Monday, September 29, 2003

Interview Questions from Jen:

1.) What led you to study the classics as opposed to any other discipline?
When I was in high school I wanted to go to the Naval Academy. It was my only goal, my only desire. It was the only college I applied to. I had been pursued by other schools and I even turned down a full scholarship offer for crew at a school in Philadelphia. All my activities revolved around gaining acceptance to Navy. I was finally recruited to Navy for crew and took a general courseload my plebe year, as everyone did, with the intention of declaring physics as my major. After I left Navy I transferred to University of Maryland and waffled between pre-med and the RN program. I really had no idea what I wanted to do.

My first year I needed to take a liberal arts elective so I chose Ancient Greek. Languages always appealed to me and I remembered enjoying the semester of Latin I had in high school. I had had two years of Russian in high school so I was not intimidated by the alphabet. It was the only elective that fit into my weird schedule – I worked full time from 3:30 to midnight every day and I had to leave campus by 1:00 p.m. to get to work on time.

There were only 8 or so students in my Greek 101 class. I loved my professor. I had never had a prof before who took such a personal interest in me and my desire to learn. I was hooked and I was having a blast! I decided to give Classical Languages a try. The program was small (maybe 10-20 kids or so, including masters and PhD candidates), the professors were friendly, and UMCP has a nationally-known classics program. Deep in my heart I love chemistry and physics, but it wasn't practical at that point in my life. I couldn't devote the time to lab work and work a full-time load outside of school. That’s how I got started.

2.) What is your favorite piece that you've played on viola? Why did you choose the viola instead of something like the flute?

So many pieces are so good. I’ve played a variety of very enjoyable pieces. (Can I answer with more than one?) In the pit orchestra category, the score to “Hello, Dolly!” was a blast. I played that at the Naval Academy. In the symphonic category, Beethoven’s 4th and St. Paul’s Suite rank up there. I love playing concerti and accompanying soloist musicians. On the choral front, Handel’s Messiah and Carmina Burana were the best. There are just too many to name.

When I was in third and fourth grade my music teacher, Mr. Ingalls, wanted me to try every instrument in the band and orchestra so I could find one I liked. I started with percussion and played the snare drum for a while. Then we started on stringed instruments (you could start strings in the 3rd grade but had to be in 4th to play a band instrument). I first tried the violin but didn’t care for it. It didn't fit my personality.

Next I moved to the cello, but I had already learned hand position for the violin and couldn’t get my wrist straight. So then we tried the viola because the school didn’t have a viola player. I loved the size of the instrument, the deep chocolate sound, and the uniqueness of the instrument. Every girl, it seemed, played the flute (which I personally don’t care for), clarinet, or saxophone. I wanted to try something different. Thanks to Mr. Ingalls, I found a lifelong love and have had a blast playing the “underdog” instrument that always gets inquisitive looks (it’s so much larger than the violin) and odd comments. I believe your personality also plays a big role in what instrument you gravitate toward. Violists tend to be a bit eccentric – kind of the like drama kids in high school – and they are all as different as night and day. The viola community, anywhere I go, is a good fit for me. I can be myself and just enjoy the music. Although I am much more proficient on the piano (I am classically trained), there is just something about the viola that I love.

3.) What has been your most profound spiritual experience?

I have never had a “Damascus Road” experience, however, I have had some epiphanies of sorts in the past few years.

The very first Sunday morning we worshiped at Providence I remember being overwhelmed by the beauty of the liturgy. We had spent nearly three years in a worship environment very lacking in weight and substance. At first I couldn’t participate; my eyes filled with tears because it all finally made sense. I was completely exhausted at the end of the service. I wasn’t used to feeling that woven-in with the worship of the community and having so much required of me.

My next experience was experiencing Christ's passion, death, and resurrection through the liturgy. We had a very solemn and dark Good Friday service at Providence. It was contemplative, yet worshipful, but flowing underneath it all was the tension between the grief and the anticipation of the Resurrection. We were asked to leave the church in silence and not to speak until we were away. When we came to church on Sunday, the first thing we heard was the organ breaking out into “The Strife is O’er”, with full choir, strings, and congregation. I could hardly play my viola, and I had tears in my eyes the whole service. I had never before truly understood the Resurrection, I don’t think, until I actually experienced it there, in worship. It was something I can’t completely describe.

