Monday, December 09, 2013

Stuff like this will get me into a church

'Tis the season for pageants, recitals and presentations--and Enid has its talent, to be sure.  There are a couple of churches in town that have remarkable organs, and the First United Methodist Church is certainly one of them.  Of course you'd expect the beginning of the presentation to be divinely solemn--to wit:

(Sorry, folks--while you're hearing the Christmas carol "Away in a Manger" on the organ, I hear "Flow Gently Sweet Afton".)

...and then this happens...

 According to the programme, the title of this reading is "The Wicked Fairy at the Manger."  Things go back to solemn right up to intermission, and for the piece following intermission.  At one point I was pleased to hear them play a carol I learned first in French--"Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella"--And then...

...and then the Blogger video uploader shot craps.  Stand by whilst I try to fix that...okay, here goes...

This church does this kind of stuff every year, and every year I'm a sucker for it.  This was a reprise, but it was read differently.  Christianne Chase's readings are better some years than others, and this one was one of the better ones.  She's kinda like how Kyle Dillingham always plays "Orange Blossom Special" but it's never the same way twice.

The organ then made the rafters ring with a rendition of "Masters in this Hall" and as usual, it's billed as the last piece, after which there's a standing ovation, and that's always followed by the Encore.  Always.  But she never reads that one the same way twice either...however...last year's was better than this year's, I gotta say.  It's still a treat, as is the organ's grand finale...

Kyle Dillingham always comes back to Enid to perform at the First Assembly of God church (...which, as it happens, has a mission in Peru... Kyle's originally from Enid but now lives in OKC), but he usually packs the place like a sardine can. I usually catch his performances elsewhere, like at the OK Mozart event in Bartlesville, where he appeared two different years. Worth going to go see in any case...but my readers in Taiwan already know that.  He was over there on behalf of the U.S. State Department as a cultural ambassador with other musicians.

Oh yeah--and he doesn't mind if I make videos of him and post 'em where everybody can see  'em either.  It's called "free publicity"--and the kind that a performer gets from a fan is always better than what's produced by a professional critic.  Ya can't go viral if ya don't share.

Off on a tangent regarding protestantized Latinos, the program Religion & Ethics was reporting that Latinos in the U.S. were converting from Catholicism to protestantism at a fair sized clip.  Must be why Pope Francis is taking a hard look at Catholic traditions these days.  Evangelicals are making serious inroads into Latin territory, not just in the U.S. but also south of the border.

Alright already--as to why I set foot in any church dates back to my agnostic years when I figured any Christian church shouldn't mind that a fellow Christian walked in, and I'd walk into any ole church that struck my fancy, and found that there are some distinctive cultural things to be discovered that way...and I'm nothing if I'm not about discovering stuff.  One of my earliest discoveries of that sort was that the Church of Christ has a fettish about disallowing any musical instrument in its services, and it's because of that they've developed some of the most awesome a capella productions. Basically, I'll go where ever I damn well please.

Which brings me to the next religious event I'm going to attend, but it's pagan religion.  It's a solstice party and it will have Celtic overtones.  I'm really looking forward to that one, and I'll hastily point out that I am still an honorary Irishman because of a proper Guinness baptism performed by a Catholic Irish priest of Dublin, who gets a complimentary case of Guinness Dark every St. Patrick's Day.  The only way to be more Irish than that is to be born there. Hello, Padre Dave Rice!

There are a number of churches in Enid that aren't ashamed to show that they worship mammon as much as anything/anybody else they worship, and Oakwood Christian is one of 'em.  Emmanuel Baptist is the clear leader in this category, but I went to Oakwood this time around to watch something they're presenting all week.  Here's the setup:

Here's the introduction and launch...

So far so good, with a hint of an attack on Santa.  Suspicion confirmed in the next vid in which you're probably going to get a Tom Hanks flashback whiplash...

Well, it's true that *somebody* derailed Santa's Polar Express.  Hmmmm.
First, the nation of Ireland (which Ireland, Catholic or Protestant Northern?)...then to the nation of England...then to the nation of...wut??

I know that the first announcement didn't make it into this clip, but the second one did. The first was (the nation of) Africa and the second was (the nation of) Tennessee--Nashville, specifically...and thus is revealed the God they actually worship, as evidenced by the $$$ sunk into the stage, lighting, and sound system. Screw the poor.

When it was over, I scrutinized the audience and found it to be 100% caucasian.  Upon exit, I gave the lobby a good looking-over and a guy I believe was the pastor asked if I needed assistance with something.  I asked him, "where are all the black folk?"  He asked me what did I mean by that--was I inquiring about a family named Black?

Seriously.  He seriously said that.  Yes, folks, this is Enid, Oklahoma.  What the hell am I doing here?  Actually, it's times like these when I ask myself that same question. Seriously.

UPDATE Dec. 10: The above pic and the below vid are from the Enid High School Winter Choir Concert, about which I plan to post more.  For the time being, though, the vid is another case of a Christmas song identified as "African" without stating which country in Africa or what that language is.  The various choirs were more colorful than that Oakwood church bunch, and so I hasten to point out that staying in Enid isn't difficult when you consider who all is actually in this town.  We have Marshalese, we have Chinese, we have Koreans, we have a wide variety of Hispanics...I've said before that Earth is the most drop-dead gorgeous planet in the universe, and it's not just the geography I'm talking about.  Its people are wonderfully colorful.

 Below--what the real Enid looks like (I apologize in advance for all the jockying for a good view; this was in Oakwood Mall...going to be torn down...and it also has typical mall acoustics):

Speaking of Africa, and not about the Republic of South Africa for a change, I heard back via snail mail from PAMBE Ghana's Global Market.  I was in OKC the same time they had a grand opening, and although it was small and hard to find at first, it was quite a little shop. A tad pricey, but certified Fair Trade.  The mailer I got said that they were open until December 21st, so if you're in the area, by all means check it out.6516 N. Ole St. quite off the beaten path.  Open noon to 6 pm Tuesdays thru Saturdays.  Lovely people run the place, too.

What I personally know about Ghana is what a scourge River Blindness has been over the decades there.  If you guessed that I had a few friends from there, you'd be correct.  Also Ivory Coast, Cameroon (French half, of course), Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Sierra Leone...besides R.S.A. and Rhodesia.  Well, what was Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

Note to China: What I said about the drain on resources that oppressive imperial ambitions bring on a nation, and not just in the China Sea, applies everywhere you're making the attempt on the African continent.  You apparently are unaware of the fine points which involved the European colonial aspects of that continent, so learn this: there is a church in Enid which boasted of its mission in Uganda.  Its mission: to build schools, wells, and irrigation while trying for converts.  Guess what--that's what missionaries have been doing there for the past 100 years and they haven't improved Uganda's lot one bit during that whole time--if you believe what this church is claiming today.  That's the road you're on. Wise up.

BULLETIN: In an attempt to access my Google + account just now, a link to An Hour of Code caught my eye, mainly because although I've been a coder for ages, there are always new developments. If you're a person who takes some pride in being otherwise multilingual and have a better-than-basic grasp of  the mechanics of grammar and syntax, you too can handle coding.  Hey--some kids are better at coding than they are at language, after all.  Give it a shot.

YouTube introduction

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