Rachel Shane

Month: May, 2011

Orchestra

Alright friends, time to share perhaps the dorkiest fact about me, and by that I mean, the simple fact that I am an orch dork.

Before you snicker and make your rude comments, allow me the opportunity to share my experience with orchestra music.

I did not grow up listening to orchestra music. It was quite the opposite – classic rock and alternative artists such as the Dave Matthews Band.  In 6th grade public school we had to choose an instrument to play, and the band director wouldn’t let me play drums, so I chose viola.

Quick information: A viola looks like and is played the same way as a violin, only it is a bit larger, and it has a lower string instead of the highest string on a violin.  It actually has the same strings as a cello.  The viola would be what you get if you put a violin and cello together.  The viola section sits in between the cellos and violins in an orchestra.  I chose this instrument simply because the orchestra teacher said she needed someone to play it.

Anyways, so I chose viola, and since I never quit anything, I kept playing it in high school.  My orchestra teacher was Ed Schaefle, and he changed the way I see music.  Until class with him, I thought orchestra music was boring, like most uneducated folk.  Mr. Schaefle started teaching our class not only the history of orchestra music, but more importantly, how to listen to it.

I remember in 9th grade he would make us listen to a shorter orchestra song (maybe 4 minutes), and we had to write down everything we heard.  He wanted us to be writing during the whole song. My notes would be something like, “okay, this is allegro, the orchestra sounds nice, the cellos are playing the melodic line, either the clarinet or oboe has a sweet solo, the violas need to be louder as always….” and so on.  By the end of the song I would have about a page of things that I heard.  Doing this exercise multiple times, I was soon excited to listen to orchestra music, because I realized how INTERESTING it was.  There is SO MUCH going on in each song.  Now I can easily listen to a 45 minute orchestra piece, and actively listen the whole time.  The great thing about Mr. Schaefle too was he always shared history about why the song was written.  Orchestra songs are so emotional, and when you know why the song was written, it is so much easier to relate and place yourself in the song.

Like listen to a bit of this: Dimitri Shostakovich wrote this string quartet, expressing his feelings towards the holocaust.  Can you feel his anger? Wait until 56 seconds in, you surely will.

Orchestra music is so full.  If one says it is boring, I simply believe that they have not ever listened to it truly.

Last Saturday night I was coming home from Fargo, and I was really tired, so I decided I needed to play some upbeat music to get into.  What did I choose? George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.  I listen to the version where Jon Nakamatsu is playing piano because it is the best.  Basically, I can conduct this whole song from listening to it so many times.  Another embarrassing story, I actually got so much into conducting this song while driving one time that I nearly drove off the road.  I now have a rule that I have to keep one hand on the steering wheel while conducting in the car….anyways…Below is half of the song. The whole song is about 17 minutes long. And this piece is SO GREAT.  Bah. And yes you have probably heard it before, or parts. But in whole it is SO great. And this recording isn’t the best, but it is slightly fun to see the orchestra.  But if the orchestra is distracting to you then close your eyes. And maybe just find a higher quality recording of this song.

In conclusion, don’t be a hater on orchestra music. And come hear me play in my community orchestra too (next concert – June 18th!).  And if you actually get something out of this blog, and want to listen to some orchestra music, I have so much to refer to you, just ask.

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Jesus

People take the name of Jesus in vain all too much.  I feel as though some may even snicker just because I have a blog titled “Jesus”.  He is still today, 2000 years after living on earth, probably has the most mocked name on the planet.

I have been praying for the opportunity to talk about Jesus at one of my jobs.

Some of those prayers were answered this week.

One woman, old enough to be my mom, insists that I pray that she gets to go to heaven.  I keep telling her that she can know without a doubt, that she just needs to accept Jesus as her Savior, but she continually says, “I know, I know what Jesus means. But I have done A LOT of bad stuff, and I just really need your extra prayer cause I don’t know if I will get in.”

She doesn’t understand what the life and sacrifice of Jesus means.

Another woman, also old enough to be my mother, is an atheist.  She claims that this world doesn’t make sense with God in it.  She doesn’t understand why there would be so much suffering in the world if God was “good”.  She says if God existed there should be no hurricanes or natural disasters.  She also lost her 17 year old son, so I am sure that plays in to her feelings towards suffering in the world.  She promises me she has read the whole Bible, but has done little research to what I concur.  She said Jesus probably existed in real life, but there is no proof that he died/came back to life.

She is uninformed on the history of Jesus, and I am sure would be astounded by how trustworthy the Bible is as an historical artifact. She also has a very common view of suffering in the world, but will not blame God, the world, Satan or people for it.

Another, old enough to be my grandma, claims that everyone has their own theory about how the world will end (to her, that issue is all that really matters).  I think Jesus will come back, the Mayans believe the world will end in 2012, and others in a few days.  All of us can’t be right so none of us are.  She is betting that an astroid comes and kills us any day now.

She doesn’t have very good logic, and sees Jesus as just being another option to ending this painful life.

Another girl that I work with is 25 years old. She did not grow up in a Christian home, but in somewhat of a gang. I talked to her today, and I told her, “All I really want you to know is how much God loves you, because I think that would change your life”.  She said, “Rach, I know God and Jesus loves me.”  Then I told her, “No you don’t, because I think if you really understood that someone loved you so much that they died for you, I think it would change your life a bit.” We talked about how God doesn’t impact her life one bit, but she dropped the subject and went back to work.

She doesn’t know Jesus is real.

2nd Corinthians 2:15-17 says, “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.  To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.”

