Thursday, February 7, 2013

ABC - Double Duty "D" Post

My "D" post for ABC Wednesday is doing double duty, since it will also include some "C" references to make up for the missed post last week.  Claude Debussy, the composer in the video below, is a favourite with many students studying the piano, and this Arabesque is one both my sister and I played as teens.  If you hit the "play" button now, perhaps you will enjoy the background music while you read the post.  If you have the time to watch as well, the animation accompanying the music is quite clever.  The word "arabesque" has some "D" connections.  It represents a position in dance, and also has to do with decorative art

D-bird: American Dipper
I took these pictures of the American Dipper in 2009.  It was a thrilling, first ever sighting.     

They are delightful birds with the unique ability to swim under water, as shown in this video.  I dream of one day seeing another one.

C-bird: Crow
I took these photos along False Creek a few days ago.  Crows are among my favourite birds.  I will assume for now that this one is the more common American Crow.  

There are also slightly smaller but otherwise very similar Northwestern Crows, but I would have to see the two side by side to have any hope of telling the difference between them.
I enjoyed watching the drive and persistence of this one as it worked diligently to find food. 

I thought this little Bushtit (I hear you, EvenSong :) had nothing to do with C or D but I was dazzled by its droll expression, 

and the words "chubby" and "cute" and "charming" popped into my head.

Then, it flew off the branch at the very moment I clicked, and..  look..  do you see the D-shape?  It is a slim D and has a couple of tiny dents in the arc, but I still think it works.
And, when I flipped the picture around, there was a captivatingly dainty C!  
The sculpture, "Arcs" by Bernard Venet, also had no C or D connection until I flipped the photo on its side.  Taking creative liberties with this post was a comical diversion..
but I declare, only a couple more and that will be it for some time to come. I do apologize if flipping the Burrard Bridge on its side for a fairly convincing D-shape makes you a bit dizzy.
The creator of this next work is going to appear a bit further along but for now, I've taken the liberty of finding a lower-case "d" in his inverted sculpture.  It is quite a curlycue one, and so stays in the decorative theme definition of arabesque. (My deep apologies to TexWis and to other readers with a life :)  I'm thinking this might be a good stop-off point for you, that is, if you made it this far.  Although, on second thought, you may want to scroll down to the two photos of Bill :)
Concerts in Churches
Bill and I attended three concerts in three churches in as many days.  We heard  Sarah Hagen play "Rachmaninov's 32 Variations" as well as three contemporary pieces by Canadian composers.  The Rachmaninov would have been an astounding feat on its own.  It is a huge work, but to perform the contemporary works (with two of the composers in the audience!) really speaks not only to Ms. Hagen's impressive talent and bravery, but also to her diligence and self-discipline. The performance was at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver.  During intermission, I took some time to admire this wall-mounted sculpture called Silent Song.  There is much to appreciate about this sculpture, so I'll put a small quote here from the link.  The idea that parts from two previous organs have a place of honour in the church is, to me, a beautiful one in both a nostalgic and a conservational way.
“Silent Song is intended to evoke remembered or imagined sounds and can be considered a metaphor for many diverse individual voices conjoined together in musical patterns.The artists have used the retired organ parts of the Casavant & Frere organ installed in Christ Church cathedral in 1949 which had incorporated pipes from the previous organ.The Casavant organ served the congregation for 54 years and now 1,700 of its pipes live on in the new Kenneth Jones tracker action pipe organ installed in Christ Church cathedral in 2004.” 
Music rising to the rafters of a magnificent structure and then reflecting back to envelop me in its wonder is a divine experience that I deeply appreciate.  

Bill and I have been in the cathedral a few times and are always awed by its grandeur.  On my mother's last visit to Vancouver (she was then in her 90's), we attended a Sunday service there.  She stood in the doorway after the service, determined to meet the busy minister.  And she did! I think of her each time I walk through those doors.

