Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 2016 in Review // I Still Don't Even Know

One day at a time (sweet Jesus) (sorry I know a gospel song for every phrase) has basically been how I've been living this past month. Just get up, drive to school, have the fun classes, have the boring class, have the brain-engaged class, eat lunch, practice piano, help with the little kids, so on and so forth. BTW I had to sub as a preschool teacher last week, and it was exhausting but pretty fun! I also taught them to say "I'm Batman" XD

We're pretty sure of where we're moving, but there's still that whole job for my dad, house, moving stuff, and college to work out. I'm pretty settled on community college for at least this next year, which is not really how I had my life planned out but hey it's cheap and hopefully I'll have more music opportunities!

Also, I 'm researching government officials for school and I just got my voter application form, but I won't be able to vote in Arizona and it's just like a knife stabbing my secret political nerd heart over and over (Sorry for my violent metaphors) because I've been looking forward to voting in Arizona for things that I actually care about for like a long time :,( And I'll only have lived in whatever state/city for like five months so how will I know what I should vote for...

This was so accurate. What even?

I've been driving a lot with a small goal of getting my license before we move so that I can help drive. I can officially get it on my birthday, but I don't think I'm ready. I'm still not very confident, and I hate, hate, hate changing lanes. Also, the I-10 is a deathtrap where a car right in front of me completely stopped. Let's just say I'll enjoy the freedom driving will bring, but I really, really, really don't like driving.

Basically me on the inside but on the other side of the car

I've been watching the Flash recently which is pretty good! I'm also reading the Lunar Chronicles and with my luck, Winter will be in at the library the day we drive out of Phoenix.... Reading went rather fast this month thanks to the Lunar Chronicles, but now that I look at Goodreads, maybe it wasn't so hot :D I just packed up half of my books, but I'm really paranoid that I'll like run out of reading material so I kept a lot out still...

Looking ahead:
Youth Conference - NEXT WEEK I'M SO EXCITED
Graduation - 4/17 And my grandparents are coming so that's cool :-)
Birthday - 4/18 I have a cool post planned that I'm stealing from Naomi...
Heading out - Sometime in May....
Seeing MadZach in San Antonio - again sometime in May...
Stamps-Baxter School of Gospel Music - July 10-22 (Please Bestow a Scholarship On This Poor Human Who Loves Piano Please)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Favorite Resurrection Songs

Southern Gospel music has a great tradition of songs about Heaven and the Christian's resurrection in the last day, which is one of the most encouraging and exciting things to think about! Today, I've picked some of my favorite songs about Jesus' resurrection to share with you.

I love Easter because it reminds me that 1) Jesus can do ANYTHING, 2) He is always with me, 3) because He rose, I can live a risen life, and 4) someday I too will rise! It's just a great happy day. Personally, I think I might like it a little better than Christmas, but it's very close!

The Night Before Easter - GVB I love this song and the emotion Todd gives it. The day before Easter is so special to me. It reminds me that even though I may not feel God's close presence or His working, He is there! He's still always with me and will always love me and is planning something great for me! (I've heard this one LIVE and man, the chills!)

Resurrection - GVB This song is so joyous and perfectly embodies what Easter means to a Christian!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today - Glad Glad is not a Southern Gospel group, but my parents listened to them all the time when I was little, and I've always been fascinated by their harmony. Also, this is just a great song!

Yaweh - The Hoppers This song, suggested by my little sister, goes through Jesus' whole life, culminating in His resurrection! The bridge in this song is so, so powerful!

He's Alive - Lauren Talley Personally, this song is not one of my favorites, but because I know a lot of people like it, I included my favorite version with Lauren Talley.

The Easter Song - Glad Again, this is just a really good song, and I love acapella music. (And when you want a laugh/cringe, watch the music video for this...)

Because He Lives - Bill Gaither My dad suggested this one. This song gives me so much hope. Sometimes, I focus on the future Easter promises, but Easter also promises a present, blessed by the presence of God! Praise the Lord!

