Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Celebrating the Return of The Light

I'm surprised, this morning, to realize that it's been a couple of years since I've blogged about the Winter Solstice Celebration, but it's still an important milestone for me. Indeed, “the Return of The Light” truly is a grand reason to celebrate; I never miss the chance to recognize it. Most years at our UUC Groton Church my sweetie and I look forward to a Winter Solstice celebration, but this year we didn't get to do that; I'm not sure why.

But this year we have another celestial phenomena that coincides with Winter Solstice 2010 — a full Lunar Eclipse, captured marvelously by YouTube's "peteherron", embedded below…

Click on the "Play" Icon on the right to watch the video which shows an amazingly smooth time lapse of the eclipse, compiled from shots with a still camera on a rotating telescope mount. Wow!

Due to cloud cover, I didn't get to watch the eclipse though we had planned a "wee hours" sauna so we could be out there watching the shadow of the earth creep ever so slowly across the face of the moon…

An article from The Huffington Post today quotes a Montreal Gazette article with a NASA claim: “the last time these astronomical events took place in sync was on Dec 21st, 1638, — 456 years ago — and it won't happen again until at least 2094”. Imagine: even my grand kids (not that I have any) could be dead by then!

Another thing to note is that this was also the first morning this Fall when I woke up to an overnight snow fall — our back yard was completely white, though a lot of that has melted as you can see in this picture of our dog, Lady, on the Winter Solstice day, 2010. Not to worry… there'll be lots more from where that came from; I'm sure !

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The GCCC Men Sing “A Soalin' ”

In a previous blog article I give more details about the "2010 Groton Community Christmas Chorus"; herein my only purpose is to let you experience the men's number — “A Soalin' ” — which you can hear by clicking the "Play" icon, below …

I knew the song as soon as I saw the score when we started practicing last Fall; it's from an old Peter, Paul, and Mary album I listened to when I was in high school. If you Google the title you will even find that exact same track, which I remember distinctly because Peter starts if off with a comedy sketch that talks about the connection between Halloween and the holiday they have in England where people would go around to houses chanting the phrases that you hear in this song.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The 2010 Groton Community Christmas Chorus

One of the best things about singing in the Groton Community Christmas Chorus is that for the many weeks leading up to the 2nd weekend in December, when we present our 3 performances, I have the music in my head pretty much all the time. Some of the songs I've known from previous concerts — the years when my two daughters and I would all sing in the GCCC — and some of it is brand new every year which makes it exciting to learn and master. Throughout most of the Fall we practice every Sunday night, and even that is pretty great because it's the only time of the year when I get to rekindle the fond relationships that I have built over the years with the "100 or so" choir members from a dozen or more communities around Groton, Ma.

But the best part of being in this community chorus is seeing the “old familiar faces” — friends from / visitors to our community — during the 3 performances we put on at the Union Congregational Church, right in the center of Groton. Seeing the joy on those faces and experiencing my own “joy of giving” reminds me every year what the holiday season is really all about. If you're unsure how to get there click here to get directions.

The picture on the right is from the flyer for this year's program — “A Family Christmas !”. The flyer was created by a choir member and friend who also has a web page promoting The 2010 GCCC. There you will find .mp3 links (audio only) to GCCC clips from previous years such as the choir singing How Can I Keep From Singing ? ”a cappella, with a haunting solitary flute accompaniment… and the most beautiful (mother-and-daughter, if I remember correctly) version of Pie Jesu. The Wikipedia Pie Jesu link has the words in latin with an English translation.

You might also want to check out my sampling of video clips http://bit.ly/GCCC-GrotonMA on YouTube from previous GCCC concerts. Likewise, click here to read previous articles that I've written about singing in this concert over the years — many with pictures and pointers to other memorable moments from the event.