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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Royal Reflections.......

have been on my mind today, as the 2011 Royal Wedding between Prince William and Katherine Middleton, now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has finally been preserved in my local library on a special commemorative DVD. I just finished watching it yesterday. Yes, I know, I'm over two years late, and Kate is about to give birth to her first baby! But sometimes it's better to look at these things with the perspective of time instead carried along in the hype. After all, it took me until last year to watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia Series, and I just started reading Brian Jacques' Redwall Series, which I was urged to read since I was bunny-nosed slip of a thing in pig-tails! The moral of the story: I get around to things eventually, even if it takes me a little longer than the average cheese-doodle cheetah.

    Anyway, getting to the point, here are a few of my thoughts on the monarchy in general. Unfortunately, too many Americans snicker at how "archaic" the monarchy is or act patronizing and denote it all as "cute". In truth, it is simply different than we are used to, and we're not quite sure whether to love it or hate it. Just as the British Constitution is not written, so their head-of-state is not elected. Their ways of doing things generally have more gray areas than our black-and-white diagrams. But they have also managed to preserve a timeless subtlety and quiet efficiency that we have lost. The concept of having a single person representing the nation, somewhat distanced from politics yet conversely at the ceremonial center of them, has a magical quality that cannot be pinned down. As much as I deeply appreciate the American system and how it works fo us, I also deeply appreciate the British system and how it works for them.

     Interestingly, as much as the royal family features in the tabloids, they still manage to be remembered in a fonder light than some high-ranking elected politicians in Britain. Margaret Thatcher who was called "The Iron Lady" and others called "The Golden-Haired Assassin", is a perfect example. As Britain's first female prime minister, she led the country through economic crisis and the Falklands War, gaining much love and hate from her people along the way for her hard-held convictions. She stood for a united and strong Britain, grounded in major conservative values and rightly proud of her ancient history and heritage. She worked alongside President Reagan and Pope John Paul II in giving support to the Communist dominated nations of Eastern Europe, encouraging them to claim their freedom and bring the Cold War to a close. Although she was far from perfect on issues like abortion and many had legitimate disagreements with her policies, she still proved herself to be a true patriot and lady of character, and therefore should be respected by all. But the point is her name was bombarded by all sorts of vile insinuations upon her recent death this past April. The Queen, on the other hand, manages to retain general respect because she both represents the country but also remains somewhat aloof from clear-cut political conflicts. I'm not sure if I could remain neatral if I were Queen, but she basically manages to do so.

     Royal events are always full of fascination and splendor. It's like a little piece of the old world preserved for us, full of symbolic meaning and bound by an intimate personal connection. The soaring Westminster Abbey, the beautiful old carriages, and the colorful costumes (complete with wigs!) really make it a treat to observe. The inately Christian nature of the ceremony and the choral music was deeply inspiring. Also, the finale RAF flying display, using planes from the Battle of Britain, was stirring in it's demonstration of British tenacity. Plus, the bride and groom really were an attractive couple, William in his scarlet uniform and Kate in her swooshy white dress. Yes, I know Kate has dressed in some atrociously revealing attire in the past. Yes, I know she and William lived together prior to their marriage. Yes, I know she has recently been photographed "topless". But I do believe, in spite of their various imperfections and gaffs, that they come off as having rather attractive personalities. Trained to "play the part" as they are, they do seem to be genuinenly in love with each other and caring towards other people. An English duchess who can dress like a cowgirl has to have a good side ;-) I just hope that they stay together and avoid rerunning the reel  of royal divorces.

     All this brings up the question......who will be the next King of England: Charles or William? It seems likely that it will be Prince Charles, as he has been reared for the job and is Prince of Wales. However, his personal scandals involving Princess Diana and Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall, are bound to haunt him for the rest of his days. I do feel just a little sorry for him, as he loved Camilla to begin with but was pressured to give her up in favor of Diana. He tried to go for "duty" as opposed to "love", but then tried to have both, breaking his wife's heart and sending her into a self-imposed exile that ended in her tragic death. In the end, he got the woman of his dreams, but his infidelity to the beloved Princess Di is still a stain on his reputation. As for Prince William, he may not completely know what he is doing, but he hasn't done anything too crazy as of yet, and if he remains true to his wife and his duty, he has a chance of carrying the monarchy forward in a positive direction. The key for Will and Kate is to avoid the pit-falls of celebrity status and not let their popularity go to their heads. I would  probably support Charles being skipped in William's favor, as unlikely as that move may be.

    As a finally sprangling of royal news that I've wanted to discuss for some time, back in March the Queen signed a pledge to oppose the "discrimination" against homosexuals and support the "empowerment" of women. Of course, the wording of the pledge was reasonably vague, but against the backdrop of David Cameron's campaign to enforce same-sex marriage in Britain, it has a very ominous ring to it. And now just last week Parliament passed measure to legalize same-sex marriage. For those Brits and Commonwealthers dedicated to traditional marriage, it was all a bitter pill to swallow. I join them with my sympathies, as I do heartily believe that marriage is ordained by God through nature to be between one man and one woman. Anything else cannot properly be considered a marriage, as even basic anatomy is in conflict with homosexuality. I am concerned about what will happen to those opposed to the political measure. Will they be accused of "hate crimes"? And what about clergymen who refuse to marry same-sex couples? Will the law take action against them? It's all a rather hairy mess. I can't help but wonder exactly what the Queen thinks of all this. Is she for it, or against it? Was the pledge really something she wanted to sign in the first place?

