Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Where did the week go?

Sorry it's taken so long for me to get back to blogging. In this past week, we've had the loveliest, sunniest days so far this year, and we've been forced to succumb to the temptation to play outside as much as possible. The house has gone uncleaned, the knitting has gone unknitted, but... at least the yard looks great.

As I write this, the chorus of frogs outside in the pond has reached a near-deafening state. We have spring peepers aplenty, plus the occasional bullfrog who chimes in with a bass note. Greg and I opened all the windows in the sunroom and just sat in the hot tub and listened to them sing.

Of course, we can't listen to the frogs without thinking of old Doogie. The sound of all those frogs just would have made him hungry.

Well, Maybe Not Totally Unknitted

I've actually made considerable progress on the felted tote bag. I've finished the bag and the two end pockets, and am part way up the one side pocket. All I have to do before I can felt this puppy is to make a pair of i-cord straps and sew up the sides of the pockets. This project has been such a pleasure to knit that I'll have to make a few more of these.

I also acquired a hank of Eros Extreme, which is gorgeous in the extreme. It's slippery as anything, though -- not so much a problem in the knitting as in remaining in a ball. Every time I pick it up, it starts coming unwound again. I can't wait until I'm done knitting it just so it'll behave better.

Donna probably despairs of me at this point. I haven't made any progress on the Fletcher sweater, but my intentions are still good.

Partners in Privation

Sharon has declared that she's going on a yarn-and-otherwise diet, with yarn shopping being an incentive to lose 5 pounds. I had just been despairing of my wintertime shape and how it doesn't fit into most of my clothes, so I took the bait and signed on as a yarn-diet buddy. I see this as an opportunity to rid not only myself of excess poundage, but to do the same for my stash as well.

You have to love Greg. His first question was, "How can I help you with this?"

And speaking of Greg...

Greg received more good news this week: He's been selected to participate in the Composers' Symposium at this year's Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, Oregon. He submitted his Quintet, a work in progress, because the instrumentation best fit the available instrumentalists for the Symposium. His work wasn't chosen as one of the final pieces that the group will play, but he still gets a chance to participate in all the sessions and to get a session of his own to present his music and talk about his work. This Symposium is supposed to be extremely difficult to get into, so this is quite an honor for him. He also gets a chance to network with other composers and instrumentalists, and maybe even do some hiking. He'll be out there for the last week of June and about half ot the first week of July.

More Music News

We've both been busy with our individual concerts. Greg has three performances coming up next week: a four-part choral work (April) on Monday, Quartet for Winds on Tuesday, and the orchestral reading of Penobscot on Wednesday. He remarked to me today that he's had more of his class works performed this year at BU than he did the whole time he studied at Curtis; apparently it was up to the students to throw a concert to get any performances there, but this semester he's had one performance a week, plus the larger concerts next week. He also has the upcoming performance of his Water song cycle in NYC in June.

As for me, I've been busy cranking up the publicity machine for our chorus's upcoming spring concert. Heaven forbid we should plan ahead; as late as last week's Board meeting, people were still talking about changing the performance dates. Our director did manage to fill the big honking void in our program with an additional song for us and a bunch of solos by our pianist and various of our singers. She was still hesitant to name the pieces for the program (not that composing and printing those takes time or anything), but at least it looks as though we have a concert.

The chorus itself is sounding more confident about the piece, and I think we'll be able to pull this sucker off. We start rehearsing with the orchestra this weekend, and the performances are next week.

Greg has never heard Rutter's Magnificat, but I hope he'll have great fun sitting in the audience and playing "Spot the Influence." Rutter borrows liberally from Leonard Bernstein and Carl Orff (Carmina Burana), not to mention himself; I couldn't help but feel a touch of deja vu while singing some of those phrases. The piece is really great fun to sing, but I'm reminded of a snarky-but-funny comment that a local music critic recently made: "A whole cottage industry appears to have sprung up solely for the creation of choral music." This piece would qualify as a product of said industry, but no matter. I enjoy singing it.

And then there's the upcoming Pops concert. You already know how I feel about Pops concerts; singing them is like watching a TV marathon consisting only of "Matlock" and "Murder She Wrote," with stale popcorn and flat soda for snacks. Please shoot me now and put me out of this future misery!

I don't know what our director has in store for us to sing (but I'm sure it'll have at least 500,000 miles on its odometer)... but one of our Board members, who just loves Pops concerts, has signed on to be program manager for this event. At the last Board meeting, some of her plans for this event were unveiled: We'll put out tables, hire a bartender, get the chorus (all 65 of us?) to serve drinks and snacks and wear little aprons (which the men will totally freakin' love), hire an accordion player to go around to all the tables, and -- oh, yeah -- sing some Oldies But Moldies. It sounds like Party Time in Hell to me; I think I'll opt to attend the Sheepdog Rescue picnic in Connecticut that weekend instead.

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