Resurrection Morn - Collingsworth Family This is more about the Christian's resurrection, but it's such a good song, I had to include it. And after all, isn't that is what Easter is all about? We will rise because He rose!

I hope you all have a blessed Easter! He is risen indeed! What are some of your favorite Easter songs?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

North And South // Has Ashley Actually Chosen a Favorite Book?

To begin, I just wanted to say that I'm sure I speak on behalf of our blogging "circle" when I say that we are all praying for our friend Naomi Bennet and her family who live in Belgium, near where those horrific attacks took place this morning. We love you and the happiness you bring to the Internet! #JeSuisBruxelles


Hey, whaddya know, a real live book review! This counts for the Classics Club, even though I'm not really doing that on purpose anymore. Actually, I'll probably change that page out for a review page this weekend.

{Speaking of weekends, thanks to Easter/cancelled school events/youth conferences, I don't have a full week of school for the next three weeks. And I didn't have a full week last week either! PTL hallelujah amen}


Anyway, I read North and South a few weeks ago. It kept my attention a lot better than when I tried to read it two years ago. Possibly this is because I've seen the miniseries, and because I don't have as much schoolwork as I did two years ago.

And I loved it! Guys, I haven't related to a character as much as Margaret Hale since Caroline Quiner. Actually, I think I may have related to Margaret on a deeper level than with Caroline.

You see, Margaret's main struggles in the book is coping both with her father's change in profession, from pastor to tutor, and the subsequent move across the country.

And it all just hits me right in the heart right now. You see, my dad recently stepped down from being pastor (For totally different reasons than Mr. Hale's faith doubts, just FYI), and my family will be moving soon across the country to a place where everything is going to be totally different.

In fact, we will probably be moving to the north XD (Phoenix is actually more south than a lot of the "Southeast". There's your American geography lesson for the day.)
This one's pretty cool

Margaret's struggles just really resonated with me. I totally get her feelings going from pastor's kid to ex-pastor's kid. You sort of lose "status" and suddenly your security blanket is gone. You worry if people are gonna treat you differently and if you will treat people differently. And just like Margaret you worry about your church family and their wellbeing after your family is gone. And then, just like Margaret, you go back and see all the changes and you don't know what to do with yourself.

And besides the pastor thing, Margaret is trying to learn what she thinks about the world. Well, at first she thinks she knows what she thinks, but then she learns to see the other side of the issue, and some of her views completely change. That part really resonated with me too as I'm getting ready to vote and trying to decide exactly what my world views and "policies" are.

Speaking of voting, Arizona had its Presidential primary today and can I just say how stupid it is that 17 year olds who will vote in the General Election can't vote in a lot of states, including mine. For Pete's sake, if you want young people to vote in the election, at least let them pick who they get to vote for!! Sheesh.

But anyway, off Ashley and politics and onto Margaret and Richard Armitage John Thornton.

I was a little confused by Margaret and Mr. Thornton's relationship. I mean I can see why Mr. Thornton would like Margaret later for her courage and kindness and selflessness (sort of), but at first, she basically despises him for his trade and he hasn't seen these qualities and just why?

I did enjoy John and getting to see his side of the story. He's really a good man and tries to do the best for his business and workers. He actually struggles with pride and empathy just like Margaret.

random intense north and south gif
BUT that's why this is such a good book! Because by the end, both Margaret and John are broken and humbled. They've learned to see both sides of a story, specifically both sides of each others' story. They've learned how to have true compassion: John to his workers and Margaret to others as an equal and "real" person, not just as someone who's has always ministered cuz it's what PKs do. #SuchDynamicCharacters

Mr. and Mrs. Hale were okay. They were well-written characters, I just didn't really like them. Mr. Hale was too in his head and didn't really think about consequences. I'm not saying he made the wrong choice leaving the church, but he probably should have planned it better ya know? And Mrs. Hale was boring and selfish and obsessed with the past.

