7 Things I’m Psyched about in 2017

While many people are eager to call 2016 a dumpster fire of a year, it was actually a pretty darn good year for me. I traveled to New Zealand, visited my BFF in Texas, saw amazing live music, and even bought a house! Oh, and I swam with manatees too. The downside of all those wonderful things is that it’ll be a tough year to top. Hopefully these 7 things I’m psyched about in 2017 will contribute to it being an equally awesome year:

    1. Axe throwing at Hatchets & Hops – My friend Chris of Exploring Upstate has gotten me totally on board with the idea of checking out this new place in Buffalo where YOU GET TO THROW AXES. How cool is that?! We’re planning to make a day trip to Buffalo soon, and I’m stoked to try something totally new and different.
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Photo courtesy of Hatchets & Hops Instagram
    1. Snowshoeing – This year, Tim and I received snowshoes for Christmas from my parents! We can’t wait to hit some local trails and try them. Now I’ll just sit here patiently waiting for snow…
    2. Chicago – For years, I’ve been meaning to take a trip to Chicago. This year may finally be the year. I’ve always heard such great things about the art and culture in Chicago, and I’ve only ever flown through. Now that Hamilton is in Chicago, I have some extra motivation to get there! Maybe I can even see Wayne Brady…
    3. Meliora Weekend – It’s my 5 year college reunion. I can’t believe it, but it’s true. Usually I don’t get too psyched for Mel Weekends, but this year, I’m guessing many of my friends from college will be back in town, so that will be fun! Plus, I no longer work on the campus of my alma mater, so it will actually feel a bit more special to visit.
    4. More Sofar shows – Sofar Sounds puts on tons of great concerts in unique venues in Rochester. I love the surprise of a quirky venue and interesting live bands every time! Last year we saw shows at a motorcycle shop, the Public Market, the Brainery, a thrift store, and many more neat spots. I interviewed local Sofar leader Kelsey Delmotte for I Heart ROC last year, so if you’re curious about Sofar, that’s a great place to learn more!
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Megalodonis at the Public Market
  1. A trip West – Shockingly, my boyfriend and I have never traveled together. We’ve both traveled plenty separately, but we’ve never gone on a trip together! We’re hoping to make a trip out west this year since Tim has never been to some of the national parks out there.
  2. The Eastman Presents: Winter Spectacular – The four remaining concerts in the Eastman Presents series are sure to be amazing and delightful in totally different ways. There’s a Broadway star, a public radio figure, a philharmonic orchestra from Russia, and an incredible tap dancer. Damn!
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Photo via Eastman Theatre

Now time for some really exciting news… YOU, my loyal readers, have the opportunity to win tickets to each of these concerts in this fantastic series! I’m giving away a pair of tickets to each of the four remaining shows, so be sure to check back every couple weeks for the next giveaway.

The first concert of the series is Norm Lewis, who is known for his role as the first African American phantom in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I love Phantom. I listened to techno remixes of the soundtrack in high school- yes, I’m a nerd. I’m psyched to see him perform live next weekend!

To enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Norm Lewis: be sure you’re following me and the Eastman School on Twitter (@servemethesky and @eastmanschool) AND tweet me what your favorite concert is that you’ve ever seen. The winner will be announced Saturday morning!

What are you excited for in 2017? Any places I should check out? Let me know! And keep following along for more chances to win tickets to phenomenal performances in the Eastman Presents concert series.

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A Much-Needed Break of Reality

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the opening of the Eastman Presents concert series, featuring the talented cello rock group, Break of Reality. I’ll let you catch up- I know that’s a lot to take in. Yes, a cello rock group. And they’re amazing. If you need convincing of that fact, check out their semi-famous (and by semi-famous, I mean 12 million views on YouTube semi-famous) cover of the Game of Thrones theme.

The group was founded in 2003 when the original members were freshmen at the Eastman School of Music. It was a very special night for them to return to Eastman to play a kickass show for a huge, appreciative crowd. Ivan Trevino, their percussionist, did most of the talking that night (because, as he joked, his instrument doesn’t require nearly as much tuning as the rest of the group’s). I was struck by how incredibly humble and grateful he and his bandmates seemed- it was pretty moving to witness.

For one piece, Trevino brought his friends on stage, Michael Burritt and Aaron Staebell, who performed with the group a marimba duet that Trevino himself had composed. It was so cool to see teacher and student performing together- a true testament to a) the relationships built at Eastman and b) the talent cultivated there.

I really didn’t know what to expect when seeing this group perform, but damn, they exceeded whatever expectations I may have had in my brain. I loved their original stuff as much as (if not more than!) their covers. Helix and Star were some of my favorites. I became such a gushing fan that I even had to buy their album! Peruse their YouTube and Spotify pages if you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into their epic music.

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This wasn’t the first time I attended a show as part of the Eastman Presents Series! Last year I saw the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and they killed it. If you’re curious about what other shows Eastman Presents is bringing to town this year, be sure to check out their website! Break of Reality was pretty stoked to be featured in the same concert series as Renee Fleming (! she’ll be here in November). Personally, Savion Glover has piqued my interest!

 

Whenever I’m in the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, I look around and try to remember how lucky we are to have this beautiful gem in Rochester. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted, but when I’m physically in that space, I just sit in awe and take in the beauty and the luxury. It’s gorgeous. Sometimes I can’t believe that I performed on that stage in both high school and college, or that I walked across it to receive my master’s degree. I’m so grateful for Eastman, for music, and the vibrant arts community in Rochester.