Tuesday, October 31, 2006

68 years ago today . . .

Orson Welles' radio brodcast, War of the Worlds, terrified our nation. Realizing they'd been fooled, Americans shook their radios furiously to punish the little men inside.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas vote pour lui

We are sorry that Our President is an idiot. We did not vote for him.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Choir, symphony, recipes and The Worst President Ever

Sheri's back in the office -- hooray! She made it in yesterday afternoon. I told her that she needed to take care of herself, but she replied she was going stir-crazy at home. But it's good to have her cheerful demeanor and positive attitude back. Not that my other colleagues are exactly dour and negative. Just missed having Sheri around!

This choir cookbook has grabbed ahold of my imagination (if one's immagination can be grabbed). I've become downright obsessive/compulsive about gathering recipes to contribute. I may ask Casey if I can issue a choir challenge, because I know Mother's going have a few things to say about the many recipes that will bear my name in the cookbook! Hopefully someone in the choir has access to recipes from Tulsa's past, like Pennington's Black Bottom Pie, Nelson's Chicken Fried Steak and/or Fried Fish, and the Bean Chowder served in cafeterias in Tulsa Public Schools.

At the weekly Trinity choir post-rehearsal Happy Hour at Kilkenny's, someone else suggested gathering recipes from local celebrities. We've got more than a few of them at Trinity -- our current mayor, two former mayors, a former state senator, former chair of the local Democratic Party, and the former chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Things are gearing up for the Debut Concert of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. It's hard to believe that a week from tomorrow we'll be making our public debut. Every day we get calls asking about tickets. I took a call today from a local allergist who wanted to make a donation. I really like calls like that. :-)

Not long now until the elections. Hopefully we'll throw the Republican bums out in both the House and the Senate. My mother lives in Dennis Haster's district in Illinois, and would love to see his sorry ass booted out. Make my mother happy and donate to the campaign of John Laesch.

I also cam across this website today -- great fun for Bush haters like me!
Worst T-Shirts and Gifts. Come to think of it, my mother just might like one of these for Christmas!<

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In search of recipes …

Brad, one of my fellow choristers at Trinity (and a former neighbor) pitched the idea of a choir cookbook to help raise money for our upcoming tour of England in August 2007. Casey has been asking for recipes, so I have been gathering recipes from my sources – the family German potato salad, some of Grandma’s recipes, recipes from other relatives, some recipes Mother has shared with me, et al. I’m still collecting recipes – and even have some contributions from posters to the Anglican/Episcopal discussion board on BeliefNet.

On Sunday night, I asked Mother for a few recipes – including the recipe for the Texas Eggs she made every Epiphany for the choir brunch she hosted at our house. (This was her way of thanking the
St. Mark's choristers for their hard work over Advent and Christmas.) Mother seemed a bit surprised, since this recipe includes a can of cream of mushroom soup.

I told her to send it anyway. The eggs were good (we never had any leftovers) and there’s a good story attached to them, as well. I asked Mother for several other recipes that I remember throughout the years.

But not the Bloody Mary punchbowl that was part of the Epiphany brunch. There was no recipe for that – Mother just poured vodka, tomato juice & added her spices. Everyone liked it, including the rector – there was never any left over.

And the rector presided over the punch bowl! That was an inside joke at St. Marks for years.

Yes, the Trinity Choir is definitely going to England in August! Casey has been working with a tour company that specializes in these trips. We’ll spend a week at Ely Cathedral, singing Evensong and a Sunday morning Eucharist. We are also slated to sing Evensong or Eucharist at York Minster, Lincoln Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral. We’ll be spending a couple of days in London, as well – and we’ll be there during the Proms at Royal Albert Hall!

Mother will definitely be joining us on the trip. Deep down I knew she was going to come along by hook or crook, but I didn’t breathe easy until she informed me she had sent in her deposit check. Mother was concerned about her ears and the long flight. Her doctor told her about a treatment that can help Mother handle the pressurized cabin on the flight, and Mother’s cousin gave her some hints on how to handle the long trans-Atlantic flight.

Mary Matthews, the widow of Trinity’s former organist/choirmaster Dr. Thomas Matthews (the much-beloved OCM, not
Mr. Please Do Not Consider Me To Be Your Friend) informed me that her daughter, Sarah, will also be joining us. Mary’s positively thrilled – and so am I. Sarah’s a lot of fun to be with – and she’s a good singer, too (to put it mildly). We’ll have a good group on tour!

Last night I had a good conversation with my sister. Matthew, her son (and my godson) is being a typical six year old boy – hard to get him to bed on school night! Already he knows every trick in the book to delay bedtime. John (Ruth’s husband) then has to deal with getting a sleepy, cranky kid to school the next morning, since Ruth has to leave early for work. Fortunately, Matthew is really enjoying school.

Back to the cookbook – I welcome your recipes! Now, if anyone has any cucumber sandwich recipes out there, they would be most appropriate for a cookbook put out by an Episcopal church choir!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quickie for today (no raunchy jokes, please)

Just a quickie post to keep in the posting loop.

