28 September 2006


Yay! I finally have the Eastman organ department's home page looking vaguely decent pending redesign. At least it no longer says "We are just days away from the EROI Festival 2004 now..."

And Randy's ideas for an electroacoustic organ concert led me to what should have been the obvious, René Uijlenhoet's "Vorst aan de grond (2000) for two carillons, ringing bells and tape." Played by none other than my own former carillon teacher. And of course he didn't remember a thing about it when I asked him for repertoire suggestions.

Uijlenhoet also wrote "Zware Metalen for carillon, electric bells and amplified electronic sounds," which represented the Netherlands in the Prix Italia competition. Only in NL could you swing that.

cover story

It's exciting to see two events I'm involved in (one far, far more than the other, mind you) suddenly featured on the Eastman home page today, the EROI Festival and the ECMC 25th Anniversary Celebration. It'll be interesting to see how many people this large-scale advertising brings in comparison to the grassroots promotion I've been doing on local calendars, etc. (if my promotion brings in anybody at all).

whan that aprill...

This is why I wish I'd learned Dutch before "learning" to speak Middle English:

"they shall pay for a pell ryngyng wt all ye belles ijs", from an ordinance at Coventry, St. Michael, England, dealing with ringing after a death.

24 September 2006


After my audition at Eastman, I had dinner at a Chinese/Japanese restaurant in which the diners at the next table were speaking fluent German. After moving to Rochester, I ran into a family speaking German in the stationery aisle. Today I cycled past a German-speaking family along the Eerie Canal south of Pittsford.

Where did they all come from? Ausgezeichnet.

But now I am disillusioned to find that the "Pennsylvania Dutch" actually speak some mutant form of German. Not Dutch. I've never heard it, but apparently a good 300,000 folk speak this Pennsilfaanisch-Deitsch. Where have I been all this time that I haven't run into them--not even in Vahl-mahrt?

23 September 2006

the road

I meant to practice the entire day. Instead I spent the entire day buying vegetables. Literally.

And then Yae Eun rescued me from practicing too late and getting locked into the building, and I found out that she wanted to learn to ride a bike. An hour later, she was sailing up Windsor.

Anyone want to go for a coastal drive through the autumn foliage?

Happy autumn equinox, when day and night are of equal length. Though not for those of us who disdain sleep.

22 September 2006

coming home

Rochester is feeling a little more like home now. I've found a beautiful and safe way to bike to the River Campus, I've seen a bit of the abandoned subway system and will definitely take my camera out there, opportunities are unfolding left and right and I can make a buzz on campus again, and I'm finding the artsy cycly alternative scene at Rochester Contemporary, Image City Photography Gallery where I'll take my portfolio from Foto Nelissen, Rochester Indymedia, a Rochester cycling gateway, a Rochester cycling Yahoo! group, and a delightful used bookstore on East Avenue whose owner liked my lengthy browsing habits enough to excuse the tax on The Book of Rainbows. Tomorrow there is a 2005 Inside Downtown Tour of Rochester, N.Y. and a neighborhood bike tour sponsored by the Rochester Regional Community Design Center. It's just too bad I don't have much money for it...

I've even learned what "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" means.

Happy birthday, Elvo! And simultaneously, happy car free day. 8)

21 September 2006

the old boys club

As I zealously scour the AYA directory for help in the carillon campaign, I continue to realize how little I comprehend of the power and privilege to which this "old boy's club" gives me a surreally direct link. The difference between Eastman, prestigious as it is, and stratospheric Yale first became really apparent when the director of the heavily-publicized IML warned a prospective applicant, "Money doesn't grow on trees here." You would never hear that at Yale. In fact, Yale has enough money to (pretend to) teach the world for free. And I could pull in enough money there to accomplish things for the carillon that people never considered here. The Beinecke, the Yale Guild, all things matter-of-factly handed to me on a plate (in return for some effort, of course)... I have to say I'm glad that I didn't choose UOR or Cal or any other place for my undergrad years in the end. Because there is something in a name.

17 September 2006

inconvenient inspiration

So I can spend a ton of time writing a front-page article for the next semiannual GCNA News and a Wikipedia article about the Royal Carillon School, but I can't do a whit of decent writing for school, fellowships, etc. Go figure. Well, it's a reaction against the nonstop work I've been doing, but didn't I already get my share of canal cycling yesterday (in America! Yes!), thereby restoring my sanity? Suggestions and corrections and directions on how to be even more PC are requested:

The 2006 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America took place from June 20 to 23 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. It began with a pre-congress trip during which participants were warmly received at the carillons of Simsbury United Methodist Church and Trinity College. Trinity’s Resident Carillonneur Daniel Kehoe gave a recital highlighting the sonorities of Yale’s sister carillon.

