Survivor Series, or Inspiration Comes in the Coolest Places

19 02 2008

These are lean times for the company. Some large investments went bad, and none of us have been properly paid for a month and a half now. I’m living off my Christmas savings. Those of us who were unfortunate enough to have spent the Christmas bonus before Christmas are now in really deep trouble. Morale is so low, we can’t stand to be in the same room together anymore – that is, if you could get us to go to work at all.

That’s a too-simple-to-be-the-whole-truth way of putting the situation – it’s actually far more complicated than that, but I don’t really want to elaborate on it right now; tempers are already so short, if we were a stick of dynamite there would be a hole in one end where the fuse is supposed to go. No point in making that any shorter, ne?

However, I am thankful for two things that sustain me during these hard times: God’s grace (by some miracle, I still have enough money to buy food, get the laundry done, etc.) and music. These past few days alone, I’ve been exposed to music so great, all our money problems seem like petty trifles.

No, sorry. I’m not talking about Beethoven. I’m talking about video game and anime music.

The Eminence Orchestra, based in Australia, is an ensemble that actually specializes in the music of these genres. You can find videos of their recent performances on YouTube – my favorite being Journey to the West from the animated movie Princess Mononoke.

I also recommend their chamber and small-group performances (Radical Dreamers is just “Wow!”).

The orchestra’s performances are generally well-received, since their target audience is actually people my age, who grew-up during the advent of video games (it took me 14 years to finish the original Super Mario) and have been following games development closely. I do think that if the orchestra is going to survive in this day and age as a relevant cultural force, it would do well to pay attention to the video game industry where some really good music is being cranked-out.

Does this mean I’ve turned my back on classical music? Naw. Far from it. But I must confess that nowadays, when I listen to music, I have visions of the kids in my orchestra playing it. Frankly, they don’t get Handel, or Mozart, or Bach (I had one student who pronounced it like batch; as in, “Who in earth is this Batch dude?”). But they get Metal Gear, and Final Fantasy, and Chrono Cross. And so do I. I’d have to be blind to not see an opportunity here.

Speaking of the orchestra, we perform on March 8, Saturday, 5pm at none other than the venerable ICA gymnasium. We’re having it in the gym mainly to cut costs (remember this being a lean season?), but I personally favor the gym because the big space filters out most of the wrong notes. Hehehe.

And I’ve just made the acquaintance (albeit online) of professional cellist Emily Wright of Stark Raving Cello fame. Finally, a cellist who’s actually passionate about teaching! Who has an open mind! Who has experience! AAAAUUUGGGHHH!!! It’s too good to be true! She actually would like to see how I hold the bow! AAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!

(I’m giddy with delight here. Really.)

Yeah, times are lean…but they’re still good.