Had an interesting conversation with Marc, our principal bass & librarian. He asked about listing string players alphabetically in the program. I told him I was all in favor. I'm frankly not a fan of the outdated hierarchy system in the string section, and I much prefer the revolving string section so musicians aren't stimagtized by years on the last desk. About 20 years ago in the former Philharmonic our music director at the time pondered switching to revolving string section seating. Boy, did he get blasted by some musicians! (Mainly long-time players who happened to occupy some of the higher positions.) Some string players get very territorial when it comes to their seating, to say the least.

My thoughts? If revolving string section seating is good enough for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then it's good enough for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

Oh, check out
Stacey's Panic Room from fellow Bush-hating Episcopalian Stacey. This is such a funny, smart, blog!

Hi, Stacey!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Back to the Blogger Dashboard!

Well, it's been over a week since I posted last. Been a busy week, in between running back and forth to Fayetteville to play with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and recuperating from a cold. (This blasted cough just doesn't seem to want to go away.) I missed both the 11 a.m. Eucharist and Evensong last Sunday due to illness. As much as I love Evensong, and given the fact that I'll have to miss several Evensongs this year due to performance commitments, the latter was especially painful.

On October 8 I attended
St. Paul's, which I customarily attend while in Fayetteville. I was entertained by the bumper stickers I saw in the parking lot before the service-so much so that I decided to write them down:
  • What would Scooby do?
  • What if the Hokey-Pokey is really what it's all about?
  • I Miss Bill
  • BUllSHit
  • Remember In November
  • Greenpeace
  • Another family for peace
  • (Peace sign)
  • Keep Fayetteville Funky

I'm not sure what the last one was all about, but if I remember correctly, I think it had to do with a local initiative to encourage artists to remain in and relocate to Fayetteville.

At the Eucharist I paid attention to their rector, Rev. Lowell Grisham, who was celebrant. I have long admired Fr. Grisham for his liturgical skills (I always enjoy the broad-high church liturgy of St. Paul's), his excellent preaching skills (lectionary-based, and applicable to contemporary life), his ability to speak prophetically (an unabashed progressive, he's not afraid to speak out on controversial issues), and his sense of humor. Plus, I know he is much beloved by St. Paul's parishioners. Anyhow, given my dissatisfaction with my own rector, I thought I'd pay attention to why Fr. Grisham appears to be so successful at St. Paul's. I noticed in the processional how he made eye contact with parishioners, but not so much as to be disruptive. Very subtle, but I could see how parishioners were made to feel that they were "home." When conducting the liturgy, Fr. Grisham was truly praying, as opposed to rattling off words by rote from the BCP. When Fr. Grisham gave the announcements, the word that came to mind was "engaging." (In all fairness, I think of "engaging" every time Fr. Joseph gives the announcements at Trinity.) And at the conclusion of the service, Fr. Grisham warmly and sincerely greeted me. Maybe someday Trinity will have a rector with the above attribute-one can always hope!

One brief word for a commercial: While at St. Paul's I purchased a bag of Bishop's Blend coffee for the office. Bishop's Blend is Certified Fair Trade, organic, shade-grown coffee from Central America and Indonesia, plus they received the Better Business Bureau Award in 2004. Not only all that, but every purchase helps support Episcopal Relief and Development, a wonderful organization that provides emergency assistance worldwide.

On Sunday I got good news-my mother has decided to join us on the Trinity choir tour to England next August! She had been concerned about the long flight to England, as well as walking (due to her arthritis). Evidently she's been assured her concerns are all manageable, so she sent in her deposit check to Casey. I'm thrilled she'll be going. I know this is something she's wanted to do her whole life, and I'd hate for her to miss out.

Well, it's now about 6:20 pm Tulsa time as I write this. I need to get home to do the laundry - one of my favorite chores - NOT!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slow day at the office…

Well, I’m sitting here at my computer trying to motivate myself, which seems hard today. I’m hearing the beautiful strains of the orchestral suite from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier being broadcast on KWTU as I type this. The music playing right now is from the very last scene of the opera (the final trio/encounter between Octavian, Sophie and The Marschallin.)

For those of you unfamiliar with this opera, I encourage you to find a recording of the opera. It’s one of the most beautiful ever written (and one of the most enjoyable to play). I don’t have a particular recommendation as to which recording – perhaps someone will chime in with a recommendation in the comments section.

Or, you might want to contact one of the staff members at
Tulsa Opera to give you a recommendation.

On the office front, I’m having a frustrating time trying to field an orchestra for a local church’s Christmas concert. Just about every church in town is scheduling stuff – on top of The Nutcracker and other holiday entertainment. This church’s music director contacted me at least one month after the other big churches in town had already committed musicians for their concerts. Then, last week, he informed me he was no longer employed at his church. So, I contacted the musicians I had already hired to let them know the gig had fallen through (in hopes they might be able to pick up some other work). Then on Monday, I got another call from the music director saying he’d managed to work things out and was back at the church.

