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Summer 2015 Blog Series

s u m m e r  2 0 1 5 ,  a s  c h r o n i c l e d  b y  h i t t a s

The members of HIT have had quite eventful summers, to say the least. Whether dedicating themselves to internships across the globe, traveling extensively, or furthering their studies beyond UVA, HITtas have stretched themselves this summer, bringing back diverse experience to the group and the larger university community. Although each of us spent our vacations in different locations, participating in different activities, we all share the desire to reunite in two short weeks and continue making music as a group.

C l i c k  t h e  i m a g e  a b o v e  t o  r e a d  a b o u t  o u r  s u m m e r  a d v e n t u r e s !

The Best of College A Cappella

...and That One Time a Grey’s Anatomy Cast Member Tweeted Me

 

Dear Loyal Readers of the Hoos in Treble Blog,

This is Rhody writing today, and I am writing to you, proudly, as a Former Music Director. The excitement and unchecked joy I feel as I add the epithet “Former” to my position title is comparable to that one time a cast member from Grey’s Anatomy tweeted me. Excitement abounded, y’all. Indeed, I think rapper Iggy Azalea summarizes my sentiment aptly in a line from her song “Black Widow:” “Praise Jesus, hallelujah.”

But, Dear Readers, my resignation is not the purpose for writing today – that’s a whole other post. I have News To Share, and the excitement I feel in sharing this news is also probably comparable to that one time a cast member from Grey’s Anatomy tweeted me.

As the Former Music Director (FMD), I had the detail-oriented honor of working with the ladies of Hoos in Treble to produce a CD, which we charmingly named Pink Pumps. Over the 2013-2014 school year, my talented musician-friends and I spent hours in a studio recording our work. I combed each track twice over after we finished the recording, sending tedious and vaguely aggressive emails to our producer – some say I’m picky, but I say I’m particular – and, skipping over some more stressful months, a year later we had an album in our hands.

The moment in which I was able to tangibly grasp the abstract and painstaking work of the last year was a precious moment. Do I say that with a touch of melodrama? Perhaps. But I’m trying to build up to that News To Share, remember? Saying that the CDs were delivered to my apartment in three unmarked boxes by a large, sweaty man named Ricky seemed to diminish the moment because it was, in fact, more than that. It was a stunning, culminating moment in which I was able to hold a snapshot of our group. While Facebook does an excellent job of capturing and cataloguing the stages of HIT, our album was a vocal picture of what our group will forever be across five generations of Hittas. That is what I hold in my hand when I hold Pink Pumps, and that is the sentiment I am trying to convey to you, Dear Readers.

That moment was last month, and a lot has happened in the time since. Most notably, the Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) released its track list for its 2015 album, and I am excited to announce that Hoos in Treble will be featured for our cover of “Lego House” (OPB Ed Sheeran, arr. Thy Nguyen). On behalf of our group, HIT is honored to represent the all-female side of UVa a cappella and be featured alongside the Virginia Gentlemen, the Hullabahoos, and the New Dominions.

Thanks to those that have had a hand in making our album; we are all grateful and made better by your support, encouragement, and talent. Be sure to get a copy of Pink Pumps [here] so that you can forever share in our excitement!

 

Rhody Mastin

Batten 2015

Anonymous Hitta – Fairfax, Virginia

Intern and Camp Counselor are two different titles that many college students take on for the summer. But not usually at the same time. I’m blessed to have spent my summer as a mix of those two titles!

I just wrapped up a 2 month internship at The Rock Student Ministries at McLean Bible Church and am now in the Outer Banks being burned to a crisp! But I’m not here to talk about my delusions that I don’t need sunscreen…though the weather here is lovely. For some reason I thought that I had a nice enough base tan from this 9-5 cubicle job to be able to scoff at sunblock. I was wrong.

You might ask – how could one be an intern and a camp counselor at the same time? Here’s the intern part. I spent most days in the office with three other college students and 6 staff members who have dedicated their lives to serving Middle and High School students and sharing God’s love with them. Though the office was freezing, the people I shared it with made it more than worth it J we made many wal mart runs, sent emails, helped plan events, ordered pizza (for the events……of course) wrote devotionals, made phone calls, and worked with many spreadsheets. (Or at least tried to.) We met with students individually and grow in friendship with them. I led worship songs on Sunday mornings for the Middle Schoolers. I learned so much from all of the staff and am inspired by their devotion to building God’s Kingdom! 


