My First Love

For those of you just joining this Love-Burst-o-phere, you should know that I love music. I’ve spent my whole life running from private lessons to dance recitals to choir rehearsals and orchestra concerts. I spend my free time practicing the organ and, more often than not, can be found rocking out to Strauss’s Die Flaedermaus rather than whatever cool, new music that was just released. People who know me fairly well often compliment my voice or my piano and organ skills, but tonight I had the opportunity to show off my first love–the violin.

My earliest memory find a four-year-old Rylee watching prodigy Vanessa-Mae on Disney Channel as she performed her unconventional electric violin program. From that moment, sitting on my parents’ bed as they persuaded me to put on my yellow-ducky pajamas, I realized I had to play the violin. My young mind tried to explain thatImage my desire didn’t come from a passing fancy, but from a divine calling, that I, at four, had found my niche and was ready to become the next violin virtuoso. After relentless pestering and a realization that I was as serious as a young child could be, my dreams were granted. A tiny 1/8 size violin was purchased and so began my musical journey.

Through the years I’ve added to my instrument collection. I adore the piano and play any chance I get. I joined choir and realized that I can’t live without singing. As a junior in high school, I was called to be the ward organist and taught myself to play one of the coolest instruments ever. Heck, I even picked up the ukulele after high school and enjoy jamming out with others from time to time. But I keep coming back to the violin.

My ward has been having a mini talent display every Sunday evening to give members of the ward the chance to show off their skills. When I was asked to perform tonight, they told me I could do whatever I wanted–I could play the piano, I could sing, I could touch my tongue to my nose (a severely underrated talent). But it made me sad to realize they didn’t list playing the violin because no one knew I played.

How could they not know? How could these people who I’ve come to know so well not know this intregal part of my life? How could they not know that in my heart of hearts is a crazy-haired girl rocking out on her violin with everything she has? So I brought that wild-haired girl out tonight and played my little heart out. 

Sometimes I’m sad that I don’t have the opportunity to play the violin much anymore. I don’t regret my decision to pursue Women’s Chorus, but I miss the feeling of being one instrument in an ensemble. But I know that no matter what happens, even if (Heaven Forbid) I never touch music again, the violin will always be my first love.Image



Life Lately

I know I made a brief list for my last post, but there are so many things on my mind that I couldn’t possibly write about each one without boring you out of your mind. So here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Did you ever read the jokes in the back of Reader’s Digest? I did. To this day I consider those cheesy jokes the source of my sparkling wit. Those and my dad’s lame ones, of course.
  • Pändo is basically my favorite band, and I got to sing with them. Twice. Booyah.
  • I find great fulfillment in what I consider to be intellectual conversations. I’m sure most of the things I say make me seem dumber than a fence post, but talking out my thoughts and ideas with someone who is willing to talk with me is a great feeling. Also, what is the IQ of a fence post?
  • Life is short.
  • Sometimes your best friends get married. But even if and when they do, you’ll still be best friends and take ridiculous pictures by the duck pond to relive the good ole days.
  • You may not be taking classes, but life is still busy. So busy the only time you have to write a blog post about our thoughts is 1:20 in the morning.
  • Great hair days.
  • John Williams is the man. I had a dream the other night that I was being chased by a dinosaur in Jurassic Park, but John Williams’ music started playing and the dinosaur was so mesmerized by the beautiful music, I was able to domesticate him and ride him around without him eating me.
  •  Music, huh? And literature. And history. And art. And just…life. Excuse me for love bursting all over the place here.
  • Heritage. From both your ancestors and even the people who have had a big influence on your life. I am surrounded by so many wonderful people. Love burst again.
  • Sometimes you take really good pictures with your really good friends. But then you make it your profile picture on Facebook and all of a sudden everyone thinks you’re dating. Oops. But just to demonstrate:
Like I was just supposed to NOT make this my profile picture??
  • Being a responsible adult is hard work. But if you go to Wendy’s late at night to get dinner in the form of your favorite fries because you forgot to eat, it can be fun, too.
  • Commuting to work.
  • Reading the General Conference issue of the Ensign is amazing. This is my most recent favorite, and even though it’s to the priesthood holders, I think we can learn a lot from our roles in our Father’s kingdom.
  • Why do the British spell it favourite? Or colour? Don’t their spellings make them seem even more pretentious?
  • America!
  • Parallel structure and this post’s complete lack of anything resembling it.
  • We never had a season they like to call Spring in Arizona, and I have just been loving the beautiful weather and green mountains. Mmm.
  • Gilbert Blythe and the rule that bosom friends can hold hands whether their husbands are out of town or not.
I’ll take one to go, please.

