Posts Tagged ‘Dallas Morning News’

Yesterday Calloway’s Nursery, a local garden center, had a day-long event. Speakers were scheduled from 9 — 5. That’s a lot of gardening info. Who would go to such a thing all day long? Not me.

I got there just before noon.

Calloway'sIt’s spring in Texas, which means it’s windy as all get-out, but the event was inside so we only had to deal with the occasional banging of a door. I missed the first three sessions, but Vikki and I arrived in time to get good seats for the bulb hunter’s presentation.

Big bulb

I almost bought this one.

Bulb hunter guy was Chris Wiesinger, founder of The Southern Bulb Company. He was very interesting–it reminded me of the time in junior high my friend Linda and I found an abandoned homestead that had a garden full of blooming flowers. It was like our own real-life Secret Garden…until other people found it and started digging up the flowers to take home. Now, I get that. At the time, I was horrified.

Chris finds similar gardens, then (after obtaining permission from the owners) digs up the bulbs, propagates them, and sells them. The theory being, if they thrive all by themselves with no help from anyone, they should do well in our flower beds. And I almost bought this one…

bulb package

Gorgeous, isn't it?

…until a later speaker’s presentation persuaded me it was the wrong color for my garden.

We also heard from Mariana Greene, the Garden Editor for the Dallas Morning News, who brought her friend Buttercup:

Buttercup the rooster

Buttercup the bantam rooster

He clucked companionably around the crowd during her talk, occasionally letting out a hoarse little cock-a-doodle.
By this time Rosemary had arrived and it was time for lunch.

Picnic in the parking lot

Picnic in the parking lot

Some people tailgate at sporting events; my crowd tailgates at garden seminars. That’s sparking cider, btw, we weren’t sure how Calloway’s would feel about alcohol on the premises. We also had chicken salad on flatbread, veggie skewers, fruit, and assorted chocolate.

Well-fed and happy, we wandered back in the store to learn about putting color in our gardens. Wayne Pianta showed us many wonderful plants…the only problem is deciding which ones to use!

Gerbera daisies

Speaking of color...

Next we were vastly entertained by Ian Cooke, who talked about garden personality. (Mine is “rustic cottage” though I like to think of it as “Hill Country Chic.”) You can take a little quiz to find your garden personality here: http://www.monrovia.com/design-inspiration/style-quiz.php

After that we got tips on perennials (buy ’em once and they keep coming back–love that) from Gabrielle Babcock and had just enough time to browse the blooms in the store before closing time.

Inside Calloway's

So many plants, so little cash.

It was a fun day. I came away with all kinds of tips, potential plants to purchase, and the encouraging knowledge that I was doing some things right. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday! Next time I might even get there for the morning sessions.

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Last week I (along with a couple hundred of my closest friends) performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as part of “Spotlight Sunday” at the Dallas Arts District. The whole day was quite a success—I gather some 45,000 people showed up to see the new Opera Hall and Theater, and to wander through art museums, the sculpture garden, and the Meyerson Symphony Center (where we perform). Sadly, all those people did not make it to our concert, but the Meyerson was respectably full.

We, the members of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, have sung Beethoven’s 9th roughly a gazillion times. From a singer’s perspective, it’s a bit of a marathon, since we have to sit still and stay awake in front of the crowd through three full movements before leaping to our feet to sing at breakneck speed for the last 15-20 minutes. I’ve done it as both a soprano and an alto, and I am never more grateful to be in alto-world than when doing this piece. Beethoven was deaf when he wrote it and I suspect he was trying to write in dog whistle range.

Back to the point at hand: we’ve done this thing so often we could do it in our sleep—were it not for our conductor, Jaap van Zweden. He wanted us to do things differently, for pete’s sake. He wanted this part legato (smooth) not, as he put it, “like chopping salami.” He wanted another part soft where it had always been blastissimo before. Instead of sailing along on cruise control, he wanted us to take a different route—one that required paying attention at all times.

I’ll admit, there was a wee bit of “But we’ve always done it this way…” in the ranks, but we got on board. It helped that it wasn’t just us who got shaken up; he did the same thing with the orchestra and even (gasp!) the soloists.

The result? According to the review in the Dallas Morning News, the performance was “electrifying.”

One thing the Maestro said during rehearsal particularly caught my attention. Referring to a section of short words separated by rests, he told us to pay attention to “the music between the notes.”

See, music doesn’t stop when the sound stops…silence is an important part of music, as well. It’s easy to live for the notes—they’re the fun parts. Between the notes, it’s tempting to just mark time, waiting for the next chance to sing. But I wonder if we’re missing out on a lot of music by not paying more attention to what’s going on between the notes?

I wonder if we miss out on a lot of life that way, too? It’s so easy to live for the next big thing; getting out of school, the next career move, the next vacation, etc., etc. What about all those ordinary days in between? Isn’t there music in those days? I think there is. We just have to listen for it.

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