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      d21The last few weeks of November are perhaps the most stressful, busy, joyous, fun, demanding weeks of the HG year. In the past few days I have had rehearsals for A CHRISTMAS CAROL production, rehearsals for the Dickens of a Concert with two choirs, sorted out some things—soloists and string players—for the MESSIAH COMMUNITY SING, and sang and danced with a score of kids who are going to be on the street at Dickens. (I've also been trying to clean my house and to get the annual HG appeal mailing out.)

      Saturday as I sat at the piano at First Position Dance Studio I watched this bunch of kids—we call them the “Smelling Lads” after one of the songs they sing—learn some cool dance moves and some rowdy Christmas street songs. (Those mummers were a lively bunch.) Some of the kids were with us two years ago and some are brand new. We couldn't have it last year, of course, and everyone was eager to get back into it. Taylor Nickerson and Heather Galbraith are great fun to work with: they are the coordinators of the dance moves. Everyone wore masks and used hand sanitizer. Everyone had fun and are eager to get out on the street on Dickens Saturday and entertain. I sat there thinking how grateful I am for this opportunity to work with an eager, committed group of kids and with two talented and giving adults.

      Sunday I worked with the Coolidge cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Gabe Hakvaag works with the cast which performs in the Warehouse.) Rob Kathcart has been Scrooge as long as we've had this cast, and I think Coleen Evert has too. Ryan Mullins and Ryan Dalton and Samantha Coolidge were new two years ago (remember we couldn't have Dickens last year!) and we're welcoming Asher Cuneo as Tiny Tim. We've had two earlier rehearsals, but they were kind of “get the cobwebs our of our brains” sort of rehearsals, and we didn't have the whole cast at either of them. This one: everyone present. Everyone with a firm hold on all the lines and blocking. Hearing the lines of this great story by such a great writer that have become part of my being (I've heard them for decades) brought another great wave of gratitude that I have this opportunity to hear the familiar lines and to work with a talented fun cast.

      Smelly lads and ghosts and great fun. The gloom of the gray, rainy days is lifted with such opportunities. I haven't even begun to explain the great joy of the HG Children/Youth Choir Concert! Ah...another blog.

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