4.) How is Monroe culturally different from Maryland? What are some things that you like and dislike about each place?
I don’t even know how to start answering this question. Wow.

I've been thinking about this question for about two weeks now. All I can say is that it is like comparing apples and oranges.

In Monroe, everyone moves in 1st gear. They trickle, they meander, they mosey. Customer service moseys; traffic meanders, everything moves slowly. Some say it's the heat and humidity, but I don't believe it. It's like this all year. Monroe is very insulated. People who grew up here (as a generality) stay in town. Some avoid crossing the river into West Monroe (the "river" is several hundred feet wide and the cities are separated by a city block). As far as night life, there's not a whole lot. A movie theater, a small mall, and a pub. After 6:00 p.m. the streets are pretty much empty, and stores that are not national chains are closed. There just isn't much to do. Since there is no major metropolis between Jackson (2 hours east) and Shreveport (2 hours west), Monroe just keeps to itself. Folks tend to be friendly, but are often confused by my accent. The class structure here is odd as well. I guess its pretty easy to be a big fish in this small pond. The wealthier class tends to act cultured, but they're really pretty much country bumpkins with money.

I like the small-town-ness of Monroe (sometimes). A day doesn't go by when I'm out in town and I don't see someone I know, either from church, the Symphony, or just from around town. I like the cheaper prices on certain items, and the accessibility of living in the middle of the town, as small as it is. The town is easy to get around, and I never have to drive more than 15 minutes to get what I need. Granted, things I want are not here, but they are things I can do without until I visit my folks.

Maryland is just plain fast. I grew up about 20 minutes from the Beltway. Many of my friends' parents were government or military, so although the area as a whole is quite liberal, my friends mostly leaned toward the conservative side.

There is more to do in the area I grew up in than you can do in a lifetime. People, cars, events, everything moves at a breakneck speed. Yet an hour in one direction, and you're in the mountains - hiking trails and climbing waterfalls, eating the best apple butter imaginable. Two hours in the other direction and you're at the beach. An hour north and you're in rolling hills, driving through farmland. Three hours to New York City. Half an hour to the Smithsonian and everything D.C. has to offer. Fine arts, folk life, and people from every walk of life. Everyone is different, and so in a way that makes everyone the same. Even though people have a larger comfort zone on the East Coast, I feel like I can get to know an East-Coaster much more easily than to someone from Monroe. In my church I've become known as a "big city girl". I miss the city very much. I love the quiet and the fresh air of the country, but I ache for the city. The lights, the events, the shopping districts, the symphonies, the theater, independent movie houses, violin shops.

You have to experience it to understand it.

I dislike the liberalism that comes with Maryland being so close to D.C. My college was unbearably liberal - the professors and the student body as a whole, and has a reputation for being one of the most liberal schools in the country. It is crowded, at least where my folks live, and the cost of living is astronomical. Oddly enough, though, most groceries are more expensive in Monroe than in Annapolis. Go figure.Traffic can be stressful if you forget how to handle it, and as with most cities, crime is more prevalent.

5.) Describe your perfect worship service.
That is such a broad question. I don’t know if you mean in form and style, or in actual content. In fact, Duane and I are still working on how we would tweak the liturgies we’ve been taught to make them a little better.

I’d have to say for sure I haven’t experienced the perfect worship service yet, but I have ideas about what makes them better. Since I am so new to liturgy, I’m not even able to articulate what I think would be better. But definitely these things (in no particular order): the participation of as many symphonic instruments as possible (woodwind, brass, strings, tympani), a congregation that can sing descants, obligatos, and four-part harmonies). Hymns that declare the glory of God and are, for the most part, chock-full of solid Biblical teaching and orthodox theology. Good, solid Christocentric preaching, keeping in mind that the sermon is not the peak point in the service, but that communion is (of course having communion every week), corporate vocal confession of sin and assurance of pardon.

