Category Archives: Theatre

Worth Doing

Gustav Holst is reputed to have  said, in reference to church music and musicians, that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. I know I have reported this on the Trail before, and it was once again brought home to me last evening at our Lessons and Carols service.

It went quite well, actually, given that the new music and worship director had never done a service like this before, and that the bell choir director was miffed because she thought she and I should have planned it. I helped to smooth things out between the two of them and found as many readers for the lessons as I could. We had two 8 year old girls read lessons, and they did a great job. I also enlisted a very theatrical guy from the Episcopal church to read, as well as with our family lawyer and me and Husband. (I tried to get the UCC pastor to read, but she was having 16 people over for dinner last night).  We had an impromptu children’s choir for the first time at this service, along with a flute player, a clarinet player, our assistant pastor on trumpet, and  a violin player.  Husband sang a solo from a Finnish folk hymn Lost in the Night.  The choir sang and the bell  choir rang.  All the music was appropriate for the service, and the director curbed her tendency for evangelical  praise music.

We never had a dress rehearsal, but it all fell together. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked and everyone left in good spirits.  The bell choir director and the worship and music director  embraced after it was over. I hope as you read this you can think back to programs and pageants from your past.

What is the most elaborate thing you have planned?  Any stories from past pageants or programs?

 

Calendar Cuties

I just received the December 5th edition of the Rock County Star Herald, my home town newspaper. I was delighted to read a story about Generations, the local senior citizens center. The center started an ambitious campaign to raise 2 million dollars for a  building for senior activities which will provide meals and social activities for community seniors as well as for residents of all ages in the low income housing tower to which it will be connected.

The newest fund raiser is a calendar featuring,  each month,  a local  senior posed in a scene from an iconic movie. Costumes were borrowed from the local community theatre company, and a local photographer volunteered to take the photos. So, on the front page of the paper, there she was, Neva, the mother of one of my high school classmates, posed like Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music,  clad in that black dress with the white apron, standing in front of a mountain in the middle of the alpine meadow with her arms held out, ready to belt out The Hills are Alive.  George, director of Generations and a retired horticulturalist, posed as Forrest Gump sitting on the bench with a suitcase and a box of chocolates.

They got the idea from the Winona Friendship Center. It seems like they had a great deal of fun doing it. They are making plans for next year’s calendar.

What iconic film scene/character  would you like to pose as for such a calendar?

Surprise!

Husband and I are now safely ensconced at the downtown Minneapolis Marriot. We  arrived at the hotel at about 5:00 PM on Tuesday. I was so surprised that the traffic going into downtown was negligible. The traffic going the other way was horrible. We were grateful.

Last week I was very surprised to learn that the grandmother of one of my fellow Lutheran Church choir members worked for a decade or more as both the Headless Girl and  the Three Legged Woman in the circus. It isn’t often that young woman from Harvey, ND makes the big time like that. You also don’t hear of many Lutherans in the circus. At one time there were 9 headless girls touring the US in circuses. It was all done with mirrors. Look up Olga the Headless Girl.  You will be surprised and amazed.

What has surprised you lately?  Do you have any friends with surprises?

Harold Hill’s Plaid Suit

Husband usually puts away all the clean laundry, but this weekend there was so much I helped him.  I am always chagrined when I compare the quality of his clothes with the quality of mine. It isn’t that he purchases nicer clothes than I do. Men’s clothes are just better manufactured than women’s clothes. I used to sew almost all my own clothes, and by the time I was in high school I was a pretty accomplished seamstress. I know what goes into making clothes well.

When I was in Grade 11, our school put on The Music Man. We had a very strong Grade 11 baritone for Harold Hill ( he is now a high school band director in Rochester). We had an even stronger Grade 12 soprano for Marion (she just retired as a high school vocal teacher and composer in the Cities.) I didn’t audition for a part, as I would be needed in the pit orchestra, and I knew, as a second alto, that there were very few exciting parts for me. In addition, though, I was the student director, which meant that I had to find costumes and props and generally keep things organized.

We decided that the male leads, Harold and his buddy, Marcellus, needed to wear gaudy, plaid suits. I volunteered to sew them.  You can see the finished suits in the photo below. Harold is in the yellow and green plaid suit with the yellow vest. Marcellus is in the  cream and brown suit with the brown vest. The photo quality is typical 1975, but you can get the general idea.

They were three piece suits that I formally tailored with the special stitching on the linings of the lapels so that they lay flat, full linings in coats and vests, pockets, perfect fly zippers, and belt loops.  There had to be pockets in the vests for pocket watches. It isn’t easy to match plaids, but I did. The boys were sort of embarrassed when I had to measure them (especially the inside leg), but by golly this was serious and I wanted those suits to fit. The boy who played Harold was somewhat hard to fit in the pants as he had a childhood orthopedic issue making the length of his legs out of proportion to his waist, and I had to adjust the pattern for the pants before I cut them out, and elongate the coat.

I admire tailors and people who  sew and create. I wouldn’t want to make all my own clothes again. I just wish women’s clothes were better made.

Why do women put up with shoddily manufactured clothing? What is the most elaborate thing you have created?

 

Happy Birthday!

Daughter’s birthday was last week, and she reports that it was the best birthday ever. She finished her last graduate school class and  she was given an award at her agency for her good work. Both our children become unusually disorganized around the times of their birthdays. Too much anticipation, I guess, although we never made their birthdays into productions. I was glad daughter kept it together and had a great day.

Today is William Shakespeare’s  purported birthday.  April 23rd is also the same day he died 52 years later. It is certainly not the way I should choose to spend my birthday.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play or scene. Which is your least favorite? What was your best birthday? What was your worst?

 

Broadway Musicals

Well!  I am curious about yesterday’s dearth of comments on Rogers and Hammerstein.  Ben said they were too “Syrupy”.   I suppose, but they fit their times. I remember finding a book in the local library when I was in Grade 7 that described most of the recent musicals of the early and mid 20th century. I was fascinated and researched all the musicals that I could, and surprised and exasperated my Grade 7 music teacher with all the things I knew about “All About Eve” with Lauren Bacall. It was the first musical sound track I bought.

We are challenged with deciding what we want to do when we visit New York in November.  We want to see a musical.

Any suggestions from Baboons about current Broadway musicals to see? What musicals are your favorites?  What is the first musical you remember? What about movie musicals?

 

Hunter’s Moon

There was a beautiful full moon last night-The Hunter’s Moon. It is the second full moon of autumn, and was named by the Algonquin tribes as the moon for the time to go hunting and prepare for winter. The sky was quite clear and the moon was huge as I drove home from work at 7:00.  It had an orange tint.  The night before last it was almost full, and there were wavy wisps of clouds in front of the moon, making it look like the perfect backdrop for a a witch on a broom.

Tell about all the books, plays, stories, poems, and music you know of that are concerned with the moon. What are your own moon stories? Why is the moon so inspiring?