Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Concert Review

This won't really be a review of my orchestra's Christmas concert, just a run down. We performed the traditional concert Saturday night. I say "traditional" because our orchestra has been in existence for 71 years, and we have included a children's chorus for quite a few of those. And over the last ten or so years, the kids have sung songs that are expected. The one we perform every single year is "Marvelous Toy" by Tom Paxton. It's pretty cute, I have to say, although the horn part is the most boring thing--nothing but two solid pages of off beats. Not even a hint of melody. You could sneeze into your horn, and nobody would know the difference. As an aside, sneezing into your horn actually makes an interesting sound. So does laughing into it, which I did once right before the down beat to Sleigh Ride because the 3rd horn guy said something very funny just as we all took our first breath.

Anyway, back to the concert. The first half was a hodge-podge of pieces because this concert season has a general theme of cities around the world. So, we opened with a medley of Christmas songs from around the world and then followed with Russian Christmas Music by Alfred Reed. It was originally a band piece, which means it has lots of loud brass parts, but it has since been orchestrated. There was a bit of a 2nd horn solo, which was a surprise but still very fun. We also got to perform Mel Torme's The Christmas Song.

During the intermission, a local pharmacy provides cookies and punch in the lobby, which the orchestra avoids because it's never good to blow cookies through your horn. A word about this pharmacy: it's owned by a man who has become some what of a celebrity. He' s a very funny guy with an eye for the spot light who is known for wearing funky hats in public. I'm not talking about fedoras or sombreros. I'm talking about chickens and Uncle Sam hats and beanies with propellers. This year, he appeared in a jester's suit.

For the second half, we were joined by a 180-voice children's choir. They always provide plenty of material, meaning the horn section sits in the back and makes fun of the boys with the untucked shirts, the fidgety kids, the sweaty kids, the kids who don't know the words. We wonder which one will have to leave the stage because he's about to puke, and we make sure we're well out of his path. This year, not one had to be excused.

The whole thing ended with a full-audience sing-along of well-known carols and a visit from a bad-joke-making Santa. If that doesn't warm the heart of any curmudgeon (and you know who you are)...

7 comments:

dive said...

Sneezing and laughing through a French horn sounds really funny. And I think the phrase "it's never good to blow cookies through your horn" will keep the Grinch away for quite a while. Hee hee …

This sounds like a wonderful concert, Robyn. I only wish I could have been there (although I'm not sure I'd trust punch made by a pharmacist).
And Marvellous Toy was one of my all time favourite songs when I was a kid. I'd love to have heard you play it.

Robyn said...

Dive, our conductor really does love the spot light, and he sings Marvelous Toy with the motions. Every year, one of the kids gets to stand on the podium and do the motions with him.I know there are orchestra members who scoff at it, but the crowd loves it. It's always good to have a crowd pleaser.

dive said...

It's a brilliant tradition, Robyn.
Sniffy orchestra members are there to be ridiculed. Music is joy!

RICH said...

hmm I'd watch out for a guy wearing a hat with a prop on it especially when he's filling my scrips.

Sounds like a good time.. old fashioned F U N

Utsav said...

Hehehe.. I'd love to hear those effects on the horn! And I must congratulate you on the fantastic job you've done of de-Grinching Dive- I'd never imagined it possible!

Ween said...

Oh, the children's choir. I always remember them from when my husband performed with the symphony. We'd have a good chuckle at the end of the show.

Sassy Sundry said...

Yes, cookies and horns are not to be mixed.

The pharmacist sounds great. Why are we moving to all these chains when there are great people like this in the world?