Rain and Bach – 雨のバッハ

It seems the Editor and Staff of The View apologized to Seattle for it comments on the weather a bit too soon. Tuesday dawned gray, and got progressively darker as the day went on. Clouds, drizzle, and hard rain later on. A typical Seattle winter day. Since there were no colors in the scenery I shot in black and white today. Here is what can be seen from Queen Ann Hill on a drizzly day.

Weather aside, though, I had a very enjoyable evening sitting in on the Seattle Bach Choir’s weekly rehearsal. The director is Dr. Ann Lyman. The choir is preparing J. S. Bach’s St John Passion for a concert in March. I was able to observe Dr Lyman checking individual voices, as well as rehearsing the group on two movements of the Passion. The concert should be excellent, so if you are in Seattle in March buy a ticket and go! Here is a link to the choir. (Thanks, P.O., for the personal taxi service!)

 

Seattleites love stickers

 

 

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My apologies, Seattle – シアトルに謝らないといけません

The editors and staff of The View offer their sincere apologies to the people of Seattle for their continuing negative comments on the weather here. After all, Saturday was decent, Sunday was fine, and Monday was glorious! (Tuesday, one would like to point out in a very small voice, did dawn gray and foggy.) And compared with a tremendous snow storm battering the East coast, any weather Seattle can dish out is welcome. How The Staff and Editors of The View spent the three fine days:

Saturday: a day off from all research, work, and other serious matters. My sister and I spent a great day exploring the Museum of History and Industry, the South Union area, and Volunteer Park. I don't usually post personal photos, but here is a tiny low-res photo of sis. See, I have do have siblings. There are even two others, who may well be introduced in a later post.

The museum has a new home since I knew it decades ago, and does a great job on the history of Seattle. Who knew that not only Starbucks, but also Amazon, Tully's, Costco, and Microsoft all originated here? (Well, I did, but I am a former Seattlite.) Not to mention Ranier Beer.
There is also the center for wooden boats, where one can watch people maintain, build, and sail historic types of wooden craft.
The cemetery next to Volunteer Park is a fine place to see the longtime connection between Seattle and Asia. There are large sections of Chinese graves, a smaller one of Japanese graves, as well as the usual mix of Caucasian graves.
Readers will be relieved to know that there is still room for more. Here is a gravesite for sale, headstone included.
Sunday: this was a working day, for the most part. I walked up to St Mark's Episcopal Cathedral for the 8:00 am volunteer choir rehearsal, the 9:00 service, the 11:00 service, and a 2:00 pm organ recital by Mark Brombaugh. The choir at the early service is a non-auditioned, volunteer group. The 11:00 service was sung by the cathedral choir. Associate music director Brian Fairbanks tells there are now seven choirs taking part in the musical life of the cathedral. Good news, indeed! St Mark's is the place where I experienced “the moment” that pointed me to a career in church music (back in 1975 or there about) so it was really nice to come back and be a part of the Sunday events. Old friends were there, and Soichiro Mitani, whom I mentioned in an earlier post, is now singing in the choir until he completes his one-year study at the Univeristy of Washington. Photos:
1. The grand Flentrop organ (I gave my senior organ recital here)
2. Soichiro Mitani and I pose – (I feel like a proud papa to have this former member of my choir singing at St Mark's!)
The evening was spent at a friend's house, and turned out to be a reunion with friends from many periods of life. DP and family, thank you so much for a great time!
Monday: this is when I began to feel remorse for my comments on the Seattle weather. It was stunningly clear and warm. High temperatures were in the low 60's F, or nearly 20 C! I did want to spend time in the library, but wasting such a day was out of the question. I left my hotel without a coat and walked around Lake Union, enjoying some photography on the way. If you have a day, this is an excellent route for strolling (I say strolling, but it was an 18km/11 mile route). There are views of the lake, bridges, funky neighborhoods, mountains, and the University of Washington along the way. Views along the way:
1. Lake Union, with St Mark's Cathedral perched on the top of Capitol Hill
2. The Fremont Bridge (partially repainted) and the giant Aurora Bridge in the background
3. The Fremont District, itself, including the best coffee in the universe (it really was the best coffee I have ever tasted), a statue of Lenin, and the diving lady.
 
 
4. After the Femont area, the route goes along the north end of the lake, and includes a stop at Gasworks Park and a view of houseboats.
 
5. After three hours of strolling I reached the University, and another evening of library study. Some photos of the campus in the late afternoon light:
6. At night I walked the rest of the route back to the hotel (along Eastlake and Fairview streets), stopping at a local restaurant I'd recommend highly to anyone wanting some home cooking. Louisa's Diner on (where else?) Lousia Street. Wonderful pork steaks with fresh, local vegetables.
7. Finally, a south Lake Union night view, and and an end to a very, very fine Seattle day.
 