I can tangibly feel this verse, and it breaks my heart. I see so many people that I love, but the only thing that can save them smells like death to them.  This is so oxymoronic to me. How can life smell like death to them? And this life-giving fragrance smells so bad to them that they cringe, yell, and run away from it.

I have done an exercise this week that I wrote about a few blogs ago.  Every room I am in, I literally picture Jesus in the room. I imagine looking at his face, and I imagine the other person being able to see Jesus too. Would I not introduce my friend to Jesus? Would I just let my favorite person sit there unnoticed? NO! I would talk about Him day and night and how great He is, and insist that they know His whole story and what He thinks about them.  Seriously! When my colleagues bring in their husbands or kids, all they do is talk about them.  Why would I not talk about someone greater who is there, but also IN me?

I refuse to be silent about Him anymore.  I will no longer say it is difficult to speak truth and share the name of Jesus to people. It is not.  I don’t want to disguise this fragrance reeking off my life as being a nice person or something, because that would be lying.

Maybe they will get sick of the smell, and try to find a way to really get rid of it, which would be to change the smell (they can’t run away from the fragrance coming from me cause they work with me:) ). And the only way to do that, is to really understand what the smell is, and once they figure out what the smell truly is, perhaps it will change to a beautiful fragrance for them.

Dave Barnes

Dave Barnes has been one of my favorite artists since 10th or 11th grade.  He defines his style of music as blue-eyed soul, which is from his roots of growing up in Mississippi.  There is a growing pop feel on his later albums, which I feel is affected by him now living in Nashville. I feel like his music has tastes of many genres, such as soul, pop, country, and maybe disco? :)

Last Friday I saw him play at Bethel University.  I left his concert thinking “Wowie, I stink at guitar”.  He is such a GREAT musician.  I am challenged to get better  at playing after his concert, which is a great thing.

I have never left a show with my cheeks slightly hurting from smiling and laughing the whole time.  Dave Barnes is not only a phenomenal musician, he is a stand up comedian. Between every song he told an incredibly funny story about the song, or tried to teach the song, which he somehow made a laughable experience.

Below are a few videos of why Dave Barnes is great and why you should listen/love him like I do.

Every year Dave Barnes makes “Christmas Extravaganza” youtube videos where he has a latino accent and sings Christmas songs terribly. Below is one of them, but I recommend watching all of them on a day when you are sad. They will make you happier.

Dave Barnes is great because he does things like this in his shows.  This is at the Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis.  So fun.

Dave Barnes writes MANY great love songs. The last wedding I went to my friend had three Dave Barnes songs in her wedding. I was so happy. Maybe you don’t think this is a great reason to like Dave Barnes, but I am a girl, so it is a great reason.

1 Year Ago

One year ago today was my last day working at Caribou Coffee. I think it was also the last time I played at Chi Alpha.

Two days later I left Fargo for the cities.

One year ago I had no jobs. No plans. My graduation plans were ruined 3 weeks prior.

It is sweet to look back on this past year.

In one year, He has blessed me with friends, a church family, and a ministry to pour into.  He blessed me with three jobs. He blessed me with being able to spend time with my family again.

God has also pushed me greatly and there has been so much growth in my relationship with Him.

I think the biggest thing God has been working on me this year is my reducing my large amount  of selfishness.  I have been learning how “me” focused I have always been, and still am.  It has been a humbling year.   God really opened my eyes to things that I even thought were not selfish, but actually were.  I feel like I have been really learning how to give up all my  selfish wants and desires to God, trusting in Him and what He is doing in my life.  God has been fashioning in me a pure heart in my service for Him.  And it is really hard to always love others more than yourself.  Sometimes my heart loves others better than myself, but my actions don’t show it, and other times it is vice versa.  When I don’t love other people greatly with my heart and actions, I am usually then selfish and not like Christ.  I want to have a selfless, pure, servant heart like Christ. I am not there yet, but definitely a few steps closer than last year.

Also, in three days it will be my 1 year anniversary going to Renovation Church regularly.  This church has been the biggest blessing to my life since moving to the cities. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you probably should.

Hope

I have been dwelling on hope lately.

Working in ministry, one of the main jobs I get privileged to do is walk with people through storms in their life.  This year I have also had a fair share of my own storms, so dwelling on hope has been so good for me too.  This is what hope is for – the tough times in life.

I love Hebrews 6:19 – “We have this hope, as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

This is my favorite picture of hope.  Imagine a huge ship, with a ginormous anchor sticking it to the bottom of the ocean. No matter what storm comes, that ship isn’t gonna move much, because that is what anchors do!  Because of my hope in God, no matter what storms come in life, I will not be moved.

Hebrews 10:23 states “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” 

This is also great. No matter what storms come, we never have to doubt who we hope in. If our hope is in the Lord, He is faithful to His promises.  He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  What a beautiful promise this is.  You know how if little kids are scared of something, maybe of the dark, when do they feel most at ease? When their parent is right next to them.  No matter what difficult thing we go through, our Father is always next to us, and He promises to never leave us. And we can have peace through that.

I received this connection through my Pastor, but below is one of the greatest testimonies of hope in the Bible.  In 2nd Kings 25 the Babylonians put Jerusalem under siege until everyone starved and then God’s holy temple was destroyed. Basically this was the worst thing imaginable. I am willing to bet none of us have experienced something that bad in life. Go read it.

From this event the book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah.  He witnessed this event in 2nd Kings 25.  It is a sad book obviously, but in Lamentations 3:20-24 Jeremiah writes this:

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance, therefore, I will hope in Him!”  

Let’s all memorize that.

And, I am pumped because Renovation Church is singing this song this Sunday! And it is perfect for this post.

I gotta wake up in 4 hours. What am I doing.