14 December 2009

Pictures from the Concerts.

If you look hard enough, you might be able to see some middle-school-hip-shaking action going on. Thank you, Richard Simmons.

Ah the handbell group...playing their little hearts out.

The High School Choir. I did everything in my power to make them smile. It worked some?

Nairobi Music Society. This is the large choir that I sang with...you can kind of see the orchestra in front of us. We sang two large works: Magnificat and The Many Moods of Christmas.

This is the other choir, a small group of about 16 people that I performed with as a part of the Nairobi Music Society. We sang songs in Spanish, Latin, German, French, and English. It was great.

09 December 2009

Concerts Galore.

Yeah, this weekend was "plentiful" and had an "abundance of" (thanks, dictionary.com) concerts. We had the Friday night Rosslyn concert, but then I had two Nairobi Music Society concerts: Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. It was a weekend full of beautiful Christmas music.

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.

04 December 2009

Welcome to Our World.

Welcome to Our World

Christmas Concert
Rosslyn Academy
Friday 4 December 2009 6:30 pm

Under the direction of
Lynn Charisse Zettlemoyer, Choral Director
Mark Statler, Taylor University

Tonight I direct a Christmas concert in Kenya. Less than 2 hours away, actually. Don't be too jealous (although I know you are).

If you're reading this within the next two hours, some prayers sent up on our behalf here would be very much appreciated. As the students and I have talked about, our goal for this concert is simply to sing a message of God's love to the world. If you have the chance, listen to Chris Rice's song "Welcome to Our World" (which our concert is aptly named after). It gives the greatest encapsulation of Christmas that I have ever heard in a song. The message of our need for Jesus and God's love in sending Him down to us is so strong; and I pray that is the motive behind our performance tonight.