Sunday, October 5, 2008

water music


making the best of a soggy weekend

the concert headliners

later participants in an all-out jam session

a small but enthusiastic audience

The Water Music is a collection of orchestral movements, often considered as three suites, composed by George Frideric Handel. It premiered in the summer of 1717 (July 17, 1717) when King George I requested a concert on the River Thames. The concert was performed by 50 musicians playing on a barge close to the royal barge from which the King listened with some close friends (including the Duchess of of Bolton, the Duchess of Newcastle, the Countess of Godolphin, Madam Kilmarnock, and the Earl of Orkney). Sounds very similar to the events of our last few weekends.

The first movement was a three-day rainstorm that left our basement and many others in the area a soggy mess. Ours only reached two inches deep, which was our great fortune because nothing in our file cabinets or on our storage racks got wet. But it did mean we had to continually sweep water from the floor into our sump pit. Aside from a few blisters and soaked coloring books, there was no real loss for us, but we drove past many homes after that weekend with wet mushy piles mounded on their parkway for garbage day. I've now made another round of postings on craigslist;) to minimize our collection.

The boyz got tired of the lockdown by day 2. Our area was pretty gridlocked, some places and streets were closed, and with the sweeping and keeping an eye on the fort, field trips were out of the question. By day 3, when the rain stopped, the boyz were happy to suit up and ring the block looking for juicy puddles.

An unrelated fundraiser concert followed. While not rivaling the attendance of Live Aid, about as much fun was had - especially by the headliners and guest musicians. Ethan got the idea during a recent Grandma and Grandpa pick-up at the airport. One afternoon, we took the popular excursion to the airport to ride the tram, admire the baggage carosel, and see some planes come and go. Ethan found the 'street' musicians there fascinating - especially since the one he really paid attention to had no particular musical talent and a decent-sized tray of dollars and coins he'd earned. Kola was especially interested in the street person who'd found his way into the men's room, passed out on the toilet, and fallen asleep across the floor of a few stalls. Luckily, Kola performed no re-enactments.

The weekend after the airport visit, rich with ideas, Ethan set up a concert using a variety of instruments from our house. He asked for a box, set up chairs out front in neat rows, short to tall, made signs, and waited on the porch with an empty box. The street was atypically quiet, so he raised a few coins inside the house. With that tapped out, he asked me why people weren't coming. So, after fine tuning the art of concert promotion (and discussing the O'Hare ped traffic vs. that of our street at that time,) he started knocking on doors to set a concert time and remind people to 'bring their money.' I was surprised by the initiative and that he only needed a little encouragement to gather the guests. He'd originally written a sign and taped it on a 3.5' cabinet door which was cleared out from our recent clean-up, so he lugged the door from house to house as a visual aid for the show. And thanks to our fun-loving, generous neighbors, the concert was a success. Kola acted as manager by handing a coin to each guest musician but Ethan took the biggest cut. The next day he packed a few quarters in his pocket knowing we'd be somewhere with a vending machine and confidently bought a pack of starburst.

The kids are coming up with new ideas at an exponential rate - other clues they're in school and learning from life: Kola encourged us to settle down for books at bedtime with: "sit on your tushy-toosh if you want to read a book." and has an obsessive and not always appropriate use of the word "weird." When Kola interrupts, Ethan replies with "zip it lock it put it in your pocket." And Ethan's teacher has nicknamed him "her little investigator," with his steady stream of questions. No wonder they're both pooped and in bed a little earlier every nite;)

More soon! xo b/s/e/k

1 comment:

Laura said...

What a concert! I'm sorry we missed it -- I have a feeling Caroline would have been in the front row cheering the boys on. So great to see you this weekend -- hopefully again soon!