After the concert, Bill and I roamed downtown Vancouver, both feeling full of happy energy.  We stopped in front of Vancouver Art Gallery, a memory I still cherish. 
The best part of these photos, apart from all the laughter, is that Bill had no aches and pains the next day.  Wow!  He's so dapper and debonaire and cool, even in a down-filled coat :)  This facebook link will take you to the full series of his death-defying jump!

The next day, we decided to attend Jazz Vespers at St. Andrew's Wesley United Church.  I had known about these concerts for years, but for some reason, had never attended one.  We didn't check the program but it turned out to be a very special event.  The life of Jerry Wennes was being celebrated.  

And, what a life it so clearly was!  Songs, stories,

dances, laughter, 
and energy flowed from Jerry's friends and admirers.  The music was unbelievable.  Talk about being drawn up to the rafters and back again!  There are more pictures, and I've recorded the names of the musicians at this facebook link, should you want more details.

This was a most appreciative audience.  I never met Jerry Wennes, but left with a deep impression of his full life.  Looking at his obituary (linked above), the C-words alone leave one dumbfounded.  Co-founder and conductor of community bands, music consultant at UofA, coordinator of Jazz Vespers, served in the  Dutch army with the Red Cross troops, played clarinet for the queen in London and for DeGaulle in France, changed to the trombone after a spinal cord injury when he was 69, president of a soccer club, obtained his commercial pilot license, operated a plumbing company.. this was a man who truly lived because he continued learning, I'm convinced, until the day he died!

The third concert was at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Kitsilano.  I have to admit to frustration that whenever I really, really want to do justice to artists by taking a perfect photograph, I seem to mess up the settings.  I regret that, but this ensemble gave a memorable and delightful performance.  Laura Vanek (on the left) and Marina Hasselberg have formed NOVO Ensemble, and for this concert of contemporary music, performed with guest clarinetist, Shawn Earle.  All of the selections were by Canadian composers.  We are fortunate to have so many fine musicians in Vancouver.  This particular group has talent, dedication, youth, energy, and many, many hours of practice behind them and I am grateful that they so generously share their music with us.  I wrote a more detailed response at this facebook link but in the mean time, the NOVO link above will let you know of future concerts.
What a culturally stimulating week it was.  Along with all those wonderful concerts, we also found time on Wednesday to attend a FREE event at Vancouver Public Library, another building that I continue to appreciate and admire.  InCite, a writers' festival linked to Vancouver Public Library, has so far treated us to readings from the latest works of six award-winning authors.  Below, some quickly snapped photos of Bradley Somer (left), Barbara Lambert and C.P.Boyko.  If you are in Vancouver and enjoy books, Sandra Martin and Zac Unger will read on February 13th.  We both love these opportunities to meet living, breathing authors.  There is always a question period at the end, and I always come away inspired.  You can find the full schedule of readings at this link.
Okay, I'm going to be really bold here and pretend that I am an artist.  That's a little bit more true since starting the blog and all progress is duly appreciated :)  And, with a name like Carol Carson, at least I definitely qualify on the "C" count.  So, below, my artist's eye version of the Venet sculpture shown above in C-shapes.  Again, my solemn promise that I will not flip any more photos today, or in fact, for some time to come.  Call it a phase :)  Actually, I didn't flip the photo afterwards for this one, but rather, the camera as I took the picture.  Just so you know :)

My final artistic contribution is this heron, seen a couple of days ago along the seawall.  Standing so straight and tall, with feet placed just right, and courtship plumes draped enticingly, I could not resist stopping to admire him.
I discovered Christian Cardell Corbet in a google search for C-artists.  Wow!  He certainly qualifies and if you are curious, as I was, you will come away with a lot of food for thought after checking out the link above.  It is a fairly lengthy video, though. 
Corbet was born in Ontario, lived for a while in Vancouver, and now lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  He was catapulted to fame in his early 30's after making a bust of the Queen Mother that was so successful, he was invited to deliver it to her personally.  The video below is a bit shorter, and explains his transition from painter to sculptor and even mentions his forensic work.  I will definitely be watching out for this very interesting artist in the future! 

