After cocktails, appetizers and a delicious main course, festivities got underway with some opening remarks by Chorale President bigmouth Moi, who was, for the most part, coherent, with only a few mystifying digressions and, incredibly, just one off-color joke. Master of Ceremonies Gerry “Takin’ the High Road” Freeman yanked Moi from the floor and proceeded with the evening’s festivities.
First up was the newly established “Bagaduce Chorale Volunteer of the Year Award” to recognize the Chorale member whose service to the Chorale goes above and beyond. The first annual recipient was Dede Johnson who has, year after year, done the layout and graphic design work for the program books. Dede has put up with tons of pesky emails, innumerable last minute changes, missed deadlines (and frequently having to rush to get layouts done over Thanksgiving weekends). Gerry presented Dede with a Certificate of Appreciation custom designed by Dawn & Gerry (A hilarious spoof of “good” graphic design, replete with typos, a chaos of mixed fonts, and signed by our BORED PRESIDENT). In addition Gerry presented Dede with Ola Gjeilo’s Northern Lights CD sung by the incomparable Phoenix Chorale.
Next up was the presentation of “the gifts” and for some reason Gerry choose “home” as the theme tying the presents together. Douglas received a charming log cabin incense burner along with a $100 gift certificate to Arborvine.
Bronwyn also received a log cabin incense burner along with a charming illustrated children’s book called “HOMES” by an Oregon artist packed with drawings of homes in all their varied permutations. And then Gerry presented Bronwyn with a pair of lovely earrings designed by an Oregon artist that feature Oregon red sunstones. In case you haven’t put 2 + 2 together, Bronwyn was born and raised in Oregon, so Oregon would be her, ta da, “home” state. Plus, she also has a thing for rocks and stones that seems to have been passed down to her from her rock hound-father (we all have our crosses to bear, some are just heavier to carry around).
Next up, former president and longtime Chorale member Rich Howe offered his thoughts on Bronwyn’s first year and a touching recounting of the first time he saw Bronwyn (on the stage at The Grand during a G&S production). And this was followed by the eagerly anticipated Talent Show.
First up was Sarah on guitar doing a Brandi Carlisle (I think) song about being in the eye of a hurricane. This was followed by an utterly charming performance of The Daisy Song by Thea & Dell, two precociously talented gradeschoolers who were guests of our harmonica player, Ken Weeks. This was performed complete with hand gestures and pitch-perfect two-part harmonies. It was forty seconds long, exactly, forty perfect seconds!
Gerry than wowed the audience with his jeopardy like questions for new definitions of musical terms like rallentando and molte ritard (this seemed to be about the President of the Chorale somehow, but was way beyond his understanding).
Megan then played a delightfully simple flute piece, which, evolved into an incredibly complex series of variations that made us all realize (as if we didn’t already know this!) what a remarkably talented and natural musician she is. Wow, wish she had flunked something at GSA this year so that she could stick around for another year, but alas, college calls.
Dalyne than followed with a luminous poem titled “Merge”. If your humble reporter ever gets caught up on things, this poem will be posted on the webpage or facebook or something. This was followed by someone pretending to be both a poet and a singer, although the consensus of the audience seemed to be that he was merely an egomaniac who likes to hear himself talk and sing. He offered three very small, very simple, and very lightweight poems ostensibly celebrating our intrepid Music Director (with hard-to-fathom commentary in between (as stated above, he sure does like to hear himself talk)). And this “reading” was followed by a vocal tribute to Bronwyn (he was presumptuous enough to claim to be “singing this on behalf of all Bagaducians past and present”! The nerve!). Using (or so he claimed, with his barroom style of singing it was difficult to decipher a tune at times) an Irving Berlin tune “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” which became “Bronwyn we adore thee” he managed to get thru the song twice, because, what can I say, this guy just doesn’t know when to shut up.
All in all, a remarkable night after a remarkable program of songs that thrilled the audience and sent us all out into the night, burning so much more brightly, as we wound, wended and wandered our various ways home.
Still burning brightly, I remain your humble scribe