Sunday, December 14, 2008

St. John's West & Centennial Park

Today was full of great music, great people, and great food!

We got up early to drive in to Toronto to play the morning service at St. John's West. At this church, we always play all the music for the service - hymns, anthem, liturgical music, etc. - but today was their pageant, which meant even more music than usual. Fifteen songs to be exact, not including a prelude and a postlude. The pageant was wonderful - kids and adults in costume, with lots of carols scattered throughout for the congregation to sing. I made the mistake of turning around to watch the Nativity scene while we all sang 'Silent Night.' I suddenly had a lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes, neither of which is conducive to leading a song. Yes, I'm a sucker for all things Christmas!

St. John's is always a cool and creative place to be, and everyone got really involved in the service. The congregation was invited to come to church in costume, and several people did. One woman even brought her little Jack Russell terrier in a lamb costume. So cute!

After the service, we had a bit of time in between events, so we drove downtown for lunch. We have a list of favourite restaurants we're working through this month. We found our way to Spring Rolls on Front St. where we stuffed ourselves with Tom Yum soup and Pad Thai. So good! We didn't have time to wander through St. Lawrence Market, but all the vendors were outside with their tables overflowing with Christmas gifts, antiques, and other treasures.

Late afternoon, Monika joined us for the Centennial Park Flower Show. This is like our Allan Gardens gig (and run by the same people), except it has a bit of a different feeling. Centennial is smaller and the whole event is much more intimate. We sing in the greenhouses, which are lit by candlelight and filled with incredible displays of poinsettias, handcrafted cedar garlands, and exotic plants. The people are very relaxed, and many of them remember us from year to year. And again, in between sets, we stuffed ourselves with cider and cookies. I feel some festive exercising coming on...

We knew today was going to be long and a lot of work, but it was just wonderful all around. That said, we're looking forward to a few days off. We've done 7 performances in the past 5 days! And, as is often the case, they were all different kinds of gigs requiring lots of different kinds of preparation and rehearsal. It's much more relaxed for the next little while. Looking forward to spending time with loved ones, seeing more of Toronto, and working through that restaurant list...

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