I already have a bosom friend, though, but thanks for asking.

  • Piles of laundry
  • How much I love education. I recently sat through a teacher training for a private school. Like, on my own. And, like, I kind of wanted to be there. Voluntarily. And I thought it was really interesting. I think I must be in the right major–yay!
  • This post was supposed to be short.
  • Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. But sometimes that’s ok, and life is even better than you could have imagined it. Thanks Heaven for that. And I do.

Time Flies

I’m sitting here, 10 minutes to midnight, trying to wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I do, indeed, have class and work and homework to attend to.

Where did my weekend go?

I mean, I know where it went. It went to:

  • My family coming into town on Thursday night. (Yay!)
  • Family fun on Friday. (Yay!)
  • My last Women’s Chorus concert Friday night. (Yay!-slash-Boo!)
  • Watching The Hobbit Friday night (Neutral Face)
  • Not being able to sleep that night because it was like Christmas because the next day was dedicated to:
  • Singing in General Conference! (YAY! YAY! YAY!)
  • More family fun Saturday night, including:
  • Eating pizza benders from Italian Village. (Yum!)
  • A ward party involving brownie waffles
  • An early-morning birthday celebration for my dad (Yay Dad!)
  • Breakfast burritos and conference with my friends
  • Watching conference in the Conference Center with the Blue-Eye Club
  • Seeing Les Mis for the first time on DVD. (Tears. But happy-ish tears.)
See? I know exactly where my weekend went. I’m just wondering if I can request another one so I can actually catch up on life…oh well. Guess that’s what this week is for, eh?

Mahler and Mozart and MoTab, Oh My!

Warning: You are about to experience a whole new side of Rylee. You thought she was a nerd? You haven’t seen anything yet, people.

Warning #2: I’m not sure there is a single coherent thought going into this blog post. I apologize in advance.

For those of you who have missed the past 17 years of my life, I LOVE music. I started playing the violin at age 4, took piano lessons for a while, and am pretty sure I came out of the womb singing. I’ve been involved with choir and orchestra for as long as I can remember, and the one thing on my bucket list is to be a member of Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Someday, this will be me.

Confession: You know how sometimes when you’re listening to music through headphones and the producers make it so different sounds are emphasized in different ear buds. While in high school, I discovered that when you listen to MoTab, the men’s sound comes out of the right earbud and the women sing in the left, as if you are hearing them while sitting in the Tabernacle. I, being the nerd I am, like to switch the earbuds so that I can pretend I’m actually getting this view instead.
See? I told you I was a nerd.
The other day at work, one of the counselors came in and asked me how my Women’s Chorus concert went the previous night. I told him it went well, and we started talking about Mack Wilberg and MoTab, which launched into a discussion of violin concertos and Mahler symphonies and Beethoven and all that good stuff. He left after we were music nerds for a few minutes, thanking me for the conversation.

I don’t have anyone in my family I can talk with about this stuff. It’s nice to be able to find someone who appreciates music.

My thoughts immediately went to my parents. I thought about my dad who offered to let me borrow his Copland Appalachian Spring Suite CD as I drove across the country. I thought about how he’s the one I called after I saw the Utah Symphony play at BYU and was blown away by the emotions I felt. I thought of the way my mom drove me to countless violin and piano and voice lessons. I thought of how she was at every single concert I’ve ever been in. I thought about how both of them are the number one supports in my life and how grateful I am that they’ve both instilled this love of music and helped me to develop this passion that has become so important to me.

