We're just off to Chicago ( and everybody's favorite Tapas place in the entire world) today after an intense 5 day run in New York and New Jersey. After we finally got to Newark, we performed at St. Mary's Abbey in Delbarton in Morristown, NJ for an appreciave audience. The next day we drove into New York for our first of two at Saint Ignatius Loyola, our home in New York City. ( We'll be back there in April for our first non-Christmas show there.). Saturday we ran out to South Orange, NJ for a return to the South Orange Performing Arts Center. Sunday was a double header starting with our performance at Saint Ignatius Loyola- where there was not a seat to be had - even limited view chairs were needed. So many familiar faces and friends; it's wonderful. After that our annual Christmas party at the Lotos Club was attended by 92 people. We came by for the cocktail hour to see our board members and supporters who were there, and then went to do a private engagement nearby which was very enjoyable. Our time in in New York is always intense, and always fun, and really convinces us that it is indeed Christmas.
Actually it was on Tuesday that we were trying to get from Richmond, VA to Newark. Our flight was delayed three times and then cancelled. We ended up driving, while Fred's bag went to Chicago (where we're not due for a week). Fortunately there was a free day yesterday, so we're pleased to be on tonight at St. Mary's Abbey at Delbarton. Fred reports; "...the church is in the round so we're singing almost all of the chant behind the walls which only go half way up. It should be magical, distant sounds of plainsong and an eerie movement of candlelight behind the scenes before we actually come down the aisle.". Lots of friends, family, colleagues- giving this that very familial feeling which we love when it happens.
After our relaxing and delicious evening with Fred's sister in Georgia, we tried to get a good night's sleep before rising to take a plane to Raleigh Durham for our concert at the beautiful Baldwin Auditorium at Duke University which had sold out a while before we got there. We even heard that people from the Durham area were calling St. Mary's in Henrico, VA (168 miles away) for today's performance. Wonderful audience at Duke. Our new Christmas Carol by Jaakko Mantyjaarvi, which we're enjoying singing, seems to be finding favor. Introducing a new piece to a warm response is always a thrill. It's a rigorous beginning to the Christmas tour, but that's what we do!
A Chanticleer Christmas becomes for us always on Thanksgiving weekend, so that we can see as many audiences as possible between then and Christmas. This year we started out at Spivey Hall, long one of our favorite halls, for our first Christmas there. Spivey is near Atlanta, home of our Music Director Fred Scott and his family, so when we go there it's a family affair. The hall was full and happy for our first performance of this year's program, and Fred's sister Martha made sure we ate very well and enjoyed the warmth of her home afterwards. This was exceptionally nice, as we were to get up and on a plane for the second performance, today in Durham, North Carolina.
Under Fred Scott's direction, and with his accompaniment, LAB XVI has had a triumphant performance component to their session. LAB (the Louis A. Botto honors choir) rehearses for about 50 hours, then does performances around the Bay Area. LAB XVI has impressed all its listeners, from the new Pitzger Center at UC Davis, Davis Senior High School, the Berkeley Public Library, a retirement home in Sacramento and San Francisco Towers ( this latter with the much appreciated help of Vance George.) LAB XVI has done great and devoted work and we salute them! They will do some Christmas caroling in early December under the direction of former ensemble member Darita Seth, then a well earned Christmas vacation.