“Pure Imagination” Now Available for Purchase!

Hey friends, Santa Barbara Music has now released their July 2014 issues which includes my arrangement of “Pure Imagination.” It’s now available for purchase from their website here! You should go buy ALL the copies!

Publishing this pieces has been a LONG and challenging process. Many thanks to all those who helped make this one possible.gal-wonka-cast-jpg

Catching Up

1958372_10101432305575119_262272049425363395_n It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I figured that I should play catch up with what’s been happening, although to be honest, it’s not really all that exciting.

Apollo Men’s Chorus wrapped their two-week recording project. They spend the last four days of class working really hard, recording a bunch of their music from the last two semesters. It was great to see them all enduring to the end of the semester. It also happened to be my last time rehearsing with them as I’m not conducting them next year. Working with the men’s chorus at USC has been a great experience. They’ve worked so much and absolutely buoyed me up. I’m so proud of everything they have done. I’m going to miss working with them.

I finished my second year as a DMA student at USC. The last two weeks were pretty brutal, on top of all the other stuff to do during study days and finals week. I finished but didn’t feel much closure or satisfaction. I guess that’s how it works right? Right? On top of that, I’ve started summer classes. Not much of a break there. Oh well.

During all that, I used some frequent flyer miles to go up to Portland (the city of bridges) and hear a performance of “Pure Imagination” by BYU Singers. It was a really magical performance with lots of heart and testimony. It was also great to be able to take a bit of time off to visit with some of my best friends and explore Portland. I’ve been tremendously blessed.

10322793_10101432316952319_6422399334597777167_nMy parents came out to visit with my grandma and my aunts and uncles. They came and visited Santa Monica pier where we saw dolphins. Then we had lunch up in Palisades Park looking over the ocean. It was pretty awesome!

I flew out to Pittsburgh (also the city of bridges) to attend the wedding of another one of my best friends. It was my first time in Pennsylvania and everyone was so kind to me. The wedding was really special and touching. It was my first time in the wedding party as a groomsman. Lots of fun!

A friend invited me to Disneyland this last weekend. It was my first time in over 10 years! I forgot how much fun it is. I’m very much the person who can’t help but think about the corporation of Disney behind the whole theme park and media empire. It can sometimes ruin the experience. I tried to ignore that walking around and just let my imagination open up again. It kinda felt like being a little kid again. I’m pretty sure that I have that maturity level anyway, so it all worked out.

I’m working on some new commissions right now. Once I finish things up I’ll post them here. I’ve got about five pieces I’m working on right now, but having a difficult time finishing. Maybe if I just focus on one, the others will follow like dominos? Anyway, more to come.10374968_10101432305400469_2885089119599785029_n

 

What I’m learning

acdalogoblackI’m now halfway through the coursework for my doctoral program here at USC. It’s been a very interesting experience and I’ve been learning quite a few things about choral music, teaching, and myself. It’s been a dramatically different experience than the one I had at BYU, where I also learned a lot, and it’s been interesting to see the differences.

One of my mentors told me that I should write down the things that I’m learning outside of classes. The instruction in the classroom does teach you a lot, but there are some lessons you only learn outside of the classroom. I wanted to start a new series on my blog about what I’m learning and write it down like my mentor told me told. We had a visit by the Hilliard Ensemble, and I can’t wait to share some of the things I learned from them!

I don’t suppose this will interest many of you, but if it does, please feel free to comment about anything you might have learned in the process. I’m sure there are even more things to learn about choral music that I haven’t encountered here at SC or at BYU. I suppose that’s why we have conferences.

Speaking of conferences, Western division of ACDA will be coming up here in Santa Barbara next week! Looking forward to seeing some old friends again!

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Some Thoughts on Living in Los Angeles Part 2

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After my first semester I’ve got some more thoughts on LA.

  • Helicopters.  They are EVERYWHERE.  In Provo it was either a LifeFlight or an Apache, here it’s traffic or news, police or private or whatever.  Not a day goes by without several helicopters flying overhead.4743833327_5a5fa01478
  • Weather is still beautiful.
  • New years resolution: Go to the beach more.
  • While driving, people are way too eager to honk their horns.  Don’t get me wrong, a horn is necessary for the safety of drivers, but it gets ridiculous.  The light has been green for less than half a second, someone 5 cars back is honking his horn because people haven’t reacted fast enough.
  • The way to clear congestion is to make public transportation a more convenient option.
  • Maybe the answer to LA’s congestion problem can be solved by a solution London came up with.  A congestion tax.  In order to drive your own car into London city center you have to pay a tax and indicate on your car.  Driving there without paying the tax would result in penalties.  That’s one way to make public transportation more convenient.  Very unlikely to get any real support, but at least it’s an idea.Mudd Hall
  • On a clear day, I can see the Hollywood sign from the Culver City Metro Station.
  • It’s a bit jarring to attend a university that has students who hand out fliers from PETA and then sing for the university’s donors who wear furs.
  • I still haven’t found a place that I can call my own.  But Mudd Hall at USC is pretty close.
  • Some days, all I want to do is go to the Getty and get lost…for days.
  • Despite the surrounding neighborhood, whenever I’m at USC, I feel safe.  Probably because the place is crawling with law enforcement.
  • I love how bucolic the campus is.  It makes me forget that I’m so close to downtown LA.  Having said that, I miss the redwood forests around the Bay Area.  I know we a few redwoods on campus, but they look so sad and starved for water.
  • Across the street, in Expo Park, we’ve got a space shuttle.  How cool is that?!

