We had a lovely Christmas Day at Katie and Savanna's. I had several sore spots from my fall the previous evening, but had a good time anyway. Several traditions honored: e.g., stollen, singing carols, playing Mad libs, one gift per person by lot, playing Salad Bowl, Christmas Crackers, tourtiere, figgy pudding.
Mary, Mimi, Savanna and Jerry at table. The crowns come in the "crackers ."
Tuesday I went to the hospital for X-rays. Results Thursday. The rest of the day I took it easy.
Today, we went to Revełs in Cambridge. I felt ok and did fine. The theme was Venetian. I was pleased to see that a young man I toured with in Northern Harmony back in 2001, Gideon Crevoshay, was a featured singer. He was good! It was an outstanding show, aurally and visually. No photos allowed during performance but i got these during breaks
End of the first half
After the Finale
We had a lovely drive down and back listening to Messiah: a really great concert by the Blanche Moyse Chorale back in the early 1980s. Dawn Upshaw was the soprano soloist! The chorus is amazing.
Tomorrow I see the doc at 11a.m. and we host John & Cynthia.
Christmas Eve I was rehearsing my little Dummerston choir just before the service and I fell backwards and lañded hard on my right hip and right arm! I was distracted by a question and turned and twisted and sort of tripped over my own feet. Somehow I managed to get up, get through the service, direct the choir and get home. But I didn't go to the Guilford midnight service. Lots of aches and pains this morning. Moving is pretty painful. My right shoulder is particularly painful. Meanwhile, we're getting heavy snow this morning. Will we be able to get to Shutesbury? We'll see. I'll probably get everything checked out tomorrow. I didn't realize making music could be so dangerous!
Wednesday evening was Into the Silence, John and Cynthia's beautiful service of music and silence for "the longest night." Cynthia played the harp, and John moved between the psaltery, Irish whistle and electric guitar, often accompanied by his nature recordings of whales, seals, and sea birds, etc. It was all just magical, despite the fact that John was not feeling all that great. Still struggling with bebesia, (or Lyme, or whatever ). Ellen and I set up candles and Ellen brought soup and snacks. I forgot to take even one photo . But the sound was everything.
Then the next evening we drove to Chestnut Hill, MA to the Church of the Redeemer for their Lessons and Carols service. This is where the Shays sang in the choir ten years ago and where Betsey's memorial service was held October, 2016. It was quite a contrast to Into the Silence with full organ, choir, tympani and trumpets! But wonderful in its own way. So glad we could be at both these events. They have made my Christmas.
Before the service at Redeemer
Then today Ellen went to get Tamar while I stayed home and put up our very large tree and put on the lights. Tamar wanted to help us decorate the tree - a first for her, growing up as she has in a Jewish home. She really seemed to enjoy putting on the ornaments. It 's beautiful:
Tonight we went to the First Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, PA, for a wonderful concert by the early music group, Piffaro - the kind of early music that uses shawms, sackbuts, dulcians, lutes, bagpipes and recorders. Tonight was German music of the 16th-17th c., featuring esp. Praetorius, but many other composers as well, and a multitude of arrangements of well-known carol melodies such as In dulci Jubilo, Est ist ein Ros, and Nun komm der Heiden Heiland. A soprano with a lovely voice with very little vibrato - a voice that blended beautifully with the recorders - rounded out the ensemble. Very special!
The lovely poster for the concert
During intermission. The screen was used to project translations of the Latin and German texts, but they were also in the printed program and I wished they had not used the screen. I found it to be a distraction. And it is sort of ugly .
Ellen and I had a touching experience today: we were part of a Hallowell-based group that went to the Southeast Vermont Correctional Center to sing some carols and songs for some inmates. There were about 15 of us and only five inmates - a disappointment in a way, but we did get to know them better as individuals. It provided an interesting insight into prison mentality on security. We had to go through a lot of hoops to get in. But it was worth it, I feel. We had a snack with the five men afterward and talked a bit. Maybe we brought something meaningful to them - it was hard to know for sure. But I think they gave us something - a chance to reflect on our lives from an utterly new perspective.
This past weekend we were in the River Singers concerts, Saturday eve and Sunday afternoon. It snowed pretty hard late Saturday afternoon and that affected attendance at the concert. But over 100 hardy souls did come out and they were enthusiastic. Sunday was packed. I used a stool and felt good. I think everyone had a great time.
Our leader, Mary Cay Brass, talking while we gather before the concert.
The end of our concert
This weekend I also led the choir at Dummerston. The theme was Joseph's role in the birth of Jesus (or lack thereof!) and our anthem was an old English Carol with a great text about Joseph in which the choir took the roles, variously, of Joseph, Mary, Gabriel and "the narrator."'
Today is fruitcake day! I'll be reading aloud from Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory while Ellen bakes.
Well, I guess the antibiotic did it's job. I did get to River Singers Tuesday evening. I wished I had taken a stool because after 3 hours of rehearsal, mostly standing, I was pretty wiped out. I survived though, and took it easy Wednesday. This, however, has been cookie week! Ellen has been baking up a storm! My role has been to (1) keep up with washing dishes and utensils and keep the sink area as clear as possible. (2) Be a DJ, selecting CDs to play on the Bose, which keeps Ellen happy while she bakes. I found some CDs we hadn't heard for a while which provided an element of surprise. It was fun. (3) Interspersed with music, I was reading selections from files I am "discovering" as I clean out the file cabinet. I found the MS for a book I started in the 80s and never finished - five chapters - titled The Caring Manager. It argues that the role of manager should be formally considered a caring profession, because managers collectively affect people's lives and environments more than any other profession. It's pretty interesting and is still pretty relevant. The other thing I read aloud from was quite a relic - the answers I wrote on my prelim exams for the doctorate back in 1963. I hadn't looked at them since then. There were seven, five-hour exams (five questions in each exam), on consecutive days with a break over the weekend. It was quite a marathon. Just me and a typewriter in an empty room. I made carbons, which is why I have copies. I'm astounded at how much detail I was able to pull out of my head. It certainly isn't there now! Ellen was impressed. So that's how we spent Wednesday through Friday. I did finally get back to the pool on Thursday. First time for almost a month. That felt good.
Last evening we put the cookie platters together at the church. We were there until 10:30pm getting the job done. Quite a sight as you can see:
Some of the platters (there were 38 in all)
Today we pick up our first Winter CSA at Walker Farm and go to Tamar's school for their "Winter Fair."