Greenwich Gossip

Monday, April 30, 2007

There and Back Again

As this is written, Delta Airlines has emerged successfully from bankruptcy, and your scribe is pleased to say that he has nothing but praise for the way things went last week on his non-hobbity holiday. You have already heard, dear reader, that the outward leg went smoothly, and it is pleasant to report that the homeward segment likewise brought us into JFK a little ahead of schedule.

A word about that schedule: for some reason, both Delta and Jet Blue (the only non-stop carriers on the route) offer only early-morning or late-night departures. Not seeing any sense in wasting a lovely Saturday in sunny Portland, your scribe opted for the latter. Which means, of course, that he took the redeye.

Fortunately, the plane was again only about 2/3 full, and this time your intrepid traveler had a whole row to himself. After ingesting the same cheese-and-crackers "meal" that he had relished on the trip out, your scribe stretched out and enjoyed several hours of relatively comfortable sleep. He suspects he did better than the passengers in first class, to which he was offered an upgrade for the modest sum of an additional $150. But since his ticket had set him back only $109 (each way, based on round-trip purchase), he couldn't see the sense in taking advantage of this thoughtful offer.

In the old days, upgrades were offered for an additional $25 or so. Often, after a successful business trip to Chicago or Minneapolis, your scribe would sign on. Considering the free drinks and full meals that were part of the deal back then, it was a no-brainer - not to mention the wider seats and being able to scoot off the airplane ahead of the maddening crowd.

But $150?! Excuse me, but that sounds like highway - er, skyway - robbery. And I don't think the first class passengers even got a meal worthy the name, let alone a row of three seats in which to lie down and stretch out. Your scribe was perfectly content with his lot in steerage.

Trudging back up Greenwich Avenue with his bag, who should he see driving past but Joe Williams, who was obviously on his way to a tennis date at Belle Haven. Joe beeped and waved, and kept on going. No suprise here, dear reader: Joe had also been driving on Mason Street when your scribe trudged down to the train station a few days earlier. At that time a request for a lift had been politely declined; there was a daughter to pick up at school. This time, your scribe didn't bother to ask; there was obviously a tennis partner waiting. But at least he knew he was home again - the same friend driving by, the same voyage by shank's mare to and from the station, the same streetscapes. Nothing had changed during your scribe's non-hobbity holiday, and indeed it was a textbook case of there and back again.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fear of Flying

Alas, dear reader, we're talking about the world of air travel since 9/11, not the Erica Jong bed-to-bed romp that enlivened our reading lists in the 1970s. Yesterday your scribe ventured on an airplane for the first time since that sad and unforgettable date, despite all the horror stories he had heard about long lines, plastic (or non-existent) food, and sardine-can-like conditions. He is pleased to report that his experiences were far more pleasant than unpleasant.

Things did not begin well, as Metro North went into the tank early Wednesday morning and created a rush-hour nightmare. However, by midafternoon, things were pretty much back to normal, and your scribe boarded a train that was running half an hour late, and thus precisely on schedule for its successor, so everything worked out as promised. The Carey Bus driver (or whatever the line is called these days) optimistically forecast a 40-minute ride to JFK, and indeed for a while we were whizzing along after passing through the Midtown Tunnel. But soon thereafter traffic slowed to a crawl, and remained at that glacial pace until we finally got to the airport precisely one hour and 40 minutes later.

But your undaunted reporter had built in plenty of extra time, having heard horror stories of long check-in and security lines. Hah! Having had the foresight to check in online and print out his boarding pass earlier in the day, your scribe waltzed straight over to the security line, took off his cordovan penny loafers (no tassels, of course), emptied his pockets, and strode confidently through the metal detector.

BZZZZZZ!!! Oops. What had he forgotten to declare? Oh, yes - the plastic camera probably had a snitch or two of metal in it. OK, here we go again.