Here’s where the camp counselor side comes in. We went on 4 trips! The first was a 7 hour bus ride to Myrtle Beach for the high school camp. We brought 400 students and volunteers (I was a “bus captain” for a charter bus of 55 teenage girls…I may or may not have abused my authority of the microphone and told too many bad jokes. But luckily I made up for it with my beatboxing attempts….I’m relevant right?) I was a room leader for 5 rising Junior girls who always kept me laughing. A week after that, we took 20 students and 3 brave moms to Baltimore to partner with the Baltimore Dream Center. The BDC kept us busy for four days picking up trash in the neighborhood, serving food, and sharing our faith. It was incredible to see such young kids serve so cheerfully!

Then, I dug up my passport and brushed up on my Spanish, because it was time to go to the Dominican Republic with 300 high schoolers and volunteers. It was humbling to see the extreme poverty in the DR and watch how the people live with so little, yet are still so joyful! The trip gave us a new perspective on how blessed we are.

And one week later, we headed to Northbay Adventure Camp with the Junior High Students. I spent four days with some of the most adorable 6th grade girls you will ever meet. I was so inspired by their faith in God and their kindness! They had questions about SO many things (from “what’s for dinner?” to “what’s the meaning of life?” It was exhausting, but incredible. I just love 6th girls J

 

I’m so grateful to God for this summer and excited to reunite with my Hittas!

 

Love,

Anonymous Hitta

 

Anonymous Hitta- Newark, DE

Ah, summer. The only time where copious amounts of sunscreen is acceptable, drinking beer during the day is encouraged, and generally acting like a sun-seeking bum is elevated to a king-like status. There is nothing better than sitting on the porch at the end of a blue-sky day, eating a burger (or veggie burger, if that’s your thing), and wondering how so little could have happened in 24 hours. Alas, I am not writing this from the beautiful porch setting, as I am currently trapped in the confines of the suburban work life and procrastinating by writing this blog (in real life, I’m labeling pamphlets) and my days have been filled with labor instead of sunscreen. Summer has come in brief but wonderful moments throughout these four long months, and while adult life feels closer than ever, it has been magnificently rejuvenating. (This, I believe, is due to the massive amount of yoga and books I’ve consumed. They’re a natural cure for anything.)

But, in between working at the University of Delaware, LOFT, and the Delaware Arts Alliance, I managed to leave town and head to the magical place called the Adirondacks. For those of you who don’t know, the Adirondacks is a huge piece of land in Upstate New York with very little cell service and lots of wildlife. My family, for the past 16 years, has vacationed at a small camp called Hemlock Hall on Blue Mountain Lake. It is far and away the most amazing place in the entire world (I may be a bit biased), and the views never cease to stun. Each year, we pack the car full of food and booze on Saturday morning and begin our journey into the land of the wild. For a week, we are immersed in bacon, bacon grease, bread, lake water, and sunshine, and it’s the best kind of R&R a person could ask for.

In a nutshell, that has been my summer - working, waiting to go on vacation, and working some more. But, since I have finished 39 books in the past three months, I figure I’ll leave you with some book recommendations. Here are my top three of the summer:

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (You’ve probably heard all about this book. It is AMAZING. So much better than any teen novel you’ve ever read, and the most precious love story.)

2. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman (I cried. A lot. It’s about a couple who find a baby and decide to keep it, and the gut-wrenching consequences of their decision. Not really an easy, breezy beach read, but worth it still.)

3. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (a wonderfully fantastical book about wonderfully fantastical creatures. Plus it has a beautiful cover.)

 

Lots of HITTA love,


Anonymous HITTA

 

 

Anonymous Hitta - Charlottesville, VA (take two)

WHUT UP WORLD?! Greetings from the comfort of my couch. This is in the first time in months I’ve actually been able to sit on it. My summer has consisted of the following; discovering Sherlock and the incredible man who is Benedict Cumberbatch (if you’ve never watched Sherlock seriously stop reading this and go right now. I mean it. Watch it. Now.), laying on the beach with my srattay sista Meredith Berger, gently weeping over the pages of a calculus textbook with my fellow engineers, getting my butto kickedo by Español, gyming it up with the one and only Alisa Price, many, many hours of yoga, making new friends, catching up with old ones, becoming a part of the ridiculous family that is Rev Soup, eating delicious food to the verge of sickness, adding some new ink to my already extensive collection, and puppy training. Yes, puppy training. I’m so happy to introduce the newest member of HIT and my favorite summer adventure; Stella.

