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images-1.jpegWhat is not often known about me is that I indeed play the viola. This is not something I usually lead with in conversation, partly due to the viola stigma, partly because I get tired of explaining that a viola is a big violin, and because I steared away from performing my junior year of college when my major became more ‘academic’ (ie I’m not nearly as gifted as some people living at Priscillaneous). I’ve always played in something – either chamber groups, orchestras, bus stops – but it’s hard getting into that scene moving to a new city. The sub pool it seems is somewhat small, and I’m not too into taking auditions to play with some better orchestras around here since the last one I took was for my acceptance into college.

When I was called on Thursday to play a gig this weekend – I was thrilled. Someone was going to pay me money to play the viola again? I couldn’t believe it – and to boot the church that had asked me to play was going to perform the Faure Requiem – a meaty piece for viola. Along with excerpts from the Messiah.

Most string players that have ever gigged can play the Messiah from memory. I was thinking about how many times I’ve played this piece, and the first time. I was about 14, and had just switched from violin to viola and though I couldn’t really play the instrument all that well, I got a call a few weeks after I made the switch. I have that same excitement and disbelief that I did then that someone would write me a check to hear me play.

How long have I been saying I should get a new car? After some debate, albeit hardly a prolonged one, between my inner child and the ‘adult’ in me, meet the newest member of Priscilla Lane:

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Wj says:  Look at those two – It’s like they were meant to be together!  If I was better at photoshop you’d see me sitting in the passenger seat.  Not to worry, there will be plenty of opportunities to catch us tooling (not trolling) around town since Ixi is driving everywhere from now on.

My lil’ Honda reached a milestone today!

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I had to pull over on Delta on my way home from work (photos taken w the crackberry-cam)

The timing is rather good….

Theory: If you topped any food with either hot fudge or melted cheese (I selected Gruyere for its wonderful fondue melting properties) the food item will only be enhanced. If you slapped a slice of Swiss on an egg sandwich, or a chunk of Havarti on a party tray, it makes it that much better. Hot fudge goes well on most things, even the salty. There is the variety of chips and all things crunchy, as well as the healthy side of fruits and veggies. True, most vegetables don’t sound too appealing accompanied with cheese, but the melted cheese on a veggie grinder totally makes the meal, otherwise all one is left with is some soggy lettuce and tomatoes. Admittedly the thought of cheese and/or fudge on seafood is one of the most repulsive images, but since I don’t eat meat to begin with I’m not counting it. Alert the FDA, these should be a separate block on the food pyramid.

images-3.jpegAs I was placing my happy yellow coffee mug on my shelf as I do every night before I leave work, I noticed the inmistakable signs of another presence in the library. It has been said, and even published in a book, that Music Hall is haunted. And while I described to friends this presence as being a fourth librarian, I knew that it wasn’t a friendly but possibly helpful ghost – I knew what it was. A mouse. I don’t really mind them, maybe because of a touching story about nicknames my grandparents had for each other, or that they have fur which definitely makes them more likable than insects and reptiles. While my colleagues were feeling perhaps a different emotion about our guest, I decided to name him Hobart after the first librarian of the CSO. I don’t think Hobart will be around much longer, which is a shame because we could use some excitment these days – although not if he’s anything like the subway rats I’ve seen in NYC.

Apologies for our extended absence. While we get our stuff together, here are some things we’ve been up to.

Wendy, FIRST CHAIR violist! Seven Hill Sinfonietta performance.

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Jonathan turns 34…

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Fun ahead with….

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Mia wants to stay here

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With the host of the best St Patricks party I’ve been to (ok, the only SP party I’ve been to)

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Jonathan’s party trick, don’t try this at home kids
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Last year Team CSO auctioned off ourselves to appear in concert as part of the Sunflower Revolution Gala. (In case you were wondering, we are worth $3000) The Sunflower Revolution is a Cincinnati cycling event whose mission is to promote wellness in the area’s Parkinsons Disease community. The 2006 event netted $300,000 for research programs like the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Neuroscience Institute at UC. As we performed in front of the scientists and cyclists in the audience -we were so close that an unsuspecting guest could have had their teeth knocked out by a stray clarinet bell- I

We all get overwhelmed sometimes. Sometimes we get in too deep, and wonder, how am I ever going to dig myself out of this one? It could something like wondering how you are going to edit all 1200 images from a friends wedding, how you’re going to get through Tales of Hoffmann, how you’re going to eat that entire wedge of brie… all valid issues.

Priscillaneous is no different. There’s been a hiatus, we’re aware, but like we say we are good on our word. A few things that have kept us busy: Music Directors, photo shoots, gluton-induced comas, mini-c’s, birthdays, dates, upcoming tours & conferences, freelance work of all kinds, c.e., teaching, masterclasses – to name a few. Don’t go anywhere, we will be updating soon.

And with photos!

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You are looking at the record so far for how many people fit in a self-portrait! (at Patrick’s party)

Every year since college, St. Patrick’s Day has been a big deal. I’m sure it has to do with it being a holiday where drinking in excess is expected and you are considered lame if you don’t. And though it has always been a big deal to me, it’s been a much bigger deal to a friend of mine from my 7J days at good ol’ Temple U. And that would be Rosemary.

Rosemary claims a lot of things. She grew up mostly in Philly, graduated from CAPA, although she still talks of ‘trays of pizzas’ and being from Scranton (which I’m not sure why you’d want to do that exactly). I also know that she spent time in the land of Perkasie, a suburb of Philly more rural than the one I grew up in. Obviously, there is some confusion. Another thing Rosemary claims is that she is Irish. Now honestly, it could be true. I won’t make outlandish claims like the moderatilist that she isn’t, but I am suspect. So each year, we like to remind her that we are all more Irish than her. And this St. Patty’s Day, green-clad and beer-drinkin’ I surely was, and I hope you were too.

Perfect dates are rare. It’s rare that your date shows up on time, walks up to your door, and compliments you on how amazing you look. Then your date takes you to a great dinner at a romantic Italian restaurant, so off the radar that you don’t even know it’s there from the outside, and being considerate enough to park close to the restaurant so that it’s not too painful to walk there in my heels.

Next stop was the Ballet, featuring Cincinnati’s finest in a potpourri of vignettes. I saw one of the most moving, intense dramatic works set to Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, based off of his String Quartet Nr. 8.

The synopsis: Melding lyricism with harshness, Val Caniparoli’s choreography portrays the tragedy of two lovers, a Bosnian and a Serb. In real life, the two were shot down on a bridge as they attempted to flee from sectarian conflict across a bridge in war-torn Sarajevo . Bosko Brckic was shot first, and as Admira Ismic ran to him, she was also shot. With enormous determination she crawled to his body and cradled into his lifeless arms, where she died. In a brilliant theatrical device, Caniparoli employs five pairs of dancers to fully explore the horror of the event and its powerful emotional resonance.

If you have the chance to see this work, I highly recommend it. The evening was completed with drinks at a reception by the CAC. My evening was fun, relaxed, wonderful, all around perfect, and it was with one of my favorite peoples – Miss Meghan.

March 2007
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Please ask before using my photos or content from this blog or my website. I most often say yes and I'd like to know who to thank. The photos and content of this blog are under copyright. All rights reserved. © Ixi Chen

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