And now I take you out of your existential time space and direct you to this art piece's attention for just a moment. Ooo, that sounded important.
Today is my bff Justin Quarles' birthday. My bro finally turned 20, I hope it's good one. He has been through a lot in just one year.
I hate to really accentuate on how much disappointment I had in it, but The Other Guys really just let me down. I was looking for a ultimately humorous movie, and came away with a moderately funny, forcefully laughed time sequence. It was just "ok". /end opinion
Don't got the guts to watch Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom, even though Adam left it in my car. Look it up, if you got the balls. Deeply disturbing movie from what I'm told.
Work has been on the brain. Not just what comes along with it, but the act itself, the purpose. To analyze work is to understand its purpose, and what it's considered to be to you. My view of work can independently be described as devoting time and effort to something as to bring meaning to the purpose of doing so. So, in layman's terms: doing something for a reason. Work is not work to me if done for no consequence. Every action has a reaction. Think about that next time you feel lazy. Hah.
Talk about songs that take the feel of their title. Take the song, "Settler" by Balmorhea for instance: makes me immediately think of the ol' west, makes me want to play Oregon Trail. Just a beautiful song in general.
New good albums:
Vampire Weekend-Contra - finally got around to getting this and man does it not disappoint. even more minimalistic jams about horchatas and cousins with a white-belt swagger but a laid back demeanor. highly recommended.
Norma Jean- Meridional - Band finally comes into their own with this album. I never thought Cory Brandan could ever catch up to Josh Scogin's vocal or lyrical workouts, but this album shows him completely obliterating every facet of his previous work. But it doesn't start and end there, the whole band brings it. Every member (new drummer Chris Raines included) pummels and meanders through every exhausting song on this album. Maybe not the best metalcore album ever, but it really is keeping a dying genre relevant.
Oldies but goodies:
Thrice's back catalog: never gets old
Jimmy Eat World's new song: not old yet but definitely going to be a revered gem in their extensive song list. Invented preorder is out and wanted!!! Check out "My Best Theory" now and make sure to presale it up and buy tickets to the two Arizona shows they're playing this year! Dates: 9/27 at the Rialto Theater in Tucson and 10/30 at the Marquee in Tempe!
Immolation: Adam showed me this band, which is still currently touring (albeit with some different members) after an illustrious career that dates back to the 90s. They call it death metal but I likened it to more hardcore roots, inspiring bands like Converge and The Red Chord today. Unforgiving music, little soloing, and relentlessness.
When I'm not home I'm at work, come say hi!
Going to be moving out of this house soon, back into my parents' place. I'm pretty astounded by the last two years here. A lot has been said and done, and certainly a lot has changed. I'm sort of apprehensive, as to what's next, but I'm slowly coming around to optimism. Being 20 and not accomplished is not exactly 40 and not accomplished I guess. It's the everybody wanting more mentality, but I convince myself it's not that, and more of me wanting to have something to be proud of in life, and I struggle to make something useful of myself to everyone. I could be wrong about it all though.
So what's new with you? It seems like everyone's been going through so much lately. We're all trying to slow this life down but need to realize that we won't truly sleep until we're dead. Rest is only a proactive activity providing an adequate shot at productive activity. Remember that.
There's been a dark side too. I realize why so many turn to drinking and drugs in this town. There's just nothing to live for around here. Arizona is a oasis of misguided ghosts. We're all nomadic people going nowhere here, and I see that driving in circles with no destination. I stop at gas stations and Jerry's hoping to see someone I know, giving that human communication I can look for and still be natural. I don't want to call or text or email someone to see them. I want to pleasantly surprise them. I want my presence to be gratifying, and there's to me. I can't ask for that in today's world because I share it with millions of closetheads. No one even goes to parks anymore, they're just waiting for everyone to get off of work and their phones and computers (as I type, I digress). My point is, society: Don't let something so essential to the human race go to waste. And that is being there. Physically make yourself known. Be out when no one else is. Show that you can flex and walk and communicate through motion. Laugh and let someone hear. Don't fear your neighbor, instead embrace the fact that you and he or she exist in this moment. Because it is all we have. And we all have it together.
I only got one person's feedback on the poem last week (thank you), but that doesn't really affect how often I will post more, which is not very often. I don't have too many, but it would be nice to get some thoughts out.
