20 March 2012
My musical life began when I was in a preschool choir at Grace United Methodist Church in Rochester, Indiana. Then when I began school in Rochester I had a music class during the school day - general music, choral, and/or instrumental - from the year I began school until I graduated. In addition to that, I had the opportunity throughout all of my secondary school life to be a part of a music ensemble outside of the school day with students from all around Indiana. I have been blessed to have music education in my life from the time I could pretty much hold my body upright until today (when I still sometimes struggle to hold my body upright).
So herein lies my problem: Nairobi is a city of around 3 million people, and the majority of those people are very unexposed to the arts. Young people have an especially difficult time being a part of quality music ensembles. From what I understand, very few schools in Nairobi have music classes in their curriculum. Many have after-school choirs that meet once or twice per week, but it is very difficult for some students to be a part of those ensembles...either due to transportation or fees or home lives or safety risks.
I want to offer kids a chance to do music...together...with quality. And to be quite honest with you, I have no idea how to do that. I've been praying a lot about it, trying to see what God wants me to do with this passion, but I still don't know. I don't know where to start advertising...I don't know where rehearsals would be...I don't know how transportation for the kids would work...I don't know how concerts would work...I don't know where financial support would come from...I don't know a lot of things to do with this. I think maybe God has other things He wants me to learn first, but I also don't want to waste my life away on myself. The best I can do right now is pray and ask Him to teach me and lead me where He wants me to go...and then to follow Him and do what He asks. But I guess To Not Know is a place to learn and serve in still. So here we go.
26 February 2012
Audrey came in January and spent the entire month here. It was great, and we were so blessed to have so many people support us financially to make that happen. She was able to see my life here, meet a lot of my fellow teachers and friends, see the beauty of Kenya, and get excited about where we'll start our life together in July.
|Just a taste of the beautiful colors on the coast.|
When we got back from the coast, Audrey was able to come in and help out at school almost every day. She accompanied the choirs on piano most days, gave a speech in my 7th grade speech class, and helped run rehearsals for the middle school play. I was spoiled having her here to help me.
|Hi, Mr. Giraffe.|
Shortly after that day, Audrey left to go back to the States. Terrible night. I drove her to the airport at 3 am, we cried a lot, and I watched her go up the escalator past the ticket desk out of my sight. That's one of the worst feelings...having to watch someone that you love so much leave, knowing you can't do anything more to help, and you can't be there to comfort them. We're both glad that we'll never have to experience that again.
Well, then I was back to normal life without Audrey. Choir class, speech class, ultimate frisbee every Sunday, Nairobi Music Society (just singing as a part of the choir this semester), and the middle school play. The play performances were last weekend - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - and the name of the play was 30 Reasons NOT to be in a Play. It was a great show, the students performed really well, and the audiences really enjoyed it. :) And now I have a lot more time on my hands.
Well...there's a quick recap of the last few months. Be on the lookout for more posts in the next few weeks. Exciting things on the way.
14 September 2011
- It's a community choir in Nairobi, Kenya. That's awesome in itself.
- One of my dreams in life is to combine 3 of my life passions: Coffee, Communities, and Choir. I really didn't plan on all of those starting with C's. Don't hate me for that. Anyway, my dream is to start a coffee shop/community music center where people can come and be influenced in great ways. Two of these C's are beginning right now, and why not bring in some coffee to rehearsals every once in a while and complete the third?
- It's such an awesome way to get to know people here in Nairobi...singing with them, being a part of an ensemble, and taking tea (soon to be coffee?) with them during a break in a rehearsal.
- We sing pretty challenging classical music. Currently we're singing Puccini's Messa di Gloria, and I'll be directing a Christmas oratorio for the Christmas program.
- I have a chance to proclaim the Gospel through directing music to a group of people who are singing songs about Christ but may not know him. Ripe for the harvest? Not to forget: This group of people will then be singing for an audience that will hear the message of these songs. Awesome opportunity.
- I love this. It gets me more and more excited as I think about it.
03 September 2011
~A little more in-depth look at the good and bad of each number: http://www.slideshare.net/ideasandrew/enneagram-summary
~A look at the 9 types as well as the way other numbers affect them: http://www.optimized-results.com/enneagram_types_abbreviated.htm
08 August 2011
Sunday was a great day and so full. I’m being blessed by so many new people and experiences and opportunities…I fail a lot, and I’m dumb a lot, but thankfully God is fully of grace, and so are other people. 2 other teachers and I walked to Karura Community Chapel…roughly a 25 minute walk…for the 10:30 English service.
