Friday, December 11, 2009

What recession?

Remember me? I used to write a blog here. But then the economy apparently got extra-awesome because my company got bombarded with new projects and for the last week and a half I've done little more than work, sleep and work out. And pee, because my protein shakes seem to go right through me.

But! Last weekend my folks came to Chicago for a fabulous Pie and Chanticleer Fest. We spent almost the entire weekend measuring, rolling and baking, and we whipped up 17 from-scratch pies (including a new favorite: eggnog custard!) and invited a bunch of family and friends over to enjoy them Sunday night. As usual, I took tons of pictures of the pies and only a handful of blurry pictures of our guests. But here's what our dining room pie station looked like all tricked out in Christmas crap and caloried crusts:

And here's my newest invention: the living-room pie station, which spread the pies to both ends of the house and forced people to spread out and socialize in rooms with nice comfy furniture instead of clotting around the dining room table where nobody can move. I must be some kind of civic-engineering genius ... not to mention a top-notch holiday decorator:

To cap off our weekend of holiday awesomeness, on Monday night the folks, the domestic partner and I (and an intrepid blog reader who recognized me and ran up to say hello but it all happened so fast I'm afraid I don't remember your name) piled into Chicago's soaring Fourth Presbyterian Church (third row center!) for what was probably my 20th concert by Chanticleer, a 12-voice a cappella men's choir that sings everything from early music to small-c classical to modern jazz and quite frankly would provide me with the ideal lifetime career as a singer if only it had the occasional kickline. And I had the occasional high F. Or at least a stronger passaggio. Anyway! Chicago's annual Chanticleer holiday concert has become a required first step for putting me in the holiday spirit, and this year all but pushed me over the edge of noëlic delirium with a concert that took us from a rollicking "Esta noche nace un Niño" to Franz Biebel's transcendent two-choir "Ave Maria" to a shimmering new (to me) work by Arvo Pärt that left me breathless and light-headed.

And I have a new wish: I want to sing with Chanticleer. As in sit in a room for two or three or four hours with these men and sing through their repertoire as though I were one of them. I don't want to solo. I don't (OK, actually I do) want to perform. I don't even want to make a fuss. I just want to sit in the middle of their shimmery majesty and actually (attempt to) contribute to it for a glorious few moments of my life. I honestly think the happiness of it all would kill me, but I can't think of a better way to go than by climbing the Biebel amens to whatever afterlife I imagine could barely hold a candle to the 12 heavenly voices leading me there.

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