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



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.

Things I’ve Learned From Watching Home Movies

My mom surprised me by driving up yesterday (more on that later) and she brought some old home movies on an external hard drive for me to download. Naturally, I spent much of my evening watching myself as a two year old. It was quite entertaining, and I learned a lot about my family and myself.
  • Apparently I was the spoiled child. But can you really blame me for that? I have some parents and grandparents that were all too willing to do it…
  • Being an only child is the way to go.
  • My development was stunted. My cousin who’s only 2 months older than me could sing the ABC’s. I could raise my hand and say “Me!” when my parents asked who the cutest girl in the whole world was. Behind the curve, much?
  • The way I dance hasn’t changed much in 18 years. Oh, baby, I knew how to boogie!
  • My mom looked great with that perm. Let’s start a petition to bring it back.
To be continued…