Choral


I’ve been blessed with two incredibly good days.

Yesterday

First of all, it was my day-off. And I was feeling physically well. It was partly spent at Regent College, where Dot and I registered for a writing course to be taught by one of my favourite contemporary writers. Bought my required texts for the course from the very addictive bookstore there and then took the opportunity to check out the newly renovated and expanded library.

Because thefourthpotato happened to lunch at the University Golf Club nearby, we made plans to meet him in the atrium at Regent. He has come all the way from the Land of the Rising Sun to celebrate the J&J wedding this past weekend. Because he’s only staying for two weeks, we’ve been making plans to meet up whenever possible.

We also looked up Joe, who works in the IT department at Regent. He played host to us by treating us all to coffee and tea at The Well, a coffee shop that shares space with the bookstore. As we leisurely sipped our hot beverages, we amused ourselves and each other by talking piffle.

Afterwards Dot, Derek, and I went down to Spanish Banks for a walk. We walked as far as the concession stand, where we picked up some snacks to tide us over to dinner. Then we made our way to the beach, sat on a log to enjoy the view, and talked more nonsense.

Dot and I had an early dinner with Cat and Yvonne at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Derek came along for the ride and just watched us eat, as he had separate dinner plans. It was my first time there, and I was impressed. The toppings lean towards the gourmet and the crusts are not greasy at all, being made out of flatbread. Because I can’t stand the feeling of grease on my hands, I generally pooh-pooh eating pizza, unless I absolutely have to out of convenience. So I’m happy to know there are options out there for high maintenance people like me.

After dinner, we went to the end-of-the-season Chor Leoni concert held in the Bard on the Beach Mainstage Tent at Vanier Park. It was two and a half hours of good fun and music that I could relive over and over again. I’ve attended a few of their summer concerts over the years, and I notice that the performances have become more choreographed, cheeky, and playful. A very naughty rendition of the panto, “If I Were Not Upon the Stage,” had everyone in stitches. Some special guest appearances: Judith Forst and Dal Richards.

Spent from laughing so hard, Dot and I grabbed a late night snack at a HK cafe where we did some catching up.

So a very satisfying day it was, filled with good friends, books, and music.

I’ll try to write about today tomorrow.

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This year, I hadn’t planned on going to any other Christmas concert except for the Sing-a-long Messiah with the Vancouver Bach Choir next weekend, but Anita was keen to go to see musica intima, so I thought it would be a nice way to spend some sisterly time together. And it was, in spite of the weather.

A wind warning has been in effect in the Lower Mainland for a few days now, and sure enough, the weather was fiercely wet and windy last night. Having to brave strong gusts of umbrella-flipping wind, I didn’t have the greatest time coming home from the Christmas concert. But it was a small price to pay, given that I got to enjoy one of my favourite local choirs. The performance took place at Christ Church Cathedral, a wonderfully acoustic venue (Sufjan Stevens himself performed there a couple months ago).

I was surprised to find that the entire male section was new to me! At times, the men seemed a bit uncomfortable and unsure about how to organically connect with the entire group, how to read the cues and body language of each other. They didn’t exude as much presence and joy as the women, all of whom have been around a long time and were clearly relaxed and having a good time making music together.

But all in all, the choir sounded GREAT; the singers offer such a pure and easy sound that they are able to showcase the text being sung. I was nearly moved to tears a few times.

Afterwards, Anita and I popped by the IGA downtown after the concert to pick up some groceries and then we Skytrained to a station that offered both of us our buses to take us home (in opposite directions). Lucky for her, she only had to wait 5 minutes, while I had to wait 20 in the freezing wind. Oh well. C’est la vie. The PSB song “Home and Dry” kept running in my head on my way home.

I don’t know why it is, but there is something charming and pleasing about seeing men in uniform or uniformly dressed. Of course, as Dot points out, it depends on what the purpose or vocation is: a group of park rangers or enrobed monks (kindly as they are) doesn’t quite hit the spot. Anyways, coming off the heels of the fire fighter calendar launch the night before, I got lucky again!

Yesterday afternoon, enroute to carrying out a clandestine mission at the Banana Republic in PC, I spotted from the car an assemblage of about 40’ish gentlemen (and one woman) in formal attire, in white tie specifically. They were posing for a group photo on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The whole lot of them cut a pretty fine figure in their black tailcoats and all. I asked Dot to drop me off so I could spend some time admiring them. It turns out they were my other favourite choir in the city, Chor Leoni. The choice of location for the photo shoot made perfect sense because there are stone lions on both sides of the steps. Needless to say, I was thrilled to bits to see them. I have such admiration for Diane Loomer and the work she’s put into this choir. I remember those days in 2nd year at UBC when a few of us joined the Choral Union and was privileged to have Diane as our conductor.

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