New Background

Thanks to a friendly suggestion from my good friend Liz, I started thinking about changing the somewhat boring solid-grey background to my site. After a handful of iterations, and with the help of Liz’s creative skills (we all know I’m not the most visually creative person…), I’ve come to something we both like that I think is simple yet still more interesting than before.

What do you think? Do you like the new background? Any other suggestions?

(P.S. I promise there are posts coming soon!)

Emerald Bowl Recap Part 3-Personal Experience

Most of the content of my first two recaps of the University of Miami “Band of the Hours” and our recent trip to San Francisco, CA to perform in the Emerald Bowl has been observation. It’s been discussion of how the university was treated, a recap of the game, and other fairly factual matters. Now it’s time to throw that out the window (provided you’ve already read my first two posts J—find them here and here), and talk about how I personally enjoyed the trip.

This third and final installment of my recap of the Emerald Bowl trip will focus on the part of the trip that hasn’t been discussed yet—our free time. After arriving on Christmas day around 10:30 pm, we had a very relaxing night in the hotel. After an early rehearsal and a pair of pep rallies in the late morning/early afternoon, the band was given some well-deserved free time to explore the city of San Francisco and all it had to offer. I did not do much exploring though. While at first you may think me a poor tourist, I believe that what I did for that afternoon and evening was far more enjoyable than any tourism I could have done.

Since this past August, my closest friend from my hometown of Northbrook, IL has been living in San Francisco. His decision to move to the west coast was very last-minute, and after basically living with each other for 3 months, within 3 days, Jay was gone, 4 and a half hours away in a city neither of us had been to before. I had the good fortune of getting to see him when he came back to the Chicagoland area for Thanksgiving, but only for one night, and with the exception of that night, I had not seen him since August when I left him at the airport. It was, of course, an added bonus of the trip to the Emerald Bowl that I would get to spend my free afternoon/evening with one of my closest friends whom I had not seen in so long.

What made the evening so enjoyable was its simplicity. We did not do anything out of the ordinary for us—lunch at “In-and-Out Burger,” a San Fran staple, relaxing in our hotel and a trip to visit his apartment on the other side of town before returning for a quiet dinner in the hotel restaurant and introducing him to many of my Miami friends. It felt like summer again, sitting there saying, “whatyda wanna do?” “I dunno… what do you want to do?” “I dunno…” and on and on. I got slack from many of my friends for not going out and seeing the sights, but for me, the relaxation coupled with getting to hang out with Jay just like old times made it the best evening I could have asked for.

Jay, who is one of the more avid readers of my site (mostly out of lack of anything else to do—sorry Jay, but you know it’s true!), hasn’t changed one bit since I left him at O’Hare those almost five months ago; he’s just as aloof and nonchalant as ever, and it was revitalizing getting to spend the day with him, after being surrounded for the better part of the semester with one stressful situation after another. Jay, I’m sure you’ll read this no more than 15 minutes after it’s posted, but thanks for playing host for the evening—I really had a great time!

This concludes my planned recaps of the trip to San Fran, although if any of you have suggestions for other parts of the trip you would like to hear about, or any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at, and I’ll do my best to put a post up about it!

FMEA Conference in Tampa

FMEA ConferenceStarting Thursday, I’ll be attending the annual Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) convention in Tampa, Florida with a large group of Music Education majors from Miami. I will hopefully be blogging and “tweeting” from the conference, which will include open rehearsals for the high-school all-state ensembles, presentations from educators around the state (including a few presentations from Frost School of Music faculty and graduate students!), and concerts galore!

You can keep track of my Twitter updates, which will be all tagged with the hashtag #fmea, by following this link, or click here to see all #fmea updates on Twitter (in case there are other “tweeters” at the conference!). I will also try to keep the blog updated with a post or two over the course of the weekend!

Facebook Connect

I’ve just added another way you can connect with me here on my website! You’ll notice on the right hand sidebar that there is now a “Facebook Connect” link. Through this link, you can log in to your Facebook account with the new feature they’ve added called “Facebook Connect.” Once you’re logged in, you can post comments on my blog and check the “Publish this Comment to Facebook” box, and the fact that you commented will be posted on your facebook page! Think of this as just one more way you can keep connected between your life and my website here, as well as giving me a little more publicity :)!

Do you like this feature? Try leaving a practice comment to this post to try it out!

Emerald Bowl Recap: Part 2-The Game

Miami UNow that you’ve heard my vent about the hospitality (or lack thereof) that the University of Miami received in the Emerald Bowl, it’s time for another recap: the game itself. This middle episode of my 3-post series of Emerald Bowl recaps will discuss the game itself, my thoughts about the team and some players, and my thoughts about the future of ‘Canes football. Let’s get started, shall we?

The game started slow for the ‘Canes, and extremely fast for Cal halfback Jahvid Best, who put two touchdowns on the board for the Golden Bears in the first quarter with runs of 1 and 42 yards. Miami struggled to produce much of anything on offense, going 3-and-out in their first four drives. Finally, in a drive that toook up the last two minutes of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second, true-freshman quarterback Jacory Harris engineered an impressive 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Laron Byrd. At halftime, Cal led 14-7, although the ‘Canes were lucky to still be within one score.

Harris, who with the exception of the TD drive struggled in the first half, came to life after halftime. After 3-and-outs from both teams began the half, Harris drove the ‘Canes downfield again and tied the game up with a 7-yard pass to Thearon Collier. Best, though, wasn’t to be denied, as he came back for Cal and had a few big runs to drive the Golden Bears inside the Miami 5 yard line. The UM defense held, though, producing a goal-line stand that forced Cal into a field goal, making the score 17-14.

The ‘Canes and Harris put together another solid drive, making it into the Cal red zone with a chance to take the lead if they could get into the end zone. The California defense stepped up, though, just as Miami did, and forced the ‘Canes into a game-tying FG. The game got interesting when Cal drove down the field on the legs of Shane Vereen, setting up a 34-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Bears the lead. The field goal was wide, though, and the ‘Canes took over with a chance to drive down the field and take the lead. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t meant to be, as on the third play of the drive, linebacker Zach Follett made his way into the backfield, sacking Harris and forcing a fumble that set up a Nate Longshore TD pass for Cal, making the score 24-17.

This is where my griping begins. The ‘Canes took posession with 2:41 on the clock and one time-out, which is ample time to drive for a touchdown. Instead, in the two-and-a-half minutes that ensued, Miami put on about the worst display of clock-management I have ever seen, and ended up wasting roughly :45 seconds of game time getting to the line of scrimmage, only to have Harris throw and incomplete pass, and then for the ‘Canes to burn their final timeout, once the clcok was stopped. They gained barely half the hards they needed to make it to the end zone, and flew home with a 24-17 loss.

With the exception of the clock management, though, I was not as disappointed with the game as most were. I thought Harris looked good, and as the game continued his passes became more precise and he didn’t seem as timid. The defense did the best they could to combat the explosive running of Jahvid Best, and if it weren’t for the awful playcalling by (now former) offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, the ‘Canes could have won this game. I’m looking forward to the future, though, as Harris will now have the starting job with redshirt freshman Robert Marve‘s impending departure. With both offensive and defensive coordinators gone, coach Randy Shannon looks to be committed to turning this program back into one of the elite college football programs in the country. I look forward to seeing what he can do with it!