Let's take a detour and talk about how I basically hate the Shaws. Edith's a spoiled brat who occasionally makes me laugh, but she's just so entitled and self-centered and millenial-like. (#ShotsFired I'm a millenial so I can say that, k?) Aunt Shaw is a selfish "kind" individual, kind of like her sister. She never really thinks about Margaret really feels, but more about she would feel if she were Margaret. And Captain Lennox. What even? I don't really remember him except he was boring and seemed like a frivolous man who didn't really amount to anything.

Henry on the other hand. Oh, I hurt for him. Sure, maybe Margaret was a leetle harsh on him, but seriously she wasn't expecting that proposal though! (Same with Mr. Thornton) He takes it like a gentleman, and I admire him for that!

The labor talks were actually really interesting. I liked seeing all of the points of view, from the Union to the laborer to the master. And I really enjoyed how both Nicholas and Mr. Thornton swallowed their pride and were able to work together! (Forget fanfic on Margaret and John. I need fanfic on the future of this factory!!!!)

Bessie's story was sad, but tbh it didn't really stand out to me. It's does accomplish a lot of things, such as connecting Margaret to Higgins and showing Margaret's overcoming of her pride and giving her a connection in Milton. But the scenes don't satisfy in and of themselves.

Frederick was a dear and I hope he found happiness with Dolores.

And the ending was so, so different than the miniseries, but I liked it. It showed how Margaret and John changed, and wasn't as awkward as the whole train station/weird collar/awkward closeups thing going on in the miniseries.

So, does Ashley have a favorite book? The answer is.... NO. You see, I had just decided Violins of Autumn was my favorite book, and then I finished this. So I have 2 favorite books from different genres (Now I have 2 XBoxes)!

Also, I procrastinated writing this post by watching the Russian kids version of the Voice. #BossLevel

Pianist Spotlight: Tim Parton

Tim Parton is one of my newest favorite pianists. I don't exactly remember how I found Tim Parton, but I loved his arrangements at first "sound". He's very, very technically proficient (Flight of the Bumblebee anyone?), but he always makes it fun! Tim recently resigned from the Jim Brady Trio, and he has played for Legacy Five, Gold City, and Liberty Quartet. I love watching random Gaither videos and suddenly realizing that Tim is playing the piano!

I love Tim Parton's music because he has the TOUCH. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. My old piano teacher always talked to me about being gentle. He said if I could get a more gentle touch, even my loud songs would sound better. I still struggle with this, but I think I'm making progress! Tim Parton takes this touch to a whole new level. It causes anything he plays to become pure gold!

I love Gospel Boogie and the fact that Tim Parton plays it! It's not a song you see everyone playing these days, although the Mark Trammell Quartet sings an awesome version! Side note: Lee Roy Abernathy, who wrote that song, did a correspondence gospel music course that my great-grandparents took! In fact, my grandma still has some of the lessons!

Tim also makes his songs fun! They always have some little lick, extra song, or rhythm pattern that makes me smile! His music always, always makes me so happy (which is the name of his album that I plan to get soon).

Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Tim Parton at that festival whose name that I don't want to type anymore in Phoenix. I am planning to get his So Happy album soon! Thanks for brightening my day, Tim!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happiness Tag

The Happiness Tag has been going around like sickness has been going around my school in an awesome way! I love when all of us bloggers get together to do positive stuff. Not that anybody I know is doing negative stuff, but it's nice to see all the on-purpose happiness!

Oh and I added 2 categories: Food and Songs I Play because those are different than Songs I Listen To :D And I linked to my reviews of books and movies and YouTube links for most songs.

