Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Waiting for another day . . . .

As I impatiently wait for my passport to be renewed so that I can fly to be by Dad's side, along with Mother and my brothers this weekend, I suddenly happened upon this incredible view of freshly-dusted mountains glistening against the darkness of the lower areas. In my family's days of darkness, these glimmers of light are always welcomed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


J. Robert and Virginia Kreider

It now seems almost dream-like that Dad was this healthy as recently as the approach of the July 4th weekend. Married for 68 years, Dad and Mother have been soul mates in life and faith, and arch rivals at Scrabble.

This once-so-vibrant Dad/college administrator/Mennonite minister/pacifist/golfer and follower-of-the-stock-market will soon be receiving hospice care. His mind can no longer add columns of six-figure numbers simultaneously at a glance, without using an adding machine. Never again will he entertain me as he used to, by arriving at the grocery checkout counter--the prices of the cart's contents added up in his mind, including taxes--searching in his pocket for the exact change. Never again will I enjoy anticipating the clerk's expression once s/he announced the total, only to realize that Dad's outstretched hand held that very same amount of cash.

I will be heading to Goshen soon. Thanks to all my dear friends for your prayers for Dad, Mother and the family. Evan

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vancouver Cantata Singers and Icord cosponsor a fundraiser at the new UBC Blusson Centre

On the 14th of November, 2009, the Vancouver Cantata Singers joined forces with Icord (specializing in spinal cord research) for their first annual cosponsored "Ichord" fundraiser for these two organizations. This was the first major event held in the spectacular atrium of Icord's new Blusson Centre on West 10th Avenue in Vancouver. The centre's atrium is three floors high, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides, and features a wide ramp which winds around this large atrium, slowly ascending to the second and third floor levels. Eric Hannan enjoys having his singers perform from various locations in buildings with good acoustics, so the possibilities offered by this colourful ramp simply had to be tested. By all reports, the singing carried beautifully regardless of where the musicians stood. One work for handbells, humming and whistling was performed with the musicians spread above, all the way around the entire atrium. One enthusiastic patron mused that the effect was "pure magic". Between the three sets of three pieces, Geoff's jazz trio played, Doug (and sons and friend) provided barbershop quartet offerings for small groups of patrons, and the silent auction and raffle draws kept folks busy. You simply have to attend next year's event to appreciate fully the awesome beauty of the atrium and the sound of the choir in this wonderful space.

P.S. If there is an old guy with white hair singing with the choir, the photo was taken by Dr. Chad Bennington with my equipment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wine Club at UBC's Wine Library

Today our Wine Club met again for lunch, as we have for some 30 years, to sample more excellent wines with appropriate food. Although we have enjoyed all of these meetings, this one was special in its own way. Over the decades, Bob has been making scrapbooks for us, including labels from our wines, notes on costs, who provided the wine, who attended, and what we said about each wine. Since nobody really knew what to do with these clearly invaluable resources, he contacted the UBC's Wine Library and Vinothèque (you may click here for more pictures). They were indeed interested in adding our books to their Library, so today's feast celebrated our handing the beautiful scrapbooks over to UBC (sorry, no tax write-off). Hennie kindly arranged for his caterers to provide our lunch in the Wine Library's private underground Tasting Room.

First, we were given a brief tour of a few of the aisles of the Wine Library. The shelving is constructed from redwood, which apparently gives off less ordour than other woods when milled. The Library's temperature and climate are carefully controlled and absolutely ideal for long-term storage.

Hans was heard to mutter, "Why did I have to be a music librarian!" This shows him standing beside his favourite B.C. wines, Burrowing Owl.

Each person contributed a bottle of French wine to the luncheon, though Hans and I jointly purchased a half bottle of German dessert wine (out of this world).

The afternoon's wines:

I seem not to have taken an individual photo of the excellent 1983 Saint-Julien, a Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, which you see on the far left, below. Note that the two history professors emeriti seem to have enjoyed the ordeal.

From the club's inception, our founder has shown true leadership.

A final opportunity to leaf through the scrapbooks, together, and reminisce. Amazingly, we (namely Allen) could sometimes recall not only the wine, but also the event and something special that happened around that time in our lives.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"There's a spot in Indiana where the leafy maple grows . . . ."

During the eight years I lived with my family in Goshen, Indiana (1956-1964), our family's life revolved almost exclusively around the Goshen College campus. This small liberal arts college provided our family's income, church life, social and cultural life. For decades, Dad worked in administration, first as Director of Development and then as Business Manager. By the time he retired, he was the longest serving administrator in the college's history--a record that will likely stand for a few generations.

As we all knew, the college school song (in four-part harmony) opens with the line, "There's a spot in Indiana where the leafy maple grows . . . ." When J. Lawrence Burkholder became President, he asked that the money normally budgeted for inaugural celebrations be spent instead on planting trees across the expanding campus. And thus it was that the already colourfully-treed campus became a spectacular showcase for hard maples. So, during my last visit to Goshen, I managed to find an hour for walking around the campus, enjoying memories of my student years, of Dad's contributions as well as those of my uncle and cousins. By that late Sunday afternoon (the 25th of October), the red leafs had disappeared but some yellow maple leafs remained, providing glimpses of the glorious colours Goshenites had enjoyed a few weeks earlier.

This is the front of the administration building. You can see the windows for Dad's former office.

The windows of the former Music building, reflecting views of the gymnasium and book store.

Can't show the college without including the train that runs right through the heart of the campus, without gate, flashing lights, tunnels or elevated walkways. At least one of my four brothers and one of our children have relished telling of catching illegal rides on these freight trains as they lumbered slowly through the campus. I was chicken.

The glass in the entrance of the administration building reflects images of the fire escape for Kulp Hall where Janice lived as a Freshman.