Hilltop Diary, December 14, 2021

Happy third week of Advent and Merry Christmas to all! More by happenstance than by design, since I last wrote we found no fewer than four local musical theater shows we had some personal connection with to attend, one of them an ensemble performance that included Crystal singing the role played by Rosemary Clooney in selected songs (with dance) from the movie White Christmas. On top of that was a “Lessons and Carols” directed by Crystal at St. Edwards school in Nashville, where she is the music teacher and choir director. Probably like you, these days sometimes feel a bit too busy, but still wonderful.

Gaudete Sunday

Since last time I wrote, we were honored to read together, taking turns, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee” (Sonnet 43) in the wedding ceremony of some good friends tying the knot. And we enjoyed hosting family for early Christmas, and we will be joining two other good friends for dinner at the refurbished Capitol Grill (now called Drusie and Darr) in Nashville’s historic Hermitage Hotel. Then we’ll walk to the nearby “TPAC” performing arts center for the Nashville Ballet’s annual Nutcracker, albeit with a small instrumental ensemble instead of the full symphony orchestra they always used to have. I think I have played in the orchestra for, or been to, more Nutcrackers in five or six  cities than I can begin to count, but I always enjoy it.

Whew! To top it off, after all this, we leave soon to spend Christmas in sunny (we hope) Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stop for a visit on the way home to see the Downton Abbey Exhibition in Atlanta. Yes, we are driving. Flying seems to be too stressful lately, with too many unpredictable delays, long lines at the airport, full flights with stressed out people crammed together, and too many crazy passenger stories in the news. Of course, a highway packed with people in cars who have the same idea as us might also be a gamble. Just before and along the way, driving will also allow us to visit with more family on both sides.

My Epoch Times article on Tchaikovsky’s ordeal in writing his first symphony, subtitled “Winter Dreams” is set to be published before the New Year, with the title of “Tchaikovsky’s Winter Dreams Finally Come True.” Few know that the composer of the beloved Nutcracker was considered a wild musical radical when he first came on the scene and had to persevere through scathing reviews and opposition from the musical establishment until his style finally caught on. This story provides a lesson in perseverance, which I apply in my article to sticking with our New Year’s resolutions, soon to come. I’m trying to get a head start, having resumed dieting, and have lost 15 pounds, so far! I already feel much better. I’m afraid there is a good deal more that needs to come off in 2022!

We have written our annual humorous Christmas poem and will send it out in our Christmas cards this week. It’s more fun for us to weave our events of the year into a silly poem than to write the usual kind of Christmas letter. This year’s poem was written by our two cats!

There is still time till the end of December to vote for Crystal (“Best Actress in a Musical”) and for my show, Dear Miss Barrett (“Best Musical”) in Broadway World’s regional theater awards. You only need to put in your e-mail, otherwise no cost or strings attached. Then click on the link in the e-mail that they send you to confirm your vote. You can skip through the other categories one by one without voting in them by checking the skip box on each of them, all the way to the end. Then they ask for your e-mail but don’t force you to subscribe to anything. Though it only takes a few minutes, we really appreciate the time very much. Crystal is currently running in a very close 2nd place for Best Performer in a Musical, and YOU can put her over the top! (Dear Miss Barrett also appreciates your vote in Best Musical category!) Thanks! CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

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