2019 Soundtrack

It’s that time of year again – the time when I look back over the past year and decide what were the songs that mattered to me. Previous soundtracks are pre-2015, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The first soundtrack post is also an exploration of how I engage with music.

Firstly, songs from AIV2019:

  • Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre
    • despite being on the list last year, it gets another ‘honourable mention’, because we sang it in the concert as well as while floating in the sea at a social event.
  • Magnificat by Kim Andre Anderson
    • A beautiful work that set the words of the magnificat (Mary’s glorious speech from Luke’s Gospel), in Latin, to music. The work was six pieces long, with different tempos, a soloist and choral soloist (from the choir), and was very fun to sing.
  • Stars by Eriks Esenvalds
    • A beautiful work that set the words of a poem by Sara Teasdale to musical accompaniment made by tuned wine glasses, filled with specific amounts of water. These glasses were played by running a wet finger around the rim of the glass, and the amount of water in each glass corresponded to a different pitch.
  • Sure on this Shining Night by Morten Laurisden
    • A beautiful song musing about the beauty of faraway stars. It has some lovely lyrics, for example, “I weep for wonder, wand’ring far alone… / for shadows, on the stars…”
    • This song is included on the list, however, because at the AIV camp revue the Perth University Choral Society (PUCS) performed a filk of it – keeping the tune and pacing, but with alternative lyrics. To give you a hint, the title was “Sure on this Friday Night”, with the alternative title “Maccas Run”. We then performed this to the conductor later, just for laughs. Loved it!

Moving away from AIV, the next songs are a set of three about being true to myself. That was one of my themes for 2019, building on previous years. I haven’t shared all of that journey with you, but I think I’ll be ready in 2020 to do so. Starting now.

You see, I’m bi – and probably demi, too. Not to mention doubly disabled, having Dandy Walker Syndrome and being autistic. I’ll share more of my journeys of understanding those parts of myself with you in other blog posts. Now, onto the songs:

  • Brave (Sara Bareilles)
    • This song was first in my 2017 list, but it became more powerful for me in 2019. This song is a song that Sara wrote for a friend who was worried about coming out of the closet. Sara wrote it to encourage the friend to feel safe with her. This song is huge for me.
    • In 2017, I identified with Sara, though I was beginning to identify with the nameless friend. Now, I identify with both. I came out about my sexuality to my “choir family” at AIV, telling my truth as an intro before I sang Brave to them. I then repeated the song as a solo performance at the semester 1 LaTUCS concert. While the intervarsity choir community definitely isn’t perfect, without their support, it would’ve taken longer to discover who I really am, I think.
  • Welcome to My Truth (Anastacia)
    • A song about being true to yourself, despite everything that gets thrown at you, and living your dreams. It’s about finding the courage to take off the “mask” you’ve been wearing as a disguise, to show and be proud of your true self.
    • I heard this song when I was about to come out as bi to other important family in my life. It reminded me that whatever the outcome, I know myself and my dreams – and what I don’t know, I’m finding out for myself.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
    • LaTUCS sang this song as part of our semester 1 concert. (We also watched the movie later.) I identify strongly with parts of this song for similar reasons to the above song.
    • It’s a well-known song, but if you really listen to it, it’s also a song about pain, rejection, loss – and choosing what matters to you and how you recover from it. In a way. I certainly took it that way when we ran through it at choir the week after I’d had a particularly important conversation that led to a rejection of part of my identity by others.

In 2019, I trialled going to two intervarsity choirs each week during semester. While I don’t think I’ll do the same this year (it was a bit much for me to continue on a regular basis), it was still fun.

  • MonUCS songs:
    • One of the MonUCS songs I did was Song of the Dragonborn (Skyrim: Main Theme) (Lindsey Stirling, Peter Hollens).
    • We did plenty of others, including a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem, but that’s the one that sticks in my head most.
  • LaTUCS songs:
    • Songs sung by LaTUCS this year included:
      • Counting Stars (OneRepublic),
      • Northern Lights (Ola Gjello),
      • What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong),
      • True Colours (Cyndi Lauper), aaaand:
      • The Four Chords Song (Axis of Awesome).
    • Do yourself a favour and check out the latter here. It’s cool.

Edited to add: I can’t believe I nearly forgot the Come From Away soundtrack. I’m going to put Welcome to the Rock and Me and the Sky in here too.

That was my soundtrack for 2019.

In 2020, I hope to stop procrastinating and purchase songs on my to-buy list, keep singing in LaTUCS, go to QIV2020, attend other choral concerts and singing opportunities, and keep developing my appreciation for how music moves me. In that light, I thought I’d end by quoting a blog post I wrote back in October.

I have several passions …. [including] music; listening to it, relaxing with it, and performing it.

Last Friday’s [Brahms] concert was fantastic. It was hard work – I wasn’t as relaxed as I was in other concerts. But I feel really happy about it all the same. The reason for that is …. a number of people were there who’d personally either bought a ticket from me, or came at my recommendation, because I was singing.

Afterwards, they were of course the people whose opinions I cared about the most. So to see their happiness and excitement at what we’d performed – pardon the pun, but it made my heart sing. When someone else gets a thrill from watching me do something I love and do it well – it makes me very happy. It fills me up, completely.

Partly, it’s because it is a gift that is shared. I am forever sharing “me” through my passions. But society’s rules and expectations, the way that quirkiness is looked down on because it’s different, meant that I struggled with fitting in for a long time. Anxiety, especially social anxiety, is a leftover gremlin from that. Finding LaTUCS, then the rest of the choir network, helped me become more comfortable in being “me” – because in the choir(s), we’re united through a love of music and a love of sharing that through choral singing. Regardless of our differences.

Being able to share that with the people I love, my friends and family, is wonderful. So I say to you: support your friends in their passions. Go see us perform, or ask us about our current project. Watch us light up and understand: It means the world to us. Often, we’ve spent a long time hiding or minimising our passions and ourselves. Being supported and seeing our friends enjoy what we do? It makes us feel seen. And loved.

Taken from “Reflections”: October 7th 2019. https://myzania15.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/reflections-2/

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