Showing posts with label tradition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tradition. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

It was a wonderful Christmas this year!  On Christmas Eve I went to the final Christmas broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve!  The program was especially beautiful and I loved "Wexford Carol."  In the afternoon I went to see It's A Wonderful Life on the big screen at my local art house theater.  They show it every year and I've always wanted to see it so this year I decided to make it happen.  I love that movie!  In the evening Sean and Tashena opened their traditional Christmas pajamas.
We played shanghai rummy for the rest of the evening which is always so much fun!  Trent won!
Sean gave us very strict instructions about when we were opening presents in the morning.  I thought I was going to be late but I made it with two minutes to spare only to discover that he wasn't there yet!
Santa Claus came and he was very generous!
Sean got lots and lots of games for his Xbox, a wireless controller, and a drone (I kind of want one of those!).
Tashena got a bigger TV for her room, some new basketball shoes, a Kindle e-reader, and lots of body spray from Bath & Body Works (she has so much of that stuff).
I got some books, a sweater, a new chromebook, and lots of movies!  After a fantastic dinner we played shanghai rummy (Tashena won) and then Marilyn and I took Tashena (Sean didn't want to go because he has a million new games to play) to see The Last Jedi (it was the third time for me and I still love it!).

I hope that you had a wonderful holiday as well!  Just like last year, I plan on spending the rest of my winter break in a darkened theater trying to cross off a bunch of movies on my list (reviews will come in the new year). 

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Nutcracker 2017

I am now officially on winter break and I am so excited (and relieved). The past week at school has been extremely stressful and, honestly, I didn't think I would make it! The one thing that got me through the day yesterday was knowing that I would be seeing a performance of The Nutcracker by Ballet West later that night. This is a cherished tradition every Christmas and I was even more excited than usual this year because it is all new! The new production retains everything that I love about this ballet, namely the incomparable score by Tchaikovsky and William Christensen's iconic choreography, and adds some beautiful new sets and costumes. I loved it! The set during the party scene has a very Baroque feel to it with lots of jewel tone colors.  I especially loved the falling snow visible in a picture window behind the tree. I also really liked the special lighting effects when the tree grows in size. The set for the Snow Pas de Deux is like a woodland winter wonderland with the Northern lights in the background.  I particularly liked the effect of viewing this scene through diamond paned windows as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince leave the house. The set for the Land of the Sweets has a very tropical feel with candy hued costumes for the pages and attendants (and monkeys!). The new costumes are incredibly opulent and my favorites were the Waltzing Flowers and the furry mice. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing this ballet and I eagerly anticipate all of the divertissements offered by the Sugar Plum Fairy to entertain Clara. As ever, my favorites are the Arabian dance because it is so exotic and sensuous and the Russian dance for its sheer athleticism (it received the loudest cheers). I wait through the entire ballet for the Grand Pas de Deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. I love this because Tchaikovsky's music here is so incredibly romantic!  The Sugar Plum Fairy was danced by Sayaka Ohtaki last night and she was fantastic. I think she is so classically graceful and she seemed to glide across the stage and whirl through the air. It was a wonderful evening and the perfect start to winter break! I highly recommend seeing this amazing update of a Christmas classic.  It runs at the Capitol Theatre through December 30 and tickets may be purchased here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gingerbread Houses 2017

My nephew Sean is the keeper of the family traditions and he started asking me about doing gingerbread houses last weekend when I was over playing cards.  Every year I keep expecting that Sean and Tashena will no longer want to make them but it seems like they still look forward to it and that makes me happy.  We planned our epic gingerbread party for last Sunday night and it was as fun as it always is!
Various stages of construction.  We eat as much candy as we put on our houses!
Sean's house.
Tashena's house.
Marilyn's house.
My house.
The whole village!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Christmas Carol 2017

