Monday, December 3, 2012

Lights in Salt Lake

I was up in Salt Lake the other day to check out the lights on Temple Square. On the drive up there, the sky decided to start raining and it never ceased for the entire evening until it was time to head back home. Despite the chilly, wet evening, it was a wonderful place to be to start off the holiday season.

The lights were absolutely beautiful and exceptionally radiant because of the dark, damp weather. Still, one light shined far brighter than the rest. The Salt Lake Temple. It is the focal point of Temple Square. It's spires reach towards the heavens. It causes the human eye to reject it's natural vision of a downward gaze, to look up and contemplate the larger, more eternal scale of things. It brings immediate peace where anxiety, stress and fear abound.

After all, this is a season of peace and joy. A time when we can forget about ourselves, our problems and our troubles and focus on serving those around us. It's a time of hope, knowing that no matter how bad things get, there is still a Greater Being that watches over us and loves us more than we can comprehend. It is a time to remember the ultimate sign of hope that we have been given by a loving Heavenly Father, that of His Son, Jesus Christ.

May this Christmas bring you the peace for which you are searching.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book on Tape Worm

A few months back, I had the opportunity to record some horn parts for a local band called Book on Tape Worm. It was a fun experience and I love doing that kind of stuff. Just recently, they put out a video on the website to promote their new album. The video features many moments in their journey to create an album. It's a really nice video and it shows me for 2 seconds of the 3 minutes and 29 seconds recording! How awesome is that?

Here it is! Watch it!

I am spotted playing my horn at 2 minutes and 9 seconds.

I feel so cool being in a music video.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School: Take Two

The second first day of school was a lot like the first first day of school. Only this time, I leaned a little more into it.

I think it's going to be a great semester.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School

Check off the first-day-of-school box.

Check off the first-day-of-teaching box.

Oh wait... They're the same box.

Sight Singing hasn't seen anything like this before.

Brace yourself Music Dictation.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Bachelorette

I watched the Bachelorette this season, just like I watched it last season. I'm happy to report that I didn't get into it myself. All it took was the gentle coaxing of pretty ladies and all the sudden I'm a fan. I'll admit that this season was pretty good. Last season wasn't that great and left me wondering whether I would ever watch it again. 

This show is my dose of drama in my life. I don't know how some people manage to have so much drama in their lives, but I just don't have any. Well, not any that I really care about.

* * * * * * * *

"But Zach, how could you ever live life without any drama?"

"I don't know. I just seems easier this way."

"Wow. That just sounds so boring.
You need to get a real life."

"Actually, it's quite wonderful.
It's just plain awesome!"

"Well, whatever.
I need to go talk/complain/cry/exaggerate about something/someone.
You aren't giving me anything."

"I think I gave you plenty."

* * * * * * * *

Anyway, this season was quite enjoyable. There was plenty of stupid guys and a couple of rock-solid guys that I wanted to win. I liked Arie up until the end. He became a little creepy by the end. Sean was awesome and I wouldn't have minded had he won. Jef was my underdog hero. Local Utah boy. Isn't hiding behind tons of muscles. Just a simple, cool kid. 

My friends got together for the finale (friends meaning all my girl friends). We were all rooting for Jef. We had "J" cupcakes and other treats and snacks. We all even made t-shirts. I missed the little party some of them had to make t-shirts so I took it upon myself to make my own stellar t-shirt. It needed to be good. I needed to impress. I needed to have the best one. Why did I need to have all this? I don't know. I guess because my ego said so. 

Here's what I came up with.

I found a picture of Jef and vectorized his face. This was going on the front of my shirt. But wasn't just going to stop there. I needed something to fill the back. So, I made up some twitter hashtags.

I printed them on some simple iron-on sheets and I had my final product.

I thought it turned out great when I first did it. After its first wash, the clear parts of the face and the background of the hashtags turned kind of white, but that's ok. And the gray turned green. Whatever. I wore it with pride and cheered on the Utah-grown Jef Holm. I'm glad he won. That would have been a little embarrassing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I took these out for their first spin tonight.

They're like wearing a pair of dreams...

