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      thA plethora of concerts, a superabundance but not an overabundance, a fullness, a feast. The Spring Concert presented by community music lovers has arrived featuring singers of all ages from second graders to at least 80-plus. All enhanced by the best accompanists in the world, and a half dozen wonderful directors, and some fine percussion, and all the supportive families and organizations and schools. How fortunate we are!!

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      8888I am not one of the Calendar Girls. In fact, my character Marie, president of the Knapeley Chapter of the Women’s Institute, is absolutely scandalized by the decision of six members to pose nude for an “Alternative” WI calendar with the goal of raising real money to fund a comfortable new sofa for the family waiting room at the rural Skipton hospital where Annie, played by Michelle Lockwood, has spent many tortuous hours while her husband John, played by Thomas Putnam, has undergone treatment for leukemia.

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      It certainly has been an intriguing last few months. I will try to recall, but it has been a blur. We started rehearsing for Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” at the end of January and also at this time Hamilton-Gibson had auditions for “Blithe Spirit.” I auditioned for “Blithe Spirit” not necessarily thinking about the implications of doing two shows so close together. I received the part of Charles Condomine in “Blithe Spirit” and the rehearsals started immediately all the while rehearsing for “Ring of Fire”. There were a few nights of overlap leaving from one rehearsal and straight to another, to quote Madame Arcati, “my brain was fairly seething.” There were many wonderful things that came from this experience; from developing two characters, to the relationships formed during this period of time, and for the opportunity to further develop friendships with people I already knew.

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      Music. It’s part of how I see the world…or hear the world. I grew up surrounded by music. Every morning I woke up to Clair de Lune as my sister practiced on our baby grand downstairs. (It was years before I realized that I only thought I could play that; I had heard it so much it seemed like I ought to be able to play it.) And after school my brothers practiced. And my parents vocalized throughout the week getting ready for a solo on Sunday. I knew much of the Bible simply because I heard Handel’s Messiah I could sing it all before I could read. Cello, piano, voice. Symphony concerts. Choral concerts. Great organ music every Sunday. Songs in the car. Rounds on the front porch.

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      I'm taking a break from Calendar Girls today. The HG Choirs are heading south for our annual performance tour. This time we're heading to Washington D.C.  We began taking these tours around 20 years ago and they provide some of the fondest memories of choir for the participants. Whether the trip is to Prague or Rio, or Toronto or NYC or Cleveland, or West Virginia or Philly  or any of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, the choir functions as a choir: traveling, eating, sleeping, putting up with smoking buses (outside Rio), rushing off the bus to walk right into a gymnasium full of waiting elementary kids, joining with the Newark Boys Choir or the Hamilton Ontario Children's Choir, or experiencing a show or a museum, the choir is and becomes even more wonderfully connected.

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