Tag Archives: Advent

Monday Miscellany – last sprint before we leave.

I have been a bad blogger, but it’s been a little frantic around here as we have one boy in exams, one man in high work stress, and one trip to Paris (this Thursday) to prep for.  The trip doesn’t really feel real, I was remarking to Z last night.  We were in Rome barely three months ago, and Paris was booked very quickly due to my mother-in-law’s health issues.  Because we will want to spend a lot of time with her, we’re not doing our usual planning for day-trips and excursions.  We’re just heading over there with our bags and our prayers.  Alex and I will return after eight days as he starts his summer camp job later this month.  Michael will stay on with his father for another week and do some touring, likely St. Malo/Mont St. Michel and then the chateaux de la Loire.  One of his cousins may join them, and a convertible Golf has been offered up, do it should be a fun road trip for the guys.

Last week was busy.  We saw the Eagles with Dixie Chicks Tuesday night and it was a great concert. I was surprised to see Natalie Maines with a very short haircut.  They did some of their hits, some less familiar music, and a cover of Train’s “Hey Soul Sister”.  The Eagles played a long set, packed with hits and a very 70s vibe to the staging/video.  We were in a corporate box, so quite far from the stage in the Rogers Centre, but it was a great show that had everyone in the house singing along.

On Friday, I headed to Stratford with some gals from the choir to see The Tempest.  We had a picnic by the lake with napping swans and ducks around our feet, saw the show and then dined at The Church before heading back to Toronto.  It was the first public performance of the Tempest, which has it’s media opening in a couple of weeks, and it was a stunner.  Apart from a few sound issues (we had trouble hearing some of the actors when their backs were to us), it was stacked with talent and was received with an instantaneous ovation.  It was lovely getting to know these ladies a little better, and it was a farewell to one of the long-standing members of the alto section who is moving to Stittsville.

The Parish choir is winding down for the year….two more Sundays of singing (of which I’ll miss next week while we’re away) and then we close for the summer.  So we’ve been pulling out some familiar music.  This Sunday, we sang Brahms’ Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren (pdf) and John Sheppard’s sublime The Lord’s Supper (pdf).


I’ve joined another choir for the summer and we rehearse on Monday nights.  I’ll miss the next two rehearsals, one while I’m in Paris.  On June 28th I have tickets to the National Theatre’s live broadcast of the play London Assurance which I purchased months ago, before I joined the choir.

Before we leave, I need to finish up one of my genealogy courses, complete a CWL newsletter for our parish bulletin, get the house in order, pay some bills and do all the laundry before we pack.  I’ve done all the newspaper cancellation/dog boarding stuff so it’s really the last minute things that are on my mind now.  Plus supervise study time for Michael.  He writes his last exam on Thursday morning, and we leave that evening.

I may not be back before we leave, but I’ll try to post some photos while we’re away.

Sunday Journal

Today, we were to host my family for a group birthday party:  my mom, my husband, and my sister-in-law all celebrate birthdays in the last 10 days of November, and we invited extended family to celebrate with us today.  Z wasn’t feeling well last night, but I figured I could manage on my own.  I awoke this morning with a sore throat and achy glands, and that germy feeling in my mouth and sinuses. Z commented that he had the worst sore throat he’d ever experienced.  We decided that hosting a party with three octogenarians and an infant plus two toddlers was probably not a good idea, so my brother is having all the non-sick ones over instead.  It also meant that I missed mass and choir on this first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the new liturgical year.

Earlier this week, I was at my local Catholic book store (Pauline Books and Media) and I picked up a book of readings for Advent earlier this week featuring scripture, readings from Thomas Merton, and prayers for each day of Advent and Christmas.  This will be my companion through the season.  There are similar books in the series featuring readings from Padre Pio, G.K. Chesteron, Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis and others.

The preface to the book is a wonderful quote:

Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, of silence.  Waiting for our Lord to be born.  A pregnant woman is so happy, so content.  She lives in such a garment of silence, and it is as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her.  One always hears that stirring compared to the rustling of a bird in the hand.  But the intentness with which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence. – Dorothy Day

Sunday Choral Report

I’m back in the choral saddle, so to speak, after a week out of town and a week of sickness.  Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the Aradia Ensemble concert in which I am participating this afternoon.  I am in the chorus for Vivaldi’s Gloria, that is being performed with a small group of (period) instruments and about 20 voices.

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent.  Our celebrant was, I think, in rose.  It was somewhere between liturgical purple and red.  But not the pepto bismol pink that is typical in churches that play by the book.  So I’m really not sure if it was rose after all.
Processional:  No actual procession.  Celebrant was in his seat with lights down.  We sang The Canticle of Mary (CBW3, 14I) as the opening hymn, while lights came up.
Offertory:  Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin.  This is a gorgeous piece that should be done with two choirs.  We had two altos and two tenors today, so it was a little light, but it sounded beautiful, better than any of our run-throughs in rehearsal.
Communion:  Rorate Coeli (Gregorian Chant).  This was written in chant notation, the first time I have sung from this type of manuscript.  Here is a video clip of this chant.

Recessional:  Tell Out My Soul (CBW3, 575).  I had never noticed that this hymn is based on the Magnificat.

Messiah Prep

Not for the big event….for Tafelmusik’s annual sing-along Messiah on December 21.  

This is supposed to be a terrific afternoon and sells out every year.  I’ve been chatting it up with the few singers I know locally…in particular altos since the event has the audience sitting by voice part. 

I already own a copy of the score, and I downloaded a copy of Handel’s Messiah into iTunes so that I can run through it a few times.  I’ve been over the choruses once and there’s some pretty intense music to sing.

But it certainly gets one into the Advent/Chrismas/Easter mood.