Friday, April 01, 2005

April 2005 - Mostly Music

Literature written here at the Zamek is so scarce as to be almost
non-existent. We do have the original, and only, copy of "Report from
the Adriatic", by George, age 9. Maybe I'll be noted someday? Some
newspaper, magazine, and TV reporters have visited over the years,
writing articles and doing a couple programs. A visitor did show us a
book with a "old" map of Komensky's/Comenius's travels indicating
that he dwelt here for awhile. Did he live in a cottage in the village? Did
he live in the Zamek? The book was only about 100 years old, though,
& Jan Amos Komensky's dates are 1592-1670. [I guess I needn't
mention that no one remembers this....]

It's possible to find many more musicians in our history, including into
recent years. At the end of the 1800's, Bedrich Smetana, then a young
man, lived in an area zamek and, according to the local historical
society, came here for hunting parties. They said he once gave a
concert at our zamek and that he set "The Bartered Bride" around the
fish pond in Posna, a nearby village. Wouldn't it be fun to interview
people there, asking if this one's or that one's grandmother or
grandfather were the prototype for a character in his opera?

We've liked inviting musicians to help us in our celebrations, but the
first group, about six people, invited themselves on December 24,
1991. They were dressed in folk costumes and gave a little talk saying
they were reviving the ancient Czech custom of caroling from place to
place. We shared "Good King Wenceslaus", greatly pleasing them that
English-speaking people remember him. When they'd left for a
retirement home snow fell furiously for about fifteen minutes covering
the bare ground and sealing the thrill for us of that magical, musical

Weddings are perfect times to invite musicians. There's music for the
wedding ceremony, a folklore group to perform local wedding dances
and songs, and a band for dancing. I'd wanted a bilingual ceremony.
Fr. Max accomplished this at the rehearsal in one sentence: "Now,
Petr", he directed our organist cousin, "your family please sing all the
responses in Czech." And they did. Hymns were in English, some
scripture was in Czech, some in English. Fr. Max did the ceremony in
English with the bridal couple reciting their memorized vows in English.
The congregation chose their own participation language! Our violinist
friend played Bach's "Sheep may Safely Graze". Afterwards the folklore
group was enjoyed and then dancing began with the classical Czech
circle around the newly-married couple.

At another wedding a couple funny or off-beat incidents took place. We
pushed two guitarists, who'd gotten off an airplane three hours before,
to take part in the rehearsal. They survived, barely. The flautist did not
come to the rehearsal, quite to our surprise. He did come to the
wedding, not particularly early, but instead of the flute, he played the
saxophone for the offertory to everyone's astonishment! Between when
I'd talked with him and the wedding, he'd decided that he knew the
French chanson better than he knew the flute music.

During the reception I found a few of the folklore group just hanging out.
"What are you doing?" "Waiting for the others." Long afterwards I
realized that I'd forgotten to send the bus for them! Others picked them
up in several loads, so we did have the show after all.