It has been a whirlwind of activity since returning home in early November. The holiday season is upon us, and for musicians, that can only mean busy times with concerts. As soon as we returned, we cracked nuts with Tchaikovsky’s Nut Cracker ballet. We never tire of this production, even though we are in something like our 10th year of this seasonal favorite. Most Nutcracker productions start in early December and run right up to Xmas. For us, it is more of a Thanksgiving production, ending around the first week of December. I only have one picture to show you, but it is priceless. At the beginning of the second act, we utilize a dry ice “smoke” machine to enhance the scene. Invariably, the fog settles down into the orchestra pit. This might be the only time we look up at the conductor, but he has never looked better:
Isn’t that great? It invokes laughter in the pit, night after night, even though we absolutely know that it will happen!
American Festival Orchestra and Chorus is our Northern Utah Symphony and Chorus organization. We put on 5 concerts per year; some pops, some serious art music and one big holiday extravaganza. This runs the first 10 days or so of December. We sold out all 4 shows in our hometown (seating is 1100) and a run out show to Kamas, Utah (close to Park City). Gentri (short for Gentlemen’s Trio) was the guest artist group. It is all Xmas favorites along with a Handel Messiah movement or two. Here are a couple of shots:
Liz is just in front of the bassoons and slightly left. On the far right, are two trombones and almost a pic of me to the right of them (figures). This concert also featured our local Presbyterian Church Bell Choir (The Westminster Bells) and our local Children’s choir (Cache Children’s Choir). You can see the Bells on the top right and left of the hall in the first pic, and the children’s choir all dressed in red, right in front of the stage. With a 250 member choir, it seems like a cast of thousands!
Finally, our local high school celebrated its 100 year anniversary last night, complete with jazz big band providing 40’s and 50’s favorites, sprinkled with big band arrangements of Xmas tunes. About 500 alumni and students turned out for the event and much fun was had by all. I hadn’t played in a high school gym gig since, well…..I was in high school (remember “Battle of the Bands”? I was always in one of those groups!). You know, loud and boomy. I can’t seem to upload the pic, but you get the idea.
Last gig of the year: New Year’s Eve. Way Way East Bay is a 10 piece funk band that I have played with for the past 10 years. Think Earth Wind and Fire, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Cold Blood and Tower of Power. Our local (NPR) radio station throws an annual fund raising New Year’s Eve Bash at the local country club and they want to hear the good stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I guess we deliver, cause they keep having us back every year. No pics for you; it won’t happen for another 2 weeks or so!
The new year means a winter Valentine’s Day concert, along with a run of My Fair Lady in February. Liz’s band, Leaping Lulu, will do a Celtic Extravaganza evening of music and Irish dance the week before St. Paddy’s Day. I will try and post updates of those events as they occur. In mid March, we head to California for two months. I am sure there will be plenty of pics from that trip. Happy Holidays and New Year’s to all my blog followers! Thanks for reading and I will blog again soon….ish!