Expect to hear my thoughts on the new Arcade Fire album, along with the usual ranting and ravings.
This week goes on, and I'm late due for a few happenings. I'll recap later to tell you how they go. Pretty mysterious I know, but of no dire concern to anyone but me.
I'm going to start making my blogs thick again, a lot more rewarding and readable. I think the answer to my wanting of readers is valuable content. After all, this isn't just a bitch fit. So I'm gonna exceed.
Read this if you like Anberlin. Goes in-depth into their album, Cities. Written a while back, this blogger has compiled what the meanings of the songs are as well as giving his own view of each track. A great read if you like the band/album.
This day's listening party included:
As I Lay Dying- The Powerless Rise (solid metalcore, didn't catch too many special songs, but only first listen)
The Cure- Disintegration (a classic, through and through. need the deluxe edition cd now!)
Aiden- From Hell With Love (weak live set, which was only a half an hour. the dvd ain't too bad, nice to have all of their videos at least)
Greg Laswell- "Take Everything (feat. Ingrid Michaelson)" (i'm addicted to this song)
The Used- music videos (proved entertaining once again)
Greg Poops- standup (i have a new appreciation for this guy after watching various youtube gems. you might now him from Whose Line is It Anyway?)
Aside from moving various fruits and vegetables, I haven't been doing much of everything. Today is my first and only day off this week if you're wondering. Been left to think about a lot of things and how I can fix them, it's comforting to hear about other people's problems and feel concern for them. As long as it's not with me. So don't feel sorry for me. Ever.
I've been a hardcore Facebook lurker too. When they say that shit is addicting, it's because it is. Instant communication is just so satisfying. It's as if I want to make my friends say something, anything, so that my insides can assume a position on it. It's becoming instinct. Twitter, on the other hand... I can't ever find something I'm doing worth posting. Whether people care enough to read it or not is one thing, but having something worth saying is entirely different.
I got one of those clear plastic Starbucks cups (venti size) if anyone wants to buy it. I need the money, and I won't use it anyway really. Yes it's unused. Lowball me, I'll be a decent seller. Ask for pics if you want.
Just know that I'm around. That's all. Tonight I leave you with some poetry of mine. Let me know what you think:
A Glass Half Full
this mindset will not be here tomorrow
so let's see where the night takes us
it's still young
why let pretensions break us
this evening i'm borrowing your mouth
to say what i couldn't this morning
tonight i'm taking all concerns
and spitting them at the sky
the vibrations are good
the feelings are mutual
how else can we be ourselves?
we grow to fast
to see the starting line
before it's passed.
Okay I know this is a few weeks late, but hey, it's here, so there.
10. The Number Twelve Looks Like You- Worse Than Alone
TNTLLU always seemed like the odd-band-out in heavy music. Never metal enough for the metal kids, hardcore enough for the hardcore kids, or even avant-garde enough for the weirdos. So, naturally, it took #12 four albums to sink in people's minds, if at all. Combined with the mangled tempos and time signatures of Mongrel and the spastic abominations brought forth from Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear., Worse Than Alone: being the band's final album, is also it's most balanced. Kicking off with the howling "Glory Kingdom", Jace and Justin's vocals tear apart the listener's psyche while the rest of the band leads through twists and turns, most notably on "Marvin's Jungle", which is a jungle all in itself. "...If They Holler, Don't Let Go" and "Serpintine" keep you on your feet with punishing rhythms and an unrelenting energy and by the time you get to "I'll Make My Own Hours" you're already exhausted. As much as I will miss Number Twelve, I sleep with the comfort that they got to release their most focused effort, and what a swan song it is.
9. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion
The world's favorite acid-trip-inducing group returns with their most human release yet. Packed with sounds that seem to be dripping from the room itself, the four pack of Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin, and Geologist collectively ruin the shit out of your ears: in the best way possible. From the most bump-worthy jam of the year "My Girls" to a downright psychedelic sing-along "Brother Sport", MMP has something everyone can enjoy. After all, we are human too. And how Animal Collective has come to alienate that concept is truly perfection.
8. Japandroids- Post-Nothing
There isn't much to say that already hasn't been said about Post-Nothing: a sleeper hit and a magnificent debut album by two Canadians who are just fed up with life. If there was any album a college-age, befuddled schmuck like me could rock the fuck out to, this was it. Loads better than fellow lo-fi shitsters Wavves, two guys made garage noise magic this past year into the hearts and blogs of many. The best part is, you don't have to be a hipster to appreciate these heartfelt, fuzzy, misfit anthems.
