Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Update, Saturday night fever: The drums beat, the tribes dance, the final procession to Parroquia de San Antonio is a stunner

I thought the day began at 5:30 a.m. with a massively loud fusillade of fireworks from the Parroquia de San Antonio grounds, about a block away from my home in Colonia San Antonio. That’s what sent me upright in my bed and nearly over the side.

The explosions kept up every 10 minutes or so for the next couple of hours.

My friend Bob Cooksey, who lives directly across the street from the church, says the celebration began an hour earlier with a 30-piece marching band heading out from the church grounds and down the street in front of his home.

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Ireland, Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, Uncategorized, Writings

Sunday morning and Ennis slowly stirs awake

Dublin is alive and kicking by the time we arrive

Dublin toward dusk while crossing the River Liffey, heading for the Temple Bar district on a quiet Sunday.

Our man Mick picks us up at Corofin Country Lodge on Sunday morning and drops us off in the center of Ennis, as promised. Thirty euros all.

Mick looks like Jason “The Transporter” Statham. All efficiency and business. The man in black. The car in black.  

Unlike Statham, Mick likes to speak. He’s quite a conversationalist. I think. Mick speaks in a thick accent that may have been a mix of Gaelic and English. His words came in phrases, in short rapid bursts like an assault rifle.

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Ireland, Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, Rants and raves, Uncategorized, Writings

Day 5: Carran to Corofin: “Turn right at the castle ruins.”

Near the end of The Green Road, a garden of earthly delights on the way to Corofin. (Photo by Rose Alcantara)

It is the last day of The Burren Way and we are walking from Carran to Corofin through a rocky wonderland in a gentle misty rain.

You know it is going to be an interesting day when our B&B host Julianne’s directions include the phrase, “Turn right at the castle ruins.” 

She also urges us to detour from the route to visit the triple ringfort of Cathair Chomáin, built on the edge of a cliff around the year 800 A.D. It was excavated in 1934 and 2003 but still holds much mystery about its origins. 

Over coffee and toast – Julianne offers us a full Irish breakfast (part of the B&B fare) but I am thinking of the consequences of a full stomach and the six-plus hours of walking ahead – we learn some of the history of her cottage which has been in and out of her family since the 1800s. It is decorated in the comfy Irish style – family photos cover every wall and horizontal surface. Books cover what is left.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Give us this day, our daily mariachis

Just kidding. I couldn’t possibly post a video of mariachis performing every day.

Or could I?

No. An occasional mariachi video is quite enough.

I like these guys who can be seen and heard in Centro, San Miguel de Allende, on many evenings. They have style and elegance, multi-generational, and the white suits stand out in a park filled with tourists in T-shirts and too-tight shorts.

At any rate, enjoy.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Midnight serenade in Colonia San Antonio

The sound penetrated a deep sleep and scattered dreams. A car radio? The cantina on the corner? A passing boom box?

No, no, and no.

It was the real deal. At midnight a mariachi band was poised in a half-circle in front of our neighbor’s door serenading her in song here in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende.

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photography, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

I love a parade … and a circus, and a rodeo, and a county fair, and a horse race … but mostly a parade

So sue me. I’m a sucker for a good parade.

Well, these days, I’ll take any parade — or a procession. You know, the kind we used to bump into on what felt like a daily basis back in the good old pre-Covid days.

Parades say “This is who we are. This is what we believe. This is the best of us, otherwise, why bother having a parade?” And, oh, we’ve had some wonderful parades in San Miguel de Allende.

Haven’t we?

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel Salon debut is all about the music

Jam session to open the first official San Miguel Salon at the home of Ben and Margaret Gall in Colonia Buenavista, San Miguel de Allende. From left: Ruben Garcia, Nelo Hurtado Rojas, Angie Ciss, Alfonso Medina, and Stephy Loren.

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Went to Ben Gall’s first official San Miguel Salon on Sunday night at his home, Casa Sentosa de las Serpientes, in Colonia Lindavista. Ben has been building toward this day for many months.

Actually, for years when you consider that he designed and built his house so that he could hold intimate concerts in his courtyard. There is a raised patio that serves as a stage and seating for as many as 50 people in the courtyard and 20 more on the roof of his casita.

