Tag Archives: Art

104 – Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy

This was one of the most life changing things I have ever done.  When I was a junior in high school, the Oregon Bach Festival started the Youth Choral Academy.  It started out small, probably only about 50 or 60 of us, all from Eugene.  They got one of the best choral conductors in the country, Anton Armstrong from St. Olaf College, to come and lead us with the help of an amazing Dick Clark from the U of O.   I imagine we were not that great the first year, but I can tell you that I left that week of the academy a much better singer and chorus member.  We got to work with amazing singers on vocal technique, body singing and so much more.  We went to the ‘camp’ during the day, but were free to get into all sorts of shenanigans at night.

The next year, the administrators wised up, and put us in the dorm to keep a better eye on us.  We were also much better the next year, coming from all over Oregon.  Dr. Armstrong expected much more from us and kicked our butts a little harder.  I learned even more.  Unfortunately, my college women’s choir was a huge let down after singing with the amazing singers in the OBFYCA, so I quit singing after my first term in the choir.  I did go back as a chaperone for the YCA the next summer.

I was a very strict chaperone.

This year was the 15th anniversary of the academy, so they invited all 700 of the alumni back for a weekend of rehearsals, a luncheon and to since a couple songs with the current YCA (now called Stangeland Family YCA) kids.  The concert was this past Sunday, and I have to say I had so much fun.  Only about 35 alums showed up, but there were 4 of us from the original year.  I took Alma to the luncheon and it was pretty fun to imagine her singing in the choir in 15 or 16 years.  Oh, how lucky she would be to have an experience like singing in the SFYCA.


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Number 78 – Kal Barteski & LoveLife

Kal Barteski’s blog was one of the very first I followed.  I found it by way of Katrina while I was still in Peace Corps.  Kal is an artist, a creative spirit and an amazingly positive person.  Her mantra of having a bullet-proof positive attitude has gotten me through a lot of tough times.  I often forget the notion, but am always happy to be reminded when her blog comes up on my Google Reader.

Reading Kal’s blog reminds me of my love of creating and all things artistic.  Her art projects are beautiful and beautifully inspiring.  She writes with a quick sense of humor and humility.

I have to admit that reading a blog written by someone I have never met (and probably never will) seems sort of odd at times.  Sometimes Katrina and I will say things like, “Did you see Kal’s pregnant?  So exciting!”  or “Did you see Kal’s new project?” as though she is a close friend of ours.  I suppose that’s the age that we’re in… and I should celebrate the fact that I get to have some sort of relationship with people like Kal.

Kal’s doing a new project starting this week called ‘Nurture Your Creativity + Be Bulletproof.’ It’s an online class that teaches how to be both creative and bulletproof.  I would love to do this, but haven’t signed up yet.  I need to ask Jesse if it can be an early Anniversary or Christmas present…

We need more people like Kal on our little Earth and I’m so glad she’s reaching out to teach others how to live life with a greater amount of creativity and positivity!

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Number 76 – Marc Chagall

I don’t really know why I love Chagall’s paintings.  There’s a feeling to them that is sort of indescribable.  I love the calm cool colors contrasting with the vibrant warm colors.  I am so interested in Chagall’s personal history and how is life is reflected in his art.  I love magical realism in literature and in art.  I love the confusion and inspiration of seeing his paintings.

I saw a huge Chagall exhibit at SFMOMA a few years back.  I was amazed at the skill and the stories in Chagall’s paintings.  It blew me away to be quite honest.

When I was last in Paris, I missed his famous Opera ceilings (I will rectify this gross error next summer), but I did get to see his incredible stained glass at the UN building in New York.  It’s amazing how he made glass look like paint.


Filed under People, People I wish I could have known, Things, Things I love

Number 60 – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

When I was little I had this art game that had a bunch of postcards of different works of art.  This was one of my favorites.  I remember looking at the woman’s expression and wondering what she’s thinking.  It always fascinated me – still does, in fact.  I still can’t tell what she’s thinking.

I have always loved the soft focus and pale-yet-vibrant colors that Renoir used in his paintings.  There is a sense of motion and depth in his subjects, whether they are people, landscapes or still-lifes.  I love impressionist painters and Renoir is one of my absolute favorites.

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