BZZZZZZ!!! Now what?! Step over here, sir - we need to do a complete check on you. Oh, great, I'd just won the security equivalent of the PowerBall jackpot. As other travelers streamed past him, your scribe was asked to sit in a chair and lift up his legs, then stand and hold out his arms, while he was wanded and patted down from soup to nuts, as it were. The security officer who carried all this out was very polite, but very thorough. Turns that out the small metal clip on my plastic pen was the culprit.

Finally your scribe was released and allowed to continue on his way. Proceeding to the gate, he learned that there had been a change of venue, which meant walking from one terminal to another. But at least it was all a post-screening journey, and assisted by moving conveyor belts that are fun to walk on but a little tricky to disengage from. On leaving the spongy accelerated belt, one feels as though one's magnificent seven-league boots have suddenly fallen off, and life has slammed into a slow-motion mode.

Thence to the real gate. The paper boarding pass was scanned, your scribe's name appeared in green LCD letters, and onto the plane he went. Mercifully, it was only about two-thirds full, so there were plenty of empty middle seats. All very civilized.

We closed the doors precisely on time. However, we had to sit at the gate for nearly an hour before being pushed off. Not to worry, the captain said: the published schedule allowed for this eventuality, and we would be making up time en route. True to his word, when our turn came the captain told us we were number one for takeoff, and pushed the throttles to the wall. A former Marine aviator, he flew that 767 as though it were a F-15, taking us into a steep climb straight to cruising altitude. And less than five hours later, he pointed the nose downward and slid us smoothly into PDX International. We were more than half an hour early.

And so, gentle reader, if you, too, have been hesitant to fly in recent years because of the dramatic changes to the world of air travel, fear not - it is really very like to the good old days that you may remember so fondly. And it sure beats driving coast-to-coast!

Greetings from sunny (really!) downtown Portland, where your Greenwich Library card is treated like an honored guest.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dorthy Moxley

Just a quick post to let y'all know that your scribe had a brief chat with Dorthy Moxley, mother of the slain Martha Moxley, in the hallway outside courtroom 6A of the Stamford courthouse this morning. Her unfailing good spirits, her bright smile, her indomitable optimism, and her inner strength all radiate from somewhere deep within, and it is always a pleasure to be with someone of such outstanding character and grace.

Michael Skakel, the convicted murderer of Martha, is a study in contrasts. Where Dorthy is petite and vivacious, he is hugely overweight and stolid. Where her face is a study in warmth and expressiveness, his is a mask of cold indifference. Where she exudes confidence in God's justice, he appears to be fearful of His judgment.

And thus, it seems, we have our own home-grown morality play being acted out right here in our own back yard. What a shame, Dorthy said, that Michael didn't come forward earlier, voluntarily, and take his relatively lenient punishment under the juvenile justice system. He would still have had his whole adult life in front of him. Can you imagine, dear reader, feeling such empathy for your daughter's killer?

Your scribe agreed with her, of course, noting that by running and hiding Michael has caused the loss of two lives, not just one. For, despite the millions of dollars being expended by the Kennedy-Skakel family in his defense, Michael's life at this point is all but worthless.

Dorthy would probably not agree. But your scribe calls them as he sees them. Morality plays have always been high on his list of literary favorites. Lots of black and white, and few if any shades of gray. If you kill someone, something within you will die as well. Just look at Michael Skakel, dear reader, and you will quickly see the truth of that statement.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Warm and Sunny... the weather in Greenwich today - a most welcome change from the last couple of weeks. Your scribe drove up Taconic Road to attend a tag sale this morning, and is pleased to report that yellow and pink hues are now starting to enliven the still-drab landscape. There are the occasional puddles and debris on some of the roads around Town, but all in all things are much better around here than was the case a week ago.

One reads in today's Local Rag that Mickey Sherman testified as predicted, saying that poor Michael was denied a fair trial because he (Mickey) was never informed of an outlandish theory of the case involving some out-of-towners "going caveman" on hapless Martha. If this attempt on the part of the new defense team doesn't work, word has it that the next effort will be to portray Mickey as incompetent, or, as they say in the legal world, to show that Michael was deprived of effective assistance of counsel. Since Mickey has alwas been one of the most highly-paid and most highly-visible defense attorneys in the area, that should provide for some wholesome entertainment if things progress to that stage.