Activity then moved to the verdant collegiate Gothic grounds of Branford College at Yale, the heart of the congress’ events as it had been before in 1969. Branford’s complex of vaulted passageways and turrets rises into the splendor of Harkness Tower, from which bells by John Taylor Bell Founders have sounded over New Haven since 1921, first as a ten-bell chime. When expansion to a fifty-four-bell carillon was begun in 1964, enterprising students established the Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs, the only student group charged with all the responsibilities of an active carillon program. The Yale Guild celebrated its fortieth anniversary by hosting a sunny congress alive with recitals, talks, and other events.

Each day began with a general business meeting during which members reported on and debated topics both ongoing and new to the advancement of the group’s goals for the carillon in North America. The results of a survey by the Professional Concerns Committee were a wake-up call, revealing that a large proportion of carillonneurs work for little or no pay. A resolution was passed extending voting privileges within the GCNA membership, and the board of directors voted Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania as the host of the 2009 congress and Naperville, Illinois as the host for 2010. Three officers were voted onto the Board of Directors: Helen Hawley, Patrick Macoska (second term), and Gordon Slater. Advancement recitals followed each meeting, and all were successful, resulting in the induction of nine new Carillonneur Members.

On the first congress day, Geert D’hollander and Liesbeth Janssens played a scintillating opening duet concert with travel from Belgium sponsored by American Airlines. Jeremy Chesman followed with a fitting concert of Flemish romantic music. A presentation by members of the Yale Guild elucidated its successful student-run operation and energetic activity, and Tin-Shi Tam narrated the origin of bells and their contemporary musical role in China with a multimedia lecture. The evening ended with an opening reception sponsored by the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, where carillonneurs mingled amongst priceless historical instruments and an ethnomusicological exhibit by Tiffany Ng of bells and historic documents.

Additional activities enriched the second congress day, including open tower time, a solo handbell ringing workshop, international music sales, and extensive exhibits mounted by the Yale Guild in cathedral-like Sterling Memorial Library documenting the history of bells and bell-ringers at the university. Materials included the autograph manuscript of Virgil Thompson’s duet, “Bell Piece for the Yale Carillon.” A formidable concert by Eddy Mariën inspired listeners for Lisa Lonie’s talk on concert programming strategies before carillonneurs flooded BAR, a local pizza institution and brewery, courtesy of sponsors The Verdin Company and Royal Bellfounders Petit & Fritsen. Margo Halsted concluded the day with yet another fine concert.

The third congress day featured a recital by Lee Cobb, Dennis Curry, John Gouwens, and Carlo van Ulft of new publications and compositions over a lunch sponsored by Meeks, Watson & Company. As winner of the 2006 GCNA Composition Competition, Cobb premiered his “Sonata” with eloquence. A panel discussion explored ongoing needs and developing opportunities in North American carillon education, adding excitement to the near-finalization of the Ronald Barnes Memorial Scholarship Fund. Finally, Yale Guild alumni Roy Lee and Ellen Dickinson offered adept recitals, with Dickinson premiering two winning entries of the Yale Carillon Composition Competition, “Impulses and Ratiocinations” by Jacob First and “Martelé” by Yoshiaki Onishi. The afternoon feast of new music was followed by an ice cream social sponsored by Fonderie Paccard.

On the final congress day, John Bordley previewed the next congress at Sewanee: The University of the South, and Todd Fair gave an illuminating master class to talented students. New Carillonneur Members Lara Walter, Christine Power, and Tiffany Ng performed a recital of wide-ranging repertoire, and Kim Schafer delivered her paper, “The Carillon and Auditory Culture: Carillon Music in Louvain, Belgium in the late 18th century.” The day concluded with a magnificent concert by Milford Myhre.

Amongst open bars and massive dinosaur skeletons in the Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Royal Eijsbouts closing banquet began the evening with the spectacularly successful first Barnes Silent Auction, a thrilling drive that raised over $5,800 for the scholarship fund. Dinnertime remarks highlighted the hard work of current members of the Yale Guild, and Jim Smith graced the diners with some wry observations.

