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May: Your Family's Arts Life


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I thought we could start a monthly thread where people can talk about what their families did this month -- what you've read, seen, heard. And if how your children react to what's going on.


If it gets too long, we can make it weekly, but let's start out with a monthly one.


Please make this a very active thread!!!!!

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I'll start: our family attended the Joffrey's spring show, titled something along the lines of "The Company: Favorites." Keep an eye on the other board, as sooner or later I'll post a review (hopefully sooner). I will say that "White Widow" -- the dance on the trapeze -- is even more beautiful live than it was in the film.


When we drive home from a performance, we always discuss it. What did you like? What didn't you like? How did it compare to the last time we saw the company (or, this piece)? It's interesting, sometimes, how our views diverge.

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We will be attending year-end recitals for various local studios. It will be interesting to see how other schools perform and support friends who love to dance, but do not want to make it a big part of their life (go to the pre-pro school).


We also will be attending a reception and book talk at a local museum by a WWII veteran and his experiences. I want my children to have a broad exposure, and this will be greatly enjoyed by my son, and a great experience for my DD.

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My 2 recent art experiences were not intended to be "art" experiences. But they were.


One was planning and attending the funeral of my father who was a WWII veteran, and who died of Alzhiemer's peacefully, at home. For months I had been thinking about the scripture readings that would be appropriate for his Roman Catholic funeral mass. I still had a couple of holes, and the priest helped me pick the remaining readings. I spent the rest of my time putting together a booklet that would contain the entire mass. I am now an Episcopalian, and often wish when I attend RC funerals that the mass was printed so non RC's can follow along. I with the help of the priest took care of the technical content, and my sister who publishes a small newspaper took care of the layout, and added some beautiful photos. Because I spent a lot of time on this, I did not have time to devote to music selection. We hired a pair of musicians that my father loved who had played at various family functions. I completely deferred to them. They worked with the priest to insert music at the appropriate points in the service. The husband plays the guitar, and his wife has a lovely soprano voice. The church is very modern, and has lots of hard surfaces. The music was positively gorgeous, and the guitar was so simple, but crisp and beautiful. It was many things, but it was also a very artful experience.


Two days after the funeral, while in an all day review class at Rice University, I stepped out for just over an hour to attend an Episcopal wedding. It was at a beautiful church across the street from Rice. There was the usual beautiful organ music. There was also a soprano soloist, and a trumpet soloist. Again, it was church - a wedding - not set out to be merely an art experience. But, it knocked my socks off! It was an interesting contrast to the simple beautiful music at my father's funeral. Both were incredible experiences.


This makes me realize that art is everywhere - just waiting to be discovered and appreciated!




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Because I've been working 12-14 hour days for months now, plus part of each weekend, I haven't been able to attend events as in the past. But with limited time and an even more limited budget, I've still managed to eek out some hours for myself.


Classical music and/or folk music are staples of my evenings. And books. Also, once a month when I spend a day with a dear friend, we visit art museums. Last time, a couple weeks ago, was the Norman Rockwell museum (it's very close).


I go to small local events too when I can manage some time. I heard Frank McCourt speak this month. A friend and I decided to read Plato's "Republic" together and embarked on that earlier this week - just a few pages a day.


I've found, from being so busy this year, that if I just tell myself to think small, I end up doing more than I'd done when I had the time.


Oh, and this week I saw my daughter perform! Now that I have no children in the house any longer, rather than my taking them to events, they now invite me.

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've found, from being so busy this year, that if I just tell myself to think small, I end up doing more than I'd done when I had the time.


Jacki, you are so right. When I have a lot of time -- and it's only because I'm collapsing from working a month of 12 hour days, and have a week before I have another project -- I think I have a lot of time. And think about all I'm going to do. And think about it some more.


But when I have no time, and decide to read one chapter a day, or go to this performance or that one, then I'll do it. Thank you for that point.

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My husband (kids' stepfather) and I are planning a concert at a local venue (free to whomever wants to go). Unfortunately, it's been put off a couple of times already due to inadequate time for preparation (work and kids stuff gets in the way of so many other good things!). I am very excited about it- it is music of Robert Burns (I sing, he is a pianist) as interpreted by Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann (and a Debussy). The kids know many of the songs by now (even auf Deutsch), and as I'm of of musicologic bent, hear music from early Medieval polyphony to Boulez. They hear piano music of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Busoni/Bach etc almost every night. Alas, they choose to put other things on their IPODs- but at least can recognize most of the "basic" composers (is Boulez basic?).

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This month has been a blur of end of school concerts, plays, performances and graduation ceremonies. All have offered some exposure to the arts, albeit at a 'student' level.


However, I did change the ring tone on my cell phone to a classical selection yesterday. During the busy last month of school, I'm counting that as doing my part for exposing all those around me to the arts... :wub:

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Before we moved away from home for dd's training, we were more active in music ourselves instead of just going to performances to watch others. DD and I used to sing in our church choir and she also played the flute for the music group. I also used to sing in the concert choral group at our local state college. We even went to Vienna, Austria to be part of a 300 member choral group singing Mozart's Requiem one summer. DD played the piano up until she was 11 and also the flute up until we moved here a couple of years ago. There just doesn't seem to be any room for anything else besides dance. I find this a little sad at times that other things she used to be good at have fallen to the way side.


