Ibibio and Beyond

Filed under Ibibio Sound Machine is an mp3 collection that included: Ibibio Sound Machine, Uyai; Lorez Alexandria: The Ultimate Collection; Anita Ward: Ring My Bell; Laura Mvula: The Dreaming Room (Special Edition); King: We Are King. Work that spans generations & genres. On random it makes for great driving music – though one has to deal with varying sound levels.

Starting with Lorez Alexandria: The Ultimate Collection – over 50 tracks mostly from her late 50’s & 60’s recordings. She is similar to Carmen McRae. Her voice is appealing, the material is standards with a torch leaning. I love her work on songs like You Stepped Out of A Dream, Good Morning Heartache. Underrated. 

Anita Ward is disco but not a disco diva. Her one big hit Ring My Bell brings back good memories for me. The rest of the songs on this lp are okay, romantic fodder nicely produced but not as catchy. Download her hit. More modern is King – a fine harmony group with dance underpinnings & some gospel thrown in. Easy on the ears with songs about relationships, & some social commentary. Amazing harmonies, ethereal then earthy. 

Which is also true of Laura Mvula’s The Dreaming Room (Special Edition). Part Kate Bush, Enya mixed with Beyonce sass: emotionally inviting, sweet and comforting – excellent production – though I find the vocal a little too buried in the mix – you have to listen harder 🙂 I found Mvula thanks to a Capturing Fire poet raving about this album.

Ibibio Sound Machine combines1980s afrobeat and 90s drum-and-bass into a fresh 2018 world music sound. I have their 1st self title release and Uyai. The horns remind me of Osibisa & also Aster Aweke. The music bubbles with rubbery electronica, Singer Eno Williams is sweet and emotional when needed. I read a rave review in Entrainment Weekly & downloaded the lps & am happy I did.

The Polishing of the Magi

The Armature Theatre Guild has been forced to cancel this year’s presentation of “The Polishing of the Magi” – I understand this will come as a disappointment to many of you – especially those of you whose children had been fortunate enough to be chosen to play the parts of the shepherds, lambs, sacrifices, dervishes and of course, the ultra blessed couple themselves.

Rehearsals had been going better than ever, according to Hank Grebly. It was the first time someone other than a member of the McGinch clan had been given the opportunity to direct the production and Hank was making the most of this opportunity.

But alas, as things often do, it all went to the apple press in a hand cart when it was clear that the McGinch’s weren’t willing to allow things to progress smoothly. Not that this comes as much of a surprise either, mind you. We all pay for our indulgence of this family and its anti-social actions.

But not to give up all hope, as it seems Hank and some of the cast will be presenting a childless, clown version of the same story. It may not have the same impact, but the show must go on. We will be spared the often bitter competition over whose baby gets to play the pivotal role of the fulcrum of all religions. That alone almost makes up for not having a full scale production, doesn’t it?

On a lighter note the Visitor’s Mall will be hosting their annual Midnight Madness sale, for those us who have time and need for yet more shopping. As the Mall says ‘Shopping is in the true spirit of the season, and if we don’t spend, we just aren’t pious.’

I pray their prayers are answered.

Please note that the Left-Handicraft Fair slated for the Pumpkin County Area has been cancelled. It was to be a fund raiser for the production of the “Polishing of the Magi” & seeing as that has been cancelled, there seemed little reason to have the craft fair.

Those who had planned to pick up some of Sylvia’s Jams and Moose Tarts can find a display of them at Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe and at Meg’s Cafe. Get there early as these delicious treats don’t last long.

Sylvia has introduced two new jams this year that I, for one, can’t wait to try. The Orange & Maple Ashes with Nutmage and Quince with Ginger & Bark. I have no idea what bark she has used,  but I’m sure it will be a savoury delight to perk up those you who are disappointed by the cancellation of the “Polishing of the Magi.

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January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Marvellous? Mahler

I have a box set of Gustav Mahler’s The Symphonies on 12 cds that I received as a Christmas present in 2007. After several listenings I remain indifferent to the sweep of his music. His life deserves a ten part bio-series though. After the Ken Russel’s over-the-top Mahler no one has been brave enough to take a serious look.

As a composer he falls between Beethoven and Schoenberg. The symphonies are sometimes tone poems and other time monumental complex pieces that include choirs, soloists & ponderous emotional intent. He also composed sets of lieder that are equally as ponderous. I have a recording of them as well.

