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Goethe got it right

December 3, 2010 - Diane Speer
I ran across a perhaps already familiar quote by the great German writer/thinker Goethe recently and it gave me pause. During this harried, commercialized Christmas season when we get caught up in trying to juggle too many seemingly important things simultaneously, it might do us well to heed these words:

"A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day of their life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul."

This Christmas season alone, right here in Alpena, there are many opportunities to take a brief respite from the Christmas crunch and soak up the restorative power of the arts. Here are just a few suggestions for recapturing that sense of the beautiful:

Music: * Violinist Eric Lawson, pianist Amy Truth and soprano Jane Bloom Johnson will be making beautiful music together at "A Classic Christmas Concert" on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ. * Alpena Symphony Orchestra will give "A Holiday Celebration" concert at 7:30 p.m. in the AHS Auditorium. Guest performers are the AHS Concert Choir. * The Thunder Bay Arts Council Chorus continues its long tradition of offering a tuneful gift to the community with its Holiday Concert on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the AHS Auditorium.

Art: * The visual arts inspire and soothe the soul at Art in the Loft, which is decked out for the holidays. More than 30 artists representing a wide variety of media are currently featured in the Loft's WinterView Exhibit. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday from noon-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. * Thunder Bay Arts Council Gallery is featuring the artwork of watercolorist Karen Cracchiolo, who paints soothing landscapes in both realistic and abstract styles. Her exhibit runs Dec. 9-Jan. 6. * Besser Museum is filled with the sparkling lights and sights of the Christmas season. All of the museum's first floor gallery space, lobby and Avenue of Shops go a long way toward recapturing a sense of what is beautiful.

Poetry/Literature: * Pick up a favorite Christmas book and get lost in the magic of reading. Go classic with "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens or "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore or "The Gift of the Magi" by O.Henry. * Browse Alpena's local downtown book store, Blue Phoenix Books, or go a few doors down to the Christian bookstore, Olivet Book & Gift. Both shops offer a pleasing selection of holiday reads.

This is just my own short list of suggestions that in no way is intended to be exhaustive. Anyone else with additional ideas or suggestions is invited to leave them in our comment section. In the meantime, don't forgot to put into practice Goethe's wise words and find a little beauty in the music, art and poetry of the holiday season.


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