Remember how I told you this post would have no rhyme or reason to it? Well, there’s your proof. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about. So there you go.

Home Away from Home

Here at BYU, people will often introduce themselves with their major and say, “Yeah, I live in such-and-such a building.” This does not mean they actually sleep in this building (although they may) or eat in this building (although they may) or have parties in this building (although this is entirely possible as well). It simply means they spend a big chunk of their time there. Chemistry majors, for example, usually claim the Benson building as their “home.”

Music majors like to say they “live” in the HFAC.
As an English major, I have several homes.

And I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work at this wonderful building for almost my whole BYU career:
Smoot Administration Building
(Or the X-Wing, according to a friend. As in one of these.)
I’ve never really been able to consider any of these places my “home,” though. I figured I was just doomed to be one of those campus homeless people who doesn’t really belong anywhere. Just yesterday, though, when I went for Women’s Chorus call-backs, I walked into this place.
And I was home.
I know I write about Women’s Chorus all the time on this bloggy blog of mine, but after feeling that sense of belonging the minute after walking in the Madsen Recital Hall, I once again realized how my participation in Women’s Chorus has been the best part of my BYU career.
That’s right. The Best.
I love feeling like I have a “home” with 180 other girls, with a fanastically amazing director, and the Spirit as we sing all kinds of songs. My upcoming semesters is going to be the craziest one yet, but the part I look forward to most is having the opportunity to use Women’s Chorus as my daily sane-pill–taking a break to do the thing I love most.
Here’s to my fourth and final year in Women’s Chorus 🙂

