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Well, it's been a more musically diverse weekend than most here in Ancient Armenia! (And that's saying something!) The second weekend in January is normally a double-event weekend for me, but a couple of other extra events got added in there to make it even more packed entertaining.

First off, the gamelan has already started rehearsals for our spring concert. We've got Indonesian Macho Man back, unfortunately, and we had another all-day rehearsal on Saturday. I have informed the leadership that, for this concert, I will play any instrument I know how to play, except for the hanging gongs. If they, or Indonesian Macho Man, ask me to play the gong or kempul, I will politely decline. Should they persist in their requests, I will get up and walk out of the door. So far, everyone seems to be clear on this, which is good. I've had a couple more tries at the drum, and Indonesian Macho Man has started to teach me how to play the bonang (reference this post for pictures of the various instruments), which is one of the elaborating instruments. I've had a hankering to learn that one for a while now. So far, I've learned elaboration patterns for a couple of different kinds of pieces. It's a challenging instrument, but I think I can learn it. It's fun, anyway, and does not involve me being trapped in the cage o' bronze gongs.

I got to leave the rehearsal early, though. I had to get home at a reasonable hour in order to make potluck food and get changed for the second big event of the day.

The second weekend in January is also the traditional weekend for the New Year's Ball hosted by the Chicago Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. I once asked them why their New Year's Ball was two weeks after New Year's, and they said, and I quote, "Because the bands are cheaper then." I love when people stereotype themselves. It saves me the trouble. Of course, being my own ethnic stereotype in this regard, I have to agree wholeheartedly with this reasoning.

In any event, the ball was a lot of fun. We had Laura Risk fiddling, which was a treat, because Laura Risk is one of the best traditional fiddlers I've ever heard. I have a CD in which she performs with Cordelia's Dad, one of my favorite folk bands ever, and hearing her and Peter Irvine, the Cordelia's Dad drummer, go to town on a set of Canadian reels is amazing. And she was playing for our dance!

The ball was held, as usual, at the Ukrainian Cultural Center. It's a lovely venue, with a real ballroom -- chandeliers, curtains, parquet dance floor. They provide a banquet to go with the ball, which makes this one of the few Scottish balls to feature borscht as the first course of the banquet. I wore my shiny purple party dress, and I did up my hair in elaborate braids. Sometimes I leave it down to dance (the Hobbit look), but that gets all sweaty and tangled in my necklace. Speaking of necklaces, when Dot came to visit me this fall, she gave me a lovely little silver harp pendant on a chain. I decided to wear that to the ball -- it seemed appropriate. I danced so hard that I sweated, and the sweat did something to the chain, and it started to turn my neck green! I think that's a sign of a good night! The pendant itself was okay, just the chain reacted. The lesson from this is not to wear that chain on bare skin while dancing, I think.

I won a CD at the raffle, which was thrilling, and I was very thoroughly danced with. I left just before midnight, so I didn't turn into a pumpkin. Which was a good thing, because I had to get up the next morning.

In the traditional weekend turn-around, I got up at the butt-crack of dawn and headed off to the Irish-American Heritage Center for the Chicago Anniversary Singing. They'd taken the room we usually use and turned it into an auditorium with fixed seating, so we had to choose another room. Our first choice turned out to be too small -- a hundred people tried to crowd in, and there was only one narrow exit. So the chair made the eminently sensible decision to move us down the hall to a bigger room.

Aside from that minor bump, it was a glorious singing. We had a powerful class, and cycled through leaders quickly and efficiently. Watching lcohen lead is always a treat, and rhobike's tzimmes was especially fine. I led "O Come Away," which is a temperance hymn that uses the tune to a German drinking song called "Krambambuli." This choice was inspired by the fact that our second singing room featured a bar, though not a stocked one.

Because I was kind of tired from the ball, the singing passed in something of a glorious haze, where I just sat back and allowed the music to carry me along. I was completely wiped at the end, but it's worth it for that wonderful feeling of singing and dancing all weekend long. A great ball and a great singing!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
That's impressive. You got a lot done, so much so that I have to wonder when you sleep, unless your weeks are more laid back than my weeks are.

On a side note, I love the tune of Krambambuli. One of my nicest memories of Germany is lying in bed listening to the rain while my aunt practiced a violin arrangement that worked in that tune in the next room.
Jan. 14th, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)
Sleep? Sleep? What is this thing called "sleep?"

This was an unusually packed weekend. Usually, it's just the Sunday evening dance class. And I tend to work pretty efficiently during the day.
Jan. 14th, 2008 10:31 am (UTC)
Wow, that sounds exhausting! But fun, I'm sure :-) I think I'd have enjoyed the dance the most.

I'd swear that chain is real silver so it shouldn't have made you green. There must have been some sort of chemical reaction going on...
Jan. 14th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
The dance was awesome. No two ways about it.

I have no idea what happened with the chain. I've never had a necklace do that to me before. It didn't hurt or itch or anything; I didn't even notice it until someone pointed it out. But it was kind of fun. I didn't quite dance till I was blue in the face, but I did dance till I was green in the neck!
Jan. 14th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
I'd swear that chain is real silver so it shouldn't have made you green. There must have been some sort of chemical reaction going on...

I've had oddball reactions like that too. Even to gold. I don't know if it's caused by something I've put on my skin...or what, but I've looked down to see the area under my wedding rings look like I've got gangrene. However, the conditions have to be just right...whatever they are and may not happen again for years. Like FP, my green-black smudges wash right off.

I think it probably means FP and I are very special....or alien. :>)
Jan. 14th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it was just the salt from so much sweat combined with relatively new silver.
Jan. 14th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Let's go with special :-)

My mum told me a long time ago that if your skin goes green and it's not cheapo jewellery it means you're ovulating - but I don't know how true that is. And it's none of my business ;-)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 14th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
(Did you ever drink one?)

I have a wonderful memory from college days involving Krambambuli.

It had been a tough weekend, what with upcoming exams, a friend getting sick and the subsequent discovery that the Fairest College ceased offering medical care as soon as the last class of the semester was taught, and my first call for jury duty coming in the mail.

So what did I do? I spent the night before jury duty at a German Department Christmas party, getting pleasantly blasted on Krambambuli. Which made jury duty at eight the next morning a singular experience, of course! Fortunately, I did not get called to serve on an actual jury.
Jan. 15th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
Wow! Ok, you've got me beat for busy. That sounds like a wonderful weekend. Cool that you won something in the raffle. That sort of thing always adds a little extra touch of fun.
Jan. 15th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
It was a fantastic weekend. All the better for my regular weekends not being nearly so crowded, too.

I'm excited about the CD. I was very fortunate to have my ticket pulled early enough that there was a good selection of prizes still on the table. Those CDs go fast.
Jan. 15th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
Seems this weekend you were Super Pony. That's a lot of activity, though I suppose it helps that it was mostly fun activity.
Jan. 15th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
It leads to a very pleasant sort of exhaustion by the end of it. I'm glad I do it once a year, and I'm glad I don't do it every weekend. But it's a lovely last hurrah as the winter quarter begins in earnest.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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