is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Did You Know?

Since last Monday's concert for St. Cecilia at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary,  I have been obsessed with the Song, Mary, Did You Know?  Even though I've heard the song many times before, and am fond of the message and the melody, after hearing it from a member of the MQHR choir, a young lady named Abby, I realized how much this song  speaks to me in a way that no other Christmas carol does, at least not at this moment in my life.  It causes me to question, yet gives me the answer without a whole lotta corny hullabaloo.  I like that simplicity, the solving of a doubt without having to do a sudoku puzzle or finding my way out of a laborious labyrinth.  Accordingly, I think asking that sort of question can be a useful practice in our everyday lives...
So, let me get to the most important thing for you to know right now, in my view of the world around us -- did you know that there is a family of lovely people who often identify themselves as the "theatrical community" in Lexington?  

Did you know that, like the refrain of Mary, Did You Know that they not only watch each other deliver wonderful performances, but they deliver each other by completing the wonderful circle of collaborative love that somehow keeps bringing show after show to area stages?  It's like a candle that is lit in January with rehearsals for intense dramas like Wait Until Dark and continues to kindle the artistic spirit throughout the Spring with productions of new and familiar works, like Tommy: The Concert, all while asking the musical RENT question Would You Light My Candle rehearsing for SummerFest's herculean event of lazy, hazy days of July.  

The ribbon of collaboration and faith in art as The Voice spirals its way through Fall with the likes of the Midway Festival of Plays, and Brian Hampton's gorgeously hilarious Jungle Fun Room,  and now there's the candle of Hope illuminating this Christmas season with lots and lots of  holiday music, drama, comedy, and more music.  I'm so holiday-giddy that I'm here to ask you, did you know?


Laurie Genet Preston is returning to the stage in  BCTC's Much Ado About Nothing
Did you know that I used the word "wonderful" twice above to describe what I've come to know and love about those who devote so much time and energy into bringing theatre, opera, art, poetry, activism, and music to our community, most of the time free of charge, or for only a nominal fee to cover expenses?  Did you know that these scores and scores of folks love their craft so much, they just do it because they love it?  
I didn't know.  I didn't know until I started writing about the people who have this sort of vision, devotion, insight.  I didn't know until I found out that entertainment is people-driven, powered by many individuals of all walks and natures coming together for a common purpose.  It's a cool thing to see - the collaborative process and how it develops and then manifests itself in multi-facted many-venued ways.  
The omnipresent Bob Singleton & his lovely wife, Allie Darden in Studio Players' Run For Your Wife

Tomorrow, I will be going out to Talon Winery to see Bluegrass Community & Technical College's production of Much Ado About Nothing, which will spotlight the return of Laurie Genet Preston to the stage and once again display the talent that Tim X. Davis, through his good humored but sensible nature is able to assemble because Tim sees the big picture, and not only is a a treasured teacher and mentor, he knows how to cast, how to wring the best laughs out of a funny script, how to deliver a line so that everyone knows damn good and well what the message is, and he shows respect to his actors -- there's no cussing or demoralizing -- he's focused and amiable, and thus garners the respect of talented artists like Laurie and Pete Sears and Allie Darden (who is not in this show but was fabulous in BCTC's See Jane Quit!) -- and fabulous actors like Zack Hightower, Kevin Greer, Jared Sloan, and Katie Jo Cox and Leah Dick, and Zach Dearing, and Leif Erickson Rigney, and Kathy Swango ... and oh, do I need to go on?  Everyone who loves to act loves to work with Tim X. Davis.  Besides, the guy's a self-described prisoner of rock n' roll!
BCTC's Prof. Tim X Davis gives direction to Zack Hightower

Folks like me who just like to sit back and enjoy the play are the lucky ones who only have to pay a few bucks to go so see Shakespeare's classic tale shine through the prism of Davis' directorial scope in this tale of duplicity, desire ... and disco. Somehow he has brought all this tomfoolery to the 1970s -- and if Much Ado About Nothing can be updated to that era by anyone, it would be X.  I hope you go see it, it's at Talon Winery and it runs through Saturday, starts at 7:30, so call and find a nice date to take. She or he will be so impressed, it will be a sweet holiday memory, plus -- there's wine...and disco!  (if you need more details, please just scroll down and see my recent post :)
Tom Bragg (tenor) and I sing in the Chancel Choir :)

So back to Did You Know?   I want to continue thinking about things in that way.  Did I know ___?  Well, hell, no. I probably didn't know...and if I don't know, then you don't know (maybe).  I promise to start posting more information that people send me so I can let you know what they want me to know because they're usually pretty cool people, those who alert me, the non-media.  I love that folks want to let me know so I can let you lambchops know.  It's kinda fun to have a blog that evokes that kind of gentle prodding from people who continue to embrace the arts community here in the Bluegrass.  From Pat Gerhard, who is a contributing artist to SEE Theatre Project's Lonely Planet exhibit to Kathy Hobbs, whose traveling murder mystery theatre Fantastical Theatricals continues to push the artistic envelope, I love figuring out what people who write, paint, sing, dance, perform -- or any ordered discipline, actually, are doing, and I continue to be amazed at the amount of time people give to bring the arts to us, once again, mostly free or for nominal pay. 
Author extraordinaire, Brian Hampton (Jungle Fun Room)

So, I'll hush now, but please consider going to Talon Winery to see Much Ado About Nothing tomorrow or Saturday.  Also think about going to Woodford Theatre's production of It's A Wonderful Life, or Studio Players' Christmas Belles this weekend. Also, if you are so inclined, you are welcome to hear my choir sing Vivaldi's Gloria with Dr. Kate Covington on the harpsichord, and a full string orchestra, and the lovely Sherri Phelps included amongst the soprano soloists.  It is at 11:00 a.m. in our sanctuary at Central Christian Church, Short & M-L King.  The Chancel Choir will be joined by vocalists from Midway College and oh my gosh - it's just a beautiful experience...but you can listen in on the radio at AM 1580 if you'd rather not get out and come to church (and I can't blame you, Sunday mornings are great for sleeping in :)

I said I would hush, didn't I?  Heh... Well, I have a few things to do before tomorrow gets its foothold - I need to tell you about Percolator, a happy hour of artistic expression at Coffee Times tomorrow from 7 to 9pm, Coralee and the Townies are playing.  Tina Landry told me about it, and she's pretty much one of the hippest people in Lexington, so you know you will love to stop in and enjoy some of that action. 
Nick Vannoy (Lonely Planet) & Taylor Corriel Eldred (It's A Wonderful Life)

Also, I will be talking to some folks involved with It's A Wonderful Life, Lonely Planet (opens December 9th!), and many other artistic projects going on during this most triumphant time of the year.  I'm also really excited about December 18th, when at the Chevy Chase Inn, JP Pennington's new band, The Squirrels, will be playing.  That's going to be a great Christmas present to myself, to get myself to that venue to see such an incredible musician play in a local, whimsical setting.  I hope to find out a little more about JP's new gig before then and share it with you, too.

In the meantime, I'm rehearsing my alto part to Vivaldi's Gloria, and Handel's Messiah (more to come re: that as well :) - and I'm just gonna play my ukulele for Winslow, my new kitty, whose favorite song is  Mary, Did You Know?  Only when I sing it, of course! 
Tom Bragg, Kimmy and Betty B. deCecil (yes, we're joined at the hip)

Happy holidays, merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...and oh yeah, did you know?

pray for peace, people, 

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