 

 

 

 

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I really hate to repeat my self, but… 再び雨の日

IMG_0186.JPGSorry to be repetitive, but I must tell you that it was rainy and dark in Seattle today. What to do on a previously-planned free day when it rains? Half was spent on nostalgia lane. Here is St Paul’s Episcopal Church, where I was organist and choirmaster for 5 years (1978-1984 or so). It is also where my “the wife” and I were married, so for me the church holds fond memories. It was good to see that many improvements have been made in the colors, etc, while keeping the basic look and feel of the building. And how about that organ? One of the world’s few hanging organs, I’m sure (by Gebruder Spaeth of Germany, 1960’s).
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I had a date with my sister for lunch (thanks, B!), then went over to the downtown Seattle Art Museum to escape the weather and enjoy some visual stimulation. It takes about 3 hours to do the museum in a leisurely fashion, which is just about right for a person of my attention span. The collection is nicely balanced, too, with Northwest Native American art, Japanese art, Western painting and carving, as well as a smattering of ancient culture art (Egypt, Islamic areas, Meso American, etc). My favorites? Glad you asked – here they are.
1. Morris Graves – I found his paintings to be my favorite. When the curator tells me to “take anything you like,” these two will go home with me.

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2. Cleveland Rockwell’s sea painting reminded me of the English artist Turner’s moody seascapes, so this painting would also go home in my ideal collection.

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3. We shouldn’t forget the Native American carved masks:

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4. or the Western religious art (this is a detail from a 1440 Italian painting of the Annunciation):

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5. I would also accept this in a pinch:

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6. Once I finished getting my daily dose of culture, I walked through the darkening city, then hunkered down for comfort food (lamb pie!) in the Pike Place Market. The day ended with yet more walking and a nighttime visit to the Seattle Center. It turned out to be another 20,000 step day.

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Happy CCD

Today was CCD, or crummy camera day. It was raining this morning when I left the hotel, so I departed sans camera. My only apparatus for photography was a poor-quality cell phone, so today’s photos are not the best. Oh well, they say the best camera is the one you have with you, so I suppose the Motorola G was my best camera for a few hours today.

In the morning I walked 75 minutes from my hotel to the University of Washington and naturally it rained. I did try to pass as a native by refusing to use either my umbrella, hood or hat. I do shamefully admit, however, that caved in when water started running down my collar.

Today I was lucky to be able to sit in on the university’s organ class, led by Dr. Carole Terry, my organ professor in the 1980’s. Particularly impressive was a performance of Mendelssohn’s 4th Sonata (class was held in Kane Hall’s Walker Ames room, which houses a Fritz organ). The lunch hour was very pleasantly spent with Prof. Terry.

Given the weather, the best place to spend the afternoon turned out to be the library. An added bonus is the architecture of the Suzallo library. Even when I was a student I enjoyed spending time in this great 1930’s neo-Gothic building. The following photos don’t do it justice, but you can get an idea of the scale of the room, at least.
1. Suzallo library

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2. Suzallo library’s grand staircase, which leads to the reading room

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3. The reading room – who wouldn’t want to study here?

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In the evening I walked up to St Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in order to sit in on a rehearsal of the cathedral choir. It was very interesting to watch Brian Fairbanks working with the group. Here he is, leading the choir through Walton’s difficult Gloria from the Missa Brevis. Note the ‘cathedral pooch’ in the foreground (Actually she is owned by a choir member. There were two dogs sitting in on rehearsal).

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Another walk to the hotel from the cathedral completed my day. 23,000 steps and 10 miles/16 km. I may wear out my shoes during this trip.

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Seattle, a walk-able city – 歩ける町シアトル

IMG_0154.JPG(日本語は後日追加します)
Hello from the land of the Pink Elephant, otherwise known as Seattle. I am staying here for a week. I lived here as a university student and newlywed, so getting re-acquainted with the city has been fascinating. Highlights:
Tuesday
1. a ride on the new (to me) train line connecting SeaTac airport and the downtown. Congratulations Seattle! You’ve entered the modern age of transportation. That being said, the train is a mere two cars long, and parallels the freeway, which comprises 11 lanes of traffic. Yes, dearies, Americans still love their cars, even when mass transportation is offered.
2. a stroll of some length. I walked from downtown (Denny and Aurora, to be exact) to St Catherine of Sienna Church on 85th Street in order to attend a rehearsal of the Seattle Bach Choir. Too bad I couldn’t get into the locked church to hear them! After mulling about I walked another 40 minutes to catch a bus back to downtown. 22,000 steps, 6 miles and 10 km worth of exercise.
Wednesday
1. a walk from the Greenlake area to the University district. Here is wintery Greenlake:IMG_0162.JPG
And here is some refreshment for the walk. As you can see, not everything in the US is giant sized. IMG_0163.JPG
2. churches naturally draw my attention, so I detoured to visit Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. I used to practice the organ here, a mere 30 years ago. It appears nothing has changed in the meantime. IMG_0160.JPG

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3. a visit to the University of Washington, my alma mater (undergraduate, that is). Photos to follow tomorrow, but the campus is as beautiful as always.
4. a reunion with my former tenor section leader from the the Rikkyo University Chapel Choir, Soichiro Mitani, who is studying business at the university for a year. It was a great pleasure to meet again, and to be able to speak in Japanese after two weeks of English-only. He introduced me to a great Japanese restaurant called Momiji. If in Seattle, do give it a try. They have everything from sushi, to kara age, to sake and shochu, all served with an American twist. Here are a couple of photos of the food:
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5 Here we are, stomachs happily digesting a dinner of delicious Japanese-American cuisine.

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6. To close, “my” parking spot. BOSS only.

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