Well, it's time to get out and enjoy this lovely spring-like weather. The forecast for the weekend calls for temperatures to perhaps reach into the 80s, which pretty much affirms the earlier prediction made here a few days ago, to the effect that we will have a day or so of spring and then jump straight into summer. Seems to be the way it happens around here most years, and this one will apparently be no exception.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Michael Skakel Draws the Media

This morning your scribe paid a visit to the Stamford Courthouse on other business, and found himself forced to park way up on the roof of the garage because of the huge interest of both the television and print media in the Michael Skakel hearing to determine whether he should receive a new trial. Court TV was there, broadcasting live, and Channel 3 from Hartford, and who knows who all else.

But perhaps because of the live coverage, there were actually seats to be found in Courtroom 6A. Your scribe took a pew behind Michael's mammoth bodyguard, which limited his vision to some extent. Mostly the bruiser blocked the view of the ineffable Judge Edward Karazin, which your scribe did not count as any serious loss. The proceedings were not exactly what you might call scintillating, so your faithful reporter took occasion to see who was who amongst the spectators.

Aside from the usual journalistic rabble, it became obvious that the right side of the courtroom was Moxley territory, and the left side was Skakel turf. Since Michael and his attorneys were seated to the left, and the State's attorneys to the right, this made a certain amount of sense. Dorthy Moxley was there with her son in the right front row, and assorted Skakel brothers and retainers (like the enormous bodyguard) took up the front rows on the left. Michael sat impassive, looking straight ahead; his role in this hearing is a non-speaking one. Fifth Amendment rights, and all that.

Mickey Sherman was out in the hallway, and your scribe asked if he were there as a spectator or a witness. "Witness," he replied. Which probably explained why he wasn't inside the courtroom: one side or the other had presumably asked that he be sequestered. How one sequesters a witness from continuous Court TV coverage - particularly a witness who himself has made frequent appearances in front of their cameras - is an interesting conundrum; but no doubt Mickey's testimony has been predetermined well in advance, so it likely doesn't matter in the long run.

After about ten minutes of the judicial equivalent of watching paint dry, your scribe felt he had seen and heard enough for the time being. But lest you think that nothing much is going on in and around Town these days, dear reader, he hastens to file this report. There is always entertainment to be found in the vicinity of Greenwich if you know where to look for it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wild Weekend

Meaning the weather, of coure, which didn't leave much room for any other kind of wild behavior. Once again, the streets of Town overflowed and a lake formed in the middle of US 1, the major highway connecting Maine to Florida. Only this weekend it was the lowway.

As opposed to the last time this happened, a mere six weeks ago, the cops were right on top of the situation. You can still see streamers of yellow police tape all over town where they moved quickly to shut off low-lying roads. But oddly enough, despite a high tidal surge and record rainfall, things were not as bad as during the Nor'easter of Devember 1992, when whole neighborhoods turned into lakes and Island Beach lost its pier and bathhouse.

Today the sun is trying to peek out, and the roads are clear again, if still muddy from their immersion. The forsythia is starting to come out, the daffodils are appearing along North Street, and all in all, your scribe is confident that we shall soon have a day or two of spring. After which, of course (this being New England), we will probably jump straight into summer-type weather and put away our woolies and long johns until the fall. Carpe fontem, dear reader: seize the spring while it may be found, for it will likely be late and brief. Like Ronsard's well-known rose, it may not last more than a day.

"...O vraiment maratre nature,
Puisqu'une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tommy Hilfiger Plants a Tree

Well, quite a few trees, actually. Your scribe's perigrinations on this lovely Saturday morning took him up Round Hill Road, where a number of large flatbed trucks were parked well into the roadway, waiting to offload their burden of an instant forestation project at Tommy's new McMansion. As attentive readers of this blog will remember, your roving reporter had occasion to visit the aforesaid McMansion back in December, and was somewhat underwhelmed by the architecture and the decor. But de gustibus, as the Romans used to say. Your scribe's wardrobe is noticeably lacking in any of Tommy's clothing products, either.

