LA Part One: USC Concerto Night

I’m taking a piano class at a community college and my piano instructor invited the class to her performance with the USC Thornton Symphony at the Bovard Auditorium. I was very much impressed by every single piece of music that was performed. First, Joseph Morris, a clarinetist performed Neilsen’s Clarinet Concerto flawlessly. Oh man. I’ve never seen a clarinetist perform like Morris. His musicality was so controlled yet so freely played beautifully. As he performed, you were able to tell he was very much in sync with the music. If you ever have the opportunity to see Morris perform this song or to listen to this song live at a concert, I highly recommend you to take advantage of it. His performance was one where you had to be there experience the difficulty of the piece he played.

Frederich-Olivier Rosselet, a cellist, performed Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto. Now this piece brought out all kinds of emotions from me and my friends. There was darkness, confusion, terror, and loneliness from this piece. If you closed your eyes and listened to this song, it almost felt like you were hiding from someone who was chasing you or you were trying to run away and somehow ended up getting lost in a pitch black room or a forest at night. You pace back and forth not knowing what to do because all your thoughts are scattered as you’re by yourself in the middle of nowhere.

Playing an open string so gently seemed almost harmless but in this piece, it still carried a bold sense of emotion. Whether you open or close your eyes during a live performance of this piece, I am sure that you will be carried away by your emotions. Even the musician, Rosselet, was so lost in the music because the piece had a heavy character to it that required great technical skills to execute almost effortlessly and beautifully.
Frederich-Olivier Rosselet

The final performance was my piano instructor, Fang-Fang Shi Inouye. From the beginning, you were able to hear easily that the music was composed by Beethoven. Inouye gracefully played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with great flow of emotion. I was in awe of how she moved across the keyboard effortlessly and so quickly. Though I saw with my own eyes that she was hitting every note, I still could not believe the intensity of her technical skills. Her performance was a great way to end the show as it had an enlightening experience to it.

This concert certainly inspired me to continue playing music as it is an art that challenges the mind and imagination in so many levels. I hope to attend another Conceto Night performed by USC or different symphony sometime soon. It’s really amazing how music can really paint emotions to your ears.
Fang-Fang Shi Inouye

Back into Music

Ever since the beginning of this new year, I’ve been wanting to find a hobby to really hone down on. I wasn’t too excited about learning something completely new so I decided to get back into music. Music was something I was forced to learn but an art that grew to be a desire. There were many moments of love and hate between me and music. There was hatred because it was first forced upon and that it took up my free time to play as a kid. Yet there was love for it because there was beauty to its sound and it took me to a different world of emotions and imagination.

When it comes down to it, I do not regret learning the piano or violin. I regret not practicing enough or valuing it enough until it was out of my possession. I had to lose it through time to really understand the value of music. After a long separation from music, I took initiative to join a community college orchestra and take a piano class! Yay, me!

Have you ever heard of that saying where you clean up your house before the cleaning lady comes? You do that only because you don’t want the cleaning lady to think you’re that messy. Familiar with that? Well that’s how I felt but instead with music. I felt that I had to practice before school even started so that I wouldn’t look too foolish in class.

I practiced and practiced and it was fun. Fingers were hurting a little due to lack of callous but my muscle memory was still there. I was playing through my old music and oh man, it was hard! I just don’t remember how I was able to play such challenging music before. Trying to play my old music was like looking at a math problem that you have no idea how to solve. You sit there. Stare at the paper for awhile. Complain to yourself for a little bit because of the difficulty. Continue to stare at it.Then you look at your notes and take baby steps. With patience, somehow you work your way through. Then wah-lah, problem solved.

After much practice, I was quite excited to go back to school and play some good music. On the first day of my orchestra class, I saw an open seat in the back where majority of the violins were and sat there.As I settled down, one of the two music conductors came up to me and asked why I was sitting at the seat I chose. I simply told him how I found an open seat and just sat there. He was encouraging me to sit elsewhere in other words sit where the 1st Violin Section is. Once I realized what he was talking about, I was so surprised at how I forgot the seating arrangement was like in an orchestra.

For those of you who don’t know about the seating arrangement in an orchestra, there are 5 sections. There’s the first violins section which is the group that plays the melody for the most part in music. Then there’s second violins that supports the melody. There’s the violas, cellos, and finally the basses. Though the conductor was encouraging me to sit in first violin, I wasn’t ready to challenge myself to sight read fresh music. So I ended up just sitting in the second violins section.