A few weeks ago I adopted Stella from a local rescue (SHOUT OUT TO AUGUSTA ADOPTIONS WOOT WOOT). In early March, Stella’s mother was found on the side of the road, injured, and very, VERY pregnant. Animal control rushed her to an animal hospital and, the next morning, she had her puppies. The puppies were distributed among local shelters and Stella (previously known as Robin) was sent to a foster home where she lived in a barn with a ton of other foster animals. Making the decision to adopt a dog was a long process – ask any girl in HIT, I basically didn’t shut up about it my entire first year. With encouragement from Mama and Papa Rey, Alisa, and many others, a friend and I went to their adoption event. Among the barking and wiggling dogs, there was one who simply laid in her crate and looked at the passersby with big, brown eyes. That was it, I was done. I brought her home then and there and started my new life as a mother, caregiver, and best friend of this abandoned puppy. I named her Stella after my father’s mother who had the kindest disposition and most loving heart I have ever known. Training a 4 month old puppy isn’t easy but it’s been the best part of my summer. Whenever I need to crack down on studying, little Stella is curled up by my feet. When I need a run after a long day at work, she’s there to drag me along. And when I need a nap, which is frequently, little one is snoring with her head on my chest. We are both ridiculously needy and, with her, I’m never lonely. This little coonhound is such a huge blessing to me and I can’t wait to see where life takes us.

 

XOXO

 

Anonymous Hitta & Stella

 

P.S. Yes, I’m a crazy animal lady. Get over it.

 

 

Baby Stella being her adorable self

Anonymous Hitta - Washington, DC

Fort Fringe by day

Fort Fringe by night

Since May I’ve been working as an Arts Administration Intern for Capital Fringe, which is an organization in DC whose main focus is putting on a big arts festival every summer.  The only time I spoke to my boss before I began working was when I called her for my interview and that was over a month before I started on May 27th, so I wasn’t totally clear on what my responsibilities would be when I went in.  That Tuesday was my first day and after missing the bus and walking to the metro from my house I successfully navigated the metro and city streets to find my new office.  The building, Fort Fringe, looks very artsy from the outside; kind of hodge podge with murals and signs, the most distinct piece being a light up sign in the front window that says “FRINGE”. The door was locked so I stood confused outside for a minute before a man and his dog walked up to me and he asked if I was one of the new interns, I answered that I was and he showed me in the side entrance.  I learned a few minutes later that this man’s name is Peter Korbel and he is the COO for Capital Fringe.  You wouldn’t know that by looking at him however, because he was dressed extremely casually, but then again so was everyone else in the office.  Actually I felt a little overdressed, just then finding out how casual of a work environment it was, but better to be overdressed than under, right?  I then met my boss and the CEO/founder of Capital Fringe, Julianne Brienza.  She sat me down, told me a little bit about herself, then went over a list of objectives she had for me during my time with the organization, mostly research based tasks, and afterwards she showed me around the space.  It turns out that before Fort Fringe was what it is today it was an Italian restaurant owned by a single family for 60 years.  The father of the family was a bit territorial, Julianne told me, and he essentially bought up all of the businesses around his restaurant, so the space is very large.  Within it there are three performance spaces and dressing rooms, a bar-turned-box office, a lobby, office space, and a whole lot of random unusable hallways.  It’s not the cleanest of spaces as it is currently home to several families of rats and mice (apparently they don’t normally like living in the same spaces but at Fringe all things are possible!), and when it rains water comes all the way through to the first floor.  This brings me to the point of my position at Capital Fringe as their Arts Administration Intern, because at the end of this summer they’re getting the heck out of there.  Plans are in motion for their relocation, so this summer will be their last in the dear old Fort.

It is now the closing week of the Fringe Festival and boy has it been an experience.  In addition to working as an intern I’ve also been waitressing at the Festival’s bar and restaurant so that I can more fully immerse myself in the action – and let’s be real, I’m also doing it so that I can make a little bit of money because the internship is unpaid and I can’t rely on my mom for everything…I mean I probably could because she’s a lovely woman, very giving, but I’d prefer not to be a complete mooch if I can help it.

Anyways, it’s going really well and I’m learning a lot.  Fringe is a concept that exists all over the world and actually started in Scotland.  The point is to present theatre, music and dance performances that are “on the fringe”, meaning they aren’t mainstream, or couldn’t be presented anywhere else as many performance spaces are reserved for their resident companies.  As this is the case, a lot of our shows are a little odd, but it’s a good mix of drama/comedy/dance/music.  Capital Fringe is actually the second largest unjuried festival in the US which means that we don’t choose which shows get in and which don’t, it’s just a first come first served basis. I haven’t had a lot of free time to see many shows but it’s been fun working in the restaurant because it means I get to talk to artists and audience members and see how things are going and what shows have been the most popular. 

