Tammi and I had a super time in England. And now we’re home. We missed our boys, and Ziva (our dog) really missed Tammi. Bethany’s finishing up her semester in college, but we should see her on Thursday. It’s taking a bit of time for me and Tammi to adjust to this time zone. We’re both pretty tired when we would normally be peppy. I got up about 5:30 this morning, even though I’m suffering from a cold.
I was able to continue the music focus of this sabbatical on my first full day back by attending choir rehearsal at Third Presbyterian Church. This is the church I usually attend when I am on vacation and also in town. I know two of the pastors there, and have met the third a few times. I’m comfortable with the worship and the music. Their music director, Peter DuBois, is the host of a nationally syndicated radio program on sacred choral and organ music, “With Heart and Voice.” I thought it would be fun to sing in their choir when I could. Peter kindly agreed to my request to join the choir.
So Wednesday evening was my first choir rehearsal with them. What a nice bunch. We sang a lot of music. (Their rehearsals are two hours long, with a short break in the middle.) I was thrilled that one of the pieces was by Arvo Pärt, his “Beattitudes.” I had heard this only four days before, performed by the BBC Singers in London! Although my voice is not in good shape (probably allergies, and the beginnings of this cold), I was happy to get to explore one of Pärt’s choral works from the inside.
The music continued on Thursday. I had learned that a member of Third Church, Dr. Jennifer Elton Turbes, was performing a viola recital as part of Third’s “Chapel Concert by Candlelight” series. It was very enjoyable, held in a perfectly intimate (although warm!) setting. Two of the pieces were familiar to me: selections from Bach’s sixth suite for cello, and Grainger’s “Arrival Platform Humlet” (although I have never played the latter). The Bach was in a different key than what I play it in, which made it almost an entirely new piece for me! There’s something in that, don’t you think, that a different key makes the familiar so new?
I had never met Jennifer before, but I felt from the start that we had a connection. That’s because in the program she named her teachers, one of whom had been my viola teacher in college! It was fun to share a few stories about Charles.
Jennifer and her friends did a great job, making wonderful music while making the difficult seem easy and the simple sound profound. Kudos!