My favorite Wally McDoogle

Little Men // These Happy Golden Years // In Freedom's Cause // The 21 Balloons // The Swiss Family Robinson // Kidsboro // American Boys/Girls Handybook // Violins of Autumn // The Story Girl // Vienna Prelude // The Railway Children // Celia Garth // The Witch of Blackbird Pond // The Penderwicks // The Wally McDoogle series

Independence // Rendezvous // Schadenfreude (joy at others' injuries AKA slapstick comedy) // Gesundheit // Wainscot // Hoomalimali // Tchotchke // Joy // Haboob (a dust storm) // Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Hawaiian state fish)

Look how happy they are!
The Great Escape (Not the depressing parts) // Please Don't Eat the Daisies // VeggieTales (The old, classic ones) // Singin' In the Rain // Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (I haven't watched that in forever!) // Mary Poppins // Sound of Music // The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band // Polly! // MacGyver // That Darn Cat! // National Treasure // The Princess Bride // Studio C // Blimey Cow // The Happiest Millionaire // Gaither videos // Desk Set // The Flash // Candleshoe

Old books // Refried beans // Pizza // Cookies // Chlorine // Salt water // Sunscreen //That swimsuit smell // Root beer

Nan from Little Men // Hardison and Parker and Eliot from Leverage // MacGyver // Riley Poole from National Treasure // Euguene Meltsner from Adventures in Odyssey // Lucy from Adventures in Odyssey // The Pevensies // Inigo Montoya // Dr. Doolittle // Robbie from Violins of Autumn

Livin' in Love with the Lord (Or anything with the Collingsworth Family) // All Over the World // Life Could Not Better Be // Ease on Down the Road // Ain't We Got Fun // The Great Escape Theme // Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord // Search Me Lord // That's When the Angels Rejoice // Those Who Know Me Know // Silly Songs with Larry // Any piano by Kim Collingsworth, Tim Parton, or Trey Ivey (You can read more about them HERE #ShamelessPlug (I'm basically Jordan Taylor from Blimey Cow plugging his album all the time) )

Bean burritos // Pizza // Slushies // Mtn. Dew // Kit Kats // Cereal // Chicken Pot Pie // Cream of Chicken soup // Ranch Dorito Tacos from Taco Bae Bell // Root beer floats // Mtn. Dew Baja Blast from Taco Bell

Oh Happy Day // Heaven's Jubilee // Goodbye World Goodbye // The Dumb Song // Joshua Fit the Battle // In Christ Alone // Unclouded Day

Haboob rolling into Phoenix
Rain // Dust storms // HABOOBS // Swimming // The InnerTube Podcast // Presidential Podcast // Library cards // Playing piano // Sledding // Southern Gospel // Texting Friends // 3-5 year olds (most of the time) // March Madness // Twitter // Acapella groups // THIS video

Well that was fun! Thanks to whoever started this amazing tag!

Monday, March 14, 2016

YouTube Gem (Or not?): I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

No not the Life Alert commercial.

Well, here it is, my first "lazy" post. Or what happens when I watch too much GaitherVEVO on YouTube. That wonderful channel puts out all the new music videos and some ones from old homecomings or kids TV shows, like the Homecoming Kids. The Homecoming Kids was before my time, buy my siblings and I did enjoy ALL the episodes of Gaither's Pond. (There's like what, 5?) But more on that later.

So brace yourself for this wonderfully 90s clip from the Homecoming Kids, starring very young Amber Nelon Thompson and Madison Easter (only kids I recognized), not so young but still somewhat groovy Vestal Goodman and George Younce, a ridiculously catchy song, and 90s hip-hop moves. Cringe away. Oh and don't forget the denim.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Piano Advice from the Best

As promised, here is my post about who I got to meet at the Southwest Southern Gospel Music Festival! (Why is that name so long?!) As I met pianists, I asked most of them the same question, "What is one thing I can practice to be a good Southern Gospel pianist someday?" Through this question, I was able to make so many questions and to get awesome advice!

I was able to have a great conversation with Wayne Haun, prolific producer and arranger. He was so nice and really took the time to have a conversation with me. For one thing, he told me what his brass teacher told him: "Don't go to the instrument. Take the instrument to you!" I've been thinking about that a lot lately because sometimes I have confidence issues and need to remember that "I OWN THIS!" He also told me to accompany and to play anytime I can because the more I play in front of people, the fewer nerves I'll have. He said that a good accompanist has to make people comfortable. Sometimes you follow them; sometimes you're the metronome, kind of like walking a dog! These tidbits keep rolling around in my head, and I keep thinking of ways to apply them. Thanks so much for your sharing your wisdom Wayne! (That sounds like a good segment for your radio show Wisdom With Wayne)

Tyler Vestal was introduced to me by some friends of mine who work the EHSS booth sometimes, so that was cool. We had a great conversation, and he told me that he sees the most growth in his playing when he learns and sight reads challenging pieces. He also told me to just get to know my way around the keyboard. It was awesome meeting him!

