Tuesday, September 4, 2012

 I had the very fortunate opportunity to join an adult choir in a grand concert at the National Cathedral this past sunday.  The rehearsals were held in the National City Christian Church, which was the original seat and house of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church until the early part of the 1900 century when the first section of the Cathedral was finished.  The space was marvelous to sing in, but nothing compared to the Cathedral.  I am standing at the back of the Capital Building looking toward the Washington Monument.
 During our stay, we just had to experience the metro; thankfully, a very helpful gentleman recognized our confusion , and he was a great help in purchasing our tickets to Union Station, Washington.  These escalators were quite lengthy and as we were going up an older gentleman thanked us for blocking his view and all of us were able to keep our composure enough to get to the top.
 This gentleman, so very much so was one of the conductors for the concert, and is the Director of Choirs at Valdosta State University, the Dr. Paul Neal, his sister and his mother.  He really is a wonderful teacher, mentor, and choral conductor with extensive experience conducting a symphonic orchestra.  It was a joy and a thrill to sing with him in such a wonderful space for choral sound.

   The choir was composed of 140 singer from 8 states who paid their own way to came together to perform a variety of great choral music; luckily, I was not the only woman singing the tenor part. There were just 3 rehearsal, one with the orchestra but no percussion.  I was amazed that the choir was able to adopt to a completely change of seating arrangements as to how we rehearsed and with percussion.
     This is my first time to visit Washington and be at the National Cathedral; as a member of a choir that sang this mix of very powerful choral music is something I will never forget. To hear the ending chords ring and echo to the high chambers in the Nave of this church is a musician's thrill.  As an Episcopalian, it is an overpowering Cathedral.  I have visited some of Europe's great Cathedral and grand Churches and Our's is Magnificent.

  As this was my first time visiting the Cathedral, Kay and I took this morning to spend the day touring this marvelous treasure.  The building committee is guessing that it will take another $20 million dollars, all donations and at least 20 years to repair the damage the earthquake caused last year.  The next two photo were taken from the observatory looking down at the Gothic Structure from the East and West side of the church.

  I took a great many picture of the inside and it grandness.  Due to the earthquake they have had to string a series of netting between the lower and upper levels inside the church to catch an occasional falling objects.  I was quite surprised to discover that in this next picture, of the Sacred Spirit Chapel it hold a Tryptic painting done by the American Painter N. C. Wyeth of Chadd's Ford, Pa.  You can find a great many of his painting done by him and his children at the Brandywine Museum, which is also very close to his home and wonderful studio.  Kay and I were lucky enough to discover this wonderful place and had a wonderful tour of his home.  N. C. Wyeth made it a habit to pain the real objects in his paintings.  There is a story that he wanted a paint a picture with an authentic Indian birch bark canoe; so he took the train to New England to find one and had it shipped back to Chadd's Ford by train.  It was used in only one picture, but it still hangs in his studio to this day; along with his copious collection of antique firearms.  The 6 smaller pictures of Doves do represent peace and the hope we as a country can come to our senses.
 Despite the great damage to the church upper structures, spires and other ornaments; not a single stain glass window sustained any damage; and there are a LOT of windows.  But this is a projected reflection of one of those windows on the polished floor.
Tonight, Kay and I took a night tour of the Monuments around the city and they are a sight to see at night; but note to myself, Make sure to charge the camera batteries first; mine battery died half way into the tour.  The most impressive for me was the Vietnam Memorial, and it brought me to tears, enough that I had to step away.  The Korean Memorial should be seen at night, when you can really see the reflections of the solders in the polished black granite wall that is filled with etchings of thousand of soldiers faces.  But the most impressive Memorial is the FDR tribute from a grateful nation.  His words taken from his many resounding speeches that have been captured in the 4 'rooms' of the monument, is so very true to us, now in our time of moral decay and loss of history.  I wish I could take each of our Representatives by the scuff of the neck and make them stand in each 'room' for a day, to read and digest the power of FDR's words and vision.  Our member's of Congress have forgotten the lessons of their father's generation's struggle to overcome the chaos of struggles of survival; as a Nation of the Great Depression.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

So glad that you finally got to sing in this concert which I assume is the one which had to be cancelled last year.

These buildings do show what humans are capable of...