Now that Thanksgiving is over and we are all stuffed with turkey, the first Sunday of Advent is upon us and it is time to be preparing for the coming Christmas season (Doug Carroll, are you reading this?).
The Christmas season brings with it many traditions of all kinds related to family, religion, and community. When our daughters were growing up, one of our yearly traditions was the photograph taken of the girls as they came down the stairs on Christmas morning to find what Santa had brought. The unexpected result of this tradition was that, since we were never diligent about dating our pictures (something no one worries about now that all pictures are digital), as time has passed we are never sure in what year the pictures were taken.
Many Christians have a religious tradition of attending the same Christmas service at the same church each year. Local churches have popular candlelight Christmas Eve services and children's services. Among the community traditions here in Vincennes is the lighting of the tree at the old Gimbel Corner, as well as later on, the Watermelon Drop on New Year's Eve.
Between these two events is another one that for local music lovers has become a favorite tradition over the last 15 years or so, a harp recital presented by Philadelphia resident and Vincennes native Maryanne Meyer under the sponsorship of the Knox County Public Library. Maryanne, who has performed frequently with both The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony, arranges a program around a theme and provides insights into the music she plays as well as the life of a classical musician.
This year the recital will take place on Dec. 29 at 3 p.m. in the Vincennes Fortnightly Clubhouse, 421 N. Sixth St. The theme will be “Preludes and Impromptus” and will include works from the Baroque Era to those by Ravel and Gershwin.
For those who may have forgotten just what kind of compositions these are, “The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: defines “preludes” as “short pieces exploring particular moods, musical figures or technical problems.” The same source refers to “impromptu” as “a composition for solo instrument … the nature of which may occasionally suggest improvisation, though the name probably derives from the casual way the inspiration for such a piece came to the composer.”
Come hear for yourself on the Sunday between Christmas and the New Year's what the various composers were inspired to write in these pieces.