::If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. E-mail me at dugarner[at]lycos[dot]com a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.::

Friday, September 12, 2003


Yesterday when I came to the computer to try to find a music file (a score, not an illegal file) I noticed that "My Documents" was missing. The whole folder. Nowhere. Nada. Nothing. About 200 megs of information from the past few years, gone. Bailey must have hit the keyboard in just the right sequence and deleted the folder.

I had run a backup about three weeks ago, so I've only lost a few documents that I created since then. I did, however, have a moment of panic where I thought I had lost an 800-name mailing list for an organization that I keep the files for. Oops. I'm glad I won't spend the weekend re-typing that list.
Here we go again...

Dabney classes start tomorrow for Duane. I know he only goes one weekend a month, but it feels like so many more. The weekends always sneak up on me so I am unprepared to do all my Saturday-stuff without him.

This year his classes and my symphony rehearsals don't overlap, so through December we'll have two weekends a month away from each other (practically speaking). Bummer.

I ate too much at dinner tonight - we had the Dabney convocation banquet - and now I'm burpin'.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

For Kristen

What I've been doing since I stopped blogging...

1) School has started. I have wonderful students, and I think they like the classes, but twice this week they've asked (only half-kidding) if they could drop my classes.

2) Bailey has grown like a weed. She's now 1 1/2 inches taller than Duane was at her age. She is talking in complete, detailed sentences full of adjectives. (Mommy, I want to lay on the bed on my pillow with my warm blanket!) She has begun asserting her ownership of EVERY item in the universe EVERY time she speaks. We're still working on the potty training. Sort of.

3) My 30th b-day and Duane's 29th b-day came and went. I don't feel any older. For my birthday present I got some clearance fabric from Hancock's to make a dress for Bailey. Duane got the Simpsons - 3rd Season on DVD, along with Kieslowski's Decalogue.

4) I have begun teaching violin to two young boys. I'm having a rough time of it, but they're good students. I think they'll both do well, and it's something to add to my resume.

5) Latin classes are kicking my *$@#^$ this year. My Henle's class takes an enormous amount of time to prepare. It's a good class, but tough. Second year is much harder than first year. At this point, my knowledge of Latin has deteriorated and I'm learning it with them. Yeck!

6) Duane is starting his second year at Dabney next week. He's also teaching a literature & history class at Geneva. He's pretty busy. I don't know how he's going to get his work all finished by the end of the semester. It's going to be a tough year, but a fast one.

7) The Monroe Symphony season is about to start (next month) and we'll have guest conductors all season. Since we're having guests come in, they've nixed our Monday night rehearsals and we're rehearsing Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday morning, with performances on Saturday afternoon/night and Sunday afternoons, to accomodate our senior sponsors who don't like going out at night.

Can't think of much else right now.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Lord's Day

This hymn is not in the CyberHymnal but its tune, St. Austin, is. We sang this after the Litany for the Church. Very powerful.

Jesus, Lord of life and glory, bend from heav'n thy gracious ear;
While our waiting souls adore thee, Friend of helpless sinners, hear;
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord!

From the depth of nature's blindness, From the hard'ning pow'r of sin,
From all malice and unkindness, From the pride that lurks within,
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord!

When temptation surely presses, In the day of Satan's pow'r,
In our times of deep distresses, In each dark and trying hour,
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord!

When the world around is smiling, In the time of wealth and ease,
Earthly joys our hearts beguiling, in the day of health and peace,
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord!

In our weary hours of sickness, In our times of grief and pain,
When we feel our mortal weakness, When the creature's help is vain,
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord!

In the solemn hour of dying, in the awful judgment day,
May our souls, on thee relying, Find thee still our Rock and Stay;
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord!

Since my commenting system is gone, if you have something important to tell me (or a comment that just can't wait!) email me at dugarner[at]lycos[dot]com.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Okay, maybe I can't resist doing this stuff.

I forgot to copy my template before I picked this new ugly-er one, so I lost my code for Sensus and some other stuff. Maybe I'll hire someone to design something aesthetically pleasing for me.

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