Decorations waiting to be put away.I spent the early morning hours taking down the tree and decorations, which are now safely stored away until the season starts all over again.
With the recession affecting all over the world, it's no wonder that things were a bit low-keyed this season, however upon reflection, there were still some highlights that I enjoyed.
My girlfriend had a get-together to welcome her son home to Barbados. The night was cold, rainy and windy, and if I had not promised her faithfully that I would be there, I was tempted to stay indoors in the warmth instead of braving the weather outdoors.
Thankfully she only lives up the street. We all had a good time. She's lived in Australia for most of her life and has an army of British expat friends here on the island, so the night was quite lively with the mesh of various cultures.
On December 15th, another girlfriend invited me to attend a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols presented by St.Stephen's Church Choir.
From the programme: "This is a unique Christian celebration. It comprises nine lessons which are traditionally read by representatives of the choir, clergy and congregation, prefaced by a bidding prayer and concluding with an organ voluntary (In Dulci Jubilo by J.S.Bach."
"In 1918, the then-new Dean of King's Chapel, 34 year old Eric Milner-White, wanted to try something innovative and beyond the standard liturgy of the Church of England. So, he wove together scripture and song, called on readers of various ages from school and town, and made up this truly magical progression that carries us from prophecy to fulfillment, from Old Testament foretelling to a birthday celebration."
As he pointed out, the strength of the service emanates from the lessons and not the music.
The high point of this service is still found by those who "go in heart and mind" and who consent to follow where the Christmas Story leads.
The evening's recital was filled with traditional carols which the choir sang lustily accompanied by the organist, and we enjoyed sitting in the pews enjoying the music as the cold air blew inside the church through the open windows.
Christmas Eve Midnight Mass was also another cold and rainy night but I ventured out as usual.
The bell ringer rang the bell at least 100 times (it's really for 10 minutes he told me) to announce the start of the mass. The blessing of the creche was intimate, and the choir's voices along with the congregation filled the church to the roof.
Standing beside a baritone who sang quite lustily throughout the service I felt as if I were part of the choir myself.
The last Sunday afternoon in December found me attending a production of The Singing Trees.....a musical drama of the life and death of Christ as depicted in the Bible.
The Singing Trees is a seasonal event and is presented by The People's Cathedral located on Bishop's Court Hill.
This 90 minute drama which is now in its 30th year has been in existence for quite some time....and I remember it from way back, when it was only one Singing Tree on stage.
Image borrowed from the internet
I opened the programme and I was happy....my favourite Christmas songs were still included....For unto us a Child is Born and the Hallelujah Chorus.
The actors and their portrayals of the characters were outstanding as usual. My Christmas season is not complete without The Singing Trees.
Here is a link to a YouTube video from 2010....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpexUa3E_g4
One event glaringly missing from my seasonal agenda again this year was Christmas Jazz. The venue has been changed to the grounds of Ilaro Court (Prime Minister's residence), where one must sit on the grass in the dewdrops with a throng of people who are only there to be seen and are not true jazz lovers. How can I enjoy the show with "non-jazz" people talking loudly and being very distracting? Totally impossible.
One young lady I spoke to recently said that she had attended the show. When I asked if she was a lover of jazz, her response was "Oh we were just there hanging out."
I preferred the more intimate setting of the previous venue where the true jazz lovers would converge for the evening and have a wonderful time.
Things change I know, but they should change for the better, not just to get more people to attend, and who are not there for the true experience...that's just my opinion.
New Year's luncheon with my friends was great and I enjoyed myself as usual...see my post titled New Year's Day 2014.
And so it's over....but as always the season will be with us again before we know it.