The fact that I don’t really get Mahler, say the way I love Beethoven or Shostakovich, is a sign that my musical tastes aren’t sensitive enough. Much like Wagner I find listening to them more a ‘duty’ that a pleasure. I’ve been drawn into conversations about composers & have been made to feel that my partialities are a sign of a lack of intellect. Such is life. I’d rather be common that elite – which isn’t to forget that liking classical music already implies a certain elitism.

What else did he write? Good question. He incorporated some of his early work into his symphonies and then those original manuscripts are ‘lost.’ There is a partial paint quartet, the handful of lieder & that’s it. Maybe, like some Mozart, Bach & Vivaldi, those lost manuscripts will be discovered as kitchen shelf paper.

If you are unfamiliar with Mahler a good start is Symphony #B: “Symphony of a Thousand” that features baritones, sopranos etc plus a choir or two. Pump up the volume & left it pummel you 🙂

The Grinding

Festive readers, I am pleased to bring you a wrap up of the week-end’s events.  The highlight of which has to be the annual Lighting of the Trees. Held in several locations in the hills about Crab Apple Corners the horizon is illuminated by the first official rite of the season.

I choose to attend the ceremony at Hijil’s Farm – they had obtained two of the remaining stand of ancient red wood sycamores and had them flown in for the occasion. Trees so large they needed two helicopters to carry each of them.

The first flame was applied to them by our local Miss Pig Driver, Tanis-Lotus Flatly. The trees did us the great honour of being slow to ignite, but once they had been engulfed in flames the look of joy in the faces of the children was worth the wait.

Once these two trees were in flames, burning torches were taken to the sites where other trees were ready for the ceremony. The Great Maple at McCracken’s of Daw Hill was the next to be torched and quickly one could see similar fires all across the country side. Hijil’s Farm perched atop Green Bluffs gave us a splendid view of the various tributes to the season.

Once the first two trees had been burnt to cinders our parish Vicar Father Frank did The Grinding and was quickly joined by the other men who were of age, to participate in this ritual.

I was thrilled to be offered by my one and only Hank Grebly the fruits of his grinding. A jar filled with these delicate ashes and moose fat can sit proudly on any mantle piece. There will be enough here to guarantee me a year of fertility and good weather. After all, it only takes a pinch a day, tossed into the wind to catch the eye of the spirits for protection.

The carolling at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral was once again a thrill, especially now that the bells have almost been tuned. The climax of each verse is a ringing of these bells that echoes though our happy valley and shimmers through the fragrant smoke produced by the Lighting of the Trees.

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January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Ian and Sylvia

I have more Ian & Sylvia than one might expect. I am a big fan of two of their mid-period recordings: Nashville and Full Circle but am sort of indifferent to their other work. There was a moment when they were to be Canada’s Sonny & Cher but Ian Tyson & Sylvia Fricker were musicians first & never became pop personalities.

They started as a sweet tradition folk duo on albums such as Four Strong Winds 64; Early Morning Rain 65. These consist of songs like Nancy Whisky, The Greenwood Sidie – given good but standard performances elevated by their harmonies. Their success inspired many folk groups in Cape Breton. On Lovin’ Sound 67 – they step into a slightly more pop sound & some original material – even some Dylan covers. They were stepping out of the narrow folk scene.

On Nashville 67 & Full Circle 68 they come into their own as writers & vocalists. I can hear some of these songs without having to listen to them 🙂 Ian’s voice is vulnerable, passionate and emotional on songs like Ballad of the Ugly Man, The Renegade, I Learned From Leah. Sylvia is amazing on Women’s World, London Life.

 

These two albums, to me, are underrated & forgotten masterpieces. The harmonies are sometimes slightly off-kilter in the best way. The work is labelled country-rock ,like the Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo, but they are not as slick, smooth or commercial. If you aren’t familiar with them, Four Strong Winds is a good intro to their early traditional work. Nashville is stunning. Full Circle is nearly as good & so either of them are worth hearing & owning.

The Blessing of Presents

The other event on the week-end that I had the great pleasure in attending was the Blessing of Presents at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. That Blessing combined with the Lighting of the Trees is a sure sign that the festive season has broken loose upon us full force.

The most reverend Vicar Father Frank started the sacrament with a sermon on the Exulting Power of Wrap – he explained how the wrap of the gift is often more important than the gift it self, and that no matter how lowly a gift may be, it can be elevated by the wrapping.