My EHSS friends also introduce me to Dustin Doyle which was so awesome! Dustin was so nice and easy to talk to. (He is really, really tall...)

When I talked to Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision, he said that he learned to play by listening to records with Lari Goss accompanying and playing the songs over and over until he could play along exactly.

Trey Ivey told me that it was important to listen to the Southern Gospel so that I could get the style down and to play along, which is great because that's what I already do!!

Finally, I got to meet Kim Collingsworth! She was so, so nice. That's one thing I love about Kim Collingsworth and all of these musicians. They are so sincere and really want to help! I told Kim that I would love to be a full-time Southern Gospel pianist. She told me to keep going and to pray, pray, pray! She reminded me that if it's not in God's will to run a million miles away! She encouraged me so much.

(I also got to ask her about the interesting key changes in the CFam arrangements. She told me that she got bored and decided to change them up)

From "Play, play, play," to "Pray, pray, pray," I got so much good advice and encouragement last week! I can't wait to apply these lessons and to grow these friendships. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to talk and share with me. You all were a great blessing!

A Trip Inside My Brain OR Why You Don't Want To Be Me

First, let me say that my brain is annoying at times, but always very useful; therefore I shall try not to bash it too much.... But in case you ever wondered what goes on inside my head, here is a short list of random things that happen in my brain on a daily basis.

1. MUSIC. So I either have a song stuck in my head or I'm desperately trying to get a song stuck in my head cuz I really, really want to remember it and I CAN'T. (This happens like twice a month) If a song is stuck in my head, my brain is usually blaring the only two lines I know from a pop song. Literally the phrase, "Hello from the other side na mm na mm mmmm" or "This is my fight song na na na na LIFE SONG" on repeat for hours.... -____- (Also, if you do NOT want to have friends, start singing When I'm Gone AKA the Cup Song cuz that is the catchiest song ever!)

Ya know how we all have our Tumblr post?
This is mine
*dies laughing*

2. INSIDE JOKES. You see, I'm so lame I have inside jokes with myself. Like I'll see something funny on Instagram or Pinterest and then like two days later my brain will say "Hey, why do you have a picture of a ceiling fan in your house?" or "Darth Schnoz" or "2020 vision" or "Leo DiCaprio has as many Oscars as a whale" or "The quietest bowl of cereal ever" or "How bout dat!" and I'll die laughing. Sometimes in my head. Unfortunately, it happens out loud too.... (Also, if you got any of those jokes we go to the same places...)

3. BLANK. Like when I was trying to think of inside jokes I had with myself and my brain refused to cooperate...
Have you seen the Cumberbunny?
Look it up now
4. RANDOM MEMORIES. Why do I have these useless memories?! Like that time I didn't take a nap when I was like 4 and my dad got me ice cream from the ice cream truck and it was Dora and it had bubblegum eyes and I hate bubblegum. Or when I first met one of my friends and my dad was touring the kid's sketchbook like "Oh here's a coffee stain!" Or when 5 year old me sat in the back of a car with my best friend and yelled "Have a good siesta" to my mom. I think we meant fiesta...

From a public domain Little Men copy

5. MEMORY BANK. I think I got this from Little Men when Demi's like "Hey, every Sunday I go through my memory warehouse and clean it out!" (That's the same chapter as the cat lady/possible-cat-murderer-i-can't-remember) So then I started thinking of my favorite memories as being in a room and I have file folders for everyone I have special memories with and I have my favorite "happy" memories in one spot. Yeah, that's not weird at all...

