Category Archives: Music

duets with my sister

How could I have forgotten the duets!?! In a recent post shortly after my trip to Florida, I wanted to share some of the positive things about our trip and I can’t believe I forgot the duets!  But, it’s prompted me to create a separate post because as I started to think about it, we have tons of music in my family.  The duets are a part of that.

I play the flute and piccolo. My sister’s first instrument was the clarinet and she’s still really, really good!! She is one with the talent and energy to be able to play many instruments. I don’t think I can remember all the instruments she knows how to play!  One of them is flute and for years whenever we get together, we play duets. Mostly we play flute and flute duets because usually when we get together it’s away from each of our homes and it’s easier to carry a flute than a clarinet. We have played flute/clarinet duets too but it’s been a while since we’ve done that. And, in the last several years on our semiannual trips to Florida to visit our mother, we played flute and flute duets.

Then I remembered some photos of us playing flute duets.

We have several musicians in our family.  Mom played trombone in high school. Her brother played guitar and mandolin and perhaps banjo as well.  My sister plays or has played clarinet, oboe, saxophone, flute and piano. These are the ones I can remember.  There might be more!  While I play the flute fairly well, she is the real musician.  You’ve got to be talented to play so many instruments!

To continue with the list of musicians, my husband plays bass guitar and he gave our daughter initial lessons on the bass and she picked it up quickly. She plays bass guitar in jazz band at school and she plays the viola as well.  My mother has a beautiful soprano voice and spent many of her retirement years in singing groups.  At one point she was the director of one of them at her retirement village.  While we were in Florida in March to close up her apartment we came across the pile of song lyrics that we set aside when we were there in November.  I had told Miss M about how when we gave Mom the folder of lyrics she began singing the songs.  Miss M really wanted to hear her grandmother sing so we gave Mom the folder and that was our entertainment that night! She sang song after song after song.  And Miss M recorded them.  More happy memories from that trip.

I also sing soprano but some of the upper range notes are too hard for me. I have said that I probably should be an alto. But because the flute parts are typically the melody, it’s difficult for me to sing anything but the melody. So, I stick with soprano for now. I might get brave some day and sing alto. I have sung in various choirs over the years and have enjoyed each one. I’ve always found that music helps bring me out of a bad mood or a funk.  Playing an instrument or singing in a choir is great fun and another way to release creative energy.  It also helps alleviate the blues.  It’s hard to be in a bad mood whilst playing or singing.

I’m going to close with one of my favorite photos of my sister and me playing duets. This was at a Christmas gathering in 1986. Look how young we are!

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Christmas Oratorio and other festive songs

Last night hubby and I went to a concert performed by Exultate, a group that our former choir director sings with.  It was performed at the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  What a lovely church.  And a great venue for a concert such as this.  The acoustics were amazing!

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This Jesus suspended from the ceiling is breathtaking:

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The first half consisted of 14 of the 64 movements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.  The concert started with the director explaining things about some of the movements we were about to hear.  One was the fact that Bach borrowed music from his previous compositions and simply changed the texts so that they would fit with the Christmas story.  I definitely recognized a couple of those.  The program describes how Bach uses music to give a picture of the texts being sung.  Since the program describes it so well, here’s part of that section word for word: “this is nowhere more evident than in movement 10 where the violins are racing off to Bethlehem at a furious pace and at the same time the voice parts, with texts being sung independently of one another, tell us ‘Let us even now go to Bethlehem.'”  I could definitely feel them racing off to Bethlehem.

The second half began with the choir surrounding the audience and although our friend was on the other side of the church, I could hear his voice.  What a treat that was to hear voices singing all around us.  And what a rich sound it made too. This is a shot of some of the choir near us:

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I think that was my favorite part. They sang more Christmas songs, some familiar and some unfamiliar and then we all got to join in at the end for Joy to the World.  A great evening of Christmas music!!

Afterwards we drove down Summit Avenue because I had seen some marvelous Christmas lights recently and wanted to show them to hubby.  This tree stands in the front yard of the governor’s mansion:

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And across the street were more but I wasn’t able to get any good shots of them.  On our way home we stopped at White Castle since hubby had a hankering for their “sliders” and I got a chocolate milk shake.  Not the best thing to have on a cold night but it sure tasted good!

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