21 June 2006

Serra Convention Mass

A group comprised mainly of members (and former members) of the Gonzaga Gregorian Schola will provided the music for the Traveller's Mass for the International Serra Convention on Thursday, June 29th, in Our Lady of Lourds Cathedral in Spokane. The Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus Dei, and a setting of the Salve Regina which will be sung are int he South American baroque style, and we will also sing 20th Century French settings of Salve Mater and Tu Es Petrus (the 29th is the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul).

If you're planning to be there, say hello. I'm the strawberry-blonde alto.

19 June 2006

Friday Feast on Sunday

From Summa Mamas

What is a word that you use that would not be considered common?


What theme of calendar do you have on your wall this year?

"Nuns Having Fun" and one with pictures of and quotes about cats.

What is the age span of the children in your family...and the children in the family you grew up in?

Don't have a family of my own yet, and though I have half siblings, I've never lived with any of them. (Actually, I am informed that my next-youngest sister lived with us for a few months, but I was only two and I don't remember.) My half-brother, the oldest, is 22 years older than me.

Main Course
Do you care about fashion? What do you especially like to shop for?

Yes, any of my friends would tell you that my closet is full-to-overflowing. I try buy things which are of good quality and classic cut, so they're good for years and not just a couple of seasons, though. I tend not to buy pieces from current trends unless I'm fairly sure I'll still like them in 4 or 5 years' time. A few items have been in my closet since I was 13, and still get worn now and again.
What do I like shopping for? Oh, pretty much anything when it comes to clothes, except for jeans and swimsuits.

What is the last beverage you drank?

Republic of Tea Unsweetened Raspberry Quince Black Iced Tea, commercially bottled.

16 June 2006

Some Wedding Don'ts

As a musician who has sung and played harp at many weddings, and as a young person whose friends are marrying off at a rather alarming rate, I have had several opportunities in the past five or six years to observe some things about weddings that work beautifully, and some that are just not good ideas. Here, for your enjoyment or your advice, are three wedding don'ts:

Don't schedule your wedding in the afternoon in the middle of summer. You may think the airconditioning in your church is adequate, but I can almost guarantee that it is not (like the wedding today, at which the ringbearer passed out).

Don't wait until the last minute to choose your music or communicate with your musicians. Things should be organized at least a month before the wedding. The closer to the wedding date you get without having all the music and musicians planned for, the closer you are to having some major hitches (like the wedding today, at which the ordinaries were not sung because the bride still hadn't picked out any music the afternoon before the wedding).

Don't ignore the parish organist, if there is one. Risk the ire of the union if you do. The American Guild of Organists has a code of ethics, and Rule 4 states: "Before accepting an engagement for a wedding, funeral, or other service, members shall obtain the approval of the incumbent musician. In cases where this engagement has been requested by a third party, it is appropriate for the third party to offer the incumbent his/her customary fee. It is the responsibility of members to inform the third party of this rule." This means that you must at least offer the job to the parish organist, even if you plan to also have other musicians at the event. (I would not have sung at today's wedding if I'd known before I agreed that the parish organist had not been offered the gig.)

09 June 2006

The Knitty-Gritty

Saturday is the 2nd Annual World-Wide Knit in Public Day!

This is a great opportunity for knitters to get together and have fun. Go to the website to see if there's a WWKIPday group meeting in your area, and get to know some of your local knitters!

It's also a great chance for new knitters to get started started. At the risk of revealing my own obsession with crafty things, here are some resources for beginners and advanced knitters alike:

Knitting Help: a page with free videos showing knitting techniques.

Knitty Magazine: an online knitting magazine, with free patterns and useful "purls of wisdom." (yuk yuk yuk)

Learn to Knit: the Craft Yarn Council of America's page with illustrated knit and crochet instructions.

And for Harry Potter fans: the definitive house scarf pattern!

What are you waiting for? Get knitting!

08 June 2006

Random, Vaguely Music-Related Questions

Why is it that people don't know how to film dancers? I was watching a local television station's broadcast of performers from the 2005 Celtic Roots festival, and they spent at least half the time filming the dancer's faces. These are Irish dancers--if you film their faces, all you see is a smiling head bobbing up and down. Film the whole body, film the feet, zoom in on the face once in a while, but film the feet!!

P.S. Why do so many female folksingers dress oddly? The men generally don't dress strangely; they generally wear a nondescript polo or button-down shirt,plain trousers or jeans, and casual shoes--normal male dress. But the women, geeze. An ill-fitting mint-green satin skirt with a wine-colored tank top? Or, as I saw at Irish Arts Week last year, a bright yellow patterned shirt with bright pink pants and an orange and green patterned belt? Oh my eyes! Lady musicians: there are more attractive ways of expressing your individuality.

03 June 2006

Another Recipe

Here's another quick summer dessert we invented last night (though I imagine someone's done it before), with a somewhat Middle Eastern flair:

Stuffed Dates
whole dates (2-3 per person)
goat cheese
fresh mint leaves

Dice mint leaves very small, and mix with goat cheese. Cut a slit in each date, remove the nut, and spoon cheese mixture into the slit. If desired, garnish with another mint leaf. These look lovely on a plate with some nuts, like walnuts, and served with a glass of a sweet wine, port, or sherry. They could also be an appetizer.

01 June 2006

Summer Desserts

We bought a flat of strawberries a few days ago, and were left singularly unmoved by the flavor of the raw fruit (excessive rain has played havoc with California's early summer produce). On Monday we made a cobbler, because it was cool enough to turn on the oven, but tonight required something else.

Strawberry topping for ice cream (serves 3 or 4):
1 cup strawberries
Sugar to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Cut 1/3 of the strawberries into small pieces, and heat in saucepan over low heat with lime juice and sugar until strawberries get mushy. Stir in Grand Marnier and rest of strawberries (halved or quartered). Heat only until strawberries are warmed. Serve immediately, spooned over vanilla ice cream. Garnish with a cookie--orange or chocolate flavored work well.

Also, having turned 21 this year, I am still exploring the wonderful world of alcoholic beverages. My dessert last night was a little creme de menthe and cream over ice--cools down the throat, and warms the head a little. Sadly, I haven't yet had the chance to try the full Grasshopper--the above, with creme de cacao--since we didn't have any creme de cacao in the house.