7. Dan Deacon- Bromst
I'll be honest, I don't know much about Dan Deacon. All I know is that I slept through most of 2009 without it, and in December when I first discovered the glory and saving grace of Bromst, I felt whole again. By and by the most colorful record of 2009, songs like "Build Voice" and "Snookered" show that all electronic music need not have a throbbing, adrenaline-fueled pulse, but can have warmth too. This mixed with a quirkiness all it's own makes Bromst one of the most enjoyable CD's to spill on life's canvas.
6. Passion Pit- Manners
Sure they may be known for being stuck-up college-bred pretty boys and and maybe Manners sprung from the feelings taken after a bummer breakup from vocalist Michael Angelakos' own life, but damn if this album isn't the greatest, happiest debut in ages. Every song takes on a life of its own on Manners and goes on its own with or without you begging the question: can you keep up? I would suggest handing Manners to a downtrodden fella or a brokenhearted princess seeing as it is the feel-good album of the year. In a world where bands either want to make you dance or feel certain emotions, Passion Pit has done both in one LP, not to mention their first. Cheers.
5. Thrice- Beggars
Although the band had to deal with a huge late-July leak, which resulted in releasing Beggars sooner than planned, Thrice had a strong year. Supported by the diehard fans who quickly gobbled up the digital release (and later the CD and vinyl versions), the Orange County group made the best of what was given to them. Along with the usual draining tour regimen, including a stint on Warped Tour, 2009 proved to show that no matter what Thrice does, they will always have dedication behind them. It don't hurt having a good album to back it all up either. While the band described Beggars as more 'groove based' than previous efforts, it also shown Thrice's lighter side, much reminiscent of the Water and Air EPs. Catchier (In Exile) and deeper (Beggars) than ever, Dustin, Teppei, and the Riley brothers show no lack of creative thoughts. With such a strong array of soon-to-be classics (The Weight), Thrice has proven they can do no wrong.
4. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
Brooklyn, New York's Grizzly Bear may be Warp Records' oddest signee (a label known for more electronic-laden artists) but are all the more belonging in today's musical palette of indie bands. Veckatimest being the guys' third proper full-length and best in some circles, it is truly a turning point in the group's career. Lifted off by the subtly engaging "Southern Point", it feels that every sound on the album is begging to be heard. The main vocalists, Edward Droste and Daniel Rossen trade off for bigtime choruses, most notably on the infectious "While You Wait For The Others" and "Two Weeks". If the charm of the harmonies or the soothing nuances of the bells and whistles (special props to Chris Taylor, electronics op) to spice them up, take, rather, the album as a whole. It is best enjoyed in a relaxed state, and Grizzly Bear have stabilized their homeostasis as a band with classy flair and the chops to win over the world, not just critics.
3. The xx- xx
Being subject to an extreme amount of hype can surely break a band. Well here's to having The xx with us for as long as possible. xx is not an album as fervently groundbreaking as it is to be simply digestable. By far the most comfortable album of the year, the eleven sleek and sexy songs not only need your attention but to bear your souls in them. Buried in the chill coolness are relatable topics, with love being at the forefront of discussion. Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim play off each other smoother than peanut butter and jelly, making sweet serenading hushes which veer into more R&B than pop vocals. While not sonically challenging, yet veritably fresh, xx will be talked and even more hyped about for months, hopefully years to come. For a little over 30 minutes of intimate sensuality, we can only be wet with anticipation for more.
2. Brand New- Daisy
The most powerful musical statement of the year came in the form of a lone fox in front of a snowed-upon forest. Devotees of Brand New will tell you that Daisy wasn't received so well upon release. From the day the "At the Bottom" single was released comparisons were already being made and little hope was planted of something even more genre-defying as The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. Then it grew on us. By October, Daisy had begun picking up speed and people either saw it as an open-wide opus or "just plain noise". Brand New, while alienating their own fans with a half-screaming opener with "Vices", turned around and pushed their own creative limits with half-genius-half-monster sets, "Be Gone" and "Daisy". Decidedly sounding more grunge than even labelmates Jimmy Eat World would dare to go, BN really didn't have to give a shit to make their best album yet. It payed off; with every crisp drum hit, every angular guitar riff, and even guitarist Vin Accardi spreading his writing wings fully. As far as reinventing goes, Jesse Lacey says it best himself: "Those days are dead."
