The Farmer's Wife: Enjoying all the music this time of year


By now, regular readers should know if it's musical, I'm on it. I mean, not country, or rock, or rap, or whatever else is called music these days, but music that may be from history, or from some of the great composers of the past. 

I know Andrew Lloyd Webber ranks up there, but Rodgers and Hammerstein just cannot be beat!  Of  course, there is Fiddler on the Roof, by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.  They are back on the road, and this time, Randa is Tzeitel, the oldest daughter. Tzeitel starts the moving away from “tradition”, in that she convinces her father, Tevye, to allow her to marry the tailor because they had “made a pledge” and they love each other. 

My Uber driver picked me up at noon on Tuesday and we found Highway 75 out of Nebraska City to Lawrence, Kansas, by way of Topeka. It seems there is another Lied Center on a university campus at KU, and the Fiddler troupe was there for one night only. (My driver is daughter Kay.)

When we pulled up to our hotel, we noticed two Allied Tour buses. I guessed they had sold a bunch of seats to patrons from Kansas City or thereabouts. We mentioned them to the desk clerk and he informed us they were hauling the cast! What?  We could not have planned it better; we got to visit with Randa for an hour before they had to leave for makeup, etc. 

In this iteration, Tevye is played by Jonathan Hashmonay, a Penn State grad who grew up in Israel and is the descendant of Holocaust survivors! With its own traveling orchestra, the cast took us back to Anetevka in Russia. And as they received our standing ovation, Jonathan announced that each performance is dedicated to the people of Ukraine. The audience responded positively.

We did not see the actors again; they were on their way to KCI before we even got up! And we took our sweet time coming back to Lincoln. There was plenty of sunshine, but a nasty wind. I was elated to read that Wayne received three inches of snow on Tuesday. We only had a skiff here.

There is a Christmas “tradition” in Seward this time of year. Called Christmas at Concordia, there are three or four concerts on the first weekend in December. The tickets are free, but are really hard to get. Luckily for me, my cousin, Lyn, loves this so much she begs, borrows, or steals the tickets and calls me when there is an extra.

It takes place at St. John's church, where there is a wonderful organ. It utilizes men's choir, women's choir, the university concert band, handbells, piano, violins, and mixed choirs. It's all done in a seamless presentation with scripture readings and congregational singing. I cannot imagine who plans the choreography! The students are in and out before you are even aware of them!  

As you can imagine, most of this music is very old, but it has been arranged by some of the music profs at Concordia and always seems fresh and innovative. It gave me goosebumps from the opening fanfare! There is no intermission and we are asked to hold our applause until the end of the concert. I literally had to sit on my hands after several selections. As friend/cousin Judeen exclaimed today, “You really can't explain it to someone; they have to experience it themselves.”  

Of course, it's only a small part of the musical presentations this time of year. I have to pick and choose.  But it's what makes Advent for me. I hope you all are taking advantage of the WSC offerings, and those in your local schools. They are ALL precious, and beautiful! 


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