Oh my goodness.  I've made it to my last artist.  Below is Richard Deacon's work.  I'm hoping he will forgive me for having flipped it upside down earlier.  It is called "Water under the Bridge" and the more I look at it, the more I appreciate it.
This is also Deacon's work, titled "Fish Out Of Water" and the one that I saw in The Art Book.  Here's the first sentence about it in that book.  "Although the sculpture wears its construction on its sleeve - glue seeps out between layers of bent hardboard, and hundreds of rivets keep the whole from springing apart - its bulging, rib-like structure makes it distinctly organic, like a skeleton blown dry by a desert wind."  I LOVE that sentence.

The following two videos are a great way to understand him.  They are short, but you see him working and collaborating with fellow artists. 

Again, this is someone I hope to continue to follow.
That's it, that's all, folks.  Well, almost (cringe).  I forgot to mention that it's my birthday.  I'd skip it, but I'm afraid my sister will object.  For the next two months, she can say she is two years younger than I am.  In April, when she has her birthday, we will be a year apart again.  I'll try to get myself together to post a picture of her then :)  In the mean time, here's one of a lovely gift of a sky that Black Jack and I noticed on our walk this morning,

and here's one of Black Jack just because.  Thanks for stopping by, have a happy day, and if you have any reading energy left, I hope you will stop by the delightful ABC Wednesday blog meme.  (TexWis, I swear, Black Jack's eyes are reproaching me for yet another too-long post.) 


  1. happy birthday, carol! you're the 2nd blogger i know celebrating today. :)

    i had to laugh at the warning you left in your comment. i DID enjoy black jack and bill's photos. and you're getting really sneaky now turning photos every which way to find a letter. :)

  2. HAPPY SHMAPPY BIRTHDAY from Sophie Doodle!
    We are partaking in many of the videos from your first sample....I know I've fallen in LIKE with these...LOL! Such a great idea.
    The Bushtit is so sweet!!
    The pictures on their sides is artistic licence and we all have that to draw(pun intended) on!!!
    This was a great C and D experience....I Google Streetview St. Mark's Church...such a treat seeing it again

  3. Thanks Carol for this most interesting and entertaining post. Will be listening to the music selection and their site. Loved the photos of the Bushtit too!! I'd love to see you in action getting these incredible shots you get.
    What a lovely way to end the post with a picture of dear Blackjack.

  4. I especially love the singer
    great pictures
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  5. I really flipped over all the contortions your photos made to reveal the letters C and D. Happy, happy birthday to you, Carol. Three concerts in three days sounds absolutely wonderful. And stumbling onto Jerry’s life is an extra treat that I think he would be very glad that you shared. :)

  6. "Giggle!"

    And happy birthday!

    Loved the Arabesque--you may remember that our little champagne filly, Amy. was registered as "Amber Arabesque." And she lives up in Canada now!
    Even though I am a musician, I am a very strong visual learner, and the computer generated video was REALLY neat. I've seen similar ones, and they really help one picture the "structure" of the music. It seem a complex piece, and I'm amazed that you and your sister managed it. The most challenging piece I ever mastered was an Eric Satie, for my final in a college piano class--and it took HOURS of practice!

    LOVE the cathedral--love old curches, and it seemed a proper setting for the remembrance concert.

    Goota go!

  7. Hello Dear :) .
    Great blog. Interesting post.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Welcome to my blog.

    Like me on Facebook. I will be extremely grateful.

  8. Oh how rich and wonderful!!! Thank you for a super visit - I look forward to many more!

  9. First off, I hope you have a wonderful Birthday! Next, I have no idea which of the above photos to comment on - all are so great! I think I like the one of Bill jumping off the steps...I could never do that again with my bad back and it makes me sad that I can't. But it does make me smile at his joy! As usual, your shots of birds are dreamy! We just got a new lab puppy so you'll probably start seeing some photos of her on my blog. Have a great long weekend!