I’ve been really lucky to have had this opportunity this summer because I’m hoping to major in Arts Administration and it’s been really great to be able to see how the organization runs from the inside/ to get real world experience in the field to go along with the classes I’ll be taking.  I think the only question left now is when do I wear this bad boy?? >>>

Just kidding…although I did wear that dress to a wedding once…don’t judge me I was like 13 and it’s really fun to dance in...maybe it'll be revived for our next concert...but I digress.

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time, dear readers!

Anonymous Hitta out.  

Anonymous Hitta - Bantry, Ireland

Yo yo yo

I am writing to you (whoever is lucky enough to stumble across this fabulous blog) from an old man's pub in rural Ireland (because it is the only place with wifi I can find)

Soon I'll have been adventuring across Ireland for 2 months. It is truly a glorious place. I was quite pleased to find that it IS indeed a land richly flowing with gingers, lovely accents, and lively pubs. However, I was incredibly disappointed to find that there are NO Lucky Charms or Leprechauns here. At all. I haven't even seen a rainbow. Devastating, I know.

So why am I traversing across Ireland you may (or may not) wonder?

I have been on an Internship with Serge, a worldwide Christ-centered missions organization where we have been partnering with churches across Ireland serving inner city youth, chillin with the homeless, working with pastors who help drunk people get home safely on weekends, running camps, leading worship, giving a variety of talks (one on the radio), and even having the privilege of being involved in some Catholic/Protestant reconciliation.

Next week I will be running a kids cooking camp... Let's just say my most proficient dish is mac and cheese. Prayers are appreciated.

 

Anonymous HITTAS key learning points for Irish survival:

1) In Ireland the word "pants" means "underwear". This proved sufficiently awkward when I chose to wear a skirt on a sunny day and stated in front of my Irish friends, "ah man, it's so freeing to not wear pants!!" After a red faced, hurried explanation, I think we are still friends.

2) If an Irish person says, "that was some mighty crack", they are not admitting to usage of an highly addictive illegal substance. So before you kindly refer them to druggie anonymous (or conversely, ask them to share), know that here "crack" means "fun times".

3) and most importantly, if you ask for a cookie from an Irish person you will undoubtably end up with a sad looking cracker to be dipped in your afternoon tea. More to come on how to obtain actual cookies.

One thing I have been studying in depth while being here is Ireland's  Catholic/Protestant conflict. To boil it down, there have been hundreds of years of violence between the north (Protestant) and south (Catholic) of Ireland, beginning with British colonization. Because both sides had such strong cultural links to their particular sect of Christianity -British/Protestant and Irish/Catholic - they became diametrically opposed to one another. As so often happens, violence over property and nationality escalated into religious conflict as well.

In my internship we hung out for a month doing service with Irish interns our age, from the north, south, Protestant, and Catholic. It was a beautiful mixture of people whose history had been marked by violence towards one another. At first some tensions were felt between groups. Yet as we embraced each other as sisters and brothers inextricably bound by the forgiveness and love that Jesus has showed us- reconciliation took place.

In a country deeply wounded by a religious conflict, I saw that when one lives out the core of what it means to be a Protestant or Catholic- that is to love- seemingly impossible reconciliation can be had. It is not mere tolerance, nor is it simply ceasefire. It is truly loving ones enemies, and embracing the despised. We all share the commonality of our sacred humanity. It is easy to demonize a people group and hard to love and forgive those who are even associated with grievous injustices.

I could be wrong about this all, but at least I've found truth in the wise words of the Catholic servant Dorothy Day, "love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only solution".

 

Stay classy,

Anonymous Hitta

Anonymous Hitta - Danville, VA

As I write this, I’m lounging in bed, running my fingers through my wavy hair, and listening to the sounds of the ocean.

Reality check.

The above statement is true, though misleading. By “lounging,” I mean that I am lying down in a vertical manner and doing my best not to nod off mid-sentence. When I say “running my fingers through my wavy hair,” I mean that I forgot to pack a hair brush when I left home a month ago and am picking at knots to try to maintain some illusion of being kempt. And while I am, in fact, listening to the sounds of the ocean, they are coming from the sleep app on my iPhone.

All of that is to say: I am at summer camp.

I have been at PASSPORTmissions for the last month working as the Worship Coordinator and I still have a month to go. My job means that I facilitate the musical, technical, and spiritual aspects of worship each night at camp.

Reality check two.

