Whoa, Nelly, next stop is Altoona, PA. George and I are taking a short reprieve from our Pennsylvanian Christmas celebration, teeming with hordes of (non-Amish) Grossmans, in order to address the First Baptist Church in Altoona. I'm playing, and George is giving a missions update to fellow supporters in the congregation. I'm sure they're all itching to hear our tales of polar bears and igloos. Meanwhile, I will be taking notes to prepare my update for folks back in Alaska, about Christmas amongst the Amoses. (They're the three neighboring Amish farmers who happen to share the same name).
How I love the smell of Amish life, the wood stoves, the manure-spread cornfields... It's true, the Walmart in Lock Haven, PA, has hitching posts. I'd post some photos, but I'm not even sure how I got to the internet this evening. Whatever it was, it was about as slow as--insert another Amish joke here--.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's performance. As shallow as it sounds, I would attend that church simply for its acoustics, were I to live in the area. They certainly knew how to make churches 160 years ago. You don't see stained glass like that in Alaska. This one has a domed ceiling and a pipe organ to boot.
By the way, if you ever feel that keeping two arms busy with music isn't quite enough for you, I highly recommend taking up the pipe organ. With all four limbs moving this way and that to gain control thousands of pipes, which encircle and saturate the sanctuary with collaborated volume, you feel like a mad scientist. Or the Wizard of Oz. Or something.
It's a real treat watching Grandma Grossman spinning out the hymns on Sunday morning, fingers flying, toes tapping. She possesses musical skills that are becoming increasingly rare with the passing of the traditional church. Nowadays, people complain when she lets out all the stops. It's too fancy, too old-fashioned, too--traditional. I say, let em rip, Grandma, and make sure you teach the young ones to do the same. Keep the cobwebs out of those big pipes in the back, and out of the sleepy heads of the complacent congregation. Live! Live! AAHH, THE POWER!!!
See, mad scientist.
I bet the Amish folk wouldn't think it old-fashioned.
So that was my first recital. That wasn't so bad now, was it? It was definitely the least nervous that I've ever been during a performance, all 45 minutes of it. I found it helps a lot to know that your audience loves you.
Thanks, Mamma and Daddy.
We saved you folks some goods. George's chicken cashew salad's in the fridge. Grab some coffee, Jim, the chocolate almond hazelnut biscotti is yours.
Thou shalt not play Silent Night on heavily distorted electric guitar.
I will smite thee, and instead of damnation, thou shalt be assigned to the harp.
Yes, I know it's late notice, and most people have plans this time of year, but spontaneous musicians will be spontaneous musicians. I'm giving a recital with my aunt this coming Sunday at 2:00, here in balmy Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you're in the area and looking for some old fashioned parlor entertainment, come on over for a little Kreisler and Mozart, lightly seasoned with Stravinsky. (and of course, Bach is a always a given.) Christmas refreshments and background music to follow. RSVP, please, so I can plan my biscotti accordingly. And give directions.
(announcement courtesy of my Mom and Dad)
By the way, did I mention I have pigeons? Homing pigeons. The original flock was supposedly raised for food, or maybe racing or something. George bought them for retriever training, and, after a brief bout with Ben and his soft mouth, the ten of them happily retired to the simple life, eating food, pooping, and unsuccessfully procreating in their tightly fenced pen behind my house.
While George was away, I hoped to maintain our flock’s attendance in his honor. Ten pigeons arrived for food every day, and ten pigeons flew to roost in the coop every night. I dutifully took role call every day, just to be sure. Then, much to my surprise one day, I counted eleven. No scruffy pin feathers denoted a recent fledgling among the group. No, eleven full grown adult pigeons crowded around the feed bowl, as if there had always been just as many since the day George left! What, am I going crazy?
And today, I spied twelve, not eleven, grown pigeons flocking to feed. Evidently, I have a knack for adult pigeon farming. I can’t wait to tell George. Two bonus points for me.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.