The Christmas has officially started in Helena. The first weekend, for years, has been the Festival of Trees, and the symphony's Christmas in the Cathedral concert (usually, but not always, Handel's Messiah).
This year we did the Bach Magnificat as the big choral piece. No parts for the trombones, so we had the first half of the concert to just listen. Very nicely done, I might add, even without us. The second half of the concert wasn't as good, from a performance standpoint. I don't doubt that the audience didn't realize how bad it was. I'm always happy to spout off about how good we were in any given concert. It's only fair that I do it when we suck, too. No section was spared in the suckiness, either. One or two sections even stood out in it (no names, sorry--they might actually read this!). There was only one piece that the orchestra performed without voices. It was terrible. I could blame the bad lighting, or the cramped space we were forced to play in, or the lousy acoustics in the immediate area, but the fact is...we just sucked.
No time to think about that though... We start up with rehearsals for Nutcracker tomorrow. Which means I have to start the ball rolling with set up this afternoon. Tonight will be the last free night I have for a week. Ugh... (but you know I love this pressure at this time of year!).
One thing that's worked in my favor this year is the weather. For the past three years, the move between Messiah and Nutcracker has been on gray, cloudy, windy, sub-zero days. Wind chills in the -20° range. Still have to get the truck loaded. And the added fun of snowfall for the past two years. Well, not this year! Yesterday was still chilly, in the single digits, but the sun was shining brightly. And a sunny 8° is far warmer than a cloudy 8°! There was a freezing fog overnight, so the trees were covered in a frosty white. Interestingly, none of the evergreens were frosted. None of the firs, pines or junipers. Not sure why that was. I didn't have a camera, but they looked something similar to these (taken in 2005 at a rest stop in South Dakota...).
But I did have my cell phone, so I took this while waiting for Mass to get over before we could set up. Yeah, the sky was that blue!