Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Tis the Season

I hate cold. I just hate it.

It's days like this, when I wake up, stumble out of bed to the window-and OH SNAP WHERE'D THE DRIVEWAY GO TO!?-when I remember summer with a fond gleam in my eye. Summer, where you wear short sleeves (my favorite) and no shoes...summer, where it's warmer outside than it is inside...Summer, where I go outside on the tree swing, plug in my iPod and lose myself in music and daydreams...summer, that feels made of dreams. I've always been able to put up with heat a lot more than my family.

But UGH. You go outside, and you freeze your ears off. Wind slashes through you, trying to make you quit breathing. Slippery slush, icky ice, days of no shoes are swept away by the wind. I think I'll pull a lazy and stay inside watching Titanic, Letters to Juliet, and Cats all day. 

Admittedly, now I sound like a grump. Unfortunately, that's who I am sometimes. Oh yeah, Rachel's a grump. Either that, or she's spazzing out and cracking rude jokes. Yep, that's my girl. Sigh.

There are some things I like about the season, this crazy winter. I went to the store a few days ago to buy presents for our version of Christmas (don't judge, my dad will explain every bit of it to you-he's the one who has us say "no" to Santa Claus.). We get presents and goof around and have a very good time, thank you very much. 

So. Anyway. Shopping. I hadn't had a lot of money in a while, since I hadn't done my job to receive the moolah. I had CASH, baby. Ooh, buy presents. You mean for me? Good on ya, mate. Tally-ho! And it's off to the junior department I sail. Cute clothes, big sales, and while I'm standing there, I hear a woman crooning over the loudspeaker "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...". Something about that song is just so cozy. *Grin*

Off to buy twin presents. While shopping, I hear again "Baby, it's cold outside..." I love seasonal music. I also hear the to-be-expected Sugar Plum Fairy theme twinkling down through the speakers. I adore a good instrumental.

I get the backseat all to myself and I see a snowflake land on the window. I am sitting right next to one of those giant lights they have in store parking lots, and I center myself so I can see the snowflake right in front of the light. It's an intricate pattern. It's hard to believe something that perfect could just fall from the sky. I smile. God is good.

So, okay. Maybe I hate cold. Maybe I wish for summer. But winter has its good points too. 

I refuse to wear winter clothes, though. Deal with THAT.

This was back in August...*sigh*

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Epic Music Series-Love Songs (General)

I am purely addicted to love songs. Like, seriously. I find them all over and add them to my iPod like crazy. Pop, country, soft pop, rock, show tunes, instrumentals, etc. I can never get enough. So here are some love songs you may have never listened to, or given a second thought to. (Excuse my grammar.) Tally-ho, off we go.

1-Far Longer Than Forever (The Swan Princess)-

Not a Disney movie, not as famous as Tangled, but this song is still beautiful, for those who judge. I love the lyrics. This song has nearly brought me to tears.

Music or Lyrics-Lyrics, but the music comes close.

iTunes availability-Avaliable, fo sho!

2-Because You Loved Me (Up Close and Personal)-

This is another one of those songs that I have a not-so-secret wish to sing onstage someday. I love Celine Dion, I love the music, I love the lyrics, I love the whole thing. (And pleased that I can reach every note she hits in this arrangement. ( :D )

Music or Lyrics-Lyrics, but with the music, they make an absolutely magical combo.

iTunes availability-Available :)

3-My Heart Will Go On (Titanic)-

You knew it was coming :) Titanic is my favorite movie, and this song is absolutely enchanting. I also want to sing this onstage for an audience someday. 

Music or Lyrics-Music. But I am quite partial to the second chorus more than the first.

iTunes availability-Available. NOTE-There are several different versions of this song on iTunes. The soundtrack version is longer and has a beautiful instrumental near the ending, but isn't as powerful as the version Celine Dion recorded for a different album. On top of it all, there's a new dialogue mix from the album Back to Titanic, which incorporates lines from the movie during the instrumental breaks. Make a careful choice, or if you're a big Titanic fan, buy all , like I did :)

4-Somewhere Out There (An American Tail)-

This song is so sweet. With its poetic lyrics and soft pop piano, it's enough to make anyone wonder why people don't write this kind of song anymore.

Music or Lyrics-Um. Both. Please don't make me have to pick.

iTunes availability-Available. I have the version by Knightsbridge.

