Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some thoughts on the Royal Wedding and In The Soil

I had planned to write about In The Soil midweek after attending the preview on Wednesday evening, but with the weather on Thursday and a myriad of computer problems rearing their collectively ugly heads again this week (look at this!  I just discovered my computer was manufactured by Yugo!), my plans were waylayed until now.  So I'll briefly touch on In The Soil here first before getting to yesterday's Royal Wedding.

There is lots to enjoy still with our own Homegrown Arts Festival, which continues until tomorrow, May 1st, at various locations in downtown St. Catharines.  One of the most interesting, and one I briefly touched on last week, is The Living Archive, running from 3 to 7 pm today and tomorrow at 104 St. Paul Street, downtown.  This is a FIXT POINT production for In The Soil, and they invite you to donate a story about St. Catharines; perhaps a memory of something special that happened here you remember or a particular business or building you remember that is no longer there.  You can donate your story in person at 104 St. Paul Street, or you can call the toll-free hotline at 1-877-269-9133, or log on to

Lots of musical entertainment abounds this weekend downtown, and you can access all the information at  One of the highlights tomorrow is the Barley & Hops! Rock n' Roll Brunch sponsored by the Merchant Ale House.  This outdoor brunch with plenty of beer, food and entertainment takes place at the former site of Jerry's Alley at the corner of James and St. Paul Street.  If it rains, and unfortunately it just might, you can repair indoors to the Merchant Ale House.  The brunch runs from about 11 am and is only $ 5 at the door, plus your food and drink. 

Enjoy the spring weekend in Niagara and the wonderful sounds of In The Soil!

Now, I can't let this week pass without a few comments about yesterday's Royal Wedding of William and Kate, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  The early-morning spectacle (our time) was well worth getting up for, although for me I am up at that hour every day anyway, so it was no trouble for me.  The perfect balance of pomp and circumstance was struck, I think, and there was enough accessibility for everyday folks, given the security no doubt on hand, I would imagine people cannot complain too much.

The ceremony itself was rather brief, all things considered; it was all the related pomp and pageantry that took up most of the time on the broadcast, and that's fine.  But you have to admire the service for how beautifully it was handled, with nothing over-the-top.  I found most of the music, typically British church-choir proper, of course, to be particularly enjoyable, especially John Rutter's new piece premiered at the wedding.  It was also nice to see James O'Donnell, the Master of Music at Westminster Abbey, in full flight conducting the choir.  He was in St. Catharines just a couple of months ago and sadly, his wonderful organ recordings are all but gone from the catalogues now.  There are plenty still available of the choirs of both Westminster Cathedral and the Abbey, and most of those are readily available on order through my website at, or emailing me directly at

It you can wait until late May, the offical Royal Wedding album will be released May 23rd by Decca Records, and it will also be readily available through A Web of Fine Music.  I am taking pre-orders now, so don't hesitate to get in touch if you are interested.  The soundtrack will include music from the day, including hymns; pictures of the wedding; wedding vows, blessings, readings, and a special collector's booklet.  Musicians featured on the recording include, of course, James O'Donnell and the Choir of Westminster Abbey, The Chapel Royal Choir; The London Chamber Orchestra and the Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.  Should be a great-sounding package!

As for the dress and the kiss?  Hey, the dress looked fine to me, and since she has to wear it, if she's happy, I'm happy.  Some have complained the kiss didn't look all that romantic, but would you want to go overboard with about 2-billion people watching you?  You'd likely wait until a private moment, too, I would think.

Overall, it was a great day, and time will tell if tourism gets a boost from the big event; I suspect it will, and that is great news.  London has had a tough time of it of late, and I have always enjoyed my visits there, including the Abbey.  I am overdue for a return visit, so we'll see when that happens...

Have a great weekend!

April 30th, 2011.

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