Creatively Serving

First, click here.

Now, envision yourself cooking a delicious meal. You wash the vegetables, peel, dice, sway to the music. Spinning expertly to get a new knife, you pull open the drawer, 1, 2, 3, pick it up, conduct the orchestra, close the drawer with your hip, spin, slide, resume chopping onions. Brown the meat, spice it up with thyme and lemon pepper, shake shake here, shake shake there, Oh fly me to the moon!

Or, if cooking doesn’t suit your fancy…

You’ve got a blank canvas before you, paints to your right, paper towels and water to your left, paintbrush in hand. Closing your eyes, you let the music paint a picture for you: an explosion of color, the voices of trombones and trumpets, lines and zig zags, the steady beat of the drums. You conduct the musicians with your brushstrokes. Dab, swirl, dot dot, loooong stroke, dab.

For me, part of the creative process involves music. From cooking, to painting, to writing, my concentration is aided by background rhythm and pure instrumentals. But not all creative processes are the same.

For instance, I know that when I paint with my friend Elissa on Friday, we will not be listening to my study session music! It’ll be something to get us through painting mural pieces for her senior project.

Which is actually what I wanted to talk about tonight (though music is cool too!).

Let me start by saying this: Part of being an art major or minor means putting together the equivalent of a senior thesis, but instead of it being a giant paper, it’s a gallery show, or in Elissa’s case, an instillation mural on York Road.

She and another friend of mine, Christine, have spent the past few months assembling the pieces of the mural and with the help of various friends have started to paint it. The mural itself is on six 5’4’ plywood boards that will be set up in the windows of the Verizon building.

Last week the Urban Art club helped prime the back of the boards so they wouldn’t warp.

This week, I’ll be helping paint the mural (can’t wait to break out my painting pants!)

I’m actually really excited to work on this, because 1) I love painting (on any scale) 2) I don’t often have time to do service, so it’s nice to have something that I can fit into my schedule for once 3) This will be me one day, so I’m gaining a new perspective in how to plan my future project.

But most of all, I’m looking forward to doing this because of the people. Working with fellow students on something like this adds a new dimension to your understanding of them and the people it will eventually affect. No matter what Elissa and I end up listening to, or talking about, when we paint, I know I’ll enjoy her company and the simple act of spreading color on a blank canvas.

The unveiling is on April 26 at 5 p.m. in front of the Verizon building.

Musical Liberation

Have you ever been so happy and thoroughly enjoying yourself that you can’t stop smiling?
How about being so lost in the moment that the only thing you can focus on is the joy you are experiencing right then?

If you have, that’s wonderful. If you haven’t, don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to get on that. Because let’s face it, going through life day after day, week after week, year after year, only thinking about the future and worrying about everything that is coming up immanently can really stress you out. It sucks all the spontaneity and joyful surprises out of your experiences. And that just … sucks.

So that is why after going through this weekend and taking time to reflect, I decided I’d squeeze one more “usual” post in before writing something about Christmas at Loyola.

And let me just warn you: the things that got me grinning like a fool and living in the moment are not things I’d expect to lose myself in. Especially as one centered around the music my grandpa listens to (which I secretly love).

Can you hazard a guess? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, um, here goes:

SWING DANCING, BABY!

Yeah, who would have guessed I’d spend my Friday night with a great group of friends learning how to swing dance (at the Mobtown Ballroom) and then use those moves on the dance floor?

Prep for Swinging

It was SO MUCH FUN!!!! Seriously. I didn’t know how it would go, which is probably why I had such a great time, and even though I may not be the best dancer in the world, it didn’t matter. I learned lead (the guy part, because at first there weren’t enough guys), and spent a good two hours kicking up my heels with people who were truly enjoying themselves. Yeah, ok, it was a bit awkward at first because no one knew what they were doing, but by the end my roommate and I were twirling each other around and having a grand old time.

Some of Us

I wish I had more pictures of the action, but the lighting wasn’t that great and I didn’t feel like blinding people with my camera’s flash.

I will say that sitting between dances and being asked to dance kind of made me feel like I was in a Victorian romance novel. It sounds ridiculously cheesy, but I couldn’t help but think of Pride and Prejudice while chatting with my friends.

By the end of the night we all agreed we wanted to go again next semester, so I’m super excited for that!

Now, going along with this musical theme of entertainment, my Saturday night was spent in a similar manner, though not as physically draining.

CHORDBUSTERS!!!!

Anyone who goes to Loyola knows that at some point they have to go to this amazing concert hosted by the Chimes and Belles, the two a cappella groups here. I’ve mentioned them before, but then I’ve only seen them sing a few songs at a time. Not a two-hour concert of sketch comedy and fantastic renditions of pop music from all eras. My favorites were Sweet Disposition, Hey Ya, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and All I Want For Christmas.

As I sat there in total awe of the Chimes’ ability to crank out high energy and high notes, I marveled at the human voice. It can truly do spectacular things. Those songs may not have given me the shivers (like Amazing Grace, goosebumps every time), but trust me when I say I couldn’t stop smiling.

It’s not very often I can shake all the worries I have going through my head and truly enjoy a leisure activity. Being able to do that this weekend was so freeing, I only wish I was able to experience it more often. But then again, would that reoccurrence take away from the appreciation of these special events?

I don’t know about that answer, but I do know that music has something to do with it!