Friday, March 29, 2013

A Very Musical Week

On Monday of this week I went to a rehearsal in Rosebud of the Good Friday section of the Messiah.  I love rehearsals--most especially when I can just play, and not have to organize or conduct.  This time I'm playing the viola part, which, especially in "All We Like Sheep" is significantly easier than the second violin part, which I have played umpteen times.

Tuesday was a violin teaching day.

Wednesday we drove down to the small town north of Lethbridge where we served a church for seven years in the seventies.  We've always maintained quite close ties with that church, and it was while we were there that we met our dear friend, Hilda, the 91 year old friend I've mentioned a few times before.  Hilda died on March 4, and we held her Memorial Service this week on Wednesday.  She had asked Jim many years ago to conduct her funeral service and her step children were aware of this.

Jim was greatly helped in his preparation by her personal bible, with its many underlined passages with comments written in the margin.  He formed the meditation around some of those passages and her remarks, and tied them in with her faith and life.

I played "Great is Thy Faithfulness" which went well and was appreciated.

On the way home, which is pretty much straight north for a 3 hour drive, we saw many flocks of Canada geese, hundreds and hundreds of birds.  Interestingly, they were all bunched up just where the change from brown fields to snow-covered fields occurred.  About 15 km south of Strathmore the fields were full of them.  North of Hwy 1 I saw only one pair of geese standing on a frozen pond.

Thursday was a lesson make up day, for having missed on Wednesday.  (I also missed another rehearsal for the Messiah on Wednesday evening.)

Thursday evening Jan and I went to a very interesting concert here in town.  A Dutch organist from St. Catherines, Ont. wanted to come with a pan flutist and give a concert here.  The Arts Academy mentioned strongly that we don't have organs here good enough for a concert, but he said, he'd play what we had.  So he ended up on a fairly old Baldwin, full pedalboard and two keyboards, but not much in terms of stops or power.

The concert began with the pan flutist at the rear of the church, playing "Abide with Me" very softly, walking slowly down the aisle.  The organ joined in, also very softly.  It was beautiful.

Next they performed a Handel concerto together.  Well, she (the pan flutist) was a tremendously accomplished artist.  We were just blown away!  It was wonderful.  Then the organist played an improvisation, very Dutch in manner, which got louder and louder and more and more dense, until one speaker on the organ just gave up the ghost!  The rest of the concert was pretty subdued on the part of the organ.  A planned toccata was dumped and a quiet, meditative improvisation on "Amazing Grace" took its place.

So we went to hear an organ concert and instead were treated to a fabulous pan flute evening.

This morning our little orchestral group (6 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello and 1 bass) accompanied the Rosebud Chorale in a Good Friday service in Drumheller.  It was a good service, marred only by a worship team that upped the volume to a painful high for the choruses in the first part of the service.  Everything else about the service was thoughtful and appropriate for Good Friday.  Some years ago I wrote about a local service that gave scant attention to the suffering and death of Christ, which is really what this season is meant to observe, and skipped to the triumphant Easter hymns.  Not this service today.  In fact, the leader talked about the necessity, when the sun goes down in the west, not to run in that direction, but to face the east, where the next light will arise.

This afternoon my friend Jan and I spent time preparing music for the Easter service.  Prelude: "Jesu, Joy" on violin and organ, "Crown Him with Many Crowns" on organ and piano; Offertory: "Amazing Grace" on viola and piano; Postlude: "Take My Life and Let It Be" on organ and piano.  I always enjoy playing with Jan, and we get things set up quickly.

Tomorrow will be the one "non musical" day of this week.  Some baking, some cleaning, some reading!  Sounds good to me!

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