Last night the Ball State University Viola Choir had it's final concert of the season, and also the last concert with most of the personnel that have been playing in the group for the last two years. See, all four of my graduate students are graduating, as is one senior. So while not everyone played in the BSUVC, last night was an emotional one for me. After the concert, all but one violist in the studio (she was sick) went out to a local attraction, Cammack Station, for dinner and ice cream. We took a number of silly pictures in front of a tractor (how else would anyone know Ball State is in Indiana, right Anthony?) and I gave each of the graduating folks a little gift. This is my first group of graduating students at Ball State, and it feels like a milestone. I am going to miss each and everyone one of them, even though I am very excited about their various paths. It's really amazing to touch the lives of these younger musicians, and to shape their futures in some way.
Here are all the Ball State violists, as well as a photo of my graduates, holding their jellyfish. Why hand-knitted jellyfish in their favorite colors, you ask? Well-- my students will be able to answer that one: Jellyfish Fingers! It's an analogy I use to describe the way the fingers of the right hand should work when playing viola.
And here's a performance from last night's concert of a very tricky viola sextet, the Rondo Capriccio by Kenneth Harding (we had two violists on part 5). Amazing piece, right?! I know it's probably obvious, but I really love the way viola sounds, especially when there are a whole bunch of them playing together at the same time. :-) Besides my wonderful students, one thing I truly appreciate about Ball State is that faculty also want to play in the Viola Choir. You can see two of them on the right, Lindsay Fulcher, who teaches music education and is sadly leaving BSU for the University of Northern Colorado at the end of this year, and Eleanor Trawick, who is on the theory/composition faculty. I think everyone enjoys the cross-pollination and collaboration-- I know I do.
Congratulations, everyone. It's been really rewarding working with you. I'm SO glad not all of you are leaving at once!