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Entries in music (39)


Countertenors are real

We are being social in the cold snowy nights. We began Saturday evening with a wonderful holiday dinner with Jon's business group in a reserved room at a nice country club. We shared cocktails and conversation and a really nice meal. Long before the dinner was planned, however, we had tickets to the annual UMS performance of Handel's Messiah at Hill Auditorium so we had to leave the dinner party early to race over to Hill. We made it just as the orchestra was tuning up. We met up with the Lilly Resident Ministers from church, with whom we had bought group tickets (they're a really fun group of seminary grads our age). The performance was beautiful, as expected, but the real standout was the moment that the countertenor stood up and sang. Not only was he the most animated and excited performer, but he had a falsetto as rich as any female opera star. After the show, we all went out for coffee and took bets over whether the countertenor's speaking voice was as high as his singing one. Then we bid each other goodnight until we would meet again at church a mere seven hours later.


Birthday Week

The birthday celebrations continued this week on Sunday with a delicious dinner at Cortney's parents' house with Patty and Curtis. Dad H provided the smoked ribs and Mom H provided the chocolate/whipped cream cake roll. bdaycake.jpgJon thanked them for the special menu and for the gifts: a one-of-a-kind safari-themed shower curtain and—at last—a replacement for the garage door opener we lost  awhile back. On Monday, just the two of us marked the occasion yet again with a dinner out at Red Lobster, where the waiter revealed the secret of their cheesy biscuits: just Bisquik, cheddar, and Italian herbs.

On Thursday, we got tickets to see soprano Renee Fleming at Hill Auditorium, which we preceded with dinner at Cottage Inn. Fleming was performing the title role in a concert presentation of Richard Strauss' Daphne. We were especially interested in this performance because we were in the middle of reading her autobiography. Indeed, we were very glad to hear the beauty and finesse of her voice.



didgeridooin.jpgJon has been practicing the didgeridoo and working toward circular breathing. Perhaps squeezing the cheeks with a free hand would help? Not so much. But it was worth a try. As always, Cookie was completely unphased by the vibrations, while Ollie freaked out without constant reassurance that something terrible was not coming his way. We're still not sure if Diamond could hear it at all, as she seemed quite happy to sleep through it.

 Michigan football countdown: 4 days to go!


Fairy Tale Weekend

The four weddings had come and gone, and now the musical has passed as well. After a month of hard work and preparation, the alums (and some current students) of Jon's high school put their fund-raising production of "Into the Woods" on stage for an appreciative, albeit small, audience (we blame the lack of publicity). intothewoods.jpgThere are two things to be said. First things first... Sondheim was one crazy dude. While it is great fun to see our favorite "Disney" characters meet up on stage, this show is a stark reminder that the original fairy tales, mostly Perrault's from the 17th century, were very dark and even gruesome. If you are unfamiliar with either the script or the stories you might be caught unawares by the excessive pecking out of eyes (this is not bedtime material for your five year old the way that Disney has presented them). Fortunately, Sondheim's musical has fused the gruesome aspects of these dark stories with a solid sense of humor, and even sexuality. Unfortunately, all that humorous sexuality was omitted in this weekend's production because Jon went to a private Catholic school (of course, that doesn't mean that innuendoes weren't made backstage, ha ha).
Now for that second thing that should be said... sex or no sex, it was a wonderful show and a wonderful weekend. This is a VERY hard show to put on, and the majority of the people involved are amateurs, not to mention that all the rehearsal and set production took place in the course of one month. Yes, one month. Whoever said that it takes at least six weeks to put on a Sondheim production was right, but the kids involved did an amazing job. Their dedication is astounding. The whole reason for putting on the show was to raise money for the construction of a theater for the school (we did Les Miserables last year and plan to continue the summer dramalum production tradition next year... we'll keep you posted). Alumni (and current students) came out of the woodwork for this! Not only were they in the show, but those who could not dedicate a month to rehearsal time did still fly, drive, and take trains back into town to show their support this weekend. And it's not just the alumni, but parents and friends and significant others, too (Cortney ran the box office while Jon ran the music). It's a really good feeling. And the production went over really well, and was a lot of fun. Regardless of falling trees and forgotten birds, we want to say how proud we are of this whole group, and how great it feels to be a part of a group so dedicated. Thank you everyone, and here's to looking forward to next year!

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