In Which Rylee Confronts an Age-Old Fear and is The Chosen One

The first time Melinda and I drove to the grocery store as new roommates, she described her fear of someone shooting her hand if she left it dangling outside the car window. I laughed at this silliness, and insisted I didn’t have any irrational fears. A certain terrifying event last week, though, reminded me that I, Rylee Carling, do indeed have a fear some may consider irrational. But for me, this abominable situation isn’t a result of some strange dream or a random happenstance that occurred to your best friend’s cousin’s uncle’s mother-in-law’s ex-fiance, but a real experience from my own terrifying trip down memory lane.
Once Upon a Time, I was in Concert Choir at Highland High School. For those of you who knew me back in the glory days, I was a crazy music machine. At this point, I was playing the violin in Symphony, acting as a sectional leader for the sophomore-age Chamber Orchestra, and singing in both Concert Choir and Advanced Vocal Ensemble. It was on this lovely day I was anticipating All-State choir auditions and preparing to achieve the highest-scoring Soprano in the state of Arizona. I had been fourth chair the year before–it couldn’t be that hard, could it? (It turned out it could–I was only eighth chair that year, dang it) To accommodate the rest of the student musicians who wanted to participate in the top choir and the top orchestra, we were able to alternate choir and orchestra rehearsals, resulting in envy from everyone who wasn’t so lucky to skip one class or the other every other day (Actually, I have no idea if they were jealous. I was jealous of myself, truth be told.)
On this particular day, as mentioned before, I was in choir. Let me continue on yet another tangential rant as I describe the HHS choir room to you.
You enter the performing arts building. The smell of sweaty marching band geeks still lingers in the air, a smell you will come to associate with the terra cotta tile, inlaid with odd, raised circles. You’ll take your first right at the teal-ish double doors that appear amidst the awkwardly rough red bricks. The office to your left is inhabited by Ms. Scholz, and there are guaranteed to be dozens of pictures of choir students taped on the window, blocking your view into her office. No, you will not be in any of these pictures. Why not? Because this is choir–there are cliquish rules to keep with in this holy sanctuary of tortuous music. The sectional room, with an oddly-placed mirror, is next to her office, and after that is Hickman’s Headquarters. It’s also where we store the Advanced Vocal equipment on weekends, so don’t plan on trying to fit more than the assistant conductor in that tiny room on a Friday afternoon at 2:28. Then comes another teal-ish door: the door to the outside, and the gateway to my downfall. The door is left open during passing periods so straggling students can run in desperately as the last bell rings, and sometimes is left open on nice days to let in sunshine. Because apparently sunshine will make this nefarious experience better. All these things on the left wall open up to the stadium seating and risers in the room, a perfect place to create beautiful music while destroying what little confidence anyone in high school had. (I’m joking. I loved choir. Zero sarcasm here.)
It was on this day the teal-ish door was left open. While this did create a nice cross-breeze some days, it also allowed for flies to be let into the room. It was rare when there wasn’t a fly buzzing around, but we had all gotten used to it and considered these irritating insects our own pestering pets. On this particular day, though, a fly would become my mortal enemy. 
We were doing warm-ups, simply preparing to inspire the world with our unified sound, when a fly that had been in the room for a particularly extensive amount of time flew in my mouth and down my throat. Surprised, I stopped singing. Surprised, I began spitting into my hand in an attempt to remove the stuck fly from the place it had lodged itself in my esophagus. Surprised, the girls to either side of me looked at me and my spit-filled hands in disgust. They had not witnessed the kamikaze’s fly suicidal act, only the saliva produced at my attempt to stop the lunatic. Ms. Scholz paused, her sun-spotty hands frozen on the piano, and looked at me as I gagged in the front row. 
“Rylee, did you just swallow that fly?”
*gagging sounds* “Yes!” said in a disbelieving whimper.
Rather than wait for a response from the choir teacher with a dumbfounded look on her face, I ran towards the teal-ish double doors, a cacophony of surprised laughter emanating from the choir students I left behind. I bolted for the drinking fountain, conveniently located only a few steps from the choir room, and drank and drank and drank. I had already decided that fly wasn’t coming back up–the only way to end both of our suffering was for me to swallow it down and let my gastric juices slowly destroy the sucker until there was nothing left but a stump of a man who needed machinery to operate in order to be look like a normal human being (question mark?) and take over the galaxy until he brings balance to the force. So I drank like a camel and returned to the choir room, where I was welcomed like a hero for doing the job no one else was willing or able to do. I, the Chosen One, had brought balance to the force.
And so, when a fly the size of Lichtenstein forced entry into our apartment the other day and I danced around the apartment squealing my pleas that someone, anyone, just kill that nasty little bugger, I have to explain to them about the time I swallowed a fly. And before you ask, I don’t know why I swallowed the fly, but I’m alive and kicking. No plan on dying anytime soon.

Day 27-My Day Job Vs My Passion

My Day Job:

BYU International Admissions

  • I wear a skirt to work every day. While most people cringe at this thought, it has definitely been advantageous to me–if I had it my way I would probably wear a t-shirt and jeans to school every day. Thank goodness for a job that makes me look nice and get people to notice I care about the way I look!
  • I talk to people from all around the world. Sometimes it’s hard trying to interpret people’s accents, but there’s hardly anything that makes my day more than being able to be able to help someone in Spanish. Even if it’s only answering a simple question from a Canadian, I love the feeling I get when someone whole-heartedly thanks me for helping them.
  • I work with some great people. I’m the only one who works in the mornings, so it gets a little boring being all by myself, but when I get together with the rest of the student employees for staff meetings and such, I have such a good time goofing around with some of the coolest people I know. I love the international counselors, and the head of the department has such a magnetic and bubbly personality. One of my favorite people, though, is my supervisor. She recently lost her husband, but is the epitome of selflessness. She never ceases to amaze me by her total willingness to help others and her concern for her family. I love the people I work with.
  • Perk of the day: Business luncheon at Brick Oven Pizza. Yes, BYU paid for me to stuff my face with an all-you-can-eat pasta and salad bar, 3 different pizzas, and homemade rootbeer. I love my job!
My Passion:


I really want to teach high school English. But is it my passion? Part of me knows my passion will always be found at 3 pm in the Madsen Recital Hall, singing my guts out. But part of me also knows how much I love snuggling up with a great book and getting some good old fashioned catharsis. Stay tuned for my passion. I’m sure to figure something out someday.