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel’s Pro Musica Youth Orchestra is back, with a holiday concert in a new setting

The Pro Musica Youth Orchestra is back after a 20-month hiatus because of the pandemic and the tragic loss of the orchestra’s founder and Pro Musica vice president, Tim Hazel, who passed away on Feb.3 from stomach cancer.

An exciting new youth music director and conductor, Robert Mari, has assumed the podium and the popular orchestra has been in rehearsal for more than a month.

To celebrate the return of the orchestra, Pro Musica has set its first concert for Sunday 12 December 2021 at 3 pm. This will take place outdoors with socially distanced seating in the delightful gardens of the Arts School of the Instituto Allende on Ancha de San Antonio.

The youth orchestra’s previous home, in the Belles Artes complex, has yet to re-open. In the old days, Hazel would conclude each concert with a wry tale of his need to feed his 12 children — or 8 or 6, it varied. A scruffy straw hat with a pink ribbon would be passed among the audience and the money, of course, went to supporting the orchestra which grew in size and capability over the past three years.

Now, Pro Musica is asking for a $300 peso donation from attendees. Tickets can be purchased through the Pro Musica website at  www.promusicasma.org . Proceeds will go to the orchestra members, according to Pro Musica.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to show your support for the orchestra under its new conductor and to see how the young musicians are performing,” says Michael Pearl, president of Pro Musica, in a press release. “I have attended rehearsals of the orchestra and they are sounding excellent.”

The program will include works by Mozart and Haydn.

The centerpiece of the concert will be Mozart’s wonderful Symphony No. 35 in D major, the “Haffner”, written in 1782. And just for fun, ours and theirs, the orchestra will also play Mozart’s K.552, known as “A Musical Joke”. (A loose translation of the German title, “Some Musical Fun.”) The work satirizes other composers’ styles and is “a masterclass in using wrong notes and compositorial comedic devices.”

Pro Musica calls it, “an ideal piece for a youth orchestra.”

From Haydn, the orchestra draws on his Symphony 99 in E-flat major, written in 1793 in Vienna for performance during his second visit to England. It is the seventh of the ultimately twelve “London” symphonies.

This will be followed by the “Toy” symphony. This 18th-century work is variously attributed to Joseph Haydn, Leopold Mozart, Michael Haydn, and Edmund Angerer. As the title suggests, the performance includes various “toy” instruments, such as a toy trumpet, a ratchet, and bird calls. 

The Canadian native Robert Mari conducted the Cowichan Consort Orchestra and Choir starting in 2011 and recently retired. He is no stranger to youth orchestras, having started his own studies at age 3 on the piano. He first performed in public at age 5 and conducted his first symphony at age 13.

He holds masters and doctorate degrees in music and orchestral conducting respectively from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University among other music-related studies. He is a composer, recording artist, conductor, and performer.

You can read the entire program for the Sunday concert here.

(Correction: The post originally said Robert Mari has been with Pro Musica since 2011. He is just beginning a new career with Pro Musica. My apologies for the error.)

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Where you been, bro? It has been a year, yeah?

Sure sign that tourism is back — hot-air balloons dot the early morning sky in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

So here we are now at 6,200 feet enjoying incredibly mild weather yearlong, a severe drought and growing water shortage, unrestrained development, and a once-exuberant city that has almost withered away under the relentless grind of Covid restrictions. 

Signs of life are returning to San Miguel de Allende.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for June 2: Binging on depressing podcasts, ‘Space Force,’ and my own House Hunters Int. drinking game. And your day?

IMG_1832LOOK UP IN THE AIR! IT’S CLUELESS MAN!: Took Moppit for her morning walk and I must say, there are far, far, more people with masks on than without. Are morning people more considerate of their own health and that of others?

I wouldn’t know since I usually take the evening walk but yesterday a woman was mugged two blocks over and I immediately went into Superman mode.

“I’ll walk Moppit in the morning,” I said. “It isn’t safe out there. You can go running if you like. You can outrun most anybody that would mug you. Can’t do it with a little dog on a leash.” Continue reading

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