Breathe in a blessing

Featured Image: Yes, it was a rainy week. Got some winterizing tasks done.

Cornwall Cogitation (North America) #5 Saturday 28 October 2017   Midway through a concert by the St. Joseph Valley Camerata last Sunday this thought came to mind: I am breathing in a blessing.

Title of the fall concert was MASS THROUGH THE AGES. (For information on this professional chamber ensemble check out their website:

I had been listening with intense pleasure as the choir and pianist presented the first half. We even disregarded the caution to “Please hold your applause until the end of each set,” after Ellen Kraybill’s soprano solo of “Alleluia” from Exultate Jubilate by Mozart. The number was truly celebratory and superbly sung.

By contrast, the Alleluia by American composer Randall Thompson, commissioned for a 1940 concert, reflected world events of the time, including the fall of France to Nazi Germany. Thompson called his work “. . . A very sad piece. The word “Alleluia” has so many possible interpretations. The music in my particular Alleluia cannot be made to sound joyous. It is a slow, sad piece, and . . . here it is comparable to the Book of Job, where it is written, ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'”

Such was the hefty blessing of the evening, music that soared to the heavens and music that hovered heavily close to the earth.

From the introductory notes: “Works include the popular Alleluia by Thompson, settings of Ubi Caritas by Durfule and Gjeilo and Eric Whitacre’s monumental lament, When David Heard. Our second half features a Mass Through the Ages, which combines various movement of the Latin Mass set by different composers, including Byrd, Mozart, Schubert, and Vaughan Williams.”

It was an outstanding concert, given in the acoustically-acclaimed Sauder Concert Hall at Goshen College. If it seems like I’m exaggerating, let me simply underscore that the concert breathed rich blessing through sound, silence and applause.

Flowers in bloom before frost

A country drive to lunch

We took back roads to lunch at Fisher Lake Inn on Fisher Lake, east of Three Rivers, Michigan. The Langley Covered Bridge (1887) crosses the St Joseph River north of Centerville, Michigan. The colors, contrary to recent naysayers, show the splendor of seasonal change.

Our friend, Oscar Crawford, from Chicago, had come for the Sunday Camerata concert and joined us for our weekly lunch with Marty’s sister, Doris. It was our first visit to Fisher Lake Inn–and we were impressed. The fireplace made the rainy day so much more palatable and the food, too, filled the bill.


Seward Johnson’s 56 life-size sculpture’s have left the county, except for the 25-foot monumental-scale God Bless America. I still think it depicts the farmer’s daughter leaving home. It has been a summer of delight tracking down many of these works of art along Elkhart County’s Heritage Trail.

Some of the sculptures were located in conjunction with the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals (celebrating 10 years). Goodbye, delights of public art, welcome, good times and memories shared.

Breathe in a blessing.


This sign at the entrance to Elkhart Public Library gives one’s imagination reason to go wild.

2 thoughts on “Breathe in a blessing

  1. What would the world be like without music? I think the answer is obvious. Good music stirs the soul. Fall colours are breathtaking and I think of aunt Elvera who always would marvel at the scenery in the fall. Walks in the woods with Milou have been a testament to this.


  2. Thanks, John. I am glad we got to see several Seward Johnson sculptures before they left Elkhart.

    Our highlight this weekend was singing in an interdenominational choir of 60 voices celebrating 500 years of the Protestant Reformation at St. Andrews Catholic Cathedral in downtown Grand Rapids! Lutherans and Catholics are now emphasizing what they have in common rather than what sets them apart.

    Monty & Ginger

    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



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