We’re back from the Midwest.6

The rehearsal was a great pleasure. It was held in a hall bearing our last name. This probably happens to you a lot if you have a name like “Johnson,” but for me it was unusual enough to be interesting. #2 daughter wasn’t happy about the fact because the room is very live — the kind where forte passages massage all the bones of the inner ear. Harder to sing in, but nice to listen in.

But that fact, along with the fact that the choir watches the conductor, means that the music started and stopped like a box being opened and closed. A box which let out great swirls of color and gorgeous scents, if your imagination has trouble with a box of music. In a normal rehearsal such as this one, the choir sings a bit and the conductor stops them and they work on it and sing a bit more, but toward the end they either ran out of time or were singing so beautifully that the director let them work almost clear through, and it was as good as a concert.

They were doing a couple of favorite pieces of mine (Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and Faure’s Cantique de Jean 6Racine) and also some lovely things that were new to me. They sang an Agnus Dei during which I thought that I had to get a recording, it was so gorgeous, only to find that it is such a new piece that it hasn’t been recorded yet.

We then had brunch at a wonderful cafe, where they had this funny sign on the door:

And then we went on to the museum. I’ve been to this museum a number of times, but I never tire of it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen nearly all of it yet.

Usually we start at the major exhibit, whatever that might be at the time, but this time we began with the new building, which houses minimalist and conceptual art.

There were a few pieces in that gallery that I quite liked, and one in particular that I loved, but I have to admit that I am one of those who stands in front of the solid black canvas trying to look as though I appreciate it, when I actually don’t.

6 I was better off in the sculpture garden.

But we also visited a lot of the smaller galleries that we usually miss, and it was interesting to pass so quickly through time and space.

We saw sculpture and beading from ancient Benin, and then French Impressionist paintings and then armor and effigies from Medieval Europe, and then rooms of furniture from Georgian England, and then Art Deco silver, and there were rooms in which I felt completely at home, and rooms in which I felt completely foreign.

We drove back over to #2 daughter’s place. Along the way she pointed at things as we zipped past them: her favorite jazz club, her boyfriend’s favorite music store, her favorite martini bar.

I don’t live in a town in which we have the option of having a favorite martini bar.

I was looking at people sometimes when we were going around town, just because I have that habit. Not in curiosity or people watching, but because where I live, you often see people you know.6

#1 daughter did the same, and thought she saw people she knew, and then realized they were strangers. I know what she means. I think it’s because we have our minds set to scan for people we know. Especially since #1 daughter and I both have that limited visual  capacity that makes it easy to fail to recognize people, it’s important to be watching in order to avoid the solecism of walking right past a friend.

#2 daughter scoffed at us a little, assuring us that her town is so big that she never just runs into people she knows.

Moments later, she ran into a friend, right there in the gallery full of 18th century Dutch paintings.