Participants in the post-congress trip journeyed the next morning to the Riverside Church in New York City and enjoyed a demonstration of the five-manual Skinner organ. Cathedral carillonneur Dionisio Lind and guest artist Justin Ryan performed expressively on the newly renovated and heaviest carillon in the world. As the day came to an end, participants bid farewell to each other until the next gathering in Sewanee.

More people than can be listed deserve recognition for their contributions, among them Roy Lee ‘01, initiator of Yale’s bid to host the congress; Ellen Dickinson ‘97, Yale University Bell Consultant; Emily Johnson ‘05 and Tiffany Ng ‘05, who saw the renovation of Harkness Tower and its facilities to completion; and Christina Meyer ’06 and Claire Halpert ’07, whose leadership in every stage of planning and execution in the final year made the congress a success. Yale Guild members Yesol Huh, Christina Jacovides, Jason Lee, Richard Ramberg, Betsy Williams, and Brendan Woo worked around the clock at the congress, and though not in attendance, university officials Philip Greene, former Dean Richard Brodhead, and Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith opened the doors that made the Yale Guild’s work possible. Congratulations to them and countless others for their tireless efforts to bring this congress to fruition!

14 September 2006

food and frivolity

No matter what my situation, I find immense joy in food. North African Couscous Paella... today, the joy of my life.

Signs that I'm back in America: Celebrity boutique sues gossip magazine for not mentioning its name. Also, I can't find a proper power adapter for my printer. Signs that my flatmate is from SoCal: She subscribes to celeb gossip mags and has a real Louis Vutton purse and Coach iPod cover with separate leather Coach keychain attached.

Signs I'm screwed for tomorrow: Two Fulbright drafts to write and all the homework for my 9:30 doctoral seminar yet to be done. Small world, though: The professor is a major player in Zoe's field of research, the Alamire manuscripts. They'll meet for the first time at a European conference next month.

12 September 2006

bell fever

Saw and played the slightly unconventional practice carillon for the first time, found all sorts of cool stuff -- but not so much that it'll be a full-time year-long job to archive it, as was the situation at Yale.

Also found dozens of names of former chimers. Welcome to the Friends of the Hopeman Memorial Carillon, buddies.

10 September 2006

strip-mall shock

Biking is the solution to everything--if you have a bike. I'm not happy. I miss the freedom I had in the Low Countries to go wherever the hell I pleased (even if hours were limited). I desperately need a biking fix, and I really need exercise. I may be a city slicker, but I always had nature nearby, even in the Bay Area. I'm eating half as much as I used to and even feeling inclined to skip meals, something I would never have considered in Belgium. (Then again, the food's better in Belgium. But I'm talking about eating at home.) Thank you so much for sending Lucky out, Elvo. Lucky, please come home. Quickly.

08 September 2006

high-speed deja vu

While I was on my way to the Fulbright meeting to discuss returning to the Low Countries with Professor Steingröver, a white sedan ran a red light and tried to run me over. Irony. The driver didn't slow down from his 30+ mph speed at all; I heard the screech of brakes when it was less than a foot away from me. I jumped back and it turned slightly. And thus I narrowly missed getting another titanium leg early in my latest leg-employing keyboard studies.

Welcome to Rochester, New York.

I can't get over the fact that I thought only, "What will I do to continue my organ studies?" when I saw the car just a couple feet away from me. Was that all I was thinking when the car impacted me in Mechelen? It would explain why I woke up screaming that the paramedics had to fix my femur because I had to play the carillon. I'm more tempted than ever to find someone who can help me revive my memory. But today's memory doesn't haunt me because I didn't get hit. Don't play with fire, tiff.

06 September 2006


I never really understood the beauty of boxcutters until I used the new one from dad to cut open the plastic packaging of some coat hangers and nearly cut through the coat hangers.

Of course I didn't yoink this week's required reading from the office. And of course I practiced organ for the prescribed three to four hours per day after my first lesson, at which I was asked to sight-read the opening of a Bach trio sonata. And of course I didn't forget my pencil for the lesson, or accidentally bring the duet arrangement of said sonata.

tongue-twisting cycling mishap

This article was too good to squirrel away in the black blog:

Squirrel in spokes floors cycling opera singer

Just imagine an opera singer with a broken nose cursing in Finnish at a dead squirrel. I dare you.

03 September 2006

sk8r shopping

Speaking of spending money, may I say that although after a year of European outdoor shopping (i.e. what inspired Newbury Street) I have developed a particular distaste for massive strip malls where you drive from one store to the next, I am in heaven when it comes to clothes shopping. No more stuffy high-heel boots and skirts that let the cold wind blow up your ... in the winter. American women prefer what feels comfortable, be it classy or ghetto, and it shows in the selection.

