Monday, April 11, 2005

Silk, Spring, and that "Aaaah" Moment

It's definitely springtime, even in this perfidious latitude. The first frogs have landed in our pond, and I can hear clusters of peepers singing in some of the other wetlands as I drive through town at night. Nothing else says "spring" to me quite so clearly as the amphibian Hallelujah Chorus starting up outside my bedroom window in the evenings.

Today was arguably the best day of the year (so far): flawlessly sunny and up to the mid-60s. Maryann dropped by with Braeden (another dog of her breeding, who belongs to her sister), and she and I and Charlie and Braeden went for a lovely romp in the town forest. There are still unmelted patches of snow in the woods where the sun hasn't touched for very long, and big pools of water just perfect for a couple of happy Beardie boys to plunge into before rolling in pine needles. Charlie brought home half the underbrush in the forest in his coat, but he was more tired and happier than he's been in a while.

Silk and Wool and Mohair, Oh My!

Donna emailed me a couple of times this week to report that she's happily making progress on her Fletcher sweater. She has also opted for circular needles, and is happily moss-stitching away. I've made my gauge swatch and am happy with the result I get with size 11s. Problem is, my only size-11 circular large enough to hold an entire sweater back is already buried in the felted tote bag... so I either have to go out and buy another size 11 circular, or hurry up and finish the felted tote so I can use my regular Denise needles with my Fletcher sweater.

For the moment, I've opted to try to finish the tote bag. I spent some time this afternoon working on it while Greg played some Max Reger pieces on the piano. We used to do this a lot in the "old days" (meaning more than a year ago, before we moved in together). We'd have a leisurely brunch on a Sunday, and then I'd knit for much of the afternoon while he played piano. Life is sweet.

As for the tote bag, I'm about 6 rows from casting off and making the handles and side pockets. I can't wait to get this felted so I can do the needle felted sheep design on one of the side pockets. (Yes, there will be photos.)

Yesterday I joined two of my friends (who are also ex-co-workers) at a Girls' Night Out dinner and shopfest in Portsmouth, NH. I dropped into The Yarn Basket and did not leave empty-handed. I went in needing needles, and came out with two luscious, squeezable hanks of Mango Moon recycled silk yarn. How did that happen?

Sometimes Things Do Work Out In Spite of Themselves

If you've ever been involved in a group artistic or musical endeavor, you'll recognize that "aaaah" moment: the moment when all of the struggles and missed cues and off notes seem to fall away, and you get your first glimpse of what the work is going to sound like in front of the audience, when things finally come together. That one moment is exciting beyond description, and it's the most powerful inspiration a group can have to continue working hard until the performance.

We had that moment tonight at chorus. I don't attend the Saturday rehearsals, but my friend Jackie, who carpools with me on Sundays, said that the folks who had gone had worked hard and done good work during that session. It certainly paid off tonight; we sounded good enough in some spots that we could all feel the piece coming together and sounding exactly as it should. That's heady stuff! Once the whole piece clicks along like this, the audience will love it, and so will we. (We have three weeks, but we've pulled things together at the last second more often than I'd like to admit.)

It's been a tough season for the chorus so far this year. We worked so hard on the Brahms concerts last year and then tossed off our Christmas concerts without much work, thought, or inspiration. The tsunami benefit concert followed more quickly than we're used to, and that disrupted our entire season. We were late starting the Rutter, and people were a bit burnt out even before we started. In addition, a number of our best singers either decided to take this semester off, or other circumstances just got in the way that prevented them from rejoining us, or they've gone on cruises in the middle of the season, or come down with the flu... It just hasn't been an easy time, and with our director's announcement to the group that she's moving on, musical morale hasn't been all it could be. We've needed a good night to help us feel like a whole chorus.

This Week in Board-land

It's been a tough season for publicity, too. What with the ever-changing performance dates and uncertain content, it has been impossible to pin down enough data to launch even a half-assed publicity effort for this concert. We have a shade less than three weeks before we have to sing this thing, and at this week's Board meeting we actually have to discuss whether we're going to cancel the April concert dates and move everything to the first weekend in June. Only at tonight's rehearsal have we even heard that there will be anything else on the program, and that we're singing some of it. Grrrrreat. Planning is everything.

On top of which, our director mentioned that some people "would have questions" for me at the Board meeting. I can barely wait; they're actually going to wonder why we haven't publicized the concerts before now. Not that lack of a firm date or program should ever be an impediment, mind you. It'll be a miracle if we can get any publicity out for this thing in time. (The President still hasn't had time to let me resign from the publicity chair's job; I think she's hoping I'll change my mind.)

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