Sunday, March 27, 2011

Revisiting America

Stopped so abruptly the last time I blogged.  I believe I did finish with all of our Thursday activities.
Began Friday with a visit to The Charleston Museum, which was America's first museum.This museum is different in that it showcases a variety of artifacts that tell the story of Lowcountry cultural and natural history.  Not your usual museum that focuses on paintings.  We viewed everything from ancient fossils and an enormous whale skeleton to elegant costumes and Civil War artifacts.  There was a wonderful "Kids" hands-on section and we hit it lucky again to be involved in some school groups, but at least these were supervised and were being questioned on what they saw and read.
Walked across to a Tea cafe for a soup and sandwich meal, then made our way to the Calhoun Mansion for a tour.
I do have a book about the mansion, it will be available when I come home, because I don't know that I can describe what we saw.  I've already given some details, and I'm sure you could view it on the internet.  It was a showcase, and the grounds were equally as beautiful.  Parking is always what we dread because it is so limited, but this time we were able to park right in front of the house.  When possible, we let everyone know we had had an interview with the previous owner, Gedney Howe,III.
We had made reservations for dinner(supper) at FIG (food is good) for 5:30, before the concert we were attending, so rather than drive home the 20 miles, rest for an hour, then drive back, we found a parking space, and just stayed in town. 
The restaurant, FIG,owned by the James Beard award winner Chef Mike Lata focuses on fresh products from local owners.  The restaurant has been featured in such magazines as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Food Network, and The New York Times.  Our waitress asked the chef if he would speak to us for few minutes, so we were able to meet him and talk about the restaurant.  This was our best meal so far, or have I said that before!?
Our concert, The Sound of Charleston, is produced by Charleston Musical Heritage Productions and are weekly presentations through the first six months of the year.  There are variations to the schedule.
All the concerts feature a diverse musical look at the heritage of the state. 
The program began with musicians from the St. Cecelia Society, a string quartet with songs by Fuchs, Pachelbel and Haydn, Civil War camp songs like, "Wait for the Wagon" "Goober Peas", "Oh Come,   Angel Band", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", with guitar, banjo, and concertina, selections from! "Porgy and Bess", like "Summertime", "I Love You Porgy", sung by soprano, D'Jaris Whipper-Lewis, then an amazing piano duet of " Rhapsody in Blue"
played by a 16 year old piano virtuoso, Micah McLaurin and a college junior, Irwin Jiang.  Absolutely wonderful!  My favorite!
What an approiate ending to the concert to sing "Amazing Grace", written while the composer attended the very church we were in.
The church, The Circular Congregational Church was organized in 1681, became the Independant Church of Charles Towne, built on Meeting Street, named after the Meeting House built to house this independent congregation.  In 1806, this unique circular building, by Robert Mills, became known as the Circular Church.  In 1861 the building was destroyed by fire. The fourth and present building, on the same site, integrated brick from the 1886 earthquake into the present structure.  A beautiful sanctuary.
Now, Sunday morning, church at First Baptist of Charleston.  I will not describe any of the details of the building because I'm sure you've heard enough, but I will say it was very old, beautiful, having recently completed renovations and refurbishing.  A K-12 school is part of the church program.
I was a little disappointed.  I was ready for music like none I had heard, but there was a visiting choir, a Negro group, with guitar.  Okay, but not what I wanted to hear.  But the organ prelude and postlude and the wonderful sermon made up for any disappointment.  It was the friendliest church we've been in, and again, mostly older couples, but children were in another service so I didn't really get a true picture of the congregation.  It's amazing how the Lord uses such a variety of ways to reach people, different buildings, programs, services, music, people in so many different roles.  It works!
We begin our last week in Charleston.  We'll pack on Wednesday, leave Thursday, and be in Blowing Rock North Carolina on Friday, April 1.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lou,
    I went online and viewed some of the vistas of Calhoun Mansion. Quite the place! :) I enjoyed seeing some of what you saw...there are 60 pictures on that site that showed the gardens and the inside. I was in awe of the picture frames--so ornate.
    Today was Jenny and Seth's shower at Betty Jean's was very well attended...lots of beautiful gifts. Her china pattern was really different but very lovely(uniquely colored birds) as she chose it so that she could match it up with her everyday Fiesta Ware. Your travels have been so interesting to me...thanks for blogging...feel like I'm right there with you! Love, Eileen