Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sounds of the Season

OK, so I still haven't been blogging. Bad me. The fact is, things have been pleasantly busy lately. I haven't been overwhelmed with goins-on, but there's been just enough happening, or just enough that I want to do, that getting online at home for any reason other than a quick email check just hasn't been a priority. Usually, I have plenty of time where I sit and think, "Hmm, what should I do with myself?" But lately, I find myself with a mental list of activities that seem to occupy all my time.

Some of those activities are as simple as making the time to watch the movie that Michael and I rented earlier in the week, or choosing to do spontaneous post-church brunches on the Ave rather than head home early. But those are the little things that make life enjoyable, as well as providing much needed social and mental breaks.

Of course, there have been many holiday activities. Recently, in the span of eight days, I went to five concert events, all of them holiday themed, yet each one unique. Beginning with the Round at the Triple Door (something I actually did get to blog about), I enjoyed Black Nativity at the Intiman with Michael, the Swedish Julfest service at Seattle First Covenant with my friend Kristina and her parents, the PLU Christmas concert at Benaroya hall with family and friends, and the Brass Band Northwest concert in which our friend Doug takes part, again with my family.

I mention them all primarily because I don't want to forget the wonderful music that has been filling this season. Experiencing live music is a great privilege, and it has made this December one to remember. As Christmas draws ever closer, the music, the time with family and friends, and all the little things that fill my days are a great blessing. Take time to really listen to the music of the season, and I'm sure you won't regret it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Steps It Up

Let it be noted that on November 30th I told Christmas to "bring it". And Christmas, well... Christmas done brought it! This, a Tuesday night, is the first I have sat at my home computer since my last posting on December 2nd. Last weekend I did not even do so much as check my email once, and you know that means I'm pretty well occupied.

So... deep breath. A lot has happened. And I don't have time to write about it now. But maybe tomorrow (or maybe not), we'll get to the holiday lowdown. It's all been fun, but my bed is calling. And right now, there's no place I'd rather be.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Round It Goes

The Round is a music/art/spoken word event that began in Seattle's Fremont Abbey four or five years ago. The idea is a simple one: local musicians, who may normally never appear on stage together, sit together in a row facing their audience, taking turns playing songs they wouldn't normally play. The audience all faces forward and listens; this is no barroom show, where people yell into their companion's ear just to be heard over the din. Most of the musicians choose to go acoustic, while in the background three different artists paint on canvases, and spoken word poets come forward to give impassioned recitations during breaks in the music.

It's a once a month event, and I manage to get to it, oh, about once a year. Fortunately I made it to last night's holiday show at the Triple Door with a couple of friends. What a way to kick off December. The Round can be a little irreverent, and the performers' backgrounds are varied, but it always comes together in an amazing way, and there is always a spiritual element underneath it all. We listened to musicians ranging from Mark Pickerel to Star Anna to Jesse Sykes to Damien Jurado, and many more, singing songs of bleak midwinter and songs praising the baby Jesus. In the end, everyone came back on stage for an obviously unrehearsed rendition of John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is Over).

It's the unrehearsed part that makes The Round special. The backup band provides improvised harmony and rhythm throughout the night, musicians try out songs they never thought they'd perform in public, and the painters attempt to bring their visions to light before the night ends. Taken as a whole, it's a beautiful thing.