Sunday, August 4, 2013

Becoming me again.

I remember when I used to blog religiously, but I have turned out to be a slacker in this right.  My prowess as a writer also seems to have declined over my short but eventful lifetime. But now is not the time for me to be talking about these petty things.  I really want to talk about me.  I know that sometimes this seems like a narcissistic thing to do, but really we have to look and see how grateful we are for the things that have happened to us. Our trials, our victories, and even our grudging obedience.

The past several months I have been preparing to serve a mission for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  And I will be the first to say that there have been many trials or pitfalls, and just plain road blocks.  All can be traced back to some fault and weakness of my natural man.

First I decided to put of my mission to compete in a singing competition that I didn't even attend after the first round. This came after a decision to leave school and caused my wonderful adviser many headaches looking for my scholarship on several different occasions. But what I should have foreseen, and didn't seem to be a problem to me, my bishop, or my family, was that I was going to be barred from service over being classified as "morbidly obese." Of course in the beginning I murmured, to tell you the truth I still murmur about it from time to time, but before you pass judgement on me you need to know my story.

I always thought I was very fat growing up.  It affected every measure of my being, I always felt less than adequate to other guys and people.  But now that I have been around the block I realize that at the moments I thought I was fat, I really wasn't.  But it took me to get to really being fat to realize it.

I may have been over weight the majority of my life, with the BMI always telling me I was going to die every time I had to climb a flight of stairs, but I don't believe this was ever the case.  In my high school years I was a varsity wrestler and football player.  I weighed 218 pounds my sophomore year.  Sure I never invested myself as much as I should have to my wrestling, but I would dare say that I had a God given talent.  I earned Academic All-State my senior year in wrestling, but by then the damage had been done, but I will get to that later.  I wasn't half bad at football either, I always played on the line, but it came naturally, but my lack of proper technique cost me dearly in the end.

They say that pride comes before the fall, and I am not sure I was ever really that prideful, but I sure did fall.  During the beginning of football season my junior year, my life would be changed forever.  I played in my usual lackadaisical fashion... let Marcus and Paystrup do their things, they can run the ball well enough, I just have to do the minimal effort to make sure they are unobstructed to the End-zone... But in one play, It cost me dearly.  I tore my ACL.  And from that a whole bunch of things in my life changed.  Probably the most monumental is that I decided to study music over any of the other fields I could have been successful in.  But the next thing that happened as a consequence, I gained eighty pounds in the space of  seven months.

Of course it is not a hard thing to see a person who would practice football and wrestling for 3 hours every weekday, and eat enough food to compensate for the expenditure, would gain that much weight when all of a sudden they live a sedentary life.  However it happened to me. No one tells you when you are gaining weight.  Everyone will be nice and act like nothing happened, but then all of a sudden you go from wearing XL shirts to XXL. And your tuxedo won't fit anymore.  By the time that I had been given clearance to play Football again, the damage was done. I weighed in at 304 pounds at the beginning of my senior year.  Sure they gave me a pass to start varsity again for a couple of games, but I was no where near as strong or fast as I was the previous season.  But eventually I got benched.

Wrestling season followed, I lost the 20 pounds necessary to compete at 285 and I was OK.  Again I was nothing like my potential said I could be.  But towards the end of the season I was getting again.  I had one undefeated tournament my senior year.  After which I was ranked Number 4 in all heavyweights in the 4A division.  But all this did was inflate my pride once again.  And I the next week I tore my other ACL, but I didn't stop wrestling that season because of it.  I wrestled the region tournament and failed to qualify for state.   But after I got my second ACL reconstructed I didn't do well to keep my weight off, I didn't think that I would have to.  But by the end of my Freshman year in college I weighed 297.

Now I can get to the present day, and the reason for the title of this long, but hopefully informative, anecdote. Between the beginning of May and the Present day, August 4. I have lost nearly 40 pounds from my peak weight of 304.  When it was required of my to lose my weight to serve I said, and still hold to it, that I am not the same as every other "obese" person you can find.  I am a strong individual who doesn't need to change.  But I see the error in my ways.  I still believe that I am a strong individual, but I should change for Christ, I should do all that I can to be the best servant I can to him.  I am not saying that I didn't possess the ability to walk six miles everyday, (which I did, and still do). I am saying that this was my call to humble myself before God.  But I can see blessings already.

