Modern musings by Trishna Buch
Czech out life as a COM chorister
Last month, I was intrigued when information arrived on my desk that College Of The Mainland’s Duck And Cover a cappella group and Mainland Chorale were performing a concert as a fundraiser for the singers’ summer tour of the Czech Republic and Germany.
The reason for my intrigue was that the information was accompanied by the fascinating picture above showing four of the singers plus three gaily attired gentleman who seemed to be guarding a medieval entrance. I just had to find out what it was all about.
It turned out that the four ladies – Joyce Palmer, Mary Mavreus, Gwen Schroeder and Tillie Henson from left in the picture – were about to be admitted to part of the Vatican before a performance there last year. Aha – those gentlemen behind them, then, were members of the papal security force, the Swiss Guard.
How I would have loved to be on that tour! I have always loved to sing, was a member of school choirs between grades five and 10 and, although I do not sing in public any longer, it is still a hobby.
Choir life made me feel as if I was part of a second family. In middle school, we performed at events around the Houston-Galveston region and we always felt a sense of immense pride whenever we were on stage. One favorite memory is when we sang the National Anthem at a Houston Aeros hockey game.
With an eight-day trip to Europe coming up, I am so envious of the COM choir members. They will be on tour from June 14 to June 22 and I imagine that they’re all pretty excited, especially those who have previously performed during tours of Italy and Ireland.
Both choirs are open to any community members who want to develop and improve their vocal skills. As a former chorister, I highly recommend joining either one. Soon you could be part of a performance of music as varied as a Schubert Mass, an upbeat Latin melody and jazz-inspired songs from shows like West Side Story and other Broadway musicals.
Flights? They drive me to distraction
Have you stopped to consider how concerning flying actually is? Think about it. You are sitting in a metal contraption, traveling thousands of miles in the air at breakneck speed, with only an airplane seat and flimsy seatbelt to protect you. You are putting your life in the hands of complete strangers and trusting that they have enough flying experience to transport you safely to your destination.
You are trusting that your flight’s pilot and co-pilot are physically, mentally and emotionally capable of keeping you safe in the skies and – in most cases – you never even meet either of them. In fact, I cannot remember ever meeting my pilot and co-pilot before the flight took off.
But why am I writing about the concerns of flying? It all stems from an incident that took place on Monday last week on a United Airlines flight.
It is my understanding that a man was forcibly removed from a flight because the airline needed to make room for four of its employees. The crew asked for four people to voluntarily leave the plane before takeoff but nobody came forward despite an offer of compensation. At that point, four people were chosen at random to be bumped from the flight but one, the man in question, refused, stating that he was a doctor who needed to attend to patients. We are not sure of the series of events but a video taken at the time shows the man being pulled out of his seat, causing his face to hit an armrest, and then being dragged down the aisle of the plane.
Not surprisingly, the incident sparked massive outrage when the video was broadcast and several people called for a boycott of United. If you would like to learn more about the incident, go online to nytimes.com/2017/04/10/business/united-flight-passenger-dragged.html?_r=1.
This incident gave me good inspiration to write about the hassles of flying. I must admit first. though, that when wanting to travel from one place to another quickly, flying does come in handy.
Indeed, in most cases, the experience is wonderful. The flight attendants for the most part are calm, kind and helpful. On long-haul flights the selection of movies is usually second to none and, despite many people believing otherwise, the food is not that bad.
However, the costs in stress alone surely outweigh the benefits. For one, any flight requires passengers to arrive at the airport two to three hours in advance to take care of check-in and security procedures.
The simplest of these procedures is conducted before domestic flights – international departures are a completely different ballgame. Then, when you are finally able to board your plane, you have to hope that there are no screaming children, rude attendants or disruptive passengers in your cabin.
Finally, once you land, you have to deal with baggage collection and immigration and customs officials in another country. And that’s before you spend another hour or so trying to exit the airport in a taxi, bus or train or with a loved one.
So, yes, flying does have its benefits. And I’m sure many readers thoroughly enjoy flying. But I would rather drive 17 hours to reach my favorite destination – Florida – than fly for two or three hours, plus an extra few hours in airport procedure, to achieve the same goal.
Flag yourself as a waving star
The educators of Hitchcock have raised a red flag to alert us that they need our help giving their campuses the ultimate sign of patriotism – and they have absolutely no intention of following it by the white flag of surrender!
The city’s independent school district wants to replace the US and Texas flags at its school campuses and administration building and also needs flags at its baseball, football and softball fields.
Altogether, eight American and eight Texas flags are needed so, if you have any extra good-condition flags lying around or are willing to buy one and donate it, please contact Kristie Sheppard at the district to make arrangements. You can call at Kristie 409-316-6545 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s make Hitchcock an honorable home for the Stars And Stripes and the Lone Star!