1. Manchester Orchestra- Mean Everything to Nothing
During a year that fell grim in so many ways, most memorably the economic downfall of the U.S., it seemed that good ol' Rock and Roll had been vying for someone to save its own inner turmoil. Clouded with geyser has-beens and bro-battered doofuses, rock had little to stand up for itself in the mainstream, or underground for that matter. Thankfully our saviors Manchester Orchestra graced Mean Everything to Nothing into the world. Every song being a testament to MO's southern-fried upbringing and sweat-filled live set, there was no more 'real' album put out this year. Manchester Orchestra made no qualms about being a rock band, and taught me and many other fans how to feel music again. As prolific as the title, they truly meant everything to nothing this year.
(Below is a track-by-track analysis of the album):
"The Only One" being like a journal entry taken from Andy Hull's own pages, the album doesn't slow down waltzing right into "Shake It Out", Manchester's most brilliant number yet. The shakedown don't stop there as the most infectious song of the year "I've Got Friends" kicks off, ending with gang vocals and faint guitar and electronic work. "Pride" pushes things back into gear with over five-and-a-half minutes of punishing riffs and a hell of an ending. "In My Teeth", also known as "Black Man" or "the song that sounds like Nirvana" turns out to be just what the doctor ordered and would make Kurt Cobain proud. Don't be fooled with "100 Dollars"; the buildup is nice but the bark is worse than it's bite. Featured in the Let My Pride Be What's Left Behind EP, "I Can Feel a Hot One" is easily the black sheep in this album being the slowest song but is also the most heart-tugging. With single potential and fan favorite written all over it, "My Friend Marcus" is a definite sing along, with Hull stretching his voice to the limit. "Tony the Tiger", while quite dainty at first, builds up into a chorus-like backdrop. The two most emotional songs of the record, "Mean Everything to Nothing" and "The River" are seamlessly sequenced to work together to make an epic ending with Andy shouting "Let me see again!"
*The following is a very long and detailed account of what I accumulated from the experiences I had from the last four years of my local music venue The Hangout. It's more personal than it is informative for an outsider so if you do read this keep in mind that it was written from the heart, but not specifically for you. Oh and it is very long.*
Update/Final Thoughts on The Hangout:
As of Halloween there are no future shows happening at The Hangout or being sponsored by The Hangout. A mutual decision between myself, Josh Griego and Lois M. was made after that last show to no longer carry on until the youth of Globe-Miami take matters into their hands and revive the local scene (so to say).
Over the past year there has been little communication (mostly my fault), a vast loss of members, and little public outreach, volunteering, or interest. After four years, the best we could do with what we had had been done. Iím not going to soft serve this and say it was the kids, the adults, or musiciansí fault. It was pretty much everyoneís responsibility to keep this alive and we all tried for a good long time, just coming up short. As far as people just coming to shows to begin with, the number fluctuated anyways, depending on who played, which, questionably, was with merit.
It must be said that a lot was done to keep The Hangout alive. As "Chairman" I can say I made it to %70 of the meetings and every show helping out and directing. I wasnít always there to do what I was supposed to and I also relied on many peopleís help, and for that I apologize. From the start, I did want this to happen and appreciated every second I gave to this public gathering. I always have loved and appreciated local music and the people that play it, and have wanted nothing more than to support them and give them the chance to support themselves.
Nevertheless, the real heroes are the people who worked behind the counter, the adult volunteers who gave up a few hours (for some, a whole day) to watch out for us kids and feed us while having to endure sometimes compromising music. Melodee, Carl, Carl, and Lois are the biggest purveyors of service to the youth in this town in their respective time overseeing the Hangoutís doings. Without them, it would not have gone on as long as it did or be successful as it was. Yes, in some cases there was an obvious religious undertone to their work, as they were patrons of their respective churches and saw The Hangout as being a way to influence their beliefs on people. I just want to say that as a part of the Hangout, my views or actions were not poised in this direction, but I respected the adults and their views and I believe they were never negative in the way they ran the Hangout nor should be scrutinized in any way for the people they are or the feelings they had toward kids or bands who attended shows. They grew to accept us the way we were/are, we should and did the same. A thank you to them for carrying on so long and beginning something that was very special and important to this town. They did so much behind the scenes, which hopefully will not be forgotten.
