As the song from The Sound of Music says, schnitzel with noodles, crisp apple strudels and warm woolen mittens are some of my favorite things. This weekend, I reveled in the arrival of two more of my favorite things this time of year — concerts of Christmas carols and the Christmas food display at Weiland’s Gourmet Market.
This afternoon, Handbells Columbus presented a terrific concert at First Community Church. They were introduced by Ron Jenkins, director of the Columbus Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus, who also serves as the church’s minister of music and liturgy.
My last visit to this church was in May 1987, when I spent my CSG May Program helping children in the First Community Preschool develop an appreciation for books and prepare to learn how to read. When I walked in to the church today, I remembered how much I enjoyed being surrounded by its lovely architecture and welcoming environment.
I knew I was in for a special treat when I read the first selection the group would perform — “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s rendition of this hymn so many times has planted this inspiring tune and its meaningful words firmly in my head. It’s just as moving when played by these talented bell-ringers.
From there, the group progressed through “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming,” the “Sussex Carol,” “Christmas Meditation,” “Ding Dong! Merrily on High,” and Masters in This Hall.” After a short break, the ringers skillfully rang their way through “Angel Tidings,” “I Wonder as I Wander,” the “West Indies Carol,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Stille Nacht.” They concluded their concert with “March from the Nutcracker Suite.” For an encore, they performed “Russian Dance from the Nutcracker Suite,” better known in our home as the theme song of a 1980s Friskies commercial that brought out the best in a cat puppet who wore crystal chandelier prisms for earrings.
Listening to this concert was as enjoyable as watching these ringers execute these selections with skill and style. The concentration on all the ringers’ faces revealed how hard and demanding bell-ringing is. These two ringers in particular exuded such joy in what they were doing that it was obvious they delight in Christmas music as much as I do!
Handbells Columbus will perform with Mr. Jenkins and the Columbus Symphony and Chorus, the Columbus Children’s Choir and BalletMet during this year’s Holiday Pops concert. The concert will take place November 30-December 2 at the Ohio Theatre. My goodness, would I love to attend that!
The Christmas season is also under way at Weiland’s Gourmet Market in Clintonville. From now until the new year, it’s a treat to stop by Weiland’s on the way home from work and admire my favorite selection of European holiday treats. When I’m homesick for German Christmas markets, Dresden Stollen, roasted chestnuts, Niederegger marzipan and Bahlsen Lebkuchen are on hand. When I’m thinking about Carl Larsson and Edvard Grieg’s homelands, I can admire Scandinavian Julmust Christmas soda, Swedish peppermint sticks, and Glögg. My Anglophilia is fed by violet-flavored candies and blackcurrant Humbugs; Twining’s Christmas tea; mincemeat, brandy butter, Christmas plum puddings and Little Scarlet preserves from Tiptree; and commemorative trains and lunchboxes filled with Walkers shortbread, like this one, which I’m hoping Santa will bring. Cannoli and Panettone remind me that I need to return to Italy to see what it’s like there at Christmastime. And Weiland’s carries the same Jules Destrooper commemorative tin of biscuits that we brought home from Belgium, perfect with a cup of The Republic of Tea’s limited-edition Pumpkin Spice tea.