Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at the Pammett's, 2007

Yes, indeed. Christmas has come and gone... and a grand time was had by all !!click here for Full Size image
This image is our Christmas 2007 Picture, even if it isn't actually from Christmas Day. Of course, this is the tree shown here in the story about us going out to cut it down, a whole month before we decorated it. We took this picture right after we'd finished decorating the tree, 2 nights before Christmas. It's the only picture we have of all of us; I photoshopped into it the person who took the main picture that you see here, so that I could give this collage as a keepsake to eJP's friend who came to spend the few days around Christmas with us. Silly me... I stepped onto the chair just to have my daughter snap an image of me — to later be photoshopped in — but it never occurred to me that it would end up looking ridiculous because that left me about 18" taller than everyone else.

Inside, around the tree and presents, we constantly had a cosy warm fire because shown below is the backyard scene from around the same time — we had about 3 feet of snow in the days leading up to Christmas this year !!
panorama made from 9 snapshots in our back yard; click here for Full Size image

Friday, December 21, 2007

At long last... The 2007 Winter Solstice

I have been putting off writing my "Christmas / year-end-2007 review", mostly because I've been hoping for some resolution to my candidacy at the University of Massachusetts... but alas it's obvious that the Winter Solstice is upon us, Christmas is all but here... so I feel like putting a stake in the ground and starting this blog article now... Likewise, I couldn't decide between using my own pictures of the huge amount of snow we've got in the back yard, vs. one of the marvelous Winter Solistice pictures I've seen recently. But rather than making a choice, here you see my two finalists. They both show the bleakness of a typical Dec 21st day — the epidome of why I celebrate "the returning of the light".

When I started this posting, the 2007 Winter Solstice was to strike officially in about 8 hours... now it just happens to be that time; right now marks "Sat., Dec. 22, 2007, 1:08 A.M. EST" — the yearly juncture when the returning of the light begins. And that is what we celebrated tonight at our Unitarian church in Groton, Ma. Just like we did last year, we acknowledged our place in the universe by giving thanks for nature, celebrating the 2007 Winter Solstice with song and dance. Not unlike Yom Kippur, we "cast the black stone" into the past, and made commitments to carry forward the white stone — symbolic of the positive force we are moving into, in our lives.

So... why my song?      (left, on YouTube)
Because Carolyn McDade's "Spirit of Life" has long been my UU favorite. It makes present my faith... So I made this recording to give to my family as my 2007 Christmas Present !

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Breath of Heaven — the GCCC Women

This video clip is from the Sunday evening performance of the 2007 Groton Community Christmas Chorus.

Amy Grant Lyrics

In order to use the above multi-media "controls" you have to click on them to activate them. Then use the "Play" Icon for the video and/or the "faster" vs "slower" icons to navigate the lyrics.

If you click on the YouTube player itself it will take you directly to YouTube where you can search for other video clips, including many different versions of "Breath of Heaven". The Nativity One, in particular, really captured my imagination by depicting what it must have been like for Mary to ride into Bethlehem in that world at that time. It's a really unusual — multi-media — way for the Christmas Story to be told!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Final GCCC 2007 Performance — Tonight

What a joy it has been giving our gift to the Groton community in the first two Groton Community Christmas Chorus 2007 performances — "All Creation Sings" — yesterday. We had a full house for both performances and everyone seemed to have gotten what they came for. I'm posting now so you can consider this my reminder that the Final GCCC 2007 performance is tonight, December 10th, directed by Edie Tompkins, at 19:30.
click here for the Full Size image; I am front row, far right The smallest group in the GCCC is when just the Men (shown on the left) do their number, which for 2007 was "Mary Sat A-Rockin'" [YouTube]. Of course, most of the time on stage you see more like 130 people — men, women, adolescents, and boys and girls as young as 3rd grade — but since this is my blog, I'm just going to feature the piece that I had the biggest part in.

Check out some candid snaphots from GCCC 2007. Or, for video clips, follow the YouTube pointers in Breath of Heaven or watch what we do every year as our encoreEdie's "Down the Bethlehem Road" Medely, which I broadcasted this year (via my cell) to my oldest daughter because she was stuck at NEU for finals and couldn't come to the concert.

Having been in the Groton Community Christmas Chorus for several years, this year I captured one of the parts that is most special to me — the "centering prayer" that Edie does as the very last thing before the concert starts. Listen to Edie's wisedom and prayer as she uses that juncture to focus us all on selfless giving — that crucial spirit which we bring to the concert every year. Other YouTube video clips include: the Celtic Christmas Celebration ("Shepherd's Joy") with the familiar "Tin Whistle" and Fiddle accompaniment, the Senior choir singing "The Birds' Noel" featuring (among other things) Kevin's short solo, and our triumphant Concert finale: "Go Out With Joy!".