Still, it must be nice to have the wherewithal to plant a plethora of trees, especially at a time when the tree population of the Town has been dwindling. What with storms, utility company pruning projects, and the sheer barbarism of people like the doctor on Beechcroft Road who cut down dozens of trees without a permit, thereby earning the enmity of his neighbors and some stiff fines from the Town, devotees of Joyce Kilmer are not faring well these days. But the doctor has left Town, and Tommy Hilfiger is doing his part, so perhaps there is yet hope.

Update: your scribe happened to be back on Round Hill Road later in the day, and this time he pulled over and grabbed his camera. Look for pics of Tommy's trees in the days to come.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bruce Museum Shindig

Last night saw Peter Sutton's open house at the Bruce for RTM members and heads of various Town departments. Mary Curry represented the Greenwich Library, Jim Lash represented Town Hall, and the rest of us merely cozied up to the bar and the hors d'oeuvres provided by hometown resident Andy Burke. Army Special Forces Captain (ret'd) Eric Roitsch was there with his beautiful friend Karin; Franklin Bloomer promised to read the blogs about James Kennerley's recitals; and Peter gave us an insider's look at what lies ahead for the museum.

Many local residents may not realize that the land, the building, and even the collections of the Bruce are all owned by the Town. Which probably means that Greenwich has the best art collection of any municipality in the country. Who knew?

As Peter put it, the Bruce does more in less space than any museum of its size in the US. World-class exhibits have become almost the norm of late, as anyone who has been to the museum recently can attest. And there are more to come: the heirs of Dutch art dealer Jacques Goudstikker are working with Peter to exhibit some of the 200+ paintings looted by the Nazis and recently returned to their ownership.

Here are some excerpts from an article in the International Herald Tribune of February 22, 2007:

"NEW YORK: A year ago, the settlement was hailed as one of the largest restitutions of art seized by the Nazis. Now, about 170 old master paintings returned to the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker, a prominent Dutch dealer who fled Amsterdam in 1940, are to be offered at Christie's in three sales, beginning in New York in April.

"While the heirs — Marei von Saher of Greenwich, Connecticut, and her two daughters, Charlène and Chantal — finalize exactly how many paintings Christie's will auction, they are also working with Peter Sutton, an expert on Dutch old master paintings and the director of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, to organize an international traveling exhibition.

"Which museums will take the show has yet to be determined, but it will include paintings that the family is not, for now at least, selling — including works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Steen and Jan van der Heyden.

"'We are hoping this show will symbolize his connoisseurship as a dealer," said von Saher said of her late father-in- law. "People have forgotten him. We want the public to recognize his legacy."

"Even more important, her daughter Charlène said, the traveling exhibition would tell the world "about a historical injustice put right."

"The story of Jacques Goudstikker — and his heirs' eight-year legal battle to wrest some of his paintings from the Dutch government — is a complex tale of scholarship and tenacity. Goudsticker, his wife and their son fled the Netherlands on May 14, 1940, as the city was invaded by the Nazis, leaving behind his gallery business and 1,400 art works.

"A second-generation art dealer, Goudstikker was unable to take any of his prized paintings with him but he did carry a small black notebook containing meticulous records of more than 1,000 works in his inventory. That notebook, which his wife retrieved after he died in a fall on the blacked-out freighter carrying them to safety, became crucial decades later when his widow and son began searching for the collection.

"Many of the best works at one point were owned by Hermann Göring. After the war, nearly 300 paintings from the Goudstikker collection were returned by the Allies to the Dutch and, despite the family's protests, placed in the national collections. But in February 2006 the Dutch government agreed to return 202 paintings it had recovered after the war."

