A CHRONOLOGICAL REFLECTION ON EMINENT, AND THE ANALYSIS OF MY LEARNING CENTER.
After all that happened, all of the hard work, nervous cries, and invaluable moments, only one thing echoes in my mind. It haunts me to this day and shakes my very soul. The scarring melody that will never die and will live forever in my nightmares. An innocent thing to help me get through the hard day – a simple distraction. How could I guess it would end up like this? How could anyone know the irreversible effects of that one song – Careless Whisper.
Other than the constant horrible repetitions of George Michael’s classic, Night of the Notables (2k16) was something I could not have imagined. The sheer fear of being backstage, the satisfaction of assembling a learning center, and the absolute relief having completed this month-long project. A lot of time and preparing went into this and it was an indescribable feeling to know that it was done. But we aren’t talking about it being done yet. Before that, we have to reminisce and think back on not only the night, but the whole day.
I am not particularly good at understanding the significance of events as they happen to me. At the time, nothing had really sunk in for me. I was not really aware of the real magnitude of this event, nor was I aware of the fact that this event was in a few hours. I knew it was happening, it just didn’t seem real. So throughout the mess of an afternoon that it was, I tried to focus solely on my speech and how I would present it.
My hindsight is 20/20
My speech was written in a way that required a lot of emotion and commitment to character; two things I am not good at doing (the only two things I am not good at, mind you). There was a lot of mental psyching myself up to do the speech, knowing full well that the impact of the speech depended on my ability to commit to my character. But that was a problem for “7:30 me”. First we had to deal with the learning center.
THE LEARNING CENTER – Part 1
My learning center was something I was really happy with. I set it up so that every item at the center had a talking point and a reason for being there that complemented the rest of the learning center.
Below is a left-to-right series of photos of the learning center.
Above is my french horn and trumpet, along with a pair of drumsticks and brushes. There are two DVD sets beside them: Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. These two films’ scores have easily recognizable fanfares and marches, that rely heavily on the trumpet and the French horn. John Williams also employs the use of French horn a lot in his writing, as it is a strong, mellow brass instrument. It’s interesting to make that connection since I now play the french horn. The use of a snare drum is crucial to the composition of a good march, so I had to include a pair of drum sticks.
The violin is for the film Schindler’s List, where the main theme is played by renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. As well, the strings are a critical aspect of John Williams’ compositions, as the strings are a vital part of any orchestra. (And also because I think that the violin is the coolest instrument and any chance I get to incorporate it into a project I will take.) The film Schindler’s List won director Steven Spielberg a seven total Oscars. The film also won John Williams the Oscar for “Best Score”. It is one of the most significant films in history, and definitely one of the greatest films of all time, thanks to the masterful filmmaking of Spielberg, but also the pensive and emotional score delivered by John Williams.
Continuing on to the right, lies a flute, and the discs for the movies E.T., Harry Potter, Fiddler on the Roof, and Star Wars. John Williams won Oscars for all of these films except for the Harry Potter series (which he only composed the first three instalments). All of these films were incredibly successful and critically acclaimed.
It’s pretty incredible to visually see how many movies this man has done, and especially how many successful films he has been a part of. With 50 Academy Award Nominations and 110 film scoring credits to his name, it’s astounding to just see all the famous films he scored, let alone 110 films. Throughout his scoring career, John Williams worked with the Boston Pops a lot, recording with them from 1980-1993. At my learning center, I had a CD player plugged into headphones, playing some of his most famous scores that were recorded with the Boston Pops. Scores include: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Above are several scores of John Williams compositions. The works are three of John Williams’ and three of Tchaikovsky’s. Richard Wagner and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky are two of John William’s biggest musical influences, so I included some scores of Tchaikovsky’s (Wagner was nowhere to be found, unfortunately).
Finally, at the far right of the room, I had my keyboard which had some piano music, as well as my transcribed version of the theme from Schindler’s List.
All of the instruments I slugged to school that morning, except for the violin and the trumpet stand which were graciously given to me to borrow for the evening.
I generally don’t have a problem with public speaking. Of course it makes me nervous but I can usually deal with it. Now, doing the two things I cannot do (deliver an emotional speech and committing to a character) plus public speaking? Well.
I think that says it all.
There was nothing but nervous energy coursing through me as I waited backstage, feverishly going over my lines one last time and hoping “Gee, I wonder if the sound works out”. As a fallback, I thought I would just sing my one-man acapella rendition of Careless Whisper if I both lost the words completely and the sound failed. I got up on that stage and I began to speak. Oh good lord. As mentioned before, committing to character is not my strong suit (however, the suit I was wearing was very strong). I got to the line where the music was supposed to kick in, and it did. I continued the speech, unfortunately conducting out of time, but largely hitting all of my music-to-speech cues. It was just a blur, that’s all I can say. Getting offstage and getting backstage, I was totally emotionally drained. Again, as mentioned before, I still hadn’t really processed the fact that eminent was happening, so after doing the speech, the reality of it hit me like a bus. It seems to be that I am the bringer of my own destruction. I still don’t know how I feel about my speech. I don’t think it was bad, but to what degree of “not-bad” was it? I guess I’ll never know. All I know is how relieving it felt to be at my learning center. Away from that stage and done with that speech.
THE LEARNING CENTER – Part 2
I was lucky enough to have 3/4 TALONS teachers come to my learning center and have a conversation with
me John Williams. For my location, I was surprised at how many people came and saw my station. At my center, I talked about how John Williams composes and the lasting legacy he has left on the world, and the quantity of films he has done (often to the people at my center’s surprise). I also talked about who his influences were and why I chose to do him. Often, I also played a bit of piano for whoever was at my station to let theme hear some of John Williams’ themes, usually Jaws and/or Schindler’s List. During the evening, I got to talk to some of the TALONS alumni and answered their very eminent-specific questions. Towards the end, as we were packing up, my dad began to fool around on the piano and pretty soon, I was playing the first known sounds of jazz french horn that Gleneagle has ever heard to the accompanying piano my dad played.
All of my goals for this project were achieved, and then some. I learned so much more about film composition than I had ever fathomed I could know. By learning about one of the most influential film composers, I was able to get an insight to what exactly a film composer, how they do what they do, and why they do what they do. It was incredibly interesting and sucked me into learning more and more. Even to this moment I have tabs open on sites that have information about film composing. I’m even seriously considering buying a Masterclass that’s hosted by Hans Zimmer thus learning even more about film composition, and just composition in general. All this learning and information has also greatly benefitted my in-depth project (Choral composition) and I’m even more excited to continue working on that. All in all, I achieved my goals and am proud of what I learned throughout this project.
Of course, the completion of this project wouldn’t be possible without the help of many others. I would like to thank Andreas for the numerous times he edited my speech and listened to me practice. I would also like to thank Weijin for also helping my speech, and for lending me her amazing violin and turning me into the virtuoso I am today. As well, I would like to once again thank the people who I interviewed, and to Alicia for lending me her trumpet stand. As well, thanks to Anika, Alan, and Hira who all either looked over my speech or listened to me rehearse it, and to Kendra for those pictures of me on the violin. Finally I would like to publicly apologize for making a lot of people endure the sounds of a certain song.
As for what I will remember, the better question is what won’t I remember? This whole post has been a collection of things that still stick out in my mind like a skyscraper. Everything from hearing Careless Whisper all day, to delivering my monologue, to standing by my leaning center. How could I forget?