There’s a lesson I wish I could bring into my own life – on those days when I, yes even I, your willing reporter, feels like the proverbial bed of broken pigs, she finds it hard to even raise her head from the pillow let alone wrap herself in a joyful raiment that would disguise the inner emotionlessness and despair she feels.

The Vicar went on to say that we shouldn’t allow the wrap to keep us from the gift, and that he finds many are so enamoured of that wrap they never get to the true treasure inside. He sort of lost me there, but that didn’t diminish my pleasure at the vast array of beautiful gifts that were brought up, one at a time to receive the sacramental dash of pine needles and moose ashes.

Like the gifts brought on that first Noel, we were brought into the constant and endless circle of presents that was started on that wondrous night.

The ribbon of history reached out and twined its tinselled ends around the hearts & necks of each us, as the children’s stuttering choir of St. Sufferer’s sang several holiday favourites. “Oh Burning Tree,” “The Ribbon and the Manger,”  “The Tinsel and the Camel” – to name just a few.

After the ceremony I was privileged to take a ride through the snowy wood with Hank Grebly in the parade of midnight runners. Skiers, families in sleds and even some on elephants were seen tracking through the wooded glens around our small town. Lanterns aloft and bearing gifts for neighbours. The true savour of the season was felt.

By the time I returned home I was too exhausted to even remove my boots (thanks Hank) and slept as soundly as I have ever slept. Disjointed dreams of a clown’s childhood danced through my head till I woke in the morning. The windows were covered in reddish swirls of frost and the fresh jar of ashes on my mantle sweetened my dreams.

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January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Janis Ian

I have a fairly extensive Janis Ian collection as mp3’s one includes the early work: Society’s Child; A Song For All the Seasons of Your Mind; The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink; Who Really Cares? The other includes her later works: Stars; Between The Lines; Aftertones; Night Rains. After her initial hit ‘Society’s Child’ written when she was 14! She disappeared to resurface decades later with the stunning Stars. 

Why did she fade so abruptly? Part of the answer comes from Wikipedia: “At the age of 16, Ian met comedian Bill Cosby backstage at a Smothers Brothers show where she was promoting Society’s Child. Since she was underage, she was accompanied by a chaperone while touring. After her set, Ian had been sleeping with her head on her chaperone’s lap (an older female family friend). According to Ian in a 2015 interview, she was told by her then manager that Cosby had interpreted their interaction as “lesbian” and as a result “had made it his business” to warn other television shows that Ian wasn’t “suitable family entertainment” and “shouldn’t be on television” because of her sexuality, thus attempting to blacklist her.” 

Re-read that & let it sink in. This story sums up the plight of many female singer/songwriters who did not roll over and play fem.

Her early work is at times folksy, at times jazzy but she never stepped into the traditional pop female mold. Her writing covered social issues, romantic ups & downs & self-discovery. J. Eddy Fink is an amazing album with expansive jazz arrangements & tender romantic observations. It didn’t fit the commercial categories like Laura Nyro; nor the hippy category like Joni Mitchell.


She changed labels for her return with Stars. These later albums are more deeply emotional, some social commentary & sweet unfulfilled romantic longing. They music is more what I call chamber pop – elegant with jazz & semi-classical touches. Sweet harmonies & understated performances. In fact some of it is a little depressing. On Night Rains she works with, of all people, Giorgio Moroder! 

Ian is a survivor who came out, got married, started her own record label for full creative control. She may have been slowed down by that ‘blacklist’ but remains an amazing writer. If you are unfamiliar I’d recommend The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink as good starting point. Aftertones is emotionally discomforting – though any of these are excellent lps.

The Wings Of St. Martinia

Last night Hank Grebly did me the great honour & pleasure of taking me to the Maple Valley Rialto Cinema – it is a shame that this fine building is now only opened on weekends for our film going pleasures.

I can remember a time when it would be busy seven days a week, offering us the finest in Hollywood films and fresh roasted peaches or tasty caramel bark corn.

Every time I enter the Rialto I am taken back to a distant era – the mirror balls in the ceiling reflect the many spot lights around the floor. The zig-zag carpeting & lame seat coverings make me long for simpler times.

The film Hank took me to was “The Wings Of St. Martinia.” Many of you are familiar with the local tales of St. Martinia & the font at St. Sufferer’s. Those are her blood spattered wings holding the baptismal tub in the centre of the nave. Not her actual wings, but representations. Not many angels would have had five sets of wings.