One of the paintings the family will keep - and which we will all be able to see right here in Town - depicts the castle where Goudstikker lived before World War II. Obviously, dear reader, the Bruce is to be one of the museums privileged to show these fabulous works of art. The slide show Peter narrated about the Goudstikker collection was breathtaking. Many of the pictures hung until recently in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, one of the most outstanding repositories of great art anywhere in the world. And now they're coming here to little old Greenwich....

Peter also shared with us some architects' drawings of a planned expansion for the museum. Well, if we're going to vault into the big leagues of the art world, it would seem to make sense to house our collections and exhibits in a worthy setting. Your scribe would have included a photo or two of these plans had Peter not gently asked us to put away our picture-taking cell phones, which presumably included your roving reporter's camera as well.

It was interesting to learn that, according to Peter, Greenwich is home to "the very best concentration of quality art collections" in the world. Even though the Hirshhorn collection has moved from John Street to Washington, DC, other great collections have moved in to replace it, such as the Hascoes', portions of which have been shown at the Bruce in the past. And apparently there are other fabulous holdings in Town, secreted away behind back-country doors and probably known only to their owners and Peter himself.

All in all, it was an eye-opening evening (pun intended). We have a jewel right here in our own back yard, dear reader, and clearly the advent of Peter Sutton to Greenwich has been a major factor in recent developments. Your scribe stood next to Board Co-Chair George Crapple during Peter's remarks, and it was clear from our chat that after the rocky period a few years ago when Hollister Sturges was rather badly treated by a weak and inexperienced board, the Bruce Museum has rebounded in the most vigorous way possible.

It was good of Peter to share the museum's plans with us, and it was gratifying that so many Board members were there to show their interest and support. Also pleasing to learn was the fact that the museum is a resource to the schools in Town, and hosts numerous field trips each year for students of all ages. A word of scribal advice: hie thee to the Bruce Museum, gentle reader; enjoy the special exhibits and the permanent collections; and before you leave, enrol yourself as a member. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Well, folks, your scribe finally betook himself down to CVS to get the latest batch of pics out of the camera and onto a CD. There is much to share - where to begin? How about a picture of spring, in lieu of the vernal season itself that still seems to be eluding us? OK, let's see if I remember how to do this - here goes...

Ah - crocuses! Remember to click on the image to get the full-sized version. This picture was shot from a moving car as the light changed from red to green, but your roving photographer's fears that the image would be blurry turned out to be unfounded.

And now, from spring to fall - the fall of the late Andrew Kissel, whose murder just over a year ago is a cold case getter colder by the day (the feckless Greenwich Gestapo have yet to solve a murder in this Town, as faithful readers of this blog will recall). Here are the remnants of his would-be McMansion, now merely a local eyesore:

Pretty ugly, no? But wait - there's more! Check out the interior view - as hollow as the late Mr. Kissel himelf:

What you see is destined soon to be torn down for scrap - assuming the warped and weathered timbers have any residual value. Meanwhile, the Local Rag reports that the various banks that Kissel defrauded continue to squabble over the few crumbs that are left; and his would-be ex, Hayley, who is now stuck forever with the tag of widow instead of ex-wife, can't even get her $9,000 monthly support allowance awarded by the Greenwich Probate Court. Ah, the trials and tribulations of life here in the 'burbs!

Next follow a bunch of pics of the Greenwich High School spring concert, but methinks it best to put them in with the appropriate post, since I kinda promised to do so. So scroll on down a couple of entries to find them.

Easter at Christ Church was pretty spectacular this year. The Rector, Jeffrey Walker, regaled us with the saga of the scorpion with which he tangled in Texas recently, and how to treat a scorpion bite (eat ice cream to ease the pain) and dispatch the critter to Jesus (grab a nearby boot and pound away). Geoffrey Silver and James Kennerley co-conspired to bring us the Alec Wyton mass, sung in honor of the recently-deceased composer. His son Richard has been a faithful member of the choir here for many years; your scribe paused on the way to the altar rail to shake his hand.

On the way back to his pew, your faithful paparazzo stopped to snap a pic of James at the organ bench:

As you can see, he has his personal TV set atop the console, where he can watch Nickelodeon between playing gigs. (Remember, dear reader, he's just a kid, even if he *is* one of the finest organists in the world.) You can see the back of Richard Wyton's head at the right.

