Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dallas and Philadelphia

This is a high travel week. Last Friday we left for Dallas, Texas. The purpose of the trip was another Saint-Saens Organ Symphony excursion. The Dallas Symphony plays its concerts inthe Myerson Symphony Center, which contains the Lay Family Organ. The concert was wonderful and we also heard what is going to be a new favorite, the Guilmont Symphony #1.

While we were in Dallas we also visited the Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park. This is an area where buildings of historical significance, primarily from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries have been moved from all over Dallas. There are people in period costumes, in character, who interpret the times. It is very interesting. The day we were there was Girl Scout Day, so there were a lot of activities geared toward badge achievement for the girls ongoing. Unfortunately, it was also raining, pretty hard, on and off, so we ended up cutting our sightseeing short. But, we did get to see a gunfight in front of the Saloon, and also visited a small church on site that had a pump organ. We were also lucky that there was an organist playing that day, so we got to hear it. It really filled the space. The organist took a break while we were there and we chatted for awhile. All in all, it was a very nice day despite the weather. We also found a great barbeque place (Off the Bone), not too far from there and they even offered us samples when we answered that we hadn't been there before. Their ribs and chicken were wonderful and they definitely lived up to their name, the meat was so tender. They did use a vinegar based sauce (like NC barbecue) rather than the sweet sauce, but that worked out well for us, since that sauce is much lower calorie.

On Sunday, we attended church, visited Ft. Worth...had to make the obligatory pilgrimage to Cattleman's
and had lunch and then just wandered the stockyard area until it was time to head back to the airport. Arrived late Sunday evening. I repacked and after spending half a day at work on Monday, headed for Union Station (about a block from my work) and grabbed the Amtrak to Philadelphia. The ACP Services board meeting (I'm the EVP) was scheduled for early Tuesday morning. I attended that meeting, and later in the morning headed back to the train station for the trip back to DC. I arrived at my usual spot for pick up by hubby at about the usual time, so it was almost like a normal day.

Wednesday was spent preparing for the next Organ Symphony excursion this weekend in Cincinnati. I'll tell how that part of the trip went in my next post. We are getting ready to head out later this morning, taking our time driving over there and seeing a few things along the way. On the road again...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cycling and Music

Many good cycling races this past week, topped off by the ultimate Classic: Paris-Robaix, also known as the "Hell of the North." Once more, George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad) had a spate of bad luck and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) won for the third time in his career. This race is just made for Tom AND he had luck on his side. The race could have been a little more exciting, but the weather was good, but there were plenty of crashes anyway. Paris-Robaix is a race that has many sections of cobblestones, which is what makes the race so epic. In the rain, these are mudslicked and usually cause lots of difficulties including flats and crashes. There were plenty of mechanicals and the above mentioned crashes anyway, despite the dry conditions. Most of the crashed riders came through relatively unscathed, despite some of them hitting the deck more than once.

One unexpected tragic episode happened when one of the race motorcycles (they lead the cyclists and/or carry television cameras or photographers) crashed into the crowd, a dozen or so people were injured, several seriously including at least one small child. It was reported that most of the injured were members of the same family as they had come out of their house to watch as the race went by. Please keep all these folks in your prayers. The racers know their risks when they step on their bike, but these folks were just enjoying their day and weren't expecting anything like what happened to them in their own yard.

Holy week was inspiring and, well, holy. The liturgies were beautiful and I hope that the music the choir provided helped enhance the congregation's ability to worship more fully. I know that there are times when I am singing that I am moved by the words and music and feel the true sentiment of the piece. I certainly can relate to the saying that "when you sing you pray twice." It certainly feels like that at times, especially when everything is falling into place, despite the focus required to get the mechanics and musicality to mesh. When all goes well, I experience such peace when the music is over. I know that I have given my best to the Lord.

Easter was spectacular. After taking part in Holy Thursday services, Good Friday services, and the Vigil Mass, we were all ready for some sustenance, so early Easter morning we had our traditional St. Andrew's choir breakfast at 8:30am (see picture above, right). Suitably caffeinated and sugared up, we tackled our last Mass of the week with gusto. This was our main Easter Mass with Organ, Brass, and Timpani. The music lineup was as follows:

Prelude: Toccata from Organ Symphony #5 - Widor
Entrance Procession: Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones - Lasst Uns Erfreuen
Mass: Missa Brevis in F Major - Gabrieli
Preparation of Gifts: Hallelujah from Messiah - Handel
Communion Hymn: Good Christian Men, Rejoice and Sing - Gelobt Sei Gott
Choir Anthem: Let All Creation Praise the Lord - Forsberg
Marian Meditation: Regina Caeli - chant mode vi
Closing Procession: Jesus Christ is Risen Today - Lyra Davidica
Postlude: Postlude on Lyra Davidica (brass and timpani)
And incidental music, such as responsorial psalm, alleluia, sequence hymn, and general responses

Quite a lot of music, but we enjoy all of it! The church was beautifully done up...check out the picture above. Sorry its a little fuzzy, I haven't quite mastered my phone camera yet.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter! Till next time...