Sometimes it works out

The G.I. Bill Restoration Act

sometimes it works outThis is one of those Day In The Life posts I’m calling Sometimes it works out. It is about April 26, 2022, which started with Wordle in 3 (HEIST).

My Bible guys have been meeting remotely since the start of the pandemic. Given the demographics – I’m the youngest of the group – I’m guessing that’s the way it’ll remain. One of the seven was traveling, one had an appointment. Another had trouble getting on ZOOM. Yet we persevere.

One of the readings was 1 Corinthians 15, which is a long chapter. Very familiar. No. 46 of Handel’s Messiah is Since by man came death, from verses 21 and 22. Then No. 47 through 51 show up in verses 51 to 57, starting with Behold, I shew you a mystery.

This led to a question, Who selected the libretto? I knew it wasn’t Handel but forgot it was Charles Jennens, “an English aristocrat who collaborated with Handel on several other oratorios.”

Lost money

While looking for my bus pass – which turned out to be in the wrong part of my wallet from its usual place – I found a stale-dated check for $18.71 on my dresser. If it had been a larger amount, I probably would have remembered to look for it. What it was doing on my dresser, as opposed to my wallet or my mail drawer, I don’t know.

The weird thing is that I can remember the amount without looking again because it is the second calendar year of the Franco-Prussian War, although the event actually lasted less than 12 months. Why I couldn’t use Mrs. O’Leary’s cow as a device… the mind does what it does.

The talk

The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library have just restarted their weekly book review/book talk. A hole in the schedule developed and I volunteered to talk about The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, which I talked about at church adult ed ZOOM a year ago.

I was going to use the 17-minute video Segregated by Design, narrated by Rothstein, but I couldn’t get the sound to work; nor could three library techies.

So I vamped a bit before abandoning the possibility of the video, and talked about The G.I. Bill Restoration Act, “recently introduced in the House of Representatives. This legislation would give financial benefits to descendants and spouses of Black veterans who fought in WWII, but were excluded from aid outlined in the original G.I. Bill.”

This led to conversations about my father, who never lived in a house of his own until 1972, and made me wonder whether he had tried to utilize the original G.I. Bill. Over a million black World War II vets were denied from using it. This led to my sharing a story of my father’s experiences in Germany. I found I  LIKED talking about my dad.

Oh, I left the book at the library, but I got it back the following week.

Social Security

I went to the Social Security office. My wife is working on financial stuff for my daughter’s college and needs how much I received from Social Security in 2020. The amount I got in automatic deposits I know, but the amount paid for Part B Medicare IDK. The 2021 breakdown is on the Social Security page, but not the year before.

After getting the info from the agent, I asked about money owed to my daughter for the three months between her 18th birthday and her high school graduation. The paperwork had been submitted in early February but rejected in March because she wasn’t in high school. Except that she WAS/IS. I had to appeal this before May 3.

The agent suggested that the agency hadn’t received the proper form from the high school, which I had put in the mail in February. But they looked on the computer for a few minutes. They said the info was indeed there but that the agency had not processed it for reasons unclear to me. I took the bus, only mildly confident that my daughter would get the payments in a timely manner.

There you go

That was a someone atypical Tuesday. Unrelated, as I wrote to someone, “If you forget things on a daily basis, you should try remembering them weakly.”

Christmas Day in the morning

Handel, Rutter

waiting.christmasIt’s Christmas Day. And it’s Saturday. Obviously, it’s time for some more Christmas music.

Let’s start with the probably obvious choice, the first part of the Messiah by Georg Frederick Handel. This is performed by the Dream Orchestra. It was conducted by Daniel Suk on December 3, 2015. I don’t think I’ve linked to this particular version, but I could be wrong. Sometimes, choirs will end this part with Hallelujah, which actually ends Part II, the Easter section; I’m catholic about doing that.

I’ve been in the chorus when this part has been performed in its entirety at least four times. And I’ve been in plenty of choirs that have sung And The Glory Of The Lord, And He Shall Purify, Glory To God In The Highest, and especially For Unto To Us A Child Is Born a bunch of times. I never tire of them.

Noel

The version of Gloria by John Rutter I picked was new to me. This was performed by the Angeles Chorale at the First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, CA, on December 15, 2012. This piece is harder than it seems, I can tell you from having performed it twice. My favorite Rutter piece is the Requiem, but it doesn’t fit this season.

I think I used this before. The Alma College Choirs sing The Dream Isaiah Saw. It’s by composer Glenn Rudolph. Recorded live at the 2011 Festival of Carols on the campus of Alma College in Alma, Michigan. I love singing this song.

Here’s Aubrey Logan singing O Holy Night. It was released only yesterday. Your basic last-minute shopping present.