Friday, August 3, 2012


For the first half of this week, I spent my time up at Snowbird for the Barlow Competition for Music Composition. I was an intern in charge of making sure the judging process ran smoothly, quickly and efficiently. I had done this internship once before. This year, the commissioned piece was for A Cappella Chorus. My experience this year was pretty much like the one I experienced two years ago (I covered it in detail in three installments here, here and here) but never really addressed the venue where the competition judging takes place.

Snowbird Resort is absolutely beautiful. Everyone is set up in their own private rooms, including the interns and all meals and snacks were taken care of by the Barlow. This is the view from my room on the top floor.

Our stay up at Snowbird isn't entirely about judging the entries that came in, but there is also quite a bit of leisure time to hike, swim, chat or whatever one would like to do. Meals are particularly great times for interns to rub shoulders with the judges. They offer helpful information about composing, how to market your music, places to apply for school, etc. They are also people just like anyone else and they have other interests outside of music. They like to have fun, joke around and laugh.

They have planned for us, on one of the days, to take a hike to Cecret Lake, which is a water shed up in the mountains. Depending on how the judging is progression determines whether there will be time for that or not. This year, there was plenty of time for the hike and for a tram ride to one of the mountain peaks near Snowbird.

 This is Cecret Lake. So clear and beautiful.

I know the sign said no swimming, but one of the judges couldn't resist taking a dip. 

There were some great skipping rocks.

This really was a great time to be in Snowbird. The weather was mild, thanks to afternoon showers and the wildflowers were going crazy. They were so pretty and they were everywhere.

Since the judging was moving along quickly and we finished ahead of schedule, we were able to take the tram ride to the mountain peak.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This summer, I haven't had a whole lot to do. Because I have some spare time on my hands, I'm asked to babysit my little niece and nephew. And I love it! They are just so much fun and I love them so much. I can't imagine how much their parents love them. I'm pretty excited for that some day.

One day, I got to watch my little niece. 

She is so cute. This adorable look that she gives just pulls right at the heart strings.

We were playing out in the front yard and she just wanted to explore everywhere. She especially wanted to run down the hill into our neighbors back yard but that probably wasn't to great of an idea. I did have to return her to her parents in one piece. So I showed her the garden hose and she quickly forgot about the hill until she saw it again a few minutes later.

I got her to say "cheese" for the camera.

She is growing up so fast. I still remember the first time I got to hold her. She was so small. Now she is running around, climbing on things and speaking in all sorts of baby tongue. I wish I understood what she was saying. I'm sure it's pretty interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Had I not gone on the Vienna Study Abroad, I probably would have never never met the beautiful and wonderful Grace. Grace and I had a lovely time in Vienna. She quickly became notorious for being in front of my camera at just the wrong time, but that made our friendship grow and blossom. Well, I liked her more because of it. I'm pretty sure she hated me for a while because of the pictures. She is so fun, energetic and full of life, and here's the proof of all of that. 

Grace wanted some close ups one day waiting for an U-Bahn train. I think she just got so excited that she jumped right into my camera lens.

She had to get her little mustache on. I loved these little mirrors. 

All happy and cozy on the train to Italy. I think she just met Prince Charming in her dream.
By that expression on her face, he must be pretty dreamy.


I love, love, love how her personality just shines through in all of her pictures. How could a person not want to be around her? 

Still one of my favorite photos is the kebap shot. It just says so much. First, you're drawn in by her stunning eyes, then her beautiful, fair complexion, followed by her flowing, curly hair. You're thinking to yourself, "dang, she's gorgeous. She's a model!" Then she's like, "yeah. That's right. And I'm working all that while downing a kebap."

Now, it wasn't all goofy pictures for Grace. She also was the subject of some of my best shots from Europe. Here's the proof. She just looks so pretty in this picture and there's an awesome reflection in the glass. 

