby workers".

Since Feminism has sold women the lie of "a job is what you need!", we now have loads of married/or otherwise provided-for women working. And yes, I have a BIG problem with that, and here's why: if I go into an office and apply for your basic entry-level job (since I have no degree, that's pretty much all that's open to me) and I get the job, I will be offered about $10-12 an hour, if the boss is generous. This is not a livable wage. (Leo XIII would be turning in his grave) With today's inflation-ridden cost of living, $80 bucks a day (BEFORE taxes, mind you) ain't gonna cut it. But bosses get away with offering these joke wages because of simple economic supply and demand. Going back to the above example, if I try to negotiate for a higher wage, the boss has very little incentive to pay me more because there are plenty of (hobby-)"working women" who are more than willing to take the job for those wages. Why? Because in their mind they don't HAVE to be paid "a livable wage". In their mind, when they think of food and rent, it's "oh, well my husband'll pay for that." Women aren't really working for wages-but for the grown-up girl's version of "spending money". Which thus drives down wages for those of us who DON'T have a husband and who DO have to worry about how food and rent will be covered with that kind of pay.

Let's face it: most women today are working because they are bored and lack the ability to decide on their own how to spend their time productively. They are seeking a job because they are bored-and work is NOT for bored people. Work is for hungry people. When we have a whole segment of the working population working because they are looking for a diversion, then work itself becomes a twisted caricature of failed duties and dodged responsibilities. The health of the business (and by extension, the economy, as the business is the basic unit of the economy) is threatened because these workers are not really "working"-they are "playing" in a sense. They don't have the drive and commitment necessary to sustain the hardships required to do the job right. If these women are bored (whether they are living at home with parents or married) then I say to them: take up a hobby! Volunteer in a soup kitchen! That's what women USED to do when they were bored! They didn't go run into the workplace and drive down everyone's wages. Do everyone a favor: stay home and let those of us who are working because we have to put food on the table do our job and be paid fairly for it.

So as I finish my rant and go back to sitting here staring at my business plan, it hits me: I might have to actually HIRE these silly women... O_O Uh oh...cue the "Psycho music" (deet deeett!!)

7 Quick Takes (Can't Really Say Friday huh?)  

Posted by Jude Emblem

Wow what a week! I knew it would be busy so here goes.

     Last Sunday I went to an end-of-year party for History majors and/or members of Kappa Delta History Club. The funny thing was that there were only three of us from the current program that showed up. Most everyone that were there were from previous years at DYC. We had a good time regardless and I even got to play on their baby grand Bosendorfer. It was the night before my senior thesis rough draft was due so my professors kept joking about how much they were looking forward to reading it. Maybe I shouldn't have had that third beer...

     Thursday at work the guy I was with was high on something. He kept asking me what my name was even though we had been working together all week. He also could not remember a thing more than two seconds...literally. I would ask him for something and he would turn and ask what I needed over and over. It was kind of funny until he came down sick and had to leave early. At the very least it gave me an excuse for calling in sick on Friday. 

     Yesterday we had our Spring Formal at DYC. It was held at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery in downtown Buffalo. I went with a friend of mine, my roommate, and his girlfriend and the four of us had a good time. The food was excellent and we all left with huge amounts of candy from the bar. It was a decent turnout with about 60 or so people. The music could have been better and didn't seem to slow down in tempo until we were leaving.

     Hockey practice on Friday morning consisted of five guys and one goalie. we ended up playing two on two for about 45 minutes before calling it a day. The team looks to start their season in a few weeks. I will only be able to play once in a great while over the summer since all the games are during weekdays at night and I work at that time. Hopefully I will have time to play next season.   

     I only have one week of classes left! One last week of undergrad and then one last year of graduate studies before I will be finished. For those of you who don't know me I will complete my Bachelors in History this month and next year I will start graduate courses in Adolescence Education. I did find out from my adviser that I have to take 6 courses next fall in order to start student teaching in the spring. It's not the course load that worries me so much as it is the cost. God's provided me with everything I've needed so far and I continue to entrust my academic endeavors to Saints Benedict and Scholastica. So far so good!

      Tonight I am playing in a scrimmage game for my old ice hockey team. Not much to say about that besides the fact I love to play hockey and it was nice of them to remember me. Go Encore! 

     In senior research class on Thursday we went over our rough drafts with the History professors. I have never heard so much harsh criticism from any of them and to hear it from all three all at the same time was a little much. Even though it was a general criticism it didn't lessen it any more. Then they proceeded to go individually and rip people apart. It was sad  to watch and even harder to sit and wait your turn. Some people didn't have good direction in their papers. Others didn't use chronological order and some would lose the story and pick it up later on etc. When it was my turn I had made a list of minor mistakes I had made (I forgot to add page numbers, and there were extra spaces in foot notes etc) and I told them that I was aware of the mistakes I had written down. So what else was wrong that I needed to fix? I braced for the worst. They paused and looked at me. They then went ahead and told me that honestly they loved the paper, that it read beautifully and that I expressed my point very well. They even highlighted certain parts they liked in particular. I was stunned. Even I had thought my paper lacked focus, but they didn't think so. With a few minor errors (already fixed) I left and floated my way through the rest of my day. I was so very happy and now I can concentrate more on the rest of my classes to catch up on a few things. Overall, not too shabby a week. Graduation in 21 days!