Friday, May 31, 2013

In memory of Marcie the guinea pig

Dear Marcie,

You were the sweetest little guinea pig. You were the first guinea pig I ever held, and the first one I saw at the shelter this past January. I got you to start liking me by holding you in my lap with your sister and giving you lots of cilantro.
You were my scared little pig, but you were so soft and cuddly, and you seemed to really "get" me. You always loved sitting on my shoulder. One time, you bit my earring out of my ear, and I thought you swallowed it. Lucky for you, you just liked biting but not eating, and I found it on the coffee table a few minutes later. You were an especially good neck-pal when I was reading Rousseau.
Sometimes, we'd just hang out and take pictures together.
There was this one writing binge at the end of winter quarter when I had so many papers to write that I just sat on the couch all day with you on my lap, next to my computer. You just sat there, saying "I'm so cute! Look at me all day! I'm so much more fun than Viennese Classical music!" You were right, and it helped me churn out a paper or 3. 

I took you to the vet last Saturday, because I thought you and your sister might have had mites. He said you were two perfect little guinea pigs, and were oh-so cute. Then, on Sunday, by the time I woke up, you were not well. I took you to the emergency vet, who said your time was up. She saw just how much your sister and I loved you, and that we didn't want to lose you, but that you were in a lot of pain because that sometimes happens to guinea pigs. One day, they're perfect, and the next, they're gone. We were only together for a few months, but I really loved you a lot. I miss you, babe. Hope they have lots of good veggies in piggy heaven.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Brief Reflections on the Rite

Today is the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and everybody is excited about it. I don't have a lifetime of experience with the Rite, but the piece holds a special place in my heart as a cellist, which means something special. I consider myself an erstwhile cellist at this point, since I haven't had much opportunity or desire to play the instrument since my senior recital in October 2011 (sorry, Larry). The cello is a wonderful, beautiful instrument, and I'm incredibly grateful for my years playing it, but playing it just isn't for me, anymore, at least for now. My identity as a cellist was mostly social; I loved orchestra and my cello section (well, for the first few years of college, at least).

During my junior year of college, our conductor Brian Stone decided we would take a break from rehearsing our programmed repertoire, and spend an evening doing a reading of the Rite. We would invite faculty to sit in with us, have the parts in advance to practice, and see what would happen. The idea of inviting faculty was to have performing faculty help the wind players, but the fun part for me was the inclusion of academic faculty who happened to be string players. My stand partner, Jeff, and I fought for a while in advance—which one of us would get to sit with Dr. (now-called-Danny) Stevens?  I won that round, and I'm very glad I did. See, string players are notorious for having terrible rhythm, and I fit that bill. For this reading, I lucked out and got to share a stand with my aural skills professor, who gave great cues when my rhythmic abilities fell short.

For me, the Rite is a cool piece. It's music, it's dance, it's costumes. It revolutionized compppppppppppppp (sorry, I got so bored parroting the Rite's praises that I fell asleep. Let me start again.)

For me, the Rite is experientially special. I was the orchestra manager at the time, so I set up the orchestra for all those extra winds. I played it in a casual setting, surrounded by my cello section at its (socially) tightest, with my awesome conductor, sharing a stand with my awesome professor. The internet-world is exploding because it's the 100 year anniversary of this piece that Changed Everything, but for me, it's just a chance to reflect on a good experience I once had in college.