Saturday, March 4, 2017

Advent and Christmas 2016

For Advent and Christmas 2016, I was extremely fortunate to take a break from things and see tons of friends. The morning after exams ended and university concerts were finished here at Sewanee, I drove to New Orleans for the start of my 33-day break. Honestly I cannot remember when I've had such a lengthy break. As a university professor, we got about two weeks and most of that was filled with concerts and their corresponding rehearsals so it felt like a lot less!
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This year, I arrived on a Saturday evening and then had three events on Sunday! I attended concerts instead of singing in them and this was a bit odd, but really nice to just sit and relax while watching friends do the work :-)
I filled my time with reading, seeing friends, and music. I spent lots of time at St. Paul's Episcopal, my sending parish. I helped with the festival of Nine Lessons & Carols and while it was wonderful, it felt a bit odd. I can see congregation growth already. It felt odd not to have my own space there any more, and to be out all day and over there or in coffee shops and libraries between meet-ups, but of course everyone was super welcoming and it still felt like home.
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NOLA Winter Sky by Caroline Carson
I am lucky and grateful to my friends Ryan (for letting me stay in his apt. with my own room!) and Paul & Jacqueline (for taking care of my dear Bluebell kitty). Having peace of mind was the best gift I could ask for! Christmas Eve was my traditional three-service evening. First, I sang at St. Paul's (Lakeview), then at Christ Church Cathedral (Uptown), and finally at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church (downtown). I'd say the most awkward part of it all was sitting in Metairie Starbucks between services and just feeling lonely. That in itself is nothing new. I'd never have been able to make it downtown in time for dinner somewhere and I needed a break anyway so I just stayed on one side of town for a bit.
Christmas Day, after a nice morning service at St. Paul's, I picked up some lunch and 
It was heaven! Then, I went to my friends Louise & T's house where they were having family over. The next day the three of us left to fly to Jerusalem to join a choral performance tour which I'll write about in the next post :-) Overall, it was a FANTASTIC few weeks being back home and among friends who are family!!!! It was such a relief and a joy!
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