Icy sheep and robed candles

2013 is almost over! We can’t believe we have been here for over 5 months now. We finally had one night below freezing, with ice on the windshield in the morning. But it has been in the 50’s since then, and most days have been sunny. A crazy thing happened at the temple this past week — a huge flock of sheep came pouring in through the open gates and finally found a patch of lawn that wasn’t chemically treated. Workers at the temple called the police, and found that a flock of 72 sheep had been stolen a week earlier, at quite some distance. Pretty soon the shepherd and his dogs showed up, said the sheep transporter was on its way, and started gathering the sheep. Within 20 minutes they were all gone. The shepherd counted 70, so he lost 2 — either lost or kept by the criminals.

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Orpington district missionaries — Elder Pulman (Wales), Elder Murdock (Alpine, Utah), Elder and Sister Young, Sister Draper (Laverkin, Utah), Sister Finch (England)

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A bus passing the ward chapel, advertising (yes, British spelling) the Book of Mormon musical

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Some of our Maidstone Stake young single adults, Sister Turner (Stake Institute Coordinator), Brother Bleakley (High Councilman over YSA)

Elder Young got us tickets to see his favorite composer/conductor, John Rutter, for his annual Christmas concert. Sister Young was ready to indulge her husband in three hours of choir music — but was pleasantly surpised that the time sped by quickly. Well-known carols, a Finnish lullaby, music by famous composers, and music from fairy tales was joined by audience singing sections. Sister Young is proud to announce that she has sung in Royal Albert Hall in London! The best part was singing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. The words were in our program, and hundreds of people singing meant you could belt it out and not worry too much about being off key or a bit flat on the high A’s!

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The children’s choir from St Alban’s joined the adult choir, entering with red robes and lit candles. They sang very nicely for their own songs and then with the sopranos when everyone sang. After the interim break, there was a quiz sessions, with John Rutter leading the orchestra in a few bars of a familiar movie theme that included a male or female name. He said he had been suggesting names to William and Kate (they named the future king “George”). Then he asked the audience a question about the movie/music/actors and the first to answer correctly received a CD of his music. Another fun part was a concoction he wrote of Christmas carols but the underlying rhythm was from another piece — for example, Jingle Bells done in 2/4 time sounded like a waltz, and the percussion playing William Tell Overture (the Lone Ranger music) was paired with the violins playing “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. It was fantastic! The last special part was in memoriam for Nelson Mandela, and the mezzo soprano soloist did a beautiful rendition of Kumbaya with the orchestra.
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Royal Albert Hall decorated for the Christmas concert. This round building with a dome was constructed on the South Kensington estate of Prince Albert in 1871.

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