Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Holiday Tidings

Both my boys (young men, I suppose) made it home for the winter break, although Stephen had quite a time getting out of New York on December 20 because of the snow storm. I finally was able to pick him up after 6 pm from a bus stop at a Best Western in East Baltimore that I didn't know existed.

After the December 23 - 2 pm Holiday Spectacular show, my wife Jeanne and I celebrated our 25th anniversary the way we have celebrated almost all of the others: by driving to Alexandria, VA, dropping our kids off with my parents there, then heading into Washington, D.C., always pretty deserted around that time of year. You can get great rates on hotels there because the city is so empty on December 22, so we have tried many different hotels over the years. We have a favorite though, the Willard. Normally we wouldn't be able to afford it, but on December 23 we could! We had dinner in the round bar there; the bar and the hotel itself are quite historic.

The next day we headed down to Charlottesville to visit my sister Laura and her family, just as we have for the last twenty-some years. It was a beautiful drive; the snow from the storm on December 19 was on the ground the whole way. Christmas was great, then on December 26 before heading home we played string quartets for awhile. Laura is the cellist, her daughter Emily and I played violin, and Stephen (though he is really a violinist) read the viola part with a viola borrowed from Laura's school. She is the director of the Charlottesville High School Orchestra, an award winning and well traveled group of young musicians. Last year they were invited to be a part of the summer program at Loren Maazel's estate in rural Virginia, learning and performing repertoire with older students and professionals. We read through a couple of short pieces by Glazunov, but also more popular fare, including a fun Star Trek arrangement.

My son Eric is still here for another week so he and I will check out the skiing at Whitetail today and catch a Washington Capitals' game Thursday. Eric is a big hockey fan. We don't have BSO rehearsals and concerts until next week, but I am practicing every day as a good violinist should.

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