Last night we had another marathon Town Meeting, the main topic of which was the future governance of the Town's nursing home, the Nathanial Witherell. Hundreds of supporters of keeping the NW under the Town's aegis instead of "privatizing" it showed up dressed in red:

The vote was resoundingly in favor of keeping the status quo, which was a cause for much rejoicing.

OK, just one more, and then I'm outta here:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

3,100 Hits Equals How Many Lurkers?

Some of us would sure like to know. You can count the number of non-lurkers on one hand; they probably account for 100 of the hits in total. Using that as a rule of thumb, it would seem that there are about 150 lurkers as of even date.

OK, I know who a few of them are. There's Joanne Bouknight, and Ed Krumeich, and even my nutty ex-wife's even nuttier ex-lawyer. But that still leaves a host of lurkers unaccounted for.

Let's imagine, dear reader, who some of these lurkers might be. There's you, of course: the archetypal "dear reader" so often addressed in these pages. Then there's the Christ Church crowd, who always seem to be au courant of the recital postings. And, of course, the Greenwich High School crowd, who check in to see what your scribe has written about their latest concert.

Then there is, one suspects, the Town Hall crowd, who want to stay abreast of the ins and outs of local politics and associated shenanigans. There is probably a group of curiosity-seekers, wanting to hear the latest oddments about local murders, indictments, parades, concerts, and other assorted happenings around Town.

Oh, and let's not forget the cops, who masochistically tune in to read the latest rant about their malfeasances and nonfeasances. They have provided much of the juicier fodder for these posts, and without their contributions to the local scene, this would be a much duller blog.

And then there's the yellow press in Town, who, in between killing trees to make paper on which to publish their usually erroneous stories, seem to find time to check in on what your scribe may have to offer in the realm of more factual reporting. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there are certain types by whom your scribe would rather not be flattered, of which yellow journalists rank near the top. Unfortunately, blog readers, like one's family, cannot be chosen. One is stuck with the good, the bad, and the ugly alike; it's all part of the human condition.

Well, undoubtedly there are other categories, as well as individuals who defy categorization. Some may actually enjoy your scribe's breezy style, and are working even as we speak on sharpening their writing skills. Who knows what motives may lurk in the hearts of lurkers? But at least we've made a start, dear reader, in analyzing where all those hits are coming from, and as more information becomes available, you can look for future updates in these pages.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

GHS Spring Choral Concert

Once again Patrick Taylor and the young people of Greenwich High School have gifted the Town with a memorable evening of music. As your scribe has said before, we are lucky to have perhaps the best high school music program in the country, and a large group of talented students with the good sense to take advantage of it to the fullest.

As always, the large Concert Choir began the program, and it was clear from the outset that they have improved dramatically since the December concert. By this, let me hasten to say, you should understand that their singing is always high-quality; what has changed is that they have tackled a much more difficult reportory, and mastered it very well. As Patrick said at the outset, he believes in challenging his students beyond their abilities, which is how they learn new skills, as well as that it's OK to screw up if you're trying your best.

But your scribe heard no screw-ups last night, although a few of the entrances could have been cleaner (always a problem with a large group - to learn to sound like a single voice). The program opened with Mendelssohn's "Heilig ist Gott der Herr" in gorgeous stereophonic sound, with the evenly-divided choir singing from the side aisles and tossing the phrases back and forth to each other, just like the heavenly choir of angels is reported to do. They followed Patrick's direction well, even though some of them were an auditorium-length away, not just from him but from each other, which meant that they had to stay strictly on tempo and not be fooled by the acoustical time lag. They did.

Then came another Mendelssohn piece, "He Watching Over Israel". The melodic lines are deceptively difficult when it comes to phrasing, and here the Concert Choir (or rather, some of them) could have used a little more practice. Ali Allerton was at the piano, and rippled her way through the accompaniment with her usual consummate skill. All in all, it was a very pleasing rendition of a lovely piece.