As I’m seeking out a home church here in Nairobi, I was so blessed by this local body of Christ. It had a western feel to the church, but it was completely Kenyan led, very energetic, and Biblically based. The worship band was made up of a worship leader, 5 vocalists, an acoustic, bass, keyboard, and drum set. The songs were pretty much all in English, besides a few choruses of “Hakuna, Hakuna, Hakuna, Mungu kama wewe.” (“No, no, no God like you.”) The pastor preached on healthy disagreement in the church…the idea of not getting caught up in our “secondary” differences that are more culturally and personally based. We should share in our primary beliefs of God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and Jesus Christ, his only son our Lord…and the rest of the Apostles’ Creed. A great message for a church of 1500 or so who come from various backgrounds and cultures and tribes and denominations.
After church the three of us walked to an orphanage called The Nest just up the road to help the women there feed, hold, and give attention to the 20 babies. I mostly held my new friend Leonard who, whenever the bottle wasn’t in his mouth, was smiling his big, toothless smile.
From there we walked back to our house on Rosslyn’s campus for Sean and I to change and get ready for some Sunday afternoon football. I wasn’t as terrible as I thought…and I didn’t get too embarrassed, so that was good. We then headed over to the International School of Kenya (ISK) with another Rosslyn teacher to play some ultimate frisbee with 40 other twenty-something mzungus (white people) who play ever week. I got a little more embarrassed a few times there, and my feet and legs are thanking me today…but it was awesome playing and meeting a bunch of great new people who come from all different walks of life who work in all different areas of Kenyan life. We came back to campus at dark and topped off the day with watching Harry Potter 7.1.
…Just another Sunday in Kenya. :)
14 December 2009
09 December 2009
The Rosslyn concert went great as expected. The students were so prepared. Mostly I just loved how my 6th, 7th, and 8th graders did flashlight choreography with Richard Simmons-esque movements...probably my favorite part. The handbell ensemble did great as well; people absolutely love to watch handbells play, especially since there aren't very many at all in Kenya. As for the high school choir, well...let's just say that I have the ability to make them laugh pretty hard while they sing. They had a really nice, soulful Christmas song called "Rise Up Shepherds and Follow," and I may or may not pretend I'm singing the women's part while conducting. Don't judge me...that's just how I feel the music, ok? I really enjoyed how the high schoolers were able to add in some different, fun things like percussion instruments and movements to add some "spicey spice" to the songs. The format of the concert itself was really cool as well, thanks to my cooperating teacher here. We had the fun, Santa-y songs in the first half, and the second half worked more like a more traditional Christmas cantata service. There were Scripture readings telling of the need for, the coming of, and the birth of Christ, and each reading correlated to a hymn sung with the congregation or a song sung by one of the choirs. It was meaningful...which is nice.
Onto the second concert of the weekend: NMS Christmas Concert #1. There are actually two choirs part of the NMS, a large ensemble choir that sang with the NMS orchestra and a small, chamber choir of 16 people. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sing in both. A Kenyan conductor, Ken Wakia, directed throughout, and he was a fun man to get to know. Now of all my weekend concerts, this was the most entertaining by far. It was made so due to a few factors: A large portion of men standing up during the middle of the concert when they weren't supposed to, a replica of Mr. Bean that I sang next to, restarting one of the movements of "The Many Moods of Christmas" 3 times due to a lack of percussion entrances, and sitting next to a guy I've gotten to know throughout our rehearsals and laughing with him at the hilarity of it all. It was a blast.
The third concert, NMS Christmas Concert #2, went much smoother than first, and I maintained my composure throughout the concert this time. It was a bittersweet time, though, because as I said my goodbyes to friends I've made with people in this group, I knew that it would be a long time until I would see some of them again, if ever....Muryah, Sylvester, Tony, Stefan, Daniel, Beth. Being a community choir in a large city, it was a very diverse group made up of Kenyans, Americans, Brits, Canadians, Germans, French...young and old alike...it was amazing how any song that was sung in a different language was able to be translated or spoken to us by a native speaker of that language. So we exchanged email addresses and Facebook names, and if I'm ever in Kenya in the future or if they're in the States, we decided we would get together and hang.
I'll be posting pictures of the concerts soon. That's all. Other than that, my weekend was boring. Clearly a weekend of 3 concerts is not enough. :) Thanks for caring about me and reading my blog, guys. I can't wait to hear about all of your lives when I get back.