So, I’m trying to get caught up by about 1-2 months now…

I spoke with my sister in Maryland last night. Her son (my nephew and godson) has just started kindergarten. Ruth told me that Matthew already has homework. At least Ruth is working with Matthew on his homework, which is probably the teacher’s rationale, come to think of it (parents being involved in their children’s education). I’m happy to hear that Matthew likes school and is making new friends. Ruth is happy that Matthew now has more contact with children his own age, since the children in his neighborhood are mostly older kids. Matthew’s already had two “girlfriends” – sheesh!

Ruth was quite upset at the Amish school shooting in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She has traveled to that area to purchase organic meat and dairy products from Amish farmers, and is very fond of the Amish. Now we hear of the goons (that’s what they are, folks) from Westboro Baptist “Church” in Topeka, KS planning to show up with their vile hate signs and create further grief for the people who’ve already been through so much. As my ex-boyfriend would say, “There’s sickness everywhere.”

I just wonder if the Fred Phelps goons ever really read their Bible. God doesn’t hate anybody – God loves everyone. Even the Fred Phelps gang.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I think I’m going to have to change the title of this blog!

Well, it’s been over a year since I posted. Things have changed dramatically. Concerning the title of this blog, there’s been some good news. A new full-time professional orchestra – the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra (http://www.tulsasymphony.org/) – has been organized. We’ve planned a season of six concerts, we’re partnering with other Tulsa arts organizations, we’re raising money, and we’re gearing up to do a massive mailing announcing our premier season. In short – we have a real orchestra in Tulsa! At last!

Best news – I’m working full time for TSO! I’ve been at my new job for about six weeks now. I was approached about doing grantwriting back in March or so. At the time, I put this off, since the upcoming months were a crucial time for grantwriting at my then-employer. Well, things started getting difficult with my supervisor at the Housing Authority. I concluded my supervisor may have been laying the groundwork to push me out. She was setting me up for failure by an excessive workload, no assistance, failing to respond to requests for information, deadlines continually being moved up, nitpicking work to death, and increasingly hostile (to the point of being downright nasty) e-mails – one message going so far as to threaten a write-up. I knew I wasn’t incompetent – as a matter of fact, my previous supervisor had given me consistently favorable performance appraisals. Nevertheless, I also saw the writing on the wall – Robin wanted to get rid of me and put in someone of her own choosing. There was an opportunity for me to move on – Dr. Frank Letcher, the retired neurosurgeon who founded TSO had expressed interest in bringing me on board. Therefore, I decided to “get while the getting was good,” as they say.

More on my ex-boss later – in another post! Suffice it to say that things got even more interesting after I left…

What’s it like working for a symphony orchestra in its infancy? Pretty interesting! There are the inevitable bumps in the road that go along with any start-ups, but the successes are outweighing the negatives. As of today, we’ve accompanied Tulsa Ballet Theater in a highly successful run of Carmina Burana (to the Carl Orff secular oratorio, choreographed by TBT’s own Ma Cong) and Serenade (George Balanchine’s first American ballet, to the wonderful and sadly under-performed Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings). Jim Watts’ review in the Tulsa World included kudos for the orchestra. Our conductor, Carmen DeLeone (music director for the Cincinnati Ballet) gave high praise for the orchestra. Nevertheless, the heartfelt cheers from the audience as we took our bows after each performance said it best – as well as the comments from parishioners following the Saturday night performance.

Tickets are going very fast, too. We’ve sold in excess of 700 tickets – and this was before any formal marketing campaign got underway! At times, our phone lines have been overloaded with people wanting to buy tickets. Numerous times, after I’ve answered the phone “Tulsa Symphony Orchestra” I’ve heard responses along the lines of “It’s so good to hear that!”
Tulsans are hungry for a professional symphony orchestra. To use an old cliché, the stars are in alignment. It won’t be easy – those things that are of high quality and are truly worth having never come easily – but it will happen. It is happening. And we will not be stopped.

As far as other matters – I’ve been doing some traveling lately! In late August, I went on an Alaska Inner Passage cruise with my mother, and spent two days post-cruise in Seattle. More on the cruise later -- I hope to post pictures as well. And there’s more travel to come! Next summer the Trinity Choir is slated to do a 12-day tour to England. We’ll be singing Evensong and Eucharist at a number of cathedrals, including Ely, Lincoln and York (I think). I’ve never been to England before, so to say I’m looking forward to this trip would be the understatement of the century!

Well, I’m going to have to make a personal discipline of making regular entries to my blog. I’ve lately seen the blog, AKMA’s Random Thoughts,
http://akma.disseminary.org/ of Rev. A. K. M. Adam, professor of New Testament at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and an assisting priest at the wonderful St. Luke’s Parish in Evanston, IL (http://www.stlukesevanston.org/) I’ve also been enjoying the morning meditations on the Daily Office lectionary posted by Rev. Lowell Grisham, the outstanding rector of St. Paul’s, Fayetteville, AR. Fr. Grisham’s meditations can be found at http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id132.html.

I commend both blogs to you – spiritual sustenance offered by two of the best priests (IMHO) in the Episcopal Church today!

Now, I’ve got to think of a new title for my own blog…