Tuesday 6 February 2018

Month Five in the Life of an Intern - January 2018

Read Month One
Read Month Two
Read Month Three 
Read Month Four - Rachel's Christmas letter

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year (although we seem to be rather a long way into it now)! I didn't write a blog post for December due to adverse weather (and Christmas) cutting short the number of weeks I was at work, so I'll briefly include those weeks in this blog.

December began with a performance of Stargazers at the Hagley Road Retirement Village which appeared to be well received by those who attended. The next weekend saw some heavy snowfall, and the planned performance of Stargazers had to be cancelled. That week I also had my two days in the office off, and I would say I was disappointed, but I have to confess that I very much enjoyed spending time with friends sharing in their kids’ enthusiasm for snow days!

The last working week in December saw the office Christmas meal at the Harvester (other restaurants are also available!) which I very much enjoyed. When I wasn’t eating, I spent some time working on arranging Roger’s song At last we see before our eyes for SATB choir. Before this, the closest thing I’d done to arranging was harmonising a Bach chorale, and although many of the techniques can be transferred from one to the other, this type of arranging was still a new challenge. I gave it my best shot however, and when I finished it off in the new year, I was very pleasantly surprised by the fact that, after a few minor improvements, both Annie and Roger thought it was acceptable. I felt that I hadn’t really had much idea of what I was doing! I have since started work on arrangements of two more songs, and I am finding them tricky as I still don’t have much confidence, but hopefully they will turn out just as well as the first one did!

January saw the stocktake take place, and although it was a little tedious at times, it was quite satisfying to think that by the end I had counted all the vocal scores, CDs, books and DVDs in the various different storage places – hopefully I didn’t miss any!

Another task I had was to create a piano reduction of the string parts for the musical Wildfire. Even though I only have basic piano ability, so I’d not be able to play what I’d written, I tried my best to think about what would be physically possible to play, and the best way to voice the 4 parts over two hands. Although this job was very time-consuming, I felt a sense of achievement when it was done, and the job had also tested my reading of alto clef, which is even more ropey than my piano playing!

January saw two more performances of Stargazers with the CMM choir, one in Lickey and one in Marston Green, and both of these seemed to be well attended and appreciated by their respective audiences. I have to admit, as the weeks go by, I’ve been becoming less and less enthusiastic about performing a Christmas-themed musical, however I think I need to remind myself that the message of the musical does not become irrelevant just because secular society has stopped thinking about Christmas. Even now, as we are heading towards Lent, looking forward to the events of the Easter weekend, there are still things we can learn from the Wise Men and their search for the child Jesus. For example, the Wise Men set out on their journey, without knowing where it would lead. For those of us like myself who like to have things planned in advance, it can be hard to relinquish control and step into the unknown, but the Wise Men took that risk, and they ended up face to face with the Son of God. Within our own lives, a great prize awaits us, if only we are willing to entrust ourselves to Jesus and let him plan the path we should take.

I couldn't write a post about January without mentioning the untimely death of Barrie Renwick. Although I did not know him well, I had met him three times within the first few months of my internship - a testament to the amount of his time he gave to support the work of CMM. I know that he had a place in the hearts of many of the people who are connected to CMM, and, having recently experienced the loss of a very good friend of my own, I understand the grief they are feeling. Yet, Barrie had a strong faith, as did my friend, and as Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians, we '[should] not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.' (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). We can find peace in the knowledge that Barrie, my friend, and all the other believers who have gone before us are now in a perfect place, spending eternity in the presence of our God.

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