It just wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't see Hale Centre Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. I like to joke that I've seen it so many times I could probably stand in for any part!  However, this year it is an entirely new production! It is now held in the new Jewel Box Theatre at the Mountain America Performing Arts Centre which has a traditional proscenium stage.  The script and all of the musical numbers are the same but, since it is no longer being performed in the theatre-in-the-round, the staging and the choreography are completely different. The stage reminded me of a set for a Shakespeare play because there is a upper level with balconies on either side at different levels and a staircase connecting the levels. The design is actually quite simple but I really liked it because, at its heart, the story of Ebeneezer's redemption through visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future is a simple one. Sometimes the same actors reprise roles year after year but this year I was able to see many that I had never seen before, including Stephen Kerr as Scrooge, Lucas Charon as Fred, and Addison Welch as Bob Cratchit. It was fun to see some new interpretations of beloved characters and I particularly liked a scene where Bob Cratchit thanks Scrooge because it is so heartfelt and moving with an affecting performance by Welch that actually brought a tear to my eye. Tiny Tim, played by Alexander Scott, is absolutely adorable and I loved his interactions with Scrooge! There are some new costumes for the ghosts and the Ghost of Christmas Future is quite terrifying. I thoroughly enjoyed this updated classic and, even if you have seen it countless times like I have, I definitely recommend getting a ticket (go here) but hurry because almost every show is sold out!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Lower Lights 2017

Last night I continued a tradition that I started several years ago by seeing the Lower Lights in concert and it just made me so happy!  I really love listening to Christmas music played live and the Lower Lights concert is one of my favorites.  The Lower Lights are a super group of 22 insanely talented musicians and vocalists, many of whom are famous in their own rights, who have a distinct folk-gospel sound and have an incredible rapport with one another on stage that is palpable to the audience.  Last night they performed quite a few of their gospel songs which turned Kingsbury Hall into a raucous revival tent.  Some of my favorites were "Old Time Religion," "Down to the River to Pray," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."  Of course, I especially loved all of the Christmas music, especially "Still, Still Still" and "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" because I sang those songs in choir when I was in college.  Hearing them always brings back so many memories.  I was also really impressed with a beautiful instrumental version of "What Child Is This?" featuring a guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass.  It gave me goosebumps!  Some of the other Christmas songs in the setlist included "I Saw Three Ships," "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful," "Away in a Manger," "White Christmas," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Silver Bells," "Mary's Lullaby," "The Holly and the Ivy," "A Cradle in Bethlehem," "Mary's Boy Child," and "In the Bleak Midwinter."  For the encore they performed "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and a beautiful a cappella rendition of "Silent Night" with the audience.  It was so lovely!  I really love this tradition and I walked out of Kingsbury Hall with a big smile on my fave.  The Lower Lights will perform one more concert tonight and I highly recommend getting a ticket (if there are any to be had!).

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Christmas Traditions

Even though I live alone I have a lot of holiday traditions.  I always like to put my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving because I like to celebrate the season for as long as I can.  I have a tradition of watching It's a Wonderful Life while I put it up (I've done this ever since I moved out on my own).  Putting up my tree is a lot of fun because all of my ornaments have special memories.  My Mom gave me all of the Hallmark limited edition hockey player ornaments (Wayne Gretzky is always the first ornament on the tree and Eric Lindros always goes on the back of the tree).  I also have lots of ornaments from around the world purchased on my trips (my favorites are some hand carved ones from Germany).  All through December I love spending the evening with only the light of the Christmas tree while watching my favorite Christmas movies.  I always add a movie to my collection every year.  This time of year I especially love listening to Christmas music performed live.  On Temple Square just about every high school choir from Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming performs at the Assembly Hall every night and these concerts are free.  I sometimes find myself listening for hours (go here for a schedule).  I also started the tradition of seeing the Lower Lights perform a couple of years ago and I am excited to see them again (go here for tickets).  There are also two performances that I always try to see.  It just wouldn't be Christmas without HCT's production of A Christmas Carol (go here for tickets) or Ballet West's production of The Nutcracker (go here for tickets).  Finally, I have a few traditions with my niece and nephew such as making gingerbread houses and opening Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve.
I am so happy that the Christmas season is upon us and I am really looking forward to all of my traditions.  Do you have any fun Christmas traditions?
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