Sunday: I really had to exercise the improvisation muscles. To be honest, I never thought I'd be able to improvise well. At all. I don't have the music theory to be able to do it logically. (I know. I'm such a scientist, aren't I?) However, necessity forces me to do it, and somehow, I manage to: 1) make it sound like music; 2) improvise long enough to cover the liturgical action, plus end it in such a way that it actually makes musical sense. Thank you, David Arcus, for giving me the kick in the pants required to make me consider even trying improvisation in the first place. (And David is particularly good at it.)
In the afternoon, I was able to join the NC Pinoy Choir in a caroling event in Raleigh. The picture above was taken of us before we started to sing. The choir is led by the talented Myra Odulio, and the members come from Durham and Raleigh, mainly. It's been a lot of fun singing with this group, and it allows me the opportunity to learn music in Tagalog... plus, it certainly doesn't hurt for me to be exposed to more spoken Tagalog. I tell them to please speak Tagalog around me. I find that the more I'm around it, the more Tagalog I remember, and sometimes, some Tagalog might even come out. I suppose my Tito Paeng (God rest his soul) was correct: if I'm immersed in it long enough, and he had thought 6 months to a year would do it, I'd be able to speak it passably. I already understand it, and it would be a short step from understanding to actually speaking.
We had our last Compline of the semester at Chapel of the Cross, and after the service, the choir members went off to the parlor for some noshes and wine. It was nice to just socialise with the other choir members before we all went off for the Christmas break. We'll be starting up again on January 8, the day before classes start up again at UNC Chapel Hill.
Monday: I really just wanted to take it easy on this day, and so take it easy, I did. I suppose if I did blog, I would have just tried to answer one of the writing prompts.
Tuesday: The day started off in Chapel Hill where I participated in the winter blood drive at the Woollen Gym. I could tell they really wanted people to come for this blood drive: they offered everyone who donated blood a soup cup and a recipe for chili blanca by Cat Cora. I was struck by how quickly and efficiently things went today. I know a complaint was the cold, but then again, it was a rather chilly morning. And the Woollen Gym is a rather large space. But I'm glad I did my part and gave a pint of blood.
A friend of mine, who is resolute in his avoidance of anything social media, is in Spartanburg, SC on a business trip. (He lives in Miami, FL.) I was gob-smacked when he told me he wanted to drive up to Durham to see me. So I told him we'd have dinner at the Old Havana Sandwich Shop in downtown, and then if he really wanted to hear me hack away at the organ, we could just go across the street to First Presbyterian. He actually arrived at FPC half an hour earlier than expected. So we went off to Old Havana. Now fancy this: he's Cuban, and he's a vegetarian. Yes, you read that right. I had the impression that a Cuban who doesn't eat pork is like a fish that doesn't swim. In other words, inconceivable. ;)
Luckily for him, there were vegetarian options.
It was a lovely evening in the restaurant, and I'm glad Miguel had the chance to meet Roberto and Elizabeth.
After dinner, we went over to FPC, where I played the organ for him for about two hours. He had some requests, which I fulfilled for him, and I played a few Advent and Christmas pieces as well. We also talked Catholic liturgy as well. All in all, it was a pleasant evening. And yes, he drove back to Spartanburg. He said he had a meeting tomorrow morning that he needed to get to.
As I told him, I thought he was crazy to drive 8+ hours just to hear me play, but to each his own, so they say.
I spent the rest of the evening