Mozart's "Lacrymosa" from his "Requiem" is another piece that requires lots of practice and control. The Choir did a fine job, and were clearly concentrating hard on getting it right. Their efforts paid off.

Then came a Gospel number in which, as Patrick explained, the singers used their chest voice instead of their head voice to just belt out the Good News. They were lots better than most of the Gospel choirs your scribe has heard.

The next selection was a real triumph: three native songs of the Brazilian Krao Indians, sung in Portuguese, of course. This is the kind of extraordinarily difficult music usually reserved for the elite Chamber Singers, but the Concert Choir put down their folders and did it all from memory.

And there was a lot to do: not just singing, but imitating jungle noises, rushing water, birdcalls, and more. Your scribe doesn't know quite how they did it, but they sure managed to transform the GHS auditorium into the Amazon rain forest. It was an utterly fabulous performance, and rated the only standing ovation of the evening (except for the end of the program, of course).

Much of the credit probably goes to guest conductor Patricia Lowry, who spent the day with them rehearsing the piece. Patrick himself was quick to acknowledge that Brazilian music was outside his realm of experience, while it happens to be a specialty of Patricia's. He further let on that Patricia is his girlfriend, which led to lots of appreciative noises from both the Choir and the audience. He managed to shush the Choir, saying "It's not about me - it's about you." He had a more difficult time shushing the audience.

The last Concert Choir selection was another Gospel song, "River in Judea". The Choir used their head voice instead of the chest voice, and one could clearly appreciate the difference. Obviously, the Concert Choir has indeed come a long way since December.

The Witchmen were up next, continuing the Gospel tradition with "The Battle of Jericho" as arranged by the late Yale alum Marshall Bartholomew. We then heard Yeats's poem, "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death", first read and then sung. As always, the precision and skill of the male glee club tradition at its best were well-exemplified by the Witchmen.

Next came the Madrigals, the all-girls group, who matched the boys' skill and precision note for note. Your scribe's favorite was "Dance on My Heart", in which a young lady is offered riches and fame in exchange for her heart, and has the good sense to say no. A second suitor, who promises to love her and be at her side throughout life fares better; he is the one who, in her quaint phrase, is able to "dance on her heart". Nice to hear these sentiments so beautifully sung by the young women of our fair Town.

Then came the Chamber Singers, who as always represent the epitome of musical polish and execution. They are, in your scribe's opinion, quite possibly the best high school singing group in the USA (Britain may be another story; but their tradition of excellence in singing goes back centuries beyond ours). Their final piece, a choral version of the Barber "Adagio for Strings", was gorgeous. It was set to the text of the "Agnus Dei", which seemed to match the music extremely well. Indeed, your scribe heard a rumor earlier in the week that this may have been Barber's original setting, which was only later transcribed for strings. Both versions are masterful.

The finale saw the full complement of all the singers crowded onto the creaky stage of the aging auditorium - in itself a feat of logistics. Patrick clambered onto his precarious perch - a board placed across a seat - muttering under his breath, "Where's that new auditorium we need?" Hundreds of young voices sang the praises and power of music in our lives, and we gave them all a standing ovation. Thanks, Patrick, and thanks, singers, for another evening of musical magic!

(Note: pics to follow - please revisit in a few days)

Well, the pics are now here. As always, remember to click on them to get the full-size view.
Above are Patrick and Ali in a quiet moment before the concert began.

And here we have Patricia Lowry conducting the Brazilian number. Notice how the Concert Choir claps and sways as part of their fabulous performance.

And here are the Chamber Singers, getting a well-deserved round of applause.

Finally, here is Patrick doing his death-defying conducting of the combined groups from his precarious perch. He should get combat pay for risking life and limb in this woefully-inadequate auditorium. The Town has promised to fix the problem...someday...maybe...whenever. Your scribe wishes he had a large charitable foundation so that he could build GHS the auditorium that the faculty and students deserve. Let's see, how much is the PowerBall jackpot tonight...?