Except purple
6. ASSOCIATIONS. I don't even know for most of these. For example, ever since I was like 3, whenever we would sing the song "Isn't He Wonderful," I would think of a carton of vanilla yogurt. Probably because I had just learned the word "wonderful" and it said it on a commercial or something. Weird I know.

7. RANDOM FACTS. Along with random memories, my brain also spits out random facts I've learned. Like "Hey Ashley remember that Alice Roosevelt used to walk around with a snake around her neck?" Or "Hey remember that you learned that Hitler made the French surrender in the same car that Germany had to surrender in?" Or "Hey remember that ethanol is made of corn?" or "Hey, remember how to find the formula of a parabola?" Just random stuff that my brain brings up at such weird times!!!!

This is basically everyone in my class at school...
8. IDEAS. Sometimes, I have really rather good ideas, such as this blog post. Other times I have good ideas and then I stinkin' forget them!!!! Sometimes I think of an original melody only to play it and realize "Oh hey, that's a really dumbed down Piano Guys song you learned...." Sometimes I have good post ideas, like I did this morning, and NOW I CAN'T REMEMBER THEM!!!!

Me trying to figure out an opinion
9. OPINIONS. Ya know, life and issues are confusing. And most of the time I don't know what I think about them yet. Therefore, I'm constantly running different sides to arguments and trying to form my personal opinion. That makes me sound like a really objective, unprejudiced person but I'm not. Not yet at least. I figure I'm going to be living on my own in a few years, and in all probability, I'll be going to a public university and voting this year, so I need to figure out where and why I stand on issues. Also, I hate changing my mind so I want to find an position I can stick to.

10. SCREAMING. Like a goat.

Well, there you have it. The short tour of my brain. As you can see, it's a riot. And I mean that in the most literal sense. How about you? Do you do/think any of these things?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March Music Goals

Here's how I did with my goals for February!

1) Three more arrangements. Checkers! I was pretty proud of Be Thou My Vision, but I got bored with it, and I need to go back and perfect it. Oh Happy Day is my new favorite because it's so happy (profound I know) and bouncy! I combined it with I've Got The Joy Down in My Heart. I'll Fly Away is a blah arrangement to me. It's okay, and I'll definitely perform it, but I feel like that song has so much more potential! MacGyver also went well. After I realized I was making MY arrangement, not a note-for-note performance.

2) Illumination by Jennifer Thomas and He's a Pirate: I learned both of these so fast! I'm still struggling with low, even fingers on Illumination, but I have the song down! He's a Pirate is a fun one to bang :D

3) Sight read everyday: I'm pretty sure I did this. 

4) Learn whole accompaniments: Hey, I did this! I learned a few Erwins songs and then did accompaniments for some songs for Sunday.

5) Chromatic scales: YES This is the thing I'm the most proud of this month. I can now do that Kim Collingsworth transition and so many other cool things! It's by no means perfect, but I can do so much more now!

6) Composing: I did. It was okay I guess. I don't really like composing, but at least I know I can do it!

Now for March. I've decided March is going to be my last month of learning tons of new pieces. I've learned most everything I really, really want to learn, and it's time to focus on more practical stuff. That doesn't mean I'm not going to ever learn a new song, but I'll be backing off quite a bit after graduation. But that's for next month :D
1) Learn new songs. This month is Solfeggio, Music Box Dancer, and Linus and Lucy. I learned Solfeggio in seventh grade, and I had so much fun, I want to play it for graduation. It's basically ready, but it just needs polishing. Music Box Dancer was the request of my teacher, and since I like the song, I decided to learn it and play it for him at my graduation concert. And Linus and Lucy cuz why not! The below video is of Music Box Dancer and is the most aggressively 70s thing I've seen in a while. You're welcome.

2) Arranging. This month is a quick Heaven's Jubilee medley (Heaven's Jubilee/Meeting in the Air) using elements from Kim Collingsworth's and Anthony Burger's arrangements but with my own spin :) Also, I'm doing Joshua Fit the Battle which is gonna be fun and His Eye is on the Sparrow cuz it's my dad's favorite.