5-You Raise Me Up (Contemporary Christian?)-

My friend Sarah and I performed this at a talent show and had the judges on their feet :) It's such a beautiful song.

Music or Lyrics-Both. Don't make me pick.

iTunes availability-Available. I have the version by Celtic Woman, which is the link I posted.

6-The Rose (The Rose)-

This is an unusual song that doesn't reach very far on the scale, with poetic lyrics and a simple tune. 

Music or Lyrics-Lyrics.

iTunes avaliability-Available. The link I posted is by Bianca Ryan (winner of America's Got Talent 2006) and is the one I have.

That's all for now, folks...this might be edited later, should I have more songs I want to include. I said "General" at the top because there are so many categories of love songs-Disney, Pop, etc. Come on back now...

~Actresschick <3

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Epic Music Series-Songs of my Childhood.

During my childhood, and even now, my family has let me watch movies like an addict. Cartoons, action, chick flicks, documentaries, romance, drama, musicals, etc. In the past year or so, I've been rediscovering songs from my childhood that are SO worth listening to. There's something about the music or lyrics that is just so wonderful and worthwhile. After listening to them, you may wonder why people waste their time listening to pop music ALL THE TIME and why they don't take these. So take a listen. 

1-The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn)

Dad rented this movie for us, and this song was quickly one I was singing afterwards. I recently rediscovered it on Youtube. It's interesting.

Music or lyrics-The lyrics are poetic, but I enjoy the music more.

iTunes-Available, though not the version I posted the link to. Sadness. :'(

2-Reach For The Light (Balto)

I've been watching this movie for years. It was, like, my favorite at 6 years old or so. It may also be why I loved the name Jenna for years...

Music or lyrics-Um, BOTH. I love the music, the flutes and drum beats, and the lyrics are like a theme song of life.

iTunes avaliability-Available, but be careful not to get the karaoke or short version by mistake.

3-Once Upon A Time In New York City (Oliver and Company)-

Every time I listen to this, it reminds me of my friend Adam, who loves the city. This is one of those "inspirational" songs, but totally worth listening to. 

Music or Lyrics-Music. Some of the lyrics are amazing, though.

iTunes availability-Available, but not the Huey Lewis version. Still good. :)

4-Wherever You Are (Winnie-the-Pooh's Grand Adventure-The Search For Christopher Robin)-

This song is so beautiful. I love it to death. Who cares if it's from Winnie-The-Pooh.

Music or Lyrics-Both. You can't separate them, they belong together.

iTunes avaliability-Not available. I was not happy.

5-Love Will Find a Way (The Lion King 2-Simba's Pride)-

Just the opening flute notes get me in this song. It's purely beautiful. I also loved this movie as a child, maybe a little too much. :)

Music or Lyrics-Probably lyrics. They're beautiful.

iTunes avaliability-Available, but only the pop version by Kenny Lattimore.

6-Beauty and the Beast, End Credits (Beauty and the Beast)-

I realized not long ago-well, I am still a child, kinda, it counts-just how much I adore this version. Just the arrangement of instruments is enough to give one chills. And yes, I know it has Celine Dion in it....I love her, I loved this song before I saw Titanic, don't judge ;)

Music or Lyrics-Music, definitely.

iTunes availability-Available.

You bettah be waiting for the next installment of my Epic Music Series. I'm bored a lot. Here is an outlet, talking about something I love. Come on back soon for my love songs, yo...

~Actresschick <3                                                     I love music.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

HELP and all our craziness.

So I take drama classes at a homeschool co-op that offers science, Spanish, writing, music, history, and, my personal favorite-musical theatre. Every year, we audition, get roles, and rehearse a musical classic to perform in the spring. I've been Marian in The Music Man Jr. , a soloist in School House Rock LIVE! Jr. , Vlad Vladikoff in Seussical the Musical Jr. , Ida in HONK! Jr. , Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof Jr. , and most recently, I got the role of Grace Farell in Annie Jr. However, I missed the last rehearsal and they made last minute choreography changes, so I couldn't perform in the winter teaser, where we perform one song from the musical, to make a "teaser trailer'' for next year. However, I still had way too much fun hanging with my pals.

We got there WAY too early. We were the only HELP kids in the church building where it was to be held, So Abby was busying herself putting on makeup and I was wandering around. All of a sudden, I asked Abby, "Beez, should I go up onstage while no-one's there and sing my heart out?" 