The conductor asked how long it had been since I last played the violin. I told him five years. In actuality, it’s been seven years! Seven! For the longest time, I was doing the math wrong in my head. That just shows you how time flies by and how you just easily lose track of time.

First rehearsal was hard but definitely fun. No doubt was I glad to be there and challenge myself with something new! Kind of new. I was inspired to see such talented musicians in that room that night.

I hope this post encourages you to try something new or get back to an old hobby of yours!

Orange County Symphony

A few of my friends and I went to go see Connie perform with the Orange County Symphony at the Servite Theater Auditorium.
Orange County Symphony

When it comes to music, it’s an experience where you really have to be there to understand the beauty of it. The first piece played was the Piano Concerto in G Major by Maurice Ravel with a guest pianist, Minji Noh. If you’re not familiar with this piece, check out the YouTube video below:

I love seeing the pianist move her hands so quickly and easily. I’m always in awe of the pianist’s ability to move so freely yet so beautifully. Their talent is almost unbelievable. Another piece the symphony performed was Carmen Suites Nos 1 and 2 by Georges Bizet. This is a classic song that I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with even if they don’t listen to classical music.

This was my first attendance to a concert performed by the Orange County Symphony. I was thoroughly entertained and impressed by their performance. I plan to go to their next one just because I find great appreciation in classical music. Great job, Connie!
Orange County Symphony

By the way readers, the musicians in the YouTube videos provided in this post are not from the Orange County Symphony. Just had to clarify that.

Surprise Chelsea!

Chelsea’s husband texted me earlier in the week about doing a surprise for Chelsea. Chelsea told Eric, her husband, how she wanted to see the Nutcracker and that the last time she saw it was with me. So Eric, the loving husband that he is, thought it would be a great idea for me to surprise her at the door and then take her to watch the Nutcracker together. Great idea, huh? Uh-huh.

When I arrived in Diego, I texted Eric that I had just parked. He responded that he was going to “poop” so that Chelsea could open the door.

I knocked on their door and looked down on the ground so that she would not see my face through the peep hole. She opened the door and I actually don’t remember the first thing I said to her exactly. But I must say she was definitely surprised to see me! She kept asking me what I was doing at her place. I responded casually saying, “I was just around the neighborhood.” She kept asking me the same question why I was there. At some point I asked her if I could come inside since I was just standing there with my bag of Korean pears to give to them.

Eric and I ended up explaining the whole surprise to her. She responded, “No wonder Eric kept telling me to get ready!” I told her that we only had an hour left until the show starts. So she quickly got dressed up and we were off to downtown San Diego!

We grabbed a quick bite at Sushi Deli which is Chelsea and Eric’s favorite place. Service was great there. Since we were in a time crunch, we couldn’t order a lot but we ordered enough. We literally had 15 minutes left until the show started. We told the waitor our time crunch situation and he was definitely understanding and was quick to give us our food in less than 5 minutes! So we got some California Rolls and garlic edamame for about $6. I need to try that garlic edamame again the next time I’m in San Diego. They were really good!


Luckily the theater was one or two doors down from Sushi Deli. So we power walked to Spreckles Theater. Yup, it’s called Spreckles. Don’t ask why. I thought the same too. We made it right on time for the show to start!

This Nutcracker performance was definitely one up than our previous Nutcracker show. There was live music and the story line made more sense than before. We’re hoping to start a new tradition to step up the quality of the Nutcracker as we get older! I already can’t wait for the next one!

20121225-232059.jpgThanks Eric for planning all of this! Chelsea, it was so good seeing you! Glad we were able to watch this together!

Cathedral Of Our Lady Of The Angels

Before December came around, I told myself that I’d do something holiday related every weekend just to be in that joyful spirit. Last week, I helped my sister out with the gingerbread party. Now for the 2nd weekend of December, I went to LA with Dasom to see the Los Angeles Symphony and the Cathedral Choir perform “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels”.


Apparently the cathedral that I went to is considered to be one of the biggest cathedrals in Los Angeles. The cathedral reminded me of the ones in Europe with its arched ceilings and the golden artworks that of Mother Mary. Overall the performance was moving and beautiful. They sang so high that I didn’t even know was possible to hit. The musicians were talented of course. I always admire the musicians since I used to play the violin. The last song they sang was “Hallelujah” which everyone stood up for. It was a great way to conclude the show!