Were you art-full this weekend?

My Thanksgiving weekend (not spent locally) was full of food, family and home viewing of 2016 movies that I missed in both first and second run (Loving, A United Kingdom).

But what about you? Did you attend (or perform in) a concert or play? Did you visit a museum? Did you paint a picture? How were the arts part of your Thanksgiving weekend?

— Barb Van Atta

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1 Response to "Were you art-full this weekend?"

  1. Lee Shepherd

    For me, there’s no greater joy than singing with the Madrigal Choir of Binghamton. I auditioned several years ago during Anne Cotten’s last year as director and have enjoyed several years’ membership in the choir under the baton of Bruce Borton, who is a genius at finding the perfect music to illustrate the choir’s themed concerts.

    Lessons and Carols for Christmas, patterned after the service at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England, is a highlight of the concert season. In fact, many attendees make it an annual tradition, the official start of the holidays.

    Replete with carols and hymns, interspersed with readings from the fall of Adam and Eve, the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Christ, the concerts took place on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 25 and 26) at Church of the Holy Trinity, 346 Prospect St., Binghamton. The cathedral-like setting, with high, vaulted ceiling, provides a five-second echo and superb acoustics.

    As part of the Madrigal Choir’s 40th anniversary season, Maestro Borton chose familiar and favorite selections from past years. By eliminating rehearsal time for woodshedding notes, we could polish the program until it sparkled.

    The concerts were interactive. The audience was invited to stand and sing traditional Christmas carols along with the choir. Together, we raised the rafters with sound.

    Mid-way during the concerts, organist Tim Smith played The Christmas Pipes of County Clare, a spirited Irish tune with variations that made you want to get up and dance. Another special interlude was offered by recorder player Barbara Kaufman and lutenist Paul Sweeny (together, they’re called Simple Gifts). They played Amoroso/Allegro by an anonymous 18th century composer. Both Kaufman and Sweeny are fleet-fingered, skilled musicians.

    The concert veered away from traditional carols, to Medieval melodies, Basque, 15th-Century French and Bohemian carols, to music by Holst and Mendelssohn and Berlioz. Most were quiet and contemplative.

    Not so the two emotional pieces from the Russian Orthodox liturgy: Svete tihiy (Gladsome Light) by Pavel Chesnokov and Heavenly Light by A. Kopylow. Begun as softly as humanly possible, the pieces swelled to full-out quadruple fortes. For me, it was hard to sing these passionate works without tearing up.

    But the all-time favorite work on the program (both for choir and audience) was O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen. The exquisite work lifts both singers and listeners to a higher plane — a place of peace and beauty.

    Lessons and Carols for Christmas was our gift to the 300-plus people in the audience — with wishes for peace, health and happiness throughout the holiday.

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