3) Accompanying. Since basically everyone at the music festival told me to play along/listen to stuff that's what I'm gonna do. Half of that time will be actually learning the actual accompaniment licks and the other half will be just playing along to songs I already know or can pick up pretty fast.

Well that's it for this month! This Sunday, I have a chance to play and accompany at another church so that should be fun! Have a great month! What are your music goals?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February 2016 In Review // Actually Pretty Good!

February was actually pretty good this year for being my least favorite month and all! I mean the first week after we transitioned out of our church was hard, but overall, it was fun. (Mostly because I wasn't stressing out about a Fine Arts Festival my school has done every year but this one, praise the Lord!!!) I basically spent the whole month looking forward to the Southwest Southern Gospel Music Festival which didn't disappoint!

They were gonna put Church Norris on Mt. Rushmore,
But the granite was too soft for his beard....
So my month started out with getting ready for the Little House Blog Party! That party was so much fun thanks to you guys! I think everybody should run a blog event. It's such a scary/cool feeling to realize that YOU are in control. mwahahahahelpmeplease I think it grew my confidence in blogging a lot. Maybe. I don't know. (Look how confident I am....)

This came from an Invisalign website...
I feel like Invisalign sends mixed messages about confidence
Like "Be confident in the braces nobody can see!"
"Forget the losers who actually have to advertise
that their teeth are crooked!!!"
I've been confused about what day of the week it is this whole stinkin' month. You see, my old church had service on Tuesday night (for rental situations in the past), but the youth group we're going to now meets on Wednesday night. So I'm really confused.

Oh yeah, I got business cards which I was able to hand out to a lot of people at the music festival! For Pete's sake, I got to talk with one of the most influential men in gospel music!!! And he kept telling me stuff to practice and advice on piano and I was just in Heaven and it was great!!! And then I met my role model, Kim Collingsworth herself!!! YEASSSS!!! I'm still excited guys!! It was so great! If you're interested, you can read a full recap of that HERE.

Kim Collingsworth and I
Well, thanks for hanging with me another month! I'm currently in a stupor brought about by the aforestated (that is totally a word) day confusion, and there's just a lot going on right now! Also, my mom's across the country so I'm trying to hold down the fort and suddenly I appreciate her like 500x more. I love you Mom!

Oh and reading went well! I don't know why, but it took me forever to read A Tale of Two Cities. I read it in three days last time! And it took me 28 this time? What even! I'm behind on reviews, but expect those in the next week!

Looking forward:
Clearing off my desktop - hopefully this weekend...
Spring Break - next week!!!!
Youth Conference - April 6-8 (Oh shnapsies that's in a month...)
Graduation - April 17
Moving date - ?
Moving destination - ? still
College -? still (Don't you wish you were me right now? :) )
Stamps-Baxter School of Music - two weeks in July!!

This post was probably extremely incoherent, b

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Southwest Southern Gospel Music Festival Recap

Okay, typing this name is starting to drive me crazy. Anyway, I had a blast at the festival this year! I was able to attend Friday night's concert. I got to meet so many amazing people, but that is another blog post! (And if you're here and I met you at the festival, HI!!)

The event was in a different, smaller venue than last year so that was interesting (They couldn't do it at the old venue because of parking and basketball games). Also, because we didn't buy our tickets until the week before, we sat like three rows from the back, and the floor wasn't slanted so that it was hard to see the stage. However, there was a pretty big screen that was a blessing! Because the venue was way smaller than last year's, the place was actually filled! (That surprise sounded cynical, but it's oh-so-sadly-true)

As for the crowd, well let's just say that my family unsuccessfully tried to carry it on our backs. You see, Phoenix crowds don't like to get engaged that much. My group would start clapping for "clappy" songs or when the artist would try to get people to clap, but we were basically the only ones clapping :( Also, the intermission seemed to perk everyone up, but they set it late, leaving only two sets after. I think if they would have set it in the middle, everyone would have been perkier.

On to the artists!

First, the Collinsgworth family came out singing Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness and I totally didn't freak out. JK of course I did. It was the COLLINGSWORTH FAMILY!!! Anyway....

