December 23-27, 2003: My Sister Judy Visits Dallas
December 8-12: A Business Trip to New Jersey
Return to Index for 2003

December 13, 2003
The Christmas Symphony


One of my Christmas traditions, at least for the last five or six years, is to take a group of my friends to the Dallas Symphony Christmas Celebration performance at the Myerson Symphony Center. Usually the group consists of ten people; although which ten people that is in any particular year seems to change. Not only is the evening always an enjoyable one, but it is a way for me to offer a gift to a lot of people at one time, and it certainly cuts down on the angst of shopping for lots of different people.

This year, I had invited Tom Harris and John Evans, Ron Mathis and Jay Enriquez, Barbara, Lynne and her friend Carol, Lou, Fred and myself. Although the picture jumps ahead to the end of the concert, you can see these people in the photo at left- taken just after the concert in the lobby of the Myerson Symphony Center. Going up the back row are Barbara, Lou, Ron, Jay and Fred. Coming down the front row are John, Tom, Lynne, Carol and myself.


Dinner at My House

Part of this Christmas tradition is to invite everyone to gather at my house before the concert. Usually, we just have kind of a cocktail hour for conversation, catching-up (about the only time some of these people see each other are at gatherings Fred and I host) and hors d'oeuvres. But this time, instead of taking everyone out for dinner afterwards, Fred and I have fixed a simple supper for everyone- centered around my Swedish Meatballs. Fred always does a great job of helping me lay in supplies for the event and getting everything ready. The only person who wasn't able to attend dinner was Carol.

Fred and I spent most of the day getting ready for the big event. We shopped for supplies the night before, and today Fred and I have been getting ready for the supper- cooking and cleaning. Just after five-fifteen, we were ready for everyone's arrival at five-thirty, and everyone arrived pretty much on schedule, giving us plenty of time to hang out and catch up. I think everyone enjoyed the meal. I took one movie in the dining room, and you can watch it with the player at left.

I also took a number of photographs during the party, and you can see them by clicking on the thumbnails below:

We were done with dinner a little after seven, and we all left for the Myerson Symphony Center a few minutes after that. Lynne went by herself to pick up Carol.


The Christmas Symphony

Eight of us arrived at the Myerson pretty much together, and Fred gave everyone their tickets. Although we were missing Lynne and Carol, we went ahead and took a group picture by the huge Christmas tree in the lobby before heading up to our seats.

One thing I should say about pictures taken at the Symphony is that photography has to be done surreptitiously, as cameras are not usually allowed. That is why there are no pictures taken during the performance, and why even those taken prior to the performance don't, for the most part, use the flash. (Movies, as it turns out, are much easier to take on the q.t., and one doesn't usually need a flash as the movies operate off their own sensor- more sensitive and adaptable to changing light as the filmmaker pans around.)

But I did take some pictures and movies as we were all making our way to our seats in the Grand Tier. I began with a movie at the first staircase up to the Grand Tier, and you can watch that movie with the player at left.

As it turned out, Barbara and John took the elevator, and so I had to go up to the lobby just outside the doors to the Grand Tier to take a movie of Barbara and John arriving, and you can watch it with the player below:

When the eight of us got to our seats, I made a movie of our group in their seats, and I also took the time to make a movie of the interior of Symphony Hall. You can watch both these movies with the players below:

Our Group in Their Seats

Interior of the Myerson Symphony Center

While waiting for the last arrivals, I also took a picture of the first group in their seats. Shortly before the performance started, Lynne and Carol arrived, Lynne having used the tickets I gave her before she left my house. (I made a movie of their arrival, and you can watch it with the player at left.) Finally, here is a picture of the new arrivals in their seats.

Everyone did arrive on time and got seated well before Christmas Concert began. It is hard to describe the concert itself; it is a mixture of classic choral pieces (such as the Hallelujah Chorus), quasi-religious music (Silent Night, for example), popular holiday standards (such as I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas), medleys and staged pieces. There is always a solo by the organist playing the Lay Family Organ, one of the largest pipe organs in the country. It is usually all quite good, and there is also an appearance by Santa.

I could wish that my little camera could take movies of unlimited length, but 30 seconds is the maximum. So I could not film any complete selection. What I did do, however, is film seven different sections of music and singing, and if you watch at least some of these movies (the last one being the conclusion), I think you will get a good idea of what the Christmas Symphony is like. I encourage you to use the players below to watch as many of these movies as you would like:

At intermission, most of us went downstairs to the balcony above the lobby where we can lean over the rail and watch the people milling about below. It's also a good way to stretch your legs after sitting for an hour. Eventually, we headed back up for the second half of the Christmas Concert, and it was over about ten o'clock. I was able to herd everyone back down to the lobby so I could get a group picture of all of us in front of the Myerson's Christmas tree before we left. Some folks reconvened back at my house for a while. It was a wonderful evening.

December 23-27, 2003: My Sister Judy Visits Dallas
December 8-12: A Business Trip to New Jersey
Return to Index for 2003