"Do it."

After a bit of pushing, I got up and belted "Over the Rainbow" to a room full of empty benches and my big sister. Hey, that's fun. I proceeded and was singing "My Heart Will Go On" to my eager little sister. As I reached the end of the song, the Youngs walked in. Britney and Gabriella walked toward the stage, hearing my last notes. As I finished, Britney, enthralled, said, "Let me guess-you're going to be a professional singer, right?" "An actress, actually, in musical theatre," I said, quite pleased at this critique. Britney hurriedly walked to her mom. "MOM! Mom! Did you hear Rachel sing?! I mean, it's amazing!" Ah, this is a good start to the evening. I gave Mrs. Young a hand and plugged in the light-up wreaths and trees. 

The evening got a lot livelier when the Roesner-mobile pulled in and Aaron and Adam hopped out, Adam boasting, "I have a burrito." Singing and talking, they walked in. I smiled. And now the crazy stuff comes.

Admittedly, they are easy to lose. Always on the move, those two. Usually jumping, running, or fighting in slow motion. I saw Aaron walk into the sanctuary, and I went through a different door. "Aaron? Adam? I know you're here." I walked past the benches warily, but not warily enough. "HEY!" Adam shouted, appearing suddenly from behind a wall. Naturally, it scared the living daylights out of me. "YOU GUYS!" I shrieked, punching their arms playfully while they laughed, gleeful at their success. "Hey Rachel!" my friend Olivia said, walking in. Naturally, she was hyper. Way too hyper. But with Liv, it's cool. She pulled out her phone and we jammed to ringtones. 

Soon, more people started arriving. They were excited to see me, and even more excited that I wasn't contagious. I found Bekah, who was standing in for me as Grace, and told her she would do amazingly. She still seemed jittery and shy. She wasn't assured I wouldn't be mad. I was totally cool with everything, though.

Since I didn't have to rehearse, I got to help with other jobs. Mrs. Roesner and I were soon enlisted and found ourselves cutting and making the signs for the reserved benches so no-one would sit there except the cast. I looked at all the Tom Sawyer kids having fun, and I sighed, "I wish I could be up there." Mrs. Roesner looked up and cheerfully said, "Here, more signs!"

I looked at her kinda funny. "Way to make me feel better, Mrs. R."

She found it quite funny. Okay...

Soon, the cast was sitting down and talking excitedly and not getting in anyone's way. We were laughing hard and having a good time. Soon, however, I wandered outside to see the people who were milling about, waiting for the show to start. I quickly found Jake and Cora, whom I hadn't seen for quite a while. I hugged them and we jabbered about things. Soon, though, the show had to start. As I sat there, talking, I didn't notice the tall figure that came up behind me. "HELLO,'' a deep, gravelly voice in my ear. Being how I am, I screamed. Adam, Cory, Aaron, Valerie, and Caleb started to laugh, while I tried to calm my heart and laughed shakily along with them. "JAKE!"

First up were the dance classes, the music classes, and the younger kid's drama class. Adam and I sat next to each other and discussed the different performers. At one point, we had to guess an animal sound, as a following poem would be performed about that animal. Mrs. M, our drama teacher, played the tape and Adam perked up at the chirping noise. "Right! A cricket!" Mrs. M. said cheerfully, and Adam immediately started making a chirping sound that was unmistakably a cricket. Those who could hear started to laugh.

Soon, it was time for the Annie cast to get up and perform. Naturally, it was amazing. I wished I could be in it, but hey, I could be in it next year. For now, enjoy the wonderful job.

We went to the refreshment room, but didn't end up getting any food. Adam, Aaron, Emily, and I drifted off to a quieter place where we could hear ourselves think. There, we discussed Harry Potter and other wonders. We decided I was Neville Longbottom, in the scheme of things. And yes, I picked that.

All too soon, Adam and Aaron had to leave. They went off, and I went to hang with my girlfriends. Soon, Katie, Bekah, Allye, Cora, Cassidy, Natalie, and I were outside. Somehow, Isaac, Justin, and Cory were in the mix as well. We took pictures, laughed, and randomly acted weird. Epic win.

When we left, oddly enough, I wasn't sad. I was bubbling over with memories of the evening.

Now I just have to wait until January 12th for HELP to start up again.

Stage, here I come.

Cass and I outside in the freezing cold :D