The first full set was Liberty Quartet. But it was Liberty Trio because their bass was in the Emergency Room. It was only the second concert he had ever missed for illness! I had recently seen the Craguns in concert and was therefore somewhat familiar with the group (Jordan Cragun used to sing for them). They sang I Need a Fresh Drink with a two extra artists whose names are escaping me. It was a really fun song! (You can tell I didn't think of taking notes until afterwards...)

Second up, was the Mark Trammell Quartet. I had only heard two songs by this group: Your Walk Talks and Wonderful Time Up There. And those were the first two songs they sang!!! (I say "Your talk talks and your walk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks," all the time just for fun.) I had never heard this group live, but it was really fun!

The order gets a little fuzzy in my head now, but Aaron Wilburn came on sometime and did his comedy routine. It was pretty funny. He also sang a song about how nice it is when your grandkids come and later when they leave. I'm no grandparent, but as a former children's church worker, I feel the exact same way!

Legacy Five came on somewhere in this time and did a splendid job. Josh Feemster blew me away with his vocal chops!!!! And Trey Ivey played his patriotic medley! ahhhhhhhhh To the people behind me, I'm terribly sorry I was craning my neck around so much, but I had to see his fingers!!! (If I wasn't a pianist, that would sound awkward.)

Cana's Voice, the new group made up of Doug Anderson, Jody McBrayer, and Taranda Greene, was up next. I had been looking forward to this group since they were formed like a month ago, and they did not disappoint!!! If you ever get a chance, you have got to hear this group! Their solo voices are amazing, but when you combine them, it's like the most amazing thing you'll ever hear!!!! The three songs that stick out in my memory are one about the Heavenly Father, There Is a Mountain, and Jesus Never Fails. The Heavenly Father one was a great up-tempo walking out one, and Taranda Greene did the best group introduction of the night (Just because it was fast and had music behind it). I've looked up There Is a Mountain and heard other groups sing it, but none compare to Cana's Voice! And Jesus Never Fails was everything I thought it would be from the YouTube videos!!! Jaw-dropping, moving, soaring, everything! They did have a piano player, but I didn't know who it was :( I'll find out soon though!

Taranda also gave the story of the group's name, which I was rather interested in. She said that she, Doug, and Jody all felt like they were at the place where God couldn't use them as mightily anymore. They all felt like their best days were behind them. Then, as they were reading in the Gospels where Jesus turns the water into wine at a wedding, Taranda said that she was struck by the pots that Jesus used: old, broken, 100-gallon jugs. Jesus took these old, worn-out pots and did a miracle with them! The group all felt they were like these pots and wanted God to do a miracle with them too! So the name Cana's Voice was born, after the location of the miracle, Cana of Galilee.

EHSS came on singing what else? Happy People! They then threw Frisbees into the crowd which was cool! They sang Get Away Jordan, and danced :D Then Paul Harkey sang Old Man River. They also sang Oh What a Savior. Overall, I enjoyed their set immensely! And then I got to meet Dustin Doyle and Tyler Vestal at intermission!

After intermission, Triumphant came on. I missed the first little bit of this set, but I do remember the white flag song when everybody pulled out a handkerchief. Not tissues, but handkerchiefs! I think that tells you everything about the crowd you need to know... I didn't get to talk to their piano player, but I'm going to another concert of theirs in a few months, and I'll get to see him there.

Then, finally, the moment I had literally been waiting for for a year!! The Collingsworth Family came out! They sang some songs from their new album, including Gotta Get to Jesus, which touched me so much! What the Bible Says was a really fun one live! And Kim sang When He Carries Me Away! I love that song soooo much. Kim then talked about how things are going to get worse before they get better, but we have hope in Jesus! She then played Hallelujah Chorus and brought the house down. They closed out the night with That Day is Coming.

Well there you have it. I had a great time getting to see so many groups I had never seen before. It was awesome! But even just as awesome as the music were the people I got to talk to. That however, is for another post :D