Like the Rialto this film is also a relic of another time. Recently discovered in the vaults at College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers, we were first treated to a lecture by Rudgar Quartz, the Professor of Cinema Studies there, who gave the history of both the film, St, Martinia and the Rialto itself. A very educational evening, leavened by the delightful film itself.

The story is a simple one of suffering and repentance through suffering. Martinia, born out of wed-lock to the daughter of silver smith and troupe of travelling carnival workers, had to face the disgrace of her family and neighbours all through her life.

She saved her fellow orphans from the rain of comets in 1879 by waking each and every child, and leading them to safety. Sadly she wasn’t able to get back to rescue any of her teachers. She comforted the children, as they heard the screams of the staff, who had been trapped in locked rooms in the upper quarters of the orphanage.

In leading the children through the swamps to safety she also rescued Button, a Labrador retriever and her recent litter of puppies. This is why the suckling Labrador retriever has become the representation for St Martinia. When they say, she of the many teats, they are referring to Button and not to St Martinia.

A fact that I was not aware of either.

The movie follows her travails in the garment trade, being abducted by pirates and finally her mission to Mongolia where she single handedly brought the word of good to those unhappy and dirty mountain people. Her attempts to show them the joys of washing brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If you have a chance to, get in to see this delightful movie. Tell them Dolly sent you, and you may get an extra dash of moose mustard on your red hots. 

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Sneak Peek December 2018

A quick look back before the peak – my TOpoet.ca following jumped to 290, a number I hoped to hit by the end of 2018 – maybe I’ll get to 300 bay the end of 2019. Lots of new followers from India. WordPress stats give one lots of breakdowns but they can’t tell me what countries my followers are from 😦 Twitter is up to 205 thanks to some book cover designers following me 🙂 & Tumblr has increased to 214 – it would be much more but I block any hetero-porn sites that follow me.

For December I’ll be changing my blog routine with Monday’s to include a Dolly Dinty piece; Tuesday’s will feature the rewrite of an old piece: Winter Whisky; Wednesday’s I’ll be talking about past seasonal poetry; Thursday’s I’ll be talking about Christmas decorations that have personal memories for me; Friday’s as ever will be what ever 🙂 Speaking of Coal Dusters 65500 words have been posted with another 57000 to go. I’ll be getting back to it in the new year.

Other than Christmas Day entertaining I have no big plans for December. No shows or poetry readings – I say no shows but there will be some shopping to deal with plus the joyful noise of people in transit. As it gets colder & with night falling sooner & sooner I’m less inclined than ever to go out evenings. If it takes me longer to get dressed & get somewhere than I’m going to spend there I’d rather stay home. Plus most venues aren’t designed for that much outer wear, who wants to put their shoulder bag into a puddle on a snow-lake barroom floor.

Wounds of the Saints

 Gentle Reader let me tell you that your friendly reporter has certainly had quite a week-end to share with you. As you may remember in my column on Friday, I said I would be checking out the Family Fun Fair at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. I did this and also found time to go to the pet show at The Pig Driver’s Arena by Buttontown Airport and the Bridal Show at Pester’s Mall.

Yes, a very busy Saturday. Sunday was as bad, what with the opening of the new font at St. Sufferer’s, a baby shower for the latest in the McGinch clan and finally a fund raising dinner in Crab Apple Corners for the Maple Valley Fire Department.

So, where to begin? If I hadn’t had my trusty map with me I surely would have gotten lost at the very start. St. Sufferer’s Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Pumpkin County but also the most difficult to find. It’s spires can be seen for miles in all directions but every turn of the road seemed to put it at my back and not in front of me.

I hope the next function they hold is to find funds to put up more accurate signage. The Fun Fair was fun for the entire family. Bobbing for pears, a banana tossing contest and even some feet painting for the children. It was a carefree time that made all feel closer to their Creator’s pain. I was deeply touched by the drawings of the Sunday School classes that depicted the various wounds of the Saints.

I was reluctant to leave there for the Pet Show. Fortunately finding The Pig Driver’s Arena is much easier.

The first thing I was confronted with though, was the Hijil’s Farm elephants. Not the sort of thing one expects at a pet show and who amongst us can judge them? They did do some rather charming tricks – rolling over to play dead and fetching the tree – but I think a more simple approach would be better. The prize ribbon went, as it has the last several years, to the McCracken’s of Daw Hill with their trained herding sparrows.

