This year's venue was the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert, a wonderful place for such events. Don't get me wrong, All Saints Cathedral downtown is nice too, but being able to enjoy a pint of Yellowhead Lager while I waited for the others to arrive was absolutely delightful. The acoustics leave a bit to be desired, but the space and decor more than made up for it,and all 500 attendees had room to roam once additional tables had been found.
The biggest highlight for me, by far, was watching Fenya perform a duet as part of the Chamber Choir performance, a wonderful cover of "One Voice" by the Wailin' Jennies (surely one of the best names for a folk group ever). Fenya had told me about this the night before, but wanted to keep it a surprise for Audrey, which she certainly did. Unfortunately, I couldn't see Audrey's face when she realized, having already clambered down to the floor in front of the singers so I could try to record it on my iPad, the only device available at the time. My apologies for the crappy sound, between the tiny mic and my death grip on that part of the tablet, it's a wonder you can hear anything.
Now, because our house already looks like a flea market and the walls are pretty much spoken for. I had no intention of bidding on any sort of hung art when I arrived. Once I saw the painting that the Chamber Choir had produced collaboratively though, my resolve dissipated more quickly than the sugar in an Old Fashioned. It's the one on the left in the flyer below.
I have nowhere near the insight, experience or vocabulary needed to be an art critic, but know what I like, and this bright, kaleidoscopic image of trees and sunlight resonated heavily with me the moment I laid eyes on it. I've never had a huge appreciation of pointillism, but for a piece that allows two dozen excellent young people to fully participate in, it made perfect sense.
Each choir, from the 4-5 year-old Kindersingers to the adults of Belle Canto had produced pieces for the live auction under the direction of an experienced artist, and they were all wonderful. The abstract circles of the Children's Choir had a vintage grooviness about them, and the Kindersinger's handprint collage was adorable, but something about those trees made me feel like I was on my back in a meadow, looking straight up...and Fenya had also taken part in making it. I quickly conferred with Audrey, and decided we would tak ea shot at it, if the bidding stayed in our range.
You can never tell what items might go for at these sorts of events; I've felt embarassed watching undervalued items sold off under the disappointed eyes of the artist, and I've watched what I would consider middling items fetch top dollar due to 'auction fever'. One of the earlier items at the live auction was a seaside village painted by the Belles, and we were gratified to see it go for $1400. Well, all of us except Tara, who really liked itand hoped there would be little interest so she might have a shot; the bidding started around $400 and shot up in hundred dollar increments very quickly.
The Chamber Trees started much lower, and in the range we had agreed on, so I threw in a bid and held my breath. All the other parents were here as well, surely my single bid wouldn't be sufficient?
But it was.
When we got it home and unpackaged it, Fenya was able to point out the orangey-yellow section she had worked on. The next challenge will be finding a place to hang all 9 square feet of it, but it is a nice problem to have, really.
Glory had opted to go to a sleepover instead of coming to Music & Masterpieces, but in walking around within her friend, had come across a gorgeous sunset she was determined to capture on her iPod.
There are so many things you want to pass along to your children in order to help them become healthy, happy, productive adults, and it can be hard to cover them all to the degree that might be needed. At least I can rest assured that my daughters clearly have an understanding and appreciation of beauty, both the kind that we make, and the sort we are given.