For now, I play classical music as much as I can on the radio. DD watches the TV guide for any forms of dance on PBS. This month we attended a performance by a group called the Drop Dance Collective. A group consisting of mostly retired dancers that get together to perform. She also had three different days of performances herself.

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Mylildancer, playing the music on the radio is such a great inexpensive solution and so here is where I want to plug NPR :wub: Much of my education in classical music and opera has come from this source over the years. Since, for years, I drove great distances daily, NPR was (and still is) my steady companion. My kids grew up with NPR and even though, during their early adolescent years, there was much rolling of the eyes :(, they both got through that period and have a great respect and love for classical music.


Every day NPR wakes me up on my drive to work. Even though I'm not a morning person :sleeping::wacko: , I actually look forward to turning the radio on when I get into the car.

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DD's new school had a Reniassance Faire at her school. She was the captain of her Guild (booth). Her groups guild was to be a food booth. The other kids that had a food guild were planning things like chips/dip, soda, vege trays etc. Not my daughter! She went onto the computer and did quite a bit of research on the foods that were served at that time. They served all kinds of food, roasted chicken, fruit tarts, salads, grape juice (for wine), deserts, and they even had a watermelon eating contest and apples on strings contest.

Of course, she couldn't just have an authentic guild, she had to dress the part, so back to the computer and more research. She didn't want to be a noble, but didn't want to be a peasant, so she ended up dressing as middle class. We found a Reniassance costume maker on Ebay and had a great costume made. (very reasonably priced!)

All of my daughters hard work paid off. Her group won the award for Best Overall Guild in the whole school and she won an award for one of the best costumes!

Her group also got an A on the overall project which consisted of paper reports as well.

She had a great time learning about this time in history and so did I.

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Tonight my daughter and I will be attending a play (musical) put on by one of our community's theater groups. We are also making plans to see the Moscow Ballet perform in a couple of weeks at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. Like Vagansmom, I have always depended on NPR to smooth my daily commute, as well as help me fall asleep at night. I was pleased a few months ago when I noticed my daughter had used one of her car radio presets for our public radio/NPR station. :wub:

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Guest Chedva

We're big theater fans, and for my birthday, my husband took me to see "Wicked" in New York. We were so taken by it, and especially by the performance of Idina Menzel as the Wicked Witch, that we took my daughter and two of her friends down to see it. It's an amazing production (the book is fabulous, although the music is not the best), and seeing Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth and Joel Grey on stage at the same time was truly memorable. (Of course, dd didn't know who Joel Grey was until I told her he was Jennifer Grey's father! :(). Then my husband stood in line at the half-price ticket booth the next day and we saw "Thoroughly Modern Millie". Great Broadway dancing, particularly tap.


Dd has now read the novel of "Wicked", and found it completely different than the play. We've discussed why they had to make the changes they did to transform the novel into a musical. She's also read "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" and "Lost" by the same author as "Wicked". I'm in line to read them next, and she's restless to talk with me about them - amazing that at 14 she wants to discuss anything at all with me! :wub:


In World History, she's been studying the Renaissance, and finally noticed the small replica of Michelangelo's "Moses" that we've had for quite a while now. The teacher also did a unit on the artists of the period, with a slide show of some of the more famous art, including the few known female painters. So she's now reading "The Passion of Artemesia". And she's read "The Virgin Blue", waiting with bated breath to get a copy of "Girl with the Pearl Earring". (Yes, all this within a month!)


And of course we have various recitals and end of year concerts as well.

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Here in Canada, we listen to CBC Classical Radio; isn't it wonderful that music is still free to the masses? The girls have also enjoyed some of the Classical Kids CD's; they have stories about the composers and samples of their music.


The girls take a weekly music class and also a drama class. In drama, they have co-operatively written a play, and tomorrow will be performing it for an audience of parents. I agree that music and acting have taking a backseat to physical skills in the training of dancers, and I won't allow it with my girls!


Both my husband and myself have a background in the arts, and my husband is in an arts-related career today. From the time the girls were babies, we played music for them and danced while we held them in our arms. We took them to a variety of cultural events ( concerts, galleries, festivals ), read them beautiful picture books, and encouraged them to find beauty in nature. We encouraged them to play creatively, sing, dance, paint and draw, and perform for family members. We have always had lots of dress-up costumes ( the ususal princesses, but also cats and clowns and even a monkey! ) and scarves and lengths of cloth for them to play with. They still use these at ages 7 and 10.


I recently commented to the ballet teacher that I was surprised at how much my girls like dance; she said that it was most likely a result of the things we have done at home! :o

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We just saw Boston Ballet's Swan Lake. During the bows we were standing and clapping and my daughter exclaimed "I can't stop crying!" Neither could I.

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