Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas 2008 - Cayman style

You know something is not quite right when you have just attended a beautiful Christmas service, singing about how much fun it is to ride a sleigh, and you feel like you have just started to get into the spirit when you walk outside and realise that it's warmer outside than inside ...

Thinking about Christmas on the Caymans was a bit like thinking about hurricanes - you wonder what it would really be like to experience something so foreign, something that up to that point you would have just read about.

The first sign: a neighbour's beautifully lit up yard (in red and green of course), but instead of strands of light hung around bulky and snowy bushes, they ran up and down long lanky palm trees. And then there was the guy driving on the highway, with lush vegetation all around, and a REAL Christmas tree strapped on top of the car.

But that's not to say it doesn't feel real. Actually, at 25 degrees, Christmas here is probably more like that long-ago actual event in Bethlehem (where today it's 15 degrees by the way) than bundling up in Winnipeg at -30 degrees to go to midnight service. But of course it's not about what's real, it's about what you are used to, isn't it ....

And of course there is nothing like singing to get you in the spirit. Upon moving here, I joined the Cayman National Choir, which is about 40 strong, with a surprisingly large contingent of male voices which, if you have ever sung in a church choir or similar, is somewhat unusual. Men are not usually known to clamour for an opportunity to join a choir. Which is a shame because male voices lend such a regal atmosphere and depth to any piece. The choir is directed by Sue, a British music teacher who has held this position for about 10 years, and who is an excellent choir director with the right mix of people skills and authority. Not to mention that I like her music picks.... She obviously loves what she does, and sometimes entertains the choir as much as she directs it.

But I digress. On December 15 and 16, accompanied by the Cayman National Orchestra, the Cayman National Choir held its annual Christmas concert at Elmslie United Church, which is located right on the harbour in Georgetown. It's a pretty - I am tempted to say cute - little church with several very beautiful stained glass windows and an interesting wood ceiling, which I have never seen before.

Cardboard Boat Race

Cardboard Boat Race

The program was a mixture of instrumental, choral and chamber choir pieces, and here are some pictures of us in action...

Cardboard Boat Race

Cardboard Boat Race

Cardboard Boat Race

The church was full on the first night and packed for the second night, and I really enjoyed it. The last time I sang in a larger choir was in my graduate student days, when I sang in the choir of Ottawa's Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, which is a completely French-speaking church (did wonders for my French skills), and which also meant that all the choir practices were held in French. As a matter of fact, all the songs were either sung in French or Latin, unless it was Easter, which meant it was time to bring out Haendel's Messiah, which was actually a nice break ... speaking of breaks, it's time to break off this blog and wish you all


1 comment:

megat said...

your blog very beautiful and more info ,make me excited. Congratulation!!.I come again