A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


The Jeweler, The Soprano, The Baritone & The Jamaican Olympic Bob Sled Team
Sunday, February 03, 2008

There we were (yesterday afternoon) inside Christ Church Cathedral. Upon entering it Rebecca had said, "While this may be Vancouver's nicest church I think the old churches in Mexico are nicer." We sat down to listen to a performance of Bruce Ruddell's Oratorio, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii with text by Bill Reid. Rebecca understood it had all to do with the story behind Reid's sculpture at Vancouver International Airport and the image on our $20 bills. I was not going to make it more complex to point out that the first Spirit of Haida Gwaii was esconced in Arthur Erickson's Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.

Out of the blue, she asked me, "Who is your favourite bob sled team to win the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver? Mine is the Jamaican team." Then she added, "The Swiss team is number 2." At this point the handsome gentleman sitting next to Rebecca interjected, "The Swiss invented the game. I am Swiss." Rebecca looked in his direction and asked him, "Do you speak French? Do you speak German? Do you speak Italian?" The man answered positively to the first two and then said, "I don't speak Italian, I speak Romantsch."

The whole thing had begun when we sat down and I noticed Toni Cavelti and his wife. "I want you to meet "the jeweler," I had told Rebecca."

We had a specially nice time as we were sitting behind timpani player Carol Pelkner. Ruddell's Oratorio had many juicy timpani parts and we delighted in Pelkner's performance. The music had some overtones of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Karl Jenkins Palladio. This meant that it was accessible not only to my ears but to Rebecca. She has seen baroque singers before so the excellent performance by bariton Clarence Logan and soprano Melody Mercredi was something she could enjoy while taking in Mercredi's beautiful red silk, bias-cut dress (by Dorothy Grant) with a drop shoulder and a slit to show off Mercredi's legs. When the performance was over we went into the back to talk to Logan and Mercredi. When I asked what was next, Mercredi surprised us by telling us she was going to be performing in the Vancouver Opera's performance of Beethoven's Fidelio startint on March 28. Immediately Rebecca asked, "When was Beethoven born?" As we left we ran into violinist Cam Wilson who told us, "I love playing here. The acoustics are wonderful."What are acoustics," Rebecca asked and we left the church as I explained to her the concept.

I called up Bruce Stewart this morning to ask him why Rebecca thinks so much about that Jamaican bob sled team. Rebecca's father told me they have a copy of the 1993 Cool Runnings with John Candy which is about the Jamaican bob sled team's exploits leading to the Calgary Winter Olympics. He further explained the other Jamaican connection of the film's title. It seems singer Bob Marley had that expression in the lyrics to his Blackman Redemption.

My new Epson scanner, the V700 has a brand new feature I was unaware of. I tried to scan a $20 to show the Bill Reid's image of The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii but a flag went up that steered me to Counterfeit Not!


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