24 November 2008

The Fifth Annual St. Cecilia's Arts Festival

Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.
~ Albert Camus

As some of my readers may know, I host a little soiree in honor of St. Cecilia every November on the Saturday closest to her feast day. This year, the little soiree grew to 144 registered guests and I partnered with Miss Erin Mac to bring it to St. Mary’s Lyceum in Old Towne Alexandria. The evening went beautifully with only a few slight hitches and I think that the audience enjoyed themselves immensely.

The program was diverse and entertaining: Sullivan and Sarah DeCorla-Souza read their original works and Lauren Proshek read a poem by John Donne and another by Tolkien. Two skits were performed: The Hollowmen’s Train Noir skit (performed by Sullivan and J. DeLo) and Monty Python’s The Argument Clinic (the latter performed by Sullivan and yours truly). All these were interspersed by some incredible musical talent, including a piano solo by up and coming Mexican pianist Sergio Neverez, a folk-rock guitar solo by local artist Acoustic Stew, soothing Gregorian chant by J. Kascir and Anthony Smitha, a rollicking improvisational piece by the Very Slightly Off quartet, and a couple of solos by yours truly.

The highlight of the evening was a performance by the Off the String cello quartet who played everything from Brahms to Metallica and Apocalyptica. They also played a piece called Revival which was composed by a member of the group, Mr. Loren Westbrook-Fritts. More than one guest commented on their performance and we are looking forward to their debut album. More to come on that!

All of this was emceed with great wit by Christendom’s own Dr. William H. Marshner, to whom I am also indebted.

And the food? Well, my dears, you know I cannot write about an event I host without mentioning the edibles! ;-) I confess I went slightly off the deep end this year and lost a bit of what little sanity I have in the process. Ten, yes, ten different hors d'oeuvres were served, at about 140 pieces each ~ give or take. Stuffed Mushrooms, Sausage Bites, Cheese Rounds, Pecan-Rosemary Shortbread, Raspberry-White Chocolate Trifle, Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie & Chocolate Turtle Cake (courtesy Mrs. Leslie K.), Curried Chicken in Won Ton Wrappers, Rum Chocolate Truffles, Grand Marnier White Chocolate Truffles, Red Pepper Roll Ups, Pecan and Ham Tea Sandwiches, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates, Miniature Pumpkin Pies (courtesy Sullivan), Miniature Quiches, Hummus and Homemade Pita Triangles, Artichoke-Parmesan Crostini, and gallons of Cranberry Punch, Hot Mead Toddy and wine. Most of these recipes can be found on either Epicurious or MyRecipes.

Now you can see why I am still recovering on Monday! Of course, I would be lying if I wiped my brow and moaned about how difficult it all was. In truth, it was hard work. But I had a group of friends who willingly and lovingly jumped in and saved me on the battlefield of the kitchen. And what a troupe they were! I am in the process of thanking each one of the individually. I owe them so much ~ this event would not have gone so smoothly if not for them.

Be sure to mark 21 November 2009 for The Sixth Annual St. Cecilia’s Arts Festival! Seats are already being reserved!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
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