Choral Conniptions: A re-post.

My apologies for a re-run. Things have been a little strange around Redquarters, and we’re trying to sort out if I am having a new allergy sort of thing or what’s going on. The suspicion is allergies to the smoke from Canada et al, plus nerves, but it’s distracting me from blogging.

It was a dark and stormy first rehearsal of the season. Dr. Director is facing a choir gone feral over Winter Break.

Director: “And we’re doing a Whitaker.”

Choir (in unison): “GroooOOOOaaaannnn.”

Director: “Now that’s not fair! And it’s more accessible than the last Whitaker we did.”

Voice from the depths of the Alto Section: “And that’s what you said about the Charles Ives piece too.”

Director: “But that was over ten years ago.”

Basso Profundo: “Choirs never forget.”

It is more accessible. It is also longer and just as hard. And I can’t be the only one hearing the hat tips to Enya and Morten Lauridsen, either, as well as to Randall Thompson.


Tow Plane and Faure

So, I was early for my glider – flight instructor lesson. The morning felt cool and the winds were light, so I decided to meander around and see what hangars were open to peek into and who was doing what. There was always some one doing something interesting.

As I strolled along between the hangars, I heard very familiar notes. Someone, an excellent bari-tenor someone, was singing part of the Faure Requiem. I moved as silently as possible and eased closer. The manager of the soaring school was under one of the tow planes, looking at some things and wrapping up an oil change. He was singing a capella, and had no idea that anyone might be around. Continue reading

Six yards of Flightline and a Bucket of Propwash

And don’t forget the left-handed monkey wrench.

Ah, the wild goose chases people get sent on in order to get them out from under foot, or as part of being initiated into the ranks of mechanic and line-guy.

Having grown up reading military history and “No [kidding], there I was” stories, I was familiar with the hazards of being sent to the parts department for flight line, or to the hangar at the far end of the row in order to borrow a bucket of prop wash. And of course a can of elbow grease, can’t forget that. Continue reading

Saints a’ Fire

St. Anthony Abbot, St. Florian, St. Elmo. They are all associated with “fire,” although only one is usually depicted as dealing with flames per se. That would be St. Florian, an Austrian martyr saint who is the patron of fire-fighters. A saint with a bucket dousing is building is St. Florian. He’s usually wearing Roman armor.

Patron of Firefighters, at least in Europe.

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The Grey Norther Arrives

The dark fades rather than the sun rising. Low grey clouds race down the skies, chased by a north wind, the first strong north wind in several months. The trees sway, leaves sighing, clattering, hissing as branches toss like women tossing their hair. The plants seem greener, even in the dim light. Windows open, doors open, air conditioners fall silent. A school bell rings, faintly, under the sound of wind in the trees.

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Civilization – Precious and Hard Won

I wasn’t going to blog on this until I finished the series, but the opening music for the second episode brought too many fond memories to the surface for me to wait. I recognized the chant: Ubi Caritas et Amor. I have sung Lauridsen’s setting.

My folks and I watched part of the recent PBS series “Civilizations” and were disappointed. Great filming, some fascinating art, but it was hollow. So Mom tracked down the original BBC series, hosted by Kenneth Clark. It is chronologic rather than thematic, and locks on Western Civilization without apology or hesitation. Ah, 1969, when people still believed that the West was worth preserving, honoring, and fighting for. Continue reading

Too Calm?

As part of inservice now days, alas, teachers have to learn about “active shooters” and what to do. Do you lock the doors, turn out the lights, and hide? Do you get everyone out of the building as fast as you can? Do you try to fight the bad guy? Yes?

So we had ours, and afterwards, I got to wondering a little. Because I was nodding along, running through scenarios, considering defense strategies based on X part of the building or Y class room or Z activity. I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t shocked, or horrified. Listening to the librarian in Columbine H.S. talking to the 9-1-1 operator was sad, especially once you know what happened later in the library, but it didn’t surprise me. Does that make me strange? Continue reading


Monarchs, painted ladies, viceroys, swallowtails, oh my!

If we have not seen as many butterflies as MomRed would like, it is not for lack of trying, I assure you. The butterfly bushes have been kept trimmed and thus in full bloom, we have all sorts of butterfly and hummingbird flowers around Redquarters, Mother has been assiduous in cultivating fennel and milkweed for the swallowtails and monarchs (in that order), and we don’t spray unless it is absolutely necessary, and then we are really, really careful.

The monarchs have not gotten the memo. And there’s the little cardinal problem. Cardinals like to eat caterpillars. MomRed likes cardinals and caterpillars. This is awkward. Continue reading