Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Feast for eyes, ears, nose and throat =)

Our traditional family gathering was held in a new house this year. There are three core families who spend the day together at one of three homes. This time, we went to the new home of the sister-in-law of one of my sister's. There were a couple dozen of us, plus a dog, two cats and the new kitten (who was a big hit with everyone).

All the ladies are good cooks, so we had lots of good food. All the children and most of the adults are good musicians, so after we ate, we had good music. In between and all around, we had good conversation, as all of us are good talkers.

These famlies have known each other for ever and ever, going back to the college years of the oldest. All the middle agers (myself among them) went to college together as well, which is why the families remain connected and always gather together at Thanksgiving.

Music brings us together, too, as the oldest is also the director of the orchestra that all the middle-agers and collegiates have played with. My sister's husband and his sister are founding members of that orchestra, the internationally renown New England Youth Ensemble. It was only natural, then, that we indulged ourselves in music for awhile after we finished our food.

After the kids played, we prevailed upon the director to play. Now, this woman is a true musical genius, and really is known all over the world. She debuted in the Capetown, South Aftica City Hall when she was just 11 years old, and has been a prodigious force in the music world ever since. She is a pianist, a violinist, and a composer as well. Her oratorio debuted in Carnegie Hall a few years ago to rave reviews. It is an amazing privilege to know her, never mind perform with her. Her great gift to musical kids has been the travel. Oh, the places we've gone with her: China and the Far East, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, Europe, Poland, Russia, Scandanavia, Brazil, Rwanda, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands...quite literally all over the world.

Anyway, we begged, and she sat down and played for us for about 20 minutes. We were mesmerized. She played Bach, Mozart, and then a composition of her own. All of which served to remind me of yet other blessings in my life: music and travel, and the person who made it possible for me to combine both.

Photos: the pie table, one of the table settings (there were three), Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse playing her own composition, the mesmerized audience of young and old alike.


Ruth said...

Reminds me of specials celebrations as a child. We had good food, and we always came prepared to recite something or play an instrument. The TV has displaced that kind of interaction for the most past. Looks like you had a wonderful day!

Inland Empire Girl said...

This sounds like a fine gathering of family. Great pictures also.