So, I was pretty tuckered by the time I got to the Bridal Show. I did get there & walked down that aisle longing for the time I would have time to actually walk down the aisle of St. Sufferer’s for my sacred wedding sacrifice. Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe had a new shipment of fine pearl crushed velvet lace that would make any bride look like a dark queen.

One of these days Hank Grebly, one of these days. You – me & the aisle.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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“Frisky The Snowman”

After a frustratingly delayed start up, Lizzie Violet co-hosted with Romeo Satin the December Cabaret year end show & it was a full-house fundraiser for The Street Store! The night was warehouse of Christmas crackers going off for three hours with brief stops for raffles.

The started with a line up of open stagers including great music from Cate McKim (a blessing we call count) & Supertash – her love’s gonna get ya. First feature was Teige Reid channelling Rory MacFadden: a rowdy drunken Scot whose poetic rant roved from ‘shagging the widow at the wake’ to ‘decomposing from the inside out because Jesus Christ didn’t believe in replaceable parts.’ His energy and timing was perfect as he kept the packed house laughing and stomping. Loved his definitions: politics: ‘poly’ means many, ‘tics’ are blooding sucking pests.

bugs

east end wild life

Next up was NorthStar with a 4 song set (hey, perfect length for a live ep). Shikha and Nelson are a June Carter & Johnny Cash for this decade. The songs were fresh takes on love, loss – ready to become classics. ‘I’m struggling every day to put out the fire’ ‘we put ourselves together piece by piece.’ Sweet emotive and performed with conviction. NorthStar is: Nelson Sobral (Melting Pot & The Celebration Army) and Shikha Sehgal (Shikha) Get their single https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/troubadour-single/id942739611

scales tipping the scales

After a brief break Dottie Dangerfield did a room warming traditional striptease tribute to Gypsy Rose Lee, even doing her own singing to ‘Let Me Entertain You.’ Red hair, red goves and an animal print gown she gave us traditional with a hot flare. Unfortunately for the audience I was up next with some of my less revealing Dolly Dinty pieces. Which allowed the audience to cool down & catch their breath for the final feature.

net

the net effect

Rando Bando did a raunchy, seasonal and energetic set. Rando looking supper club dapper in tux and bow tie, his backup singers play too big a role to be called backup singers: Bianca Boom Boom & Sassy Rae – were in sparkling festive gowns that appeared to be sprayed on. Frosty became Frisky the Snowman to the Ventures take on the tune – ‘he’ll give you free snow cone from his pants’ ‘talk about blowing snow.’ They were the perfect end to a great night.

For event pics see https://www.facebook.com/events/743240899058830/ & https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.403073426518171&type=3&l=2181a24ea7

sample

one of the Dolly Dinty pieces is here: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Z5

one of the Dolly Dinty pieces I didn’t read at Noir:

Arts und Krafts

Kind readers one thing that I neglected to mention in my wee report yesterday was the Arts und Krafts display at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral’s Fun Fair. Like many of you I have seen my share of knitted booties for rifle stocks and candle holders made out of elephant dung but there were some very fine pieces from the near by College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers of Palmixalitato County.

I am well aware of the rivalry that has been going on between the students in that county and our own but remember we did trounce them the last three years in the Provincial Open Court Peach Pit Curling Play Off. So we can afford to allow them to excel at something and excel they did at the Fun Fair.

There were many charming crystallized bones pieces from the Anatomy of Design classes there. I was particularly taken by the crystallized moose bone reproductions of the Departments of the Cross that one Leslie Ann Marie Betty McDellon had created.

I can’t imagine what sort of skill it takes to do such fine work but I can certainty respect the work that it took.

Also many were charmed by the spiderwood furniture Gregh O’Treple has wrought there. A sturdy rocking chair with a fine webbed seat and back was very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. He hopes to follow in the family footsteps and may be opening his own furniture and restraints shoppe right here in Crab Apple Corners. He will surely be missed in Palmixalitato County. But their mystery is always our gain.

Another feature of the Fun Fair that cannot be neglected was the food pavilion. Over 20,000 were seated at one time for a fine feeding of Trish Creamly’s delicious sprung bark toffee pie. Trish you have out done yourself this year. Just save that recipe for my wedding reception. I know if you keep your hands on the crust you’ll keep them off my man – just kidding folks.

The children at the Fun Fair were also treated to a production by the local Armature Theatre Guild. They performed tragic scenes from various plays. The beheading of John the Baptist brought the crowd to their feet and kudos must go to Hank Grebly who did a fine job in the title role of that piece.

snowman

feeling frisky?

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