2011-12-08 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

BY JIM MUNRO BY JIM MUNRO While attending the Jamestown Community Chorus’ presentation of “Favorite Choruses from Handel’s Messiah with Festival Orchestra and English Carols” on Sunday at the rec center, you will have to make a decision whether or not to stand up during the “Hallelujah” chorus.

Chorus director B.J. Whitehouse explains: “Why do people stand up for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus? It’s obvious why people stand for ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ or if the president were to enter the room, or (possibly at the risk of being sexist) a woman were to enter the room. But why the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus? Well, some folks do and some folks don’t. Traditionalists will point to the March 1743 premiere of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in London.

“The most common theory is that King George II (yes, he was our king at the time) stood up for the piece, which occurs about two-thirds of the way through the three-hour-long oratorio. And, if the king stands, everybody stands. However, there isn’t any contemporaneous evidence that George stood up. It was 37 years later that a piece of hearsay stated that: ‘The King (who happened to be present), started up, and remained standing…and hence it became the fashion.’ “According to a story in the Boston Globe, people did start standing up for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus fairly early on, though. In fact, they seemed to stand up for other numbers as well. The churchman George Harris attended a 1750 performance of ‘Messiah,’ with Handel conducting, and recorded some people watching in his diary: ‘The Duchess of Portland, the Bishops of Oxford, Gloucester, St David’s, & St Asaph there. At some of the choruses the company stood up.’ A 1756 account records a ‘Messiah’ crowd standing for the ‘grand choruses’ – again note the plural. By this time, audiences in Britain were also customarily standing for the ‘Dead March’ in Handel’s 1739 oratorio ‘Saul.’”

So, when the Jamestown Community Chorus sings the “Hallelujah” chorus as part of its Dec. 11 concert that begins at 3 p.m., the question is not whether or not to stand up, but is it appropriate to sing along? Call 423-1574 or click on jamestownri.com/chorus for the answer.

Tickets are available at Jamestown Hardware, The Secret Garden and Baker’s Pharmacy. They are $18 general admission and $15 for seniors, students and children. Tickets may also be reserved in advance through the chorus’ website or by calling the above number. There will be only one performance so get your tickets soon. This has all the makings of a SRO performance.

Sing on!


On Tuesday, Dec. 13, it will be the Jamestown Community Band’s turn with its annual holiday concert beginning at 7 p.m. at the Portuguese American Citizens Club.

JCB conductor Bethany Clarke will lead the band in a program which will include the little known but soon to be classic “Santa Does Dixie,” as well as “March of the Toys,” “We Three Kings,” Mel Torme’s “Christmas Song,” Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Christmas a la Big Band,” “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and others.

Band member and publicist Bill Knapp said, “So, let it snow. Rudolph and Frosty are standing by. Rumor has it that with the faintest of applause the band will send everyone home humming Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride.’ It’s Christmas! It’s Hanukkah! The ancients are happy! There are reindeer in the sky!”

The band will wear their bright red bowties. For everyone else the dress is optional.

All are welcome. The concert and refreshments are free. Donations are always welcome. Following the concert the band takes a break until January when rehearsals begin again on Tuesday evenings at 7 at the PAC. New members are always welcome.

Play on!



Stars fading but I linger on, dear,

Still craving your kiss,

I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear,

Just saying this.


Looking for that perfect and unusual stocking stuffer? Check out the Jewelry by Charlotte at the Cathryn Jamieson Salon. Charlotte is a 12-year-old from Middletown who makes bead jewelry that she sells for only $7. She buys her beads locally at The Purple Door. She gives a portion of her proceeds to the Potter League for Animals because she loves her dog Joey so much.


Emma Lazzara, 8, would like Dorothy’s ruby slippers and an American Girl Doll for Christmas. Her younger brother Sam, 5, would like an American Boy Doll, and her older brother Frankie, 11, an iTouch.


Skip Kingsley of Wickford, Elizabeth Mancini and Cheryl Fernstrom were in with last week’s poser. It’s from “Listen to the Music” by the Doobie Brothers.


Enough of the federal and state aid and grants. The taxpayers are broke.


This from Robin Yabroudy: “Last Sunday my dog ripped her toenail while running at Fort Getty.

It was a nasty and painful slice and I thought I was going to have to spend the rest of the day in the vet ER – not to mention half my Christmas money. I decided to stop by Island Animal for advice. Within minutes the nice guy who works there grabbed needed supplies off the shelves and ran out to the car to help me. Within 10 minutes and only $7 later my problem was solved. He truly saved the day! Thank you very, very much! Island Animal is more then just a pet store. It is a neighbor – one I really appreciate.”



Christmas is for everyone who chooses to observe it. If the name offends some, tough!


Barbara Morinho writes, “The ornamental grass at the corner of High Street and Walcott Avenue has gotten much too tall. It is impossible for drivers traveling east on High Street to see traffic coming from the south. Could this grass be cut please? Also, has anyone considered the feasibility of erecting wind turbines on Dutch Island?”


A Critter Glitter Holiday Sale is now going on through Sunday at the Potter League for Animals from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features sequin fashion costume jewelry sold at 50 to 80 percent off retail price. The jewelry includes bracelets, necklaces, pins and earrings.

On Saturday and Sunday at the league in the Behavior & Training Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. artisans will showcase a unique array of merchandise for gift giving.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


We drove down to our daughter’s home in Farmington, Conn., for Thanksgiving. She was without power for weeks after the Halloween blizzard blew through. Each house on her street now has piles of cut down tree branches in front. They were overhanging utility wires and were cut down to avoid future blackouts. This deterrent to power losses is perhaps something the island should pursue.


Saturday is Human Rights Day and the beginning of Human Rights Week.

Saturday’s full moon is the Cold Moon, Long Night Moon and Moon Before Yule.


Be true!


Call in your stuff to 829-2760 or 423-0383, or email me at jtnwal rus@hotmail.com. Thank you.

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