Taking a quick look back at 2017

Well. There was all the regular cultural stuff that everyone was dealing with. But here’s a list of some of what stands out in my life, in no particular order.

  • My father died. That leaves practical things to deal with, but also more emotional stuff than I expected. Somehow the death of my mother just made her absent from my childhood family of four, but my father’s death breaks it.
  • My place of employment went through a protracted (and ongoing) time of struggle and uncertainty around racism and leadership. It was a very, very difficult spring. And then at our annual conference in June, two coworkers were attacked on the street, and one was critically injured.
  • I returned to internet radio with a monthly show on Radio Riel, second Sundays, 12:30–2:00 pm Pacific (or Second Life) time: The Musical Magpie.
  • I sold my estate in Second Life (the second time I have done so)
  • Two trips to Brooklyn to visit Jim Ford. We returned to the Metropolitan Opera to see Norma in December (having seen Aida a year ago).
  • An annual September weekend in Provincetown (near the anniversary of my mother’s death) felt like it made the transition to an event all the participants “own.”
  • I scattered  my portion of my mother’s ashes in an old burial ground in Provincetown.
  • I became a staff chaplain, and while overall quite ambivalent about work (see above!) I felt an increased sense of being a longtime staff member with a particular contribution.
  • I rented a BMW convertible (long a pipe dream). It was worth every penny, although it would have made more sense in a slightly warmer season.
  • I lost 40 pounds (and still losing, after a holiday plateau).
  • By going to happy hour at a local bar nearly every Friday, I’ve made a new group of friends/acquaintances.
  • I went to a LOT of music events.

Ken Scholes’s The Psalms of Isaak

Over the holidays, I reread the first four volumes of Ken Scholes’s The Psalms of Isaak in preparation for the release of the fifth and final volume. I’m glad I did. There were things I had missed or didn’t remember. Hymn, the final volume, provided a satisfying conclusion (albeit with a bit of a deus ex machina—which is a pun, should you read the books) while leaving the door open for future stories in the same world. I hope Scholes does continue creating here.

The books, in order:

  • Lamentation
  • Canticle
  • Antiphon
  • Requiem
  • Hymn

Back after an absence

Moving hosts a couple of times, other interests, Facebook, yadda yadda. Pondering some changes to my online life, including perhaps a return to documenting things here.

Because of the hosting moves, all previous images are broken until/unless I fix them manually. Some of the structure may be disordered as well until I select a theme.

A Boy Is Born

The Tallis Scholars, Boston Early Music Festival, St Paul’s Church, Cambridge. December 12, 2015.

Music by John Sheppard, Thomas Tallis, and Arvo Pärt. The Seven Antiphons were bracing. The singers’ voices were crystalline, and the venue seemed to vibrate with the sound.

Handel’s Messiah with period instruments, countertenor

Boston Baroque, Jordan Hall. December 11, 2015

I decided to attend this performance because there was a single seat available in the center of the first row, and because the alto soloist was a countertenor. Both turned out to be great reasons!

The soloists were Jeanine De Bique, soprano; Christopher Lowrey, countertenor; Thomas Cooley, tenor; and Dashon Burton, bass‐baritone. Both Lowrey and Burton were magnificent. Lowrey’s ornamentation was especially fluid.

The conductor-harpsichordist's score was placed on the stage while the instrument was being tuned at the intermission.
The conductor-harpsichordist’s score was placed on the stage while the instrument was being tuned at the intermission.

Handel’s Acis and Galatea

Boston Early Music Festival, Jordan Hall. November 28, 2015.

I was interested in seeing Douglas Williams again, and I enjoyed him in the role of Alexander Pope/Polyphemus. The standout for me was Mark Williams (John Gay/Coridon) singing “Would you gain the tender Creature.”

The poor harpsichordist spent most of the interval retuning.

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