The month of May has almost done me in. ~sigh~
May was filled with concerts, recitals, graduations, picnics, and birthday parties! All wonderful, but a little tiring. In addition to finishing up our own homeschooling, I continued to teach my voice and piano students as well as play piano for church. In addition to all of the music, I also have had my schedule full with doing homeschool evaluations, which I love! Homeschool evaluations mean meeting new homeschooling families, visiting with old friends and seeing terrific progress in children's educations.
My schedule looked like this-
May 1- Homeschool Orchestra Concert
The concert was on Thursday evening. Some of my children and I had been at choir practice that afternoon. We stayed put for the orchestra concert (the choir and orchestra share the same venue) and had our dinner catered (i.e. my older sons brought us the subs to which my sister-in-law had kindly treated us). The orchestra sounded better than ever! I had fun accompanying two violin solos, a cello solo, and a trio of trumpets playing Bugler's Holiday.
May 2 - Homeschool Children's Choir Concert
My Homeschool Children's Choir Concert was a dream come true! The children sang so well, even memorizing their first German song, An Die Musik. Here is the program-
I Will at All Times Praise the Lord - Handel
Then Will I Jehovah’s Praise - Handel
I Will Rejoice in the Lord - Telemann
O Music - Mason
An Die Musik - Schubert
The Trout - Schubert
To the Greenwood - 17th Century English Round
Lift Thine Eyes - Mendelssohn
My Lord, What a Morning - arr. Schram
How Can I Keep From Singing? - Arr. Schram
Stars are for Those Who Lift their Eyes - Pauline Delmonte
(this piece had a soprano soloist and a cellist, both from the choir)
Dona Nobis Pacem - Mary Lynn Lightfoot
Canon of Praise - Sleeth
Jordan's Angels - Rollo Dillworth
For the Beauty of the Earth - John Rutter
All Things Bright and Beautiful - Rutter
A Clare Benediction - Rutter
May 4 - Homeschool Choir Picnic
The Choir Picnic was a fabulous way to end our Choir Year. The day was sunny and beautiful! The food and fellowship were wonderful. Three of the choir dads and my three oldest sons had quite a baseball game going for the younger children. The picnic is becoming a tradition our family really looks forward to each year at the end of the choir season.
May 10 - CHAP Homeschool Curriculum Fair
My biggest purchase this year (or actually ever!) was a handmade harp. After years of admiring the beauty of these harps and listening to the harp maker's daughters playing lovely music, I splurged and bought a harp. And a "How to Play the Harp" book. My hope is to accompany my youngest choristers in my next Christmas concert! Take a look at these beautiful harps here.
May 11 - Joan Boytim Studio Voice Recitals
Joan Boytim, who is now nationally known for her work with high school voice students (and the vocal literature she has edited), was my high school voice teacher. She lives in my town. Her recitals are a joy to attend, and although her spring recitals are always held on Mother's Day, I attend as often as I can. This year I was accompanied in attendance by my mother and two daughters. Later we returned home to feast on a wonderful dinner that my sons and husband had prepared for us (and for my mother-in-law who did not attend the recital).
If you sing, or teach voice, and have never heard of Joan, please take a look at her materials here.
May 16 - Messiah College Baccalaureate Service
Where did the last four years go? My husband and I met our oldest son at Messiah College for his baccalaureate service. It seems as though just yesterday I had gone with him to a freshman seminar in the same room. The baccalaureate service was beautiful from the beginning music (with many of my son's friends playing). . . to the hymn singing by those who gathered to celebrate. . . to the wonderful student speeches. The last speech touched me most of all. The young woman who gave this speech spoke of how the graduating seniors had been prepared for their future careers, but she encouraged them all to remember the words of our Lord about who is the greatest in the kingdom of God. She reminded us all that we don't need college degrees to be servants. Her address inspired everyone to look for ways to model servant hood in our families and in our communities .
May 17 - Messiah College Graduation
Our entire family, along with my son's three living grandparents, were able to go to the Messiah College graduation. Although we had pretty good seats, at the last minute, some dear friends came to us and offered our family seats in the second row nearer the stage and not far from where the choir would be singing. Our son graduated magna cum laude. After a college reception by the creek, we all went out to dinner to continue the celebration.
May 23 - Perry Alliance Church Homeschool Graduation
Good friends invited us to their son's homeschool graduation, held at their church. There were many graduates that night in a lovely service. The Lord was honored in the ceremony which included student performances of violin, cello, piano and voice, as well as a short slide show of each graduate from the first baby picture to the graduation picture. We enjoyed seeing and visiting with old and new friends at the reception afterward.
May 24 - Harrisburg Fine Arts Fest & Peter Sirotin's Violin Recital
Son #1 sang four Schubert lieder plus a Bellini duet as part of a Fine Arts Fest at noon. I accompanied him on the Schubert and also in the duet with his friend John. John is an older gentleman whom my son met while singing in Rigoletto with Harrisburg Opera Association. They have struck up a nice friendship and have sung together a few times. That day, I was delighted to meet John's mother, age 104, who was visiting her son from her home in Georgia. A former piano teacher and church musician, she had given her son his first love of music. She enjoyed the duet immensely. Music keeps you young!!!!
Son #2 has studied violin for the past four years with Peter Sirotin of the Mendelssohn Piano Trio. Peter is an amazing violinist and a wonderfully kind, patient teacher. As an artist in residence at Messiah College, he was only available two days a week, as he lives in Washington, DC., but he found time for my son on Mondays. He took an interest in my son, even to encouraging him in his other pursuits (art and theater). Although Peter did encourage this young man to major in music, he took it well when my son decided on a theater major and this spring helped him with skills that will make it possible for him to continue violin playing all his life.
In his last recital, my son performed Praeludium and Allegro by Kreisler. I have been privileged to be his accompanist and will miss making music with him.
May 25 - Center Stage Opera Chorus Rehearsal and Family Picnic & Birthday Party
As if I didn't have enough to do, I agreed to help prepare the chorus for Center Stage Opera 's production of Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore. The chorus is small, but a lovely group with which to work. So in the afternoon, I worked on the Anvil Chorus, the Nun's Chorus and Miserere.
Then I hightailed it to my sister-in-law's home where my family was gathered with my SIL's family, including all four of her darling little grandchildren, to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. Good food, good company, happy day!
May 31 - Students of Kathy O'Donnell in Recital
I am so proud of my students! Saturday's recital was wonderful! Piano students and voice students gave superb performances! My piano students who were absolute beginners this year have all made so much progress and did a really great job playing their pieces. A local retirement center has graciously offered their lovely chapel with a baby grand piano for me to hold my winter and spring recitals.
Now on to June - stay tuned - two more performances and a graduation this week!