A big thanks is also in debt to the reason The Hangout started in the first place: the kids and artists! Without either, there would have been no reason to even have monthly shows. A few artists and bands attribute their success to local shows and have even grown with their fans at shows at The Hangout. Bands like Honor Bed, who have branched into other bands and solo projects, are the exact example of how music can affect people at a local setting. I know they are a band whom I will never grow out of or forget about, and the experiences Iíve and many other people have had watching them are just as unforgettable. The same can be said for many other groups and single musicians whoíve graced the stages The Hangout has given. As Iíve stated before, in this town itís not simple to be noticed for oneís musical talents outside of their friend and family circle. To have a place where they can develop as artists and create connections with people as fans and more importantly, friends is quite exhilarating and brings the community, or at least a specific group of people together. Harmonious indeed.
And in the end, it is all about the people of the community. Without the kids (young and old) showing up at concerts, nobody wins, making putting on shows not worthwhile. As one growing up and finding The Hangout, I found solace and comfort knowing there were kids like me who 1. like music, 2. are like me, and 3. often times are social outcasts. The Hangout never really was set for the "cool" kids, often being a place where people of otherwise strange personalities could be and relate to each other through music. Over the years, many friends were made, a lot of merch sold, and heartfelt reactions were not suppressed. For a teen, being at a show brought out the best of you, as you were around people you were comfortable with and actually were doing something you wanted to do (see live music) while simultaneously being forced into social interaction. It wasnít a lame dance, it was about rocking out. I only hope the memories of anything relating to The Hangout were not only of the relationships garnered during the shows, but the feeling of your first local show, seeing bands you never seen, meeting people youíve never met, being introduced to a scene outside of the norm kids around here are used to.
Having put this ghost to rest after a month of our initial decision, I have to say, over the past four years, and the 2-3 I spent helping out, The Hangout, which had itís fair share of ups and downs, hopefully will see a resurrection someday. Whether it be different people running it, under a different name, different place, whatever, I want nothing more than local music to live on. There are still acts, (both developing and veterans of music-making) and to not have any shows in the Globe-Miami area would be a shame. As long as their are musicians and kids into music, there shall be a way to be heard. Outside of open mic nights and late-night parties, fingers-crossed for showcasing live music in other venues.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the out-of-town bands and artists for taking the time to come to this little tri-city. You were probably not paid enough to break even, but your music, gracious attitude, and respect (with the exception of Terror Biscuit) for the few people who came out to see you will not go without merit. Also a big thanks to the people behind the scenes: the whole Hangout committee (kids and adults), sound consultants and on-the-spot engineers, volunteers who looked out for us and spent their Saturday nights, including the kids who helped clean the church after shows.
Most of all thank you. If youíve read this far, gone to any shows, told a friend about a local band youíve heard or seen at The Hangout or The Hangout itself, brought a friend to the show, supported a band directly, pat yourself on the back.
Anybody with questions about anything regarding The Hangout or anyone Iíve missed, please let me know here or e-mail me or something. I will never forget what The Hangout meant to me. As much as it was merely a once-a-month gathering, it was important to a lot of people. For this, thank you for listening. I only hope someday an outlet for local music will change a kidís life as much as it did mine.
Ahh summer. The season to end all seasons. Err, yeah. My June and July have been really nice, busy, and full of life. How has everyone else' s been?
Work has been mostly what takes my time. The past month-and-a-half or so I've somehow managed to maintain a 40-hour week, which I haven't regularly worked since I started with Safeway. While the checks have been way higher than usual and been given the chance to perfect my Starbuckin' craft, the extra work time has come with its negatives. While I wish I could spend more time with my friends (Erica especially) I've been starting to realize that this is just the beginning track my workhorse has to run. If I'm going to make it in this world I have to start managing my time and money correctly. Priorities: 1st
This summer I've also been introduced to some amazing music, both live and otherwise. My girl and I saw Manchester Orchestra in May, mewithoutYou in June and later that month, took an excursion out to Warped Tour. In addition to the local Hangout shows, I can't get enough of live music this summer.
