Sunday, December 9, 2007

Handel's MESSIAH

Friday night I went to the Messiah Sing-in at the American Fork Tabernacle. This is my personal Christmas tradition. The years in Korea on our mission I would have my own personal "sing-in" by listening to the CD and singing along with the choruses. My "home court" for the Messiah Sing-in is the Provo Tabernacle, but I missed it when I was in New York last weekend. I've also been to the one in Abravanel Hall with the Utah Symphony, but I still prefer the Provo Tabernacle. It might be the gothic windows and the garland and wreaths decorating the hall. But I digress . . .

I LOVE Handel's Messiah, and that love is gift bestowed on me by several people. First, Mrs. Jay, my junior high chorus teacher. She taught us to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus" and I have loved it ever since. In fact, our audition choir sang it in a state festival and received an "excellent" rating.

When we lived in Seoul, Korea in the 80's, our Yongsan Branch was rife with musical talent. For Christmas and Easter Sunday sacrament meetings our ward choir sang numbers from the Messiah. The rehearsing and subsequent performances of choruses from the Messiah made the music "mine" as I learned and memorized the words and melodies. I specifically remember when Greg Hill was our choir director and he explained about the symbolism of the music matching the words in the chorus "All We Like Sheep." During that time there was also a Christmas sacrament meeting when Mark Peterson gave a talk about George Frederick Handel and the story of his life and the process that brought him to write "The Messiah."

I also am indebted to Michael McLean who wrote "The Forgotten Carols." One of his forgotten carols, "Handel's Dream" is a tribute to Handel and the music he has shared with the world. Handel also wrote the Christmas carol "Joy to the World."

I don't have a great voice, certainly not a solo voice, but I love to sing with a choir. At a Messiah Sing-in they have an orchestra and soloists, but the entire audience is invited to sing along with the choruses. And it doesn't matter what kind of voice you have because you feel like you're just part of this amazing choir singing praises to God.

Weekend in New York

We spent a lovely weekend in New York. We arrived on Friday and Laura and her three darling kiddies met us at the Cheesecake Factory in White Plains. (unfortunately, Alan had to work most of the weekend) I was so happy that Connor and Abby remembered us and we didn't have that annoying "getting reacquainted shyness." After dinner we went to Laura's house and watched A "Charlie Brown Christmas." Connor was so excited to sit by Papa Rich on the couch and watch the show together. Really the best part was seeing how happy Laura was to have us in her home, playing with her kiddies and seeing her life in New York. And the Buchanan family does have a good life; Alan is a hard worker and dedicated father and husband, and Laura is an amazing mother, devoted, loving, always teaching. Of course, Connor and Abby and Andrew are adorably cute and smart. (Rich just kept saying: "that Abby is so adorable!")

Saturday we met Alan in the city and saw the hit musical "Wicked." It was just as good as has been reported. I think my favorite Broadway musical is still "Les Miserables," but "Wicked" is a close second. We were so lucky that the stagehand strike ended on Thursday so we could use the tickets that Rich got six months ago. It was so freezing cold and windy in the city! But we were just happy to be there and enjoy the show together.

We went straight from the show to the Buchanan's Ward Christmas Party. It was great for us that we got to see Connor being a sheep in the Nativity put on by the Primary. We were able to attend Church on Sunday with Laura as well and it was nice to be in her ward and play with Connor and Abby during sacrament meeting.

Sunday evening we transferred to the Marriott Marquis hotel at Times Square. Rich had a Continuing Legal Education seminar on Monday and Tuesday. Monday I wandered around New York City by myself. I went to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice skaters. I went to St Patrick's Cathedral and lit a candle. It is such a beautiful building and reverent to me in spite of the fact that the public is wandering in and out. I spent a couple of hours at the Museum of Modern Art. I always enjoy an art museum! I also stopped by the NBA store and got Michael a tshirt. Tuesday I went to the Manhattan Temple. It was a long 20 block walk in the cold wind from the hotel to the temple, but I really like walking around New York City. We flew home that night. (to avoid another $600/night hotel bill!) It was a really great weekend; a perfect mix of being with family and enjoying some time alone.