Today I decided to wear my district champions Track and Field shirt from my freshman year of high school and a pair of Red Devil Football shorts.  I saw myself in the mirror and recognized myself as who I was.  Who I am re-becoming.  Who I always will be.  I saw myself as the athlete I was not just two years ago.  And it brought me to a state of thankfulness for this trial.  I no longer will have to believe that I chose music because it was my only option for a scholarship.  I now no longer need to feel like I have left that part of my life behind me.  I am me, I am Benjamin Krutsch, a musician AND an athlete.  I am a confident young man who is capable of all things with the Lord.

(Sorry if this was hard to follow and turned out as word vomit.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

After a couple of weeks in the program I have found out that there is a great amount of effort required to succeed.  Yesterday I spent one hour in the library translating the text from Italian and German art songs into literal, word-for-word English.  But there was one song that the collection of translations did not have.  Treue Liebe, by Johannes Brahms.  I went to my teacher, Dr. Dewey, who then took the time one on one to personally translate, (from her own mind) the piece.  The text was rather stirring, and that is why we as singers need to have a literal translation.  Because you need to know which words to stress.  It may not seem that important, but it is needed if you wish to become serious about your singing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Follow the Leader

While I understand that being a section leader gives you absolutely no power on the choir totem poll, it is still a decent amount of responsibility.
That is what I thought when I was assigned to be a quintet leader for our 40 voice piece.  What a wonderful idea! Make the freshman the leader!
Yeah I was choir president when I was in high school, but what did I do? Absolutely nothing.  It is a good thing that the other members in Chamber are also very talented musicians, because I do not think that I could manage many Taylors...

The mentality of rehearsal in Chamber is much higher than that of the former Chamber group I was a member in during high school.  There is not pointless banter, and it really adds to a positive rehearsal atmosphere.  The ability the members of the choir have to be able to switch genres at the drop of a hat is amazing.  I witnessed this as during rehearsal we went from singing Negro Spirituals to the Bee Gees.

The atmosphere of the Vocal Performance program also seems a lot less competitive than I imagined before coming to the University.  I have made some friends, from Jacob to "Tim the Bass."  While reconnecting with another vocalist of whom I went to high school with.  Everyone, at this point, seems to really care about the growth of each of their peers.  I was told that these other vocalists would become my best friends throughout college, and right now I am fine with that. There are some great people between the professors to the students.  I can't wait to really get started.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Today I was informed in a Voice Recital class that I am actually going to be required to write a blog about my practice experience. I hope that what I was already planning to do will suffice for my Professor's very high standards.

This week has already turned out to be a phenomenal week. I got accepted into the Head of the Vocal Department's voice studio and I was admitted the USU Chamber Singers as a Freshman. But the daunting task of 2+ hours daily... I really have no clue how I will handle that. But it will have to be something I learn to do.

Piano is also one thing that scares me more than anything. I have never had any formal experience, but I am going to be required to pass a proficiency exam.

Already I am learning that a high school maturity of rehearsal is nowhere near the level that I am trying to achieve.  Here we are working to become professionals, and artists. A true statement is that every artist was once an amateur. Studying just like I am.  To face these challenges I am just going to keep a wrestling mentality, work until you can do it, and never give up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Me?

I often ask this myself about, "why would anyone really listen to whatever I have to say?" For how old I am, 18, I consider myself to be somewhat of a "prodigy." By that I don't mean that I am by any ways a Mozart or Mendelssohn.  But in my fifth year of studying music I have risen to a level that some children only dream of being close to.

I suppose I should start by telling you a bit about myself.  My name is Benjamin Krutsch, Baritone.  Well I might be a baritone, I will not know my true voice for another few years.  I started singing when I was in Ninth Grade, in a school choir. Three years later I started taking voice lessons from a local teacher, who was very knowledgeable about the art. Then in February of my senior year of high school I auditioned for entrance into Vocal Performance at Utah State University. A little over a month later I was notified of my acceptance, and that I had been awarded the highest award that the University could offer for an incoming Voice major. And as I write this post today I am waiting for a class in the Fine Arts Center.

My Awards and honors include both Musical, Educational, and Athletic.
Sterling Scholar of Music at the School Level
Synergy Award at Springville High School
Five Time Superior Soloist
Academic All-State in Folk-Style Wrestling
Selected as 1 of 4 Male Vocalists for an American Culture Show in China
President of Choirs at Springville High School

While to some I may seem to be bragging, I am merely stating the truth.  My purpose in this Blog is to illustrate my Journey through the College Level of Music.  And I hope to be updating this blog regularly.  I also hope that my stories might inspire other musicians behind my to reach for the stars.

Benjamin J. Krutsch