One of my favorite pictures of all-time to come out of my camera is the next one. I can't stop looking at it. Doesn't she just look absolutely gorgeous? I think so and I think you'll agree.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fajitas and More Tilapia

One of my favorite foods on the face of this planet is fajitas. I love just having a tortilla, slapping down some sour cream, then filling it with delicious chicken and sautéed peppers and onions. Sprinkle in a little cheese, a bit of lettuce and diced tomato, and I'm the happiest person in the room.

I usually want to get fajitas at any restaurant that I go to but they are usually one of the most expensive things on the menu. I don't understand that. It's super cheap to make. So whenever I want fajitas, I just whip it up myself and it's just as good, if not better than what the restaurants provide.

I also experimented the other day with salsa and tilapia. I give to you, Salsa Tilapia. Original, I know. I just put some salsa on the tilapia, seasoned it with a little extra pepper and cayenne pepper (I like it spicy) and baked it in the oven. It turned out delicious and so easy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Becca and Adriana

Let me tell you a little about Becca and Adriana. The first thing you should know is that I love them to death. I had so much fun with these two over in Vienna. It's impossible not to have fun with them.

The second thing you should know is that I'm pretty sure they were best friends way before this life on earth. They always are happy and smiling and that infects everyone around them. We would always have a grand time whenever they were around.

The third thing you should know is that they nearly convinced me to drive a Ferrari. Now, I could easily convince myself, but in Milan, there was quite a huge price to pay to drive it for ten minutes. They were still good sports even though I didn't do it. They had fun trying to rationalize the decision and probably would have loved to see me spend money that I didn't have. :)

Lastly, I think they are secretly in love with me. Here's why I think this. One night in Vienna, I was getting ready for bed and i got a text. I opened it up and found this. Oh, how I miss Vienna.

:: Warning ::
While Becca and Adriana have the spotlight this time around, I still have plans to put others on the hot seat.
I have some good ones coming up.
I may not be as nice as I was in this one...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Well, this was the best part of my day. I'm really digging Handel lately. I never really gave him much credit for his amazing music.

Thank you Friday the 13th for living up to your reputation. It's a good thing that tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

String Quartet

I just recently found a recording of my String Quartet #1 that I thought I never had. It was performed a while ago at a student composition recital on November 3, 2010, probably the most stressful recital for me ever. My senior recital wasn't even this stressful.

The day before, I knew that my piece was being performed at the recital. The main problem was that I still wasn't sure who was going to be playing it. I had been through more than ten different string players in the previous weeks trying to get ready for the recital and watched them all disappear like rain drops in a river. I finally managed to nail down four string players the day of that weren't going to back out on me.

I rehearsed with them most of the day. I became frustrated to no end and was sure that I was going to pull my piece from the program. Part of it was my fault. The piece was quite difficult, especially the first movement. There is so much independence of line and tight counterpoint that it was practically impossible to put together hours before the recital. However, my players came through and did the best that anyone could have done in their situation.

If you'd like to take a listen, head over to the 'compositions' tab to the right and enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Night Photos

There aren't too many waffle nights to occupy my fridays anymore, so I decided to head up to campus and do a little composing. I also brought my camera, just in case I was feeling like an adventure.

As I was driving, I realized that my friend had just put up his BFA show and was having the opening tonight. So I decided I would go to that. On my way to the show, I remembered that there was another show out between the Harris Fine Arts Center and the Museum of Art: The 8-bit sculptures. I checked those out before heading into the HFAC to see my friend's BFA show.

I finally made it to the BFA show and it was really nice. It was an exhibit of photographs of modern Provo and he made white ghost drawings of buildings that used to stand in those places. It was really cool to see a bunch of buildings that I remember that have been torn down.

Afterwards, I decided to head back to my car. I had spent a lot of my time talking to my friend. It was really good to see him and catch up on the awesome things that he has done and has in store for himself in the future.

I was walking back to my car and saw a picture that I really wanted to get.

It was a beautiful night. Peaceful. Calming. Quiet. Something I so desperately needed.

I pressed on a little more and took a few shots of the street that I so frequently drive on.

Finally, I arrived at my car and felt that I should make one more stop. I headed just up the road until I reached the Provo Temple. I took a few shots, but mostly just sat there and looked. Thought. Pondered.

I love this place.