Monday, December 31, 2012

Personal Reflections on the Changing of the Years

My 2012 is hard to describe. It had its share of disappointing, frustrating, and heartbreaking moments, both in my own life and in the lives of my family and friends and community. But I choose to not focus on those right now. Through all those times, God was quietly at work in ways I can see as I consider the whole scope of the year. There are still unanswered questions about how God was working in one situation or another, but I expect those answers to come when I need to know them.

With that as my preamble, a few highlights from the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve...

I have one best memory and one best experience (yes, the two terms are a bit synonymous, but read on and I think a slight distinction will make sense). The best memory was easily my mid-August road trip for my freshman roommate's wedding, a trip which involved visits with a number of other close college friends. It was an exciting, fulfilling weekend. The best experience was my appointment as orchestra director at Calvary Memorial Church. After having performed with the group while in high school, it was a privilege to be tasked with leading it into a new era of ministry. My subconscious thought, even a year ago, was that I would be involved in church music "here and there" as an adult, but it has become one of my primary engagements.

Given that I am a professional musician, I must briefly enumerate the concerts I attended this year, or at least a few highlights...

  • The first concert I saw this year was the Wheaton College Artist Series presentation of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jeffrey Tate, in January.
  • In February, I saw Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra present Schubert and the world premiere of a work by Anna Clyne.
  • March's highlight was the Wheaton College Concert Choir's presentation of Bach's B Minor Mass, under the baton of retiring director (and one of my former professors), Paul Wiens.
  • In April, on Palm Sunday, my small group and I went to hear the College Church musicians present Parts II and III of Messiah.
  • In May, I went to the high-energy and absolutely thrilling Wheaton College Festival of Faith, which finished with the Symphonic Band and choirs performing David Holsinger's magnificent arrangement of "I Sing the Mighty Power of God."
  • June's highlight, on the very last day of the month, was the Fiftieth Anniversary Concert of the Grant Park Chorus, part of the Grant Park Music Festival - a rare professional choral concert for me.
  • July, August, and September were light on concerts as summer wore on and then the school year got underway, but in October, I went to an excellent concert by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • November's highlight was easily the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's presentation of Mahler's Third Symphony.
  • And December, not surprisingly, was highlighted by the Wheaton College Christmas Festival. This year's Festival, "Journey to the Light," was another thrilling concert, including one of my favorites, Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium," as well as a new piece for me, Christopher Teichler's arrangement of "The First Noel." (All of the Wheaton concerts, by the way, are available for streaming.)

And now, two hopes for the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Thirteen...

I really want to get better at chopping raw fruits and vegetables. I mutilated way too many bell peppers, oranges, and tomatoes this past year in my various kitchen experiments (though I did learn how to make a good potato soup and visually appealing omelets). I think a few YouTube instructional videos may be in my near future.

More significantly, I would also like to spend more time memorizing Scripture. I am sufficient in the discipline of reading Scripture daily (I use the daily office in the Book of Common Prayer to guide my personal devotions), but I really want to memorize more of God's Word. And I would like to move a step beyond AWANA-style memorization (just one or two verses at a time) and attempt to commit to memory whole passages, to better understand the ideas presented by Paul, for example.

So those are my thoughts on this New Year's Eve, 2012. And now a New Year's blessing, a verse I memorized earlier this month:

May the God of hope grant you all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:13 ESV).

Happy New Year!

This is Rubio, over and out.

P.S. Please look at my collection of other bloggers' thoughts on the changing years, as well as thoughts on Bible reading resolutions.

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