December 13-15, 2005: A Visit to Ruckman Haus
December 1-9, 2005: A Trip to Florida
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December 10, 2005
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 and Lynne, Lou and his friend Glen, 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. In the back row, left to right, are Lynne, Barbara, Glen, Ron, Tom and John. In the front row, also left to right, are myself, Lou, Jay and Fred.

Part of this Christmas tradition is to invite everyone to gather at my house before the concert for drinks, 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. Fred always does a great job of helping me lay in supplies for the event and getting everything ready. He also does his own gift-giving and plays host to everyone for dinner after the concert is over- a dinner which, this year, everyone attended.


Pre-Concert Cocktail Hour

Getting Ready


Fred and I spent most of the day getting ready for the big event. We shopped for supplies the night before, and today Fred has baked his famous lime squares and some brownies. I've been cutting up vegetables and cleaning. Just after five-thirty, we were ready for everyone's arrival at six. Click on the thumbnails below to view full-size pictures of us all dressed and ready:

I also took a neat movie of Fred showing off all the stuff we'd prepared, and you can watch that movie using the player at left.

The Cocktail Hour


Everybody arrived pretty much on time a bit after six, which gave us over an hour to hang out and catch up. Fred's hors d'oeuvres made a big hit, and I think everyone was having a good time.

Fred took a number of photographs during the party, which explains why he isn't in any of them. To take a look at the full-size pictures, just click on the links below:

Ron Mathis, Jay and I

Lynne and Barbara

Glen, Lou, Jay, Tom and Barbara

Glen, Lou and Tom

Me on the hearth

Ron, Tom, Lynne and John

Barbara, myself and Ron

John, Barbara, myself and Ron

Barbara, myself and Fred

Ron, Lou, Glen and Jay

We started winding up the cocktail hour about 7:15, and we all left for the Myerson Symphony Center a few minutes after that.

The Christmas Symphony Concert


The first thing I should say about the pictures taken at the Symphony is that photography has to be done surreptitiously, as cameras are not usually allowed. That is why there are not but a couple of actual pictures taken in the Symphony Hall itself. 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 get a couple of pictures while we were getting seated. The car I drove arrived first, so here are Jay, Ron and Fred in their seats as the first arrivals, and here is a picture of the orchestra floor as the musicians and chorus members come in and take their positions.

Before the concert began, I took two movies as well. The first was taken just after Fred, Ron, Jay and myself had arrived and gotten seated, and shows the orchestra preparations as well as the four of us. You can view that movie using the left-hand player below. I took another movie shortly after Glen and Lou had arrived, and you can view that movie using the right-hand player below:

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. This year, there were some kids doing one set of songs and a group of singers dressed in nineteenth-century costumes doing others. There is also usually 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.

To give you an idea of what the concert is actually like, I filmed a movie of two or three minutes duration taken towards the end of the first half of the concert. The movie cut off just a minute or so before the end of that first half because I had neglected to put in a fresh battery when the concert started, and movies take a lot of juice. But I hope it will give you an appreciation for the concert. You can view the movie using the movie player at left.

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. We took a number of pictures here, and you can view them by clicking on their thumbnails below:

and Lynne
Lynne and I Tom and Lynne,
Fred and Barbara
and John

Fred and I
and Lynne
Barbara, Lynne
and Santa

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 headed off to Gloria's for Fred's dinner treat. It was a wonderful evening.


December 13-15, 2005: A Visit to Ruckman Haus
December 1-9, 2005: A Trip to Florida
Return to Index for 2005