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Music and Me: January Blogging Meme

[personal profile] pete_thomas asked about my musical tastes, a bit more about the group I sing with, and what got me into music.

We'll start with the last question. I've always enjoyed music of all sorts, although my exposure to it as a kid was somewhat limited, because neither of my parents listen to popular music. They're both musical, though -- my dad sings and my mom plays piano and guitar, and I have many other family members who play instruments, sing, or both. I started playing the flute in fourth grade and the piano in fifth, and then in eighth grade, when we moved to California, I joined choirs at both school and church. When I started high school, I had to choose between band and singing, and because the music teacher had a better reputation as a choir director, that's what I did. I'm still sometimes a little sad that I gave up the flute (and that I quit playing piano a couple of years earlier), but high school was when I got really into singing, and it's been an important part of my life ever since.

The chorus I sing with now is based out of Stanford University. The conductor is a faculty member, and many of the singers are students, faculty, and staff, but it's also open to anyone in the community who wants to take part. It's a large group, usually well over 100 singers, and we perform with various local orchestras. I joined when I moved back to the Bay Area after college, and (with a quarter off here and there), I've been a member ever since. In a typical year, we have three performance seasons (Fall, Winter, and Spring) with two concerts each. Mostly we perform large-scale classical works, although sometimes we'll do smaller, more modern and/or avant guard pieces. This quarter is Verdi's Requiem, which I've done once before -- it's a challenge, but I like the music a lot. I enjoy singing with this group, and I've made a number of friends there, but the main thing that brings me back is the conductor, who is fabulous. He's on sabbatical this year, which makes me appreciate him even more.

As for my musical tastes, they're pretty eclectic. I do like classical, both choral and orchestral, but if you scrolled through my iTunes, you'd find quite a lot of alternative rock and pop (especially from the 80s and 90s), movie and game soundtracks, folk and folk-rock, and mellow electronica. I like music I can sing along with, and I like music I can write to (two categories that are almost but not quite mutually exclusive). Since I almost never listen to music radio these days, finding new music is a challenge. Recommendations, Pandora, and fanmixes are good sources, but I'm always on the lookout for more.

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