Friday, November 22, 2013

Celebrations: Crimson Harps

And so it begins...
The Salt Lake City yearly Christmas season of free celebrations!
Our Sunday newspaper has an entire section devoted to the arts and the listing of weekly events around town is already lengthening.
My calendar could get full very quickly.
It is simply a matter of making the small effort to go to the free events and enjoy, rather than stay at home lounging about as usual.
Last Wednesday was a free harp concert at the University of Utah.
Six student harpists playing an assortment of music ranging from traditional carols to the Casino Band Song, which was the background music in the first Star War movie's bar scene.
I had clipped out the announcement and gotten Bernie on board with going. This time I double checked my day and time, and airily told him the concert would be held up on Presidents Circle, which I believed was near the State capitol building.
Good thing he check that location information as actually the concert was held on the University campus, which isn't even close to the State capitol.
Once we made it to the Presidents Circle we were forced to ask passing student where the specific building was; two of them pointed to the other side of the circular roadway and told us it was one of two buildings.
We parked and walked in the misting rain up steps to one building and then to another where the concert was found in progress.
The picture above was my view upon opening the doorway to the Thompson chamber music hall.

The University's colors are red and black, hence the groups name being Crimson Harps.
Rather poetic name, don't you think?

The six students looked angelic and so lady like in their black dresses.
Gentlemen accompanied them on cello and trombones for some pieces.
Cello and harp is such a rich sound combination.

The non-traditional Santa hats and light strings let us know that they were quite merry.
Here's a brief video from the concert:

The music was heavenly.
The musician's hand and body movements were so graceful as they played.

It was hard to imagine that these were all student musicians.
Don't they all look happy?

I could hardly wait to get up close to the instruments after the concert.

Note card worth scenes.

I could picture any of the harps being the subject of a Christmas card picture.

The carving....

We kept looking and looking at all the details.

The painted details were beautiful as well.

I was able to talk a bit with this harpist.
She explained that the harps stay in the music rooms, and are rarely taken home.
I asked how old she was when she got her first harp.
She was eight.
She carefully explained that her first harp was what was called a lever harp which required manual tone shifts.
This harp had the pedals on the floor.
Another person standing by was laughing about how during one song the pedal action had all the girls nearly bouncing as they played.

Her fellow musician likewise got her first harp at age eight.
That just blows my mind.
How cool would it be to have a daughter playing the harp in the background in one's  home?

A young friend or relative came forward to bring tribute flowers to the young musician.

There were quite a few children like this girl attending, children with various developmental disabilities.
They all seemed spellbound by the music, just like we were.

The Chamber Music room was beautiful with gilded trim and tall windows.

Now that we know where this room is, I think we will be going to other Chamber Music concerts when they are offered.
Can't beat the price...we just had to pay 50 cents for parking in front of the building.

The rain had picked up a bit as we drove away.
Rain on pavement at night makes for such beautiful light reflection.

The University is above the city.
The night cityscape scene will only get better as the Christmas season progresses with more and more Christmas lights added everywhere.

Our date night ended with a fro-yo run.
Root beer float flavored frozen yogurt is delicious!

And for anyone interested, here is what was played at the concert.
(A side note:  My iPhone, which I usually use to read blogs, is currently not allowing me to comment on other blogs. It seems to be another dratted Google+ related issue. I am reading blogs regularly, and if you are wondering at my silence it is due to the issue rather than from lack of interest your blog.  Hopefully I can get to the bottom of this issue soon!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November's Note Card Party

It is unusual for Hannukkah to begin on Thanksgiving, but that is going to be the case this year.
So here is my
"Happy Thanksgivingnnukkah"
note card!
This year our family will be celebrating Hannukkah as always.
It is a little unusual for Christians to do that, but then again Christ himself made a point of attending the Feast of Dedication:

"And it was at Jerusalem the Feast of The Dedication (Hanukkah), and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch" John 10:22-23 (KJV).

Can't really come up with a good reason not to celebrate something HE celebrated!

Even our cats enjoy Hannukkah!
We originally began lighting candles because Bernie had gone to Israel before we were married and returned home with this Hannakkiah, or Hannukkah candle holder.
Once we were married, and had kids, I thought we might as well use it.
Cultural, Biblical exposure for the kids, if you know what I mean.
Candles, some chocolate coins, some spinning hard could it be to do Hannunkkah?

Later we studied some more and came to a deeper appreciation of the Feast.
You might know the back ground story:
The Greeks, and more specifically, the Greeks who were inhabiting Syria, began to persecute the Jewish population in Israel.
The persecution culminated in the Syrian Greeks entered the Jewish temple and desecrated it with pigs blood and placing a statue of the Greek god Zeus on the Temple alter for worship.
This was the final insult.
An old priest and his sons decided to fight against the Greeks.
They rallied the Jewish people.
The Syrian Greek army was the top army of the day while the Jewish people were a small population untrained in warfare.
It took more than 20 years but eventually the Jews won.
The first thing they did after defeating the Syrian Greeks was to re-enter the Temple, cleanse it, and light the Glory lamp that shone day and night.
They only had a sparse amount of the kind of refined oil needed for that lamp and it would take eight days to make more pure oil.
The sparse amount miraculously burned eight days.

Sometimes I wonder what it would take for us to finally fight back when our Holy places are desecrated.
I think we Christians are a very small band now and our spiritual warfare skills are weak.
Hannukkah reminds me to trust in God.
As we light the lights, we remember...
"And God said: Let there be Light"
"There was a pillar of Light by night"
"I am the Light of the World"
"You are the Light of the World"
The scriptures are full of  phrases about Light.
Each night as we light our candles, we mediated on Light, from the Creation of Light in Genesis, until the Light that replaces the Sun and the Moon in Revelation.
The Battle against Evil has been won.
And yet we are still in the midst of the battle.
I blogged our yearly Hannukkah meditations HERE.
I am already getting excited about our Hannukkah celebration this year!
Maybe this year you will want to enjoy Light along with your Thanksgiving!
I am linking to Vee's Note Card Party, do drop by her blog and enjoy seeing what other "note card" photos folks are sharing this month!