Friday, March 30, 2012

Cultivating Culture

March has made the Hippies a cultured bunch. First we started out with Symphony of the Soul the first weekend, followed by the Music of Paul McCartney the weekend of St. Patrick's Day. We finished the month out strong with a musical and a classical concert. Wow! And that's culture for you.=)
Optimizing on the fact that half the Hippies are Dutch, we attended 2 free dress rehearsals this week.
The first dress rehearsal was the HPA's production of Beauty and the Beast. They did a phenomenal job! They have put hours and hours into this since last fall, and it showed. All the leading roles did very well. They had good, strong singing voices, and got into their parts perfectly. My personal favorite was Gaston.  He was an arrogant nitwit, just like Gaston.=) The supporting roles were superb also. The costumes were colorful, and my kids were transfixed. I think the best scene was "Be Our Guest," with all the dancing dishes. It was a lot of fun. My sil played a part, and the kids thought it was awesome to see their aunt acting. And they got to sit by Oma and Opa as they watched, which was the proverbial icing on the cake.=) Meres was rather restless, but I was able to hang out in the aisle and hall with her, and still see most of it. She clapped and waved her hands excitedly at all the right times-when she wasn't trying to take a dive down the stairs.
Last night, Brian and I had the opportunity to sit in on a working rehearsal of the GR Symphony. Before the rehearsal started, there was a backstage tour. That was cool. There are beautiful wood panel walls in the auditorium that are actually removable for non symphony productions. It is amazing. We saw the room where they rebuild the scenes for opera and Broadway productions. We saw the dressing rooms. It was all rather bare bones, and engineered for maximum sound quality and absorption, and ease of productions. The music they were rehearsing was Rainbow Bodies-a contemporary piece, The Butterfly Lovers-a Chinese piece from the 1950s, and an Aaron Copeland symphony. The Butterfly piece featured a violinist, Jennifer Lee. It was beautiful. It reminded me of some of Copeland's works. Very pastoral sounding. The violinist was amazing. And fun to watch. These artists put themselves into their work. They feel the music. The piece story is kind of an Asian Romeo and Juliet. It was actually banned for years in Communist China, and the two authors were exiled and punished, respectively. I enjoyed the rehearsal. They played through the pieces, but then went back to practice certain parts until they were to the conductor's satisfaction. You could see the orchestra members making notes on their scores. And that is what makes the actual performances such quality. I enjoyed both pieces despite the fact that they were classical. They were a lively classical.=) We cut out before the Copeland piece to have coffee and desert. Mr. Hippie always wants salty to my sweet tooth, so we tried a goat cheese dip with spinach and cherry tomatoes, on toasted naan. It was delicious. I topped that off with a nice slice of peanut butter cheesecake. I had this cheesecake around Christmas, and hadn't forgotten its goodness. And my memory served me right-it was just as good the second time around.=)
And that is as cultured as we are going to get for a while. Our last symphony concert is in May. It is going to be a good one-I can tell. But I am willing for the days to click by slowly, as it happens the night before our big race. We still have more training to do this next 6 weeks or so.
We got the schedule for next year's concerts, and we both pointed out the ones we'd like to hear. There are a couple good ones in the fall, as well as a few good ones in the spring. There is Vivaldi, and Simon and Garfunkel, and a Celtic fiddler. A good line up.
Culture...the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education; enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training; acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational and technical skills.
Well, we tried.=)