As far as new bands/albums for the summer, I suggest:
Passion Pit- Manners
Mastodon- Crack the Skye
The Mars Volta- Octahedron
The Devil Wears Prada- With Roots Above and Branches Below
Black Moth Super Rainbow- Eating Us
Dinosaur Jr.- Farm
Taking Back Sunday- New Again
Now that's a lot of recs. Get educated if you haven't heard about these bands/releases.
I've come to realize that I hate bugs, and they do no good. I expect them just as much as the heat around here. Driving me crazy.
Hey y'all, it's you're old buddy Josh enjoying his little break from bloggage. I swear, there's gonna be a lot to read about real soon. Until then can I interest you in another music review? This time it's regarding the new Alkaline Trio album. I hope you enjoy it, it's also available as a text download at myspace.com/nostalgiareview just in case you might wanna keep it and cherish it forever. Haha thanks a lot my friends.
Alkaline Trio- Agony & Irony Record Label- Epic Release Date: July 1, 2008
Think back to your last mental breakdown. How about the last time you've spent a lonely night drunk and depressed? Like a good friend, Alkaline Trio has always been there for you.
Not to say the band hasn't had its own thick and thins. After injuries, a label fallout, and Crimson, it's safe to say Alk3 are poised for a comeback. Multiple listens in, the only people the band seem to be intent on proving are themselves. Old school fans will see little correlation between A & I and the album using the Lord's name in vain, the obvious being the fact that the harmonic duo of Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano still carry the tunes into the bleak, yet tongue-in-cheek void of catchiness. Not to rule out Derek Grant; in fact, his fills seem to blend in so perfectly, you forget he's even there. While certainly layered and glossy, Agony and Irony is a step below Crimson in the over-produced department.
Without a doubt, the biggest draw of the record (and in every other CD Alkaline Trio has recorded) is the anthemic plethora of choruses shining in every single song. Even the duds ("In Vein", "Lost and Rendered") have their moments of bliss. A piano flourish here and there aid the obvious first single (and well chosen) "Help Me". "Ruin It" may be Alkaline Trio's most diverse song to date with a creepy intro all the way up until the chorus, pulled together with dark guitar accents and Dan's seductively leery voice.
Careful to not cloud their lyrics with metaphors and symbolism, the words that bounce around Agony and Irony are as straightforward and simplified as ever. Each song tends to its own concerns, the song titles being direct references to the bad news being spewed from the lips of the tag team of vocalists. Yes, the main themes again residing in the bible of self-deprecating glory and unabashed apathy, including verses of blood, guts, and graves.
Alkaline Trio have made a career of shedding light on shitty situations. With Agony & Irony, they continue to grind their work into sharp knives poised to stab even the happiest schmuck whistling on cloud nine. Like the rest of their deep discography, this irresistible plunge into the heart the listener receives hurts so good.
Easin' in on the weekend, it's me again. These past couple of days have been give and take, nothing too noteworthy or fantastic. Tomorrow I must face a dilemma: go to the valley with some friends of mine to see "Iron Man" or take my chances on another day of school. Expect an update. Sorry to all of my band and chorus friends, I'm really bummed I missed the POPS Concert, I wanted to be there for you guys. Unfortunately, four measly hours of work threw a wrench in my plans.
Throughout my four years of high school, I've come to appreciate marching band and its music. As much as kids are verbally or otherwise pelted for being a "band geek", it's easy to understand what makes them so proud of what they endure. One can argue that any old schmuck can pick up a trumpet or a drumstick and make noise, but it takes much more than that. No virtuoso made it without good old-fashioned practice, and without the sense of teamwork, (much that I have noticed in my years at MHS) there is no room for progression. Compare and contrast to a typical family: it has its fair share of drama, late working nights, love, and laughs, and at the end of the day they can look at each other with no discretion and say what's on their minds, bonding a connection that only those lucky few get to share. If being a part of something bigger than yourself isn't enough, making music should come as a privilege. It's not just calculated notes and measures, it takes heart, and effort to assume an instrument. Without getting into a realm I cannot speak for (as I have no experience in that field) I will leave this subject with this: I am very proud of what my friends (and family member) have accomplished over the years, as well as how they have grown, not only with each other and their instruments, but inside of themselves.
That goes for the choir too, without your golden pipes, life would be much less harmonic.