Update (3/6/20): I’ve added a video compilation from the Holiday Celebration 2019. (Better late…) Enjoy!
Over Thanksgiving weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting at my home a holiday party with music, magic, poetry, and friends. (See photos here.)
Ivan Rutherford performed songs from various musicals, including “Les Misérables,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “West Side Story.” Ivan played Jean Valjean in “Les Mis” on Broadway for many years and has an amazing voice that ranges from baritone to falsetto. This combined with his remarkable stage presence and acting ability brought each character and scene to life. He received a standing ovation and performed an encore to everyone’s delight. It was marvelous.
Next, Lisa VanDamme, founder and owner of VanDamme Academy and the Read with Me app, recited two poems. First she led us all in reciting with her “A Psalm of Life” by Longfellow, which was great fun and got everyone involved. She then moved and inspired us with her expert reading of an excerpt of “The Prelude” by Wordsworth. If you’ve not yet heard Lisa read poetry, do yourself a favor and check out her work. You can hear her read several poems and discuss her approach to understanding and enjoying poetry in her talk titled “Enrich Your Life with Poetry,” which she delivered at TOS-Con last summer.
Also, throughout the evening, magician Rmax Goodwin, a master at sleight-of-hand and an apparent mind reader, roamed the party introducing himself and performing tricks that seemed to defy natural law. He was so much fun.
In addition to the fabulous entertainment and wonderful food (thanks to my amazing chef, “James”), we all enjoyed the company of fellow life-loving people who know how to celebrate the good for being good. I love such people. And such parties. I think I’ll do more of this kind of thing . . . perhaps for Valentine’s Day.
In the meantime, to all my family, friends, and colleagues, happy holidays!