Finally, the title tune, performed by David Arkenstone. This was NOT exactly what I was looking for. Nor were all the versions of I Saw Three Ships I came across. But it’s like other Christmas gifts; sometimes they are very nice, even when they are not what you were expecting.

 

Isaiah 40: Handel Messiah

Every valley shall be exalted

HandelOne of the odd results of the COVID lockdown is that I now attend two Bible studies each week. I started going to the Tuesday at 9 a.m. group shortly after I retired over a year ago.

It used to be that I couldn’t attend the Thursday at 7 a.m. group because I had to make sure my daughter got off to school in the morning. But now that she’s attending classes remotely, and the groups are doing the same, I can do both. The Tuesday group reads the chapters from the Old and New Testaments straight through. We’re reading Numbers and (again) Matthew.

The Thursday group reads from something called the lectionary. Basically, in Christianity, it’s a list of Scripture lessons to be read on particular days of the year. The Old Testament reading for December 6 is the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, the first 11 verses. It is an exceedingly familiar text.

Part 1

The first three verses [except the bracketed part] is the text for No. 2 of the Handel Messiah, Comfort ye my people, tenor recit.

1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: [for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.]

3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

No. 3, Every valley shall be exalted, tenor air

4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

No. 4, And the glory of the Lord, chorus

5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

No. 9, O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion, alto air and chorus

9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

No. 20, He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, alto air

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

These are all presented here by the Sixteen Harry Christophers.

Compare the above with the version of Comfort Ye My People by Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Daryl Coley. Then check out Every Valley Shall Be Exalted by Lizz Lee and Chris Willis (with Mike E.) They are from Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration.

Handel: Worthy Is the Lamb

Blessing and honor

Worthy is the LambIf you had asked me earlier this year if I had ever sung Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain I would have said no. This is why I don’t trust my memory.

There’s a gentleman named Don Ingram who played organ. For his 70th birthday, he conducted a 2002 performance of the entire Messiah. I found the program I recently found in MY Messiah score. Doesn’t EVERYONE have a Messiah score? It sits on the shelf right next to my Mozart Requiem score, naturally.

Messiah was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, and first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742. It received “its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.”

The choruses for the first part of the Messiah I’ve sung several times. It’s often performed during Advent, that period just before Christmas. That includes And the Glory of the Lord, And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi, For Unto Us a Child is Born, and Glory to God in the Highest. The first I’ve likely sung the most.

The second section addresses the Lent to Easter period. Behold the Lamb of God, Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs and Carried Our Sorrows, and All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray I’ve performed a few times, but there are other pieces less familiar to me.

But THE most familiar piece in the whole work is in that section. Hallelujah I’ve sung almost every Easter morning for decades.

Part the third

Part 3 is sometimes performed in that period between Easter and Pentecost. Since by Man Came Death I’ve sung a bit. But less so for Thanks Be to God.

If it had not been for the shutdown, I would be singing Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain/Amen tomorrow. I find it inspirational. And the final cadence of the Amen is even emotional. I find lots of final phrases in familiar classical music make me verklempt.

Listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Hallelujah chorus.

Since by Man Came Death.

But Thanks Be to God.

Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain/Amen.

Also:

Handel Messiah Part 3 – Octopus Symphony Chorus.

Handel Messiah, complete – London Philharmonic.

Christmas: the waiting is over

The Dream Isaiah Saw

The Christmas waiting is over. Now you can open those presents. Grumpy Uncle Harry will be going home soon.

Understand that some folks don’t have any presents. There was a nice story in PostSecret recently. An overworked, injured waitress/mom wrote: “I wish Santa Claus was real, so on Christmas, no child would have to go without, and no parent would have to feel like they failed their child.” The bottom line: some folks sent money to a PayPal account.

“Santa Claus is real, and alive and well,” she wrote. “I’m overwhelmed by the love and generosity strangers have shown my family today… I’ve got what I need, so please remove my PayPal account from PostSecret, and I urge anyone who wants to help someone in need to get in touch with their local charities.”

Interestingly, our pastors have shown us in a series of sermons What Can’t Wait, such as repentance. The term, in some traditions, has meant literally turning one’s body in a new direction. Repentance can be rooted in Christian theology, of course. Still, the idea of turning away from things that aren’t working can be a powerful thing. Is that why people come up with New Years’ resolutions at this time of year?

I’m utterly fascinated by the decidedly mixed reaction to the Methodist church’s nativity scene depicts Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as separated and caged family. Like much of good art, it’s designed to make one think.

Music in December

The first three I’ve sung this month.

E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come by Paul Manz, which we do almost every Advent. My sister Leslie posted this version on Facebook.

The Dream Isaiah Saw, which is rooted in this familiar scripture:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Gloria – John Rutter.

I didn’t sing Handel this year, but I have a half dozen times in the past: Handel Messiah (Christmas Portion) – Robert Shaw and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus.

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