I pretend I know how to play in a band; I untangle a lot of wires and call my director to fix the projector; and I tell people where to put the six-foot chicken wire frames for the prayer experiences.

I don’t want to demean the experience I’m having while serving in this role – I genuinely believe it is important and worthy, and that it’s where God was calling me to be this summer. But it’s involving a big change in my perspective.

I tend to think of myself as a writer. I like to analyze things and parse out the meaning and spell it back to you in a beautiful, metaphorical paragraph. But this summer, I hardly have time to do laundry or put on deodorant in the morning – much less write about the intricacies of existence and theology.

I’m learning that I have to just do more. Writing has always been my solitary and reverent space – it feels spiritual to me. And while it’s creative and has the potential for good, it’s not really all that active. I must do. I must stop only using my mind, and begin to use my heart and physical being to create spiritual and reverent spaces.

So while untangling microphone and Ethernet wires may not feel very glorious or reverent, it’s an act of furthering the Kingdom of God when I take a step back from my journal and do it. This summer I am learning that when my being is focused on God, everything is purposeful and intentional. Writing about it may help me figure that out, but acting on my faith – even in small ways – is a tangible acknowledgement that earth can be as it is in heaven.

The sound of the ocean is beautiful as I’m writing here in bed. But every week I see campers come in to camp, and go back out into the world with new conviction to do as hands and feet of Christ. Campers come in, and campers go out. Campers come in, and campers go out.  Campers come in and campers go out.

Those are beautiful waves, too. 

Anonymous Hitta - Charlottesville, VA

It's been a while since I really got into something and dedicated everything to it. Teachers in high school threw around the term "Freshman Fifteen" to all rising college students. It seemed like some urban myth. When I arrived to a completely different country, it took me a while to understand portion sizes and health facts. I was so used to my amazing mother cooking healthy and delicious food for me. At the end of first semester I really saw a change in my body, and not the good kind of change. I remember during Sorority Recruitment, I could not fit into my dress I wore for graduation. I felt so defeated, but instead of getting my butt to shape I kept eating because it was much easier than quitting my unhealthy lifestyle. One moment have exams ended I looked into the mirror and saw a completely different person. Someone who is sluggish, unhappy and frankly completely out of shape. I blamed it on the birth control, the college cafeteria and having a boyfriend. I finally came to terms with everything and decided to make a change. My dad saw me struggling and put me on a diet called Diet-to-go. It's a meal plan that comes in a large box weekly and contains meals for a week. It is absolutely incredible. I get to eat pizza, muffins, brownies and chicken parmesan and its all under 1200 calories! I exercise daily and I have seen results. My fellow Hitta, Cat Reynolds, has really motivated me and has kept me on track with one of the workouts we do by the trainer Kayla Itsines (it kicks my butt every other day) I also drink this tea from the company Matefit and it has made me feel less bloated and more energized. It's been 3 1/2 weeks and I've lost 7 pounds. I do lose motivation sometimes when I don't see immediate results but pictures show how much I have lost. this healthy lifestyle has made me happy, energized and feeling incredible! Two more months to go and I cannot wait! 

 

Love always,

Anonymous Hitta

Anonymous Hitta - Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Waddup waddup! I hope you are all enjoying your summer holiday as much as I am, because that was an intense year on Grounds - WOW. But but but - you know what they always say...work hard, play hard!

 I'm writing to you from the exquisite Caribbean ocean, where I am enjoying the island life that Vieques has to offer. It took me a six-hour plane ride and then one-hour charter plane ride to get here, and I can safely say that this island paradise was worth the wait. Oh boy was it worth the wait! The beaches are white, the sun is hot, the music is loud, and the water is turquoise. Yes, you heard me - turquoise. Additionally, I'm staying at "The W Resort and Hotel," which was voted the #1 romantic island getaway. So for all you sexy single people out there this is the place to be. 

Today, I took a yacht out to a stunning snorkeling and scuba diving location off the island, courtesy of Captain Judy and her crew (look her up if you're ever on the island!). After an hour of snorkeling in the Big Blue, I enjoyed a delicious meal on the yacht before a catnap and more ocean views. When we reached shore, I was (of course) hungry again. We drove to the "Main Street" of the island and ate at a restaurant called Noche, where I had the best seafood paella. Yummy! 

The best thing about being on this island? The 360-degree day and night views. Whether I'm lounging by the pool catching up on my literature, or sitting on the beach by the fire, the views are at once unforgettable and spectacular. (The cute bartenders don't hurt either...)


Love always, 

Anonymous Hitta