Music and MEPS

Its been a crazy few days, and I finally feel like sitting down and writing. Concert Sunday, and then I finally made it to MEPS this week. But I’ll start at the beginning. I had the pleasure of playing Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun with the chamber group, Ad hoc. We played the chamber arrangement of it, which, according to the score was “arranged under the auspices of Arnold Schoenberg”. I assume that meant that one of his students was the arranger? Whatever. Its actually a pretty good arrangement for strings (solo strings in our case), flute, oboe, clarinet, piano, and harmonium (and apparently there are about 6 crotale notes – we didn’t have it and nobody noticed haha). The clarinet part is about the same as the full orchestra version with additions here and there to replace bassoon and english horn parts…including the English horn solo towards the end, which is extremely awkward on clarinet! I really enjoy the part and I feel privileged to be involved in such great music-making.

That’s a faun, by the way.

On Friday, I got an email from the organizer/conductor asking if I had anything to play as a solo (basically the way the concerts work is that there is one big piece, and then we fill in with solos/chamber music). She was contacting me because I had initially shown interest in playing the Poulenc Sonata for one of the concerts, but my practicing has gone a little to the wayside so I decided not to pursue it. But I felt bad about backing out, so I decided to play the adagio movement from the Mozart Concerto.  It was easy (ish) for me, and also easy for the pianist, so I thought that would be a good one since I only had 2 days to prepare, and it truly is a gem in the repertoire.  So I got in touch with one of the pianists involved in the concert and we rehearsed on Saturday morning.  I had never actually performed the movement, so it was probably good that i was doing this.  The performance went really well, I was pleased.  I even had enough time to work out some ornamentation!  I was feeling my creative juices flowing, it felt great.

In other news, I took off a day of work to go to MEPS (means “military enlistment processing station”).  I arrived at the hotel on Monday night (all paid for), and prepared for the 4:45am wake up call the next morning.  My roommate was also a Navy girl, but she was shipping out to boot camp the next day.  Yikes!  That will be me soon!  Anyway, I got a free meal in the hotel restaurant which was actually really good.  In the morning, my roommate and I went down at 5am (!!) to eat breakfast.  Out off all the thirty some that were there, only 4 of us were girls!  Breakfast was really good, it was nice and hot, and of course, free.  The bus came at 5:45 to take us to the station, and we arrived at about 6am.

The thing I noticed most about my day was how organized everything was.  Yes, a flood of enlistees came in the door at 6am, but we were sorted very quickly, and there was never any question in my mind of where I needed to be at any given time.  I was always given very specific instructions which I appreciated (even telling me which chair in the waiting room to sit in!).  I spent all morning in the medical department – it was the only thing I had left to do because I already had a job unlike everyone else, and I had already taken the ASVAB.  If you want, you can read about what I had to do here: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/mepsglance.htm  It was a lot.  I even had to pee in front of some lady, that was fun. LOL

Throughout the morning, I met with the head medical guy several times.  I grew to really hate him, he was almost manipulative with his questioning.  Eventually, he told me I was disqualified medically because of some gyno surgery I had back in 2007 to zap some pre-cancerous cells.  I’ve had negative lab tests since Feb 2008 and I’m still apparently disqualified.  So lame.  There is a very good chance that I can get a waiver, but its not guaranteed.  So I’m waiting and hoping for right now.  I really don’t know what I will do if I am permanently disqualified, I seriously almost broke down in tears when the guy told me that it was a possibility.  I’m hoping things will work out though.

I got done with everything at around noon, but unfortunately my ride didn’t come to pick me up until after 2:30!  I tried to keep a positive attitude throughout the whole thing, there was soooo much waiting around throughout the day.  It wasn’t as bad as people say it is, but I ‘m glad its over.  Once I get the waiver, I’ll have to go back to finish getting processed, and then hopefully I will get an official date that I’m leaving!

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