I randomly walked into the first store I saw in the mall (the shopping mall being but part of the massive strip mall) and realized I'd gone straight into the women's section of a skater store. I found the shoes of my dreams right away, although my size wasn't in stock -- thank goodness for Zappos. And I found the hats of my dreams right next to the shoe section. I scoured stores desperately for how many days in the Belgian rain and never found a proper hat?? Plus I got a sleek leather wallet (surfer style with "Nixon" disorientingly emblazoned on the back), which I'd also spent at least an hour searching for in Belgium, only to find endless girly wallets covered in buckles and straps that didn't do squat besides take up room on this overcrowded planet. I need as slim a wallet as possible to cram all my other crap into my bag.

I miss Europe desperately right now. At least I'm in non-girly-functional-comfortable-badass fashion heaven.

allergisch nog?

This morning I woke up early because of the sunlight, feeling as if I had a cold. My mouth was dry because I'd been breathing through it all night while my nose was completely stuffed up. I feel asleep gradually with aching muscles and sniffles, woke up again to JC's phone call, and drugged myself up to put on the semblance of being healthy. Fortunately, the green chilli pepper I grabbed off the Indian buffet and ate in one go cleared up my sinuses like no drug or sinus treatment ever had before, and I stayed that way for several hours. The experience also proved the absolute effectiveness of mango lassi for relieving the searing burn of extreme spice.

My parents have taken off towards Corning to find a hotel, and I am left here with the worst allergies I've endured since the last hayfever spring I spent on the East Coast. They have spent well over a thousand on moving me in, not to mention traveling here, and I can't help but feel guilty. I know the prices that seem so painful to me are not so bad to them, and I know their standards of living for themselves and therefore me are higher than my collegial ones. I also know that in the past year they have spent way less on me than they did when I was living with them or when I was in college, and hopefully the situation will remain that way. But I can't help but feel that I'm a bad person for letting them spend such money on me. Perhaps I have developed a desire to be independent that outpaces my financial ability to be so, but I don't trust myself to recognize this. Tell me from an outside perspective. Is it okay that they've helped me so much? Or should I have used the loans and the credit card?

I am still experiencing reverse culture shock. This morning someone honked outside and I ignored it, sure it wasn't the postman on Sunday. Impossible. The card stuck in the door said he'd just come by. Doh, USPS delivers on Sundays--for Global Express Mail.

Tonight I'm going to sleep in the living room, which has hardwood floors. If necessary, I will repeat this foolishness tomorrow. If my allergies get better, I'll know I need to yank out the carpet in my room. If they don't improve, then it's time to take the air mattress on the road and camp out in a friend's apartment to see if I'm allergic to 3 Grove Place or to Rochester, New York.

02 September 2006

isn't it ironic?

I would h8 Dexia entirely if it weren't for the super nice young lady who works in the office and always remembers who I am and what I do and often sports cool necklaces. When I came in the day before I left asking to reregister with NetBanking, she manipulated the system in order to give me the nifty new bank card reader immediately and without my having to pay the 25 € fee (why the bank would make people pay so much just to use online banking is beyond me).

Now that I've got my desk and chair set up, I'm trying it out and it works like a charm. For the first time, I'm able to do all my banking business online. The software doesn't even work for the current version of IE (t3h 3vi1) for Mac, so I have to use Safari or Firefox, which is awesome. Dexia finally got something right. And of course, fate would have it that I no longer live in Belgium.

In other news, my formerly unfurnished room is finally starting to feel like home, thanks to my parents driving around everywhere and buying and assembling stuff with me. I don't know what I'd have done without them; moving into Mechelen was way easier because I could walk or bike to everything I needed, and anyhow the room was furnished. You ain't gonna walk to no strip mall here. I can even sleep on something besides air (mattress) tonight. My new bed came by delivery today, and it is sweeet. I have a headboard for the first time (also ironic--I've moved away from my parents' house). Hopefully this swanky bed will encourage me to sleep more. Now what will get me to start practicing the organ?

I'm still apprehensive about paying for my apartment. It's probably relatively expensive because of the proximity to campus and the fact that it has appliances that until now have been unheard-of luxuries for me, including a dishwasher, working oven (for the first time in my higher education career), and laundry machines. But yesterday I met a student renting for $650 a month. I can't stop wondering how all these in-debt graduate students shell out so much.