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Some Thoughts on Living in Los Angeles

Well, I’ve been here in LA for almost three weeks now.  I thought I would take a minute or two and talk about some of the things I’m discovering/learning about living in this HUGE city.

  • I’m living in a rather quiet neighborhood on the west side not too far away from some very busy streets.  I’m surprised how calm and quiet it can become after only a block or two.
  • I love living in a place with lots of palm trees.  They are everywhere, and I mean everywhere.
  • There are so many people here in all shapes, sizes and colors.  They come in all temperaments as well.
  • I have been noticing a great disparage between the rich and the poor here.  My train travels from Culver City through West Adams to the financial district downtown so I see a lot of “haves” and “have nots” on my journey.
  • You might have noticed that I’ve been walking everywhere rather than driving.  Some people who have lived in LA might be wide-eyed in shock.  It’s common knowledge that a car is an absolute necessity in LA.  Well, that’s not an option for me right now.
  • Most of the time, when I hear someone say, “I hate LA,” it’s usually preceded by, “I’m looking for a place to live,” or “I was driving/I need to drive to/I was on the freeway.”
  • As far as public transportation here is concerned the Metro Rail is great.  I take the Expo line train to school everyday and it’s gotten me there in under 20 minutes.  I got an unlimited use, semester-long pass from USC for about $80.  Try spending that much on gas for just one month!
  • The Metro buses, however, are terrible.  They’re crowded, not very friendly towards “novice riders,” and VERY inconsistant with arrival and departure times.  They’re also very infrequent which is surprising because of how crowded they get.  In addition, they don’t cover the city very well.  Where I live I have to walk 9 or 10 block before I can find a Metro bus stop at all. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the public transport in London, but I feel that even Provo’s bus system is more efficient than this.
  • Everything is expensive.  Food especially.  I need to find a way to get cheap/free food.  Any ideas?
  • Speaking of food: Jack-in-the-Box.  Talk about a blast from my past, I haven’t seen those for almost 9 years.  Food’s still great.
  • The weather here has been amazing.  A bit on the warm side, but I like it a lot.  There’s always an amazing, soothing ocean breeze flowing through the city.
  • I’ve now been woken up by two earthquakes this week.
  • School at SC has been great.  I like all my classes, professors and colleagues.  The campus (at least where I go to class) is very beautiful and bucolic.  People here have been very friendly and I’m finding it to be a great fit so far.  I was just walking around campus the other day and thought to myself, “This is where I need to be right now.”
  • I still haven’t been to the beach yet.  I’m only a bus ride down to either Santa Monica or Venice and I still haven’t been.  Many friends and family will probably be shocked to hear this because I LOVE the beach and try to go as much as I can.  I’m planning on this Saturday and NOTHING will stop me!

This is its own city.  It’s nothing like Dublin, London, Vienna, Frankfurt, Chicago, Las Vegas, Salt Lake or even San Francisco.  I’m still understanding it.  There have been several days when I’ve woken up, walked out from my front door and thought to myself, “Whoa.  I live in Los Angeles now…how exciting!”

Long Overdue Update

It’s been really crazy for the past month and a half or so.  The biggest update is that I got accepted into the DMA program at USC for this Fall with a generous scholarship.  That’s where I’m going.  Very exciting stuff!

In other news, BYU Singers had another great concert with the BYU Concert Choir and gave some of the best performances we have all year.  It was incredible.

My parents are coming home from Ukraine this summer!  My older sister had a new baby girl (first niece), and my older brother had a new baby boy (sixth nephew)!

I’m going on tour with BYU Singers to England and Wales in the next few weeks.  If you’re there, you should come to one of our concerts!

Commencement and convocation are coming up soon and I’ll be walking with a Masters hood and robe.  I can’t believe it’s all ready over.

All these changes in my life are quite challenging.  I’ve come to a realization in the past little while that I’m a man with a great deal of inertia.  I resist change.  While I work in a linear art form, I sometimes find it difficult to live in a linear lifestyle.  But that’s what makes it life right?