Only in my world…

…could a weekend that consisted of a ferry ride to an exclusive exotic plant nursery that only opens one day a year, mild food poisoning, a concert featuring one of the most difficult and rewarding pieces by an American composer in the twentieth century, and a leisurely Sunday evening of grilling, with WiFi on the side, be considered normal.

Welcome to my world.

I rehearsed until I could hardly stand straight on Friday for my Saturday concert with the Cascadian Chorale. As I’ve written before, the Copland is a humdinger and continued to be so this weekend. However, on Friday I came to appreciate the quality of our guest group, a high school chorus from Inglemoor High on the North Shore. More on them in a moment.

Saturday morning I awoke with a vague sense of promise which was fulfilled in a way I didn’t expect, as Lisa mentioned there was an exclusive nursery that only opened for two days every year. Would I mind going? As I prepared to say “Sure,” she said, “And it’s near Kingston.” Kingston? I wondered. “You get there by ferry,” she said.

Gulp. I looked at my watch. 11 am. I had to be in tux and at the church for our concert by 6. Probably could make it.

We drove to Seattle and hopped the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and motored up across the pass onto the Kitsap Peninsula, where we followed the long string of cars to Heronswood Nursery. Wow. Plants from all over the world in woodland garden settings. After agonizing deliberation, Lisa picked a few flowering grasses and a Daphne seedling and we took the Kingston/Edmonds ferry home. Somewhere in all of this I was famished and had a McDonalds chicken sandwich, and began to feel awfully ill about halfway across on the ferry ride back. (Go on, McDonalds, sue me like you did Italian “slow food” critic Edoardo Raspelli who called your hamburgers “cardboard.” I’d be proud to be in that company.) I spent the time between getting home and donning my tux alternately prostrate and frantically dashing to the restroom. But don my tux I did, once I was convinced that my legs would bear my weight, and after grabbing a handful of crackers drove to the concert.

And was blown away by the choir from Inglemoor, who bettered most college choirs that I’ve seen. They were so amazingly good, singing complex modern and polyphonic pieces from memory and pitch perfect, that they inspired us to an astonishing performance of the Copland. Considering that my first performance of In the Beginning went into the muddy acoustic of the Washington National Cathedral, my perspective may be a bit tainted. But we gave the piece a better performance than I’ve ever heard, live or in recordings. The Rachmaninoff “Bogoroditse Devo” and even the Fauré Requiem suffered, but only by comparison; both were great performances. And I managed to stay on my feet the whole time. A victory.

And the grilling with WiFi? All I can say is, you can take the network away from the boy, but you can’t take the boy away from the network…at least, not when it’s wireless. Or something.