    Not to sound harsh, but sometimes I wonder if the protective element of distancing herself  from all forms of political debate is always the right course to take. After all, she has the Constitutional right and duty to "Council, Encourage, and Warn", and there is no doubt that she has done so in the past. I remember how proud I was of her when I watched an old rerun of a speech she made supporting the unity of the country, saying "I came to the throne of a United Kingdom." The cheers were inspiring. I just hope she'll make a similar speech before the Scottish Independence Referendum takes place. I honestly don't think the Queen, as a devout Christian lady, can be thrilled about the course her country is taking in the area of morals. I don't think she is necessarily in favor of things like the legalization of same-sex marriage, much less the legalization of abortion. But she dare not speak out against these things, as the decisions were made in the Parliament, and she doesn't want to risk overstepping her boundaries. I wonder what would happen if a monarch ever dared to try.......

     To wrap up this article, I've made up a little list of things I'd do if I woke up in the morning and found myself to be Queen Pearl I of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth:

* I would make a public speech against abortion as a matter of human rights, not random policy.

* I would make a public speech denouncing Same-Sex "Marriage" as unnecessary and harmful to society.

* I would make a public speech with regards to the dangers of the Scottish Independence Referendum and the importance of maintaining national unity.

* I would introduce the concept of making the Archbishop of Canterbury the Head of the Anglican Church, thus leaving the Royal Family free to be Catholic, as I would certianly be!

* I would keep the title of "Fidea Defensor" and serve as a sort of  "second-in-command" guardian of Christianity within realms, under the jurisdiction of the Holy Father.

* I would introduce the concept of sharing the great cathedrals in my realm equally between Anglicans and Catholics, since the latter was in possession of them first.

* I would fly to Northern Ireland and announce that there will be weekly Orange/Green massive ecumenical church yardsales (great for togetherness.....I know from experience!), and if there are anymore riots from either side, those responsible will be locked in the Tower for life.

* I would encourage a closer bond among the Commonwealth countries, possibly even suggesting a common currency and citizenship to replace the UN membership.

* I would support reassembling some of the defunct Highland regiments in return for downscaling some of the monarchy costs to make things less burdensome for my subjects.

* I would support of the manditory teaching of native Celtic languages in schools, such as Welsh in Wales, Scots-Gaelic in Scotland, Irish-Gaelic in Northern Ireland, Manx on the Isle of Man, Cornish in Cornwall (if anyone even knows how to teach it anymore!), etc.

* I would champion a more engaging, more thorough teaching of history in schools and beyond, as well as making it easier for those parents who would like to homeschool within my realms.

* I would stock the royal kitchens with pepperoni pizza, pistachio muffins, cookie-dough ice-cream. Plus lots of salad, or else my mother would have my head!

* I'd knight that dedicated public servant who unplugged the aged Bruce Springstein and Paul McCartney at the park.

* I'd appoint Wyndysascha to be my legal advisor, GWright my royal engineer, Rae-Rae my naval archivist, Byrnwiga my personal piper, Mack my poet laureate, Meredith my royal memorabilia keeper, Cameron my royal arms keeper, Emerald my grammar guru, Mary D. my royal magazine editor, Lena D. my bearer of the royal rings, Katherine Anne my leading librarian, Ellen Virginia my royal dog trainer, Carolyn my royal dance instructor, Rebecca my American relations ambassador, Henry, Paul, and Effie my Unionist advisors, Kat my royal research wiz, Ian K. my travel expert, and Rev. Yates.......well, he can be the Archbishop of Canterbury, as long as he takes Wandering Pilgrim along for his second and promises to calm down any angry Anglicans who might seek to overthrow me. I don't want the Jacobite rebellions to have a replay!

* For all those hearty souls who I accidentilly forgot to appoint, comfort yourself with the knowlege that family and friends of the royal "us" get a free pass to "our" palaces and golf courses!

Until then.......;-)

The Crown Jewels of England
   

24 comments:

  1. Hi Pearl! Interesting post!

    Wow, I remember watching William and Kate's wedding live on YouTube. It was a bank holiday but I decided that I should get out of bed and watch as it was such special event for the UK. I'm glad you finally got to watch it yourself.

    Yes, Prince Charles is heir to the throne, but it's quite possible that he may abdicate and allow the much younger William to take the thrown if he felt the need to do that.

    I feel like Charles gets a a lot of bad press, some deserved- he has his human flaws- but a lot of the time more out of spite than anything else. I once watched a documentary about the making of Gary Barlow's, 'Sing', written for the Diamond Jubilee, and Charles featured in it, enthusiastically talking about how he and The Queen love music from around the world and are really fascinated by different cultures. It was nice to see him like that, smiling and gushing about the different places he'd been and the people he'd met- just like a ordinary, albiet very posh, man. And ever since seeing him call The Queen, 'Mummy,' live on national TV, I know he has a sense of humour!

    As a Brit, and a relatively poor Brit at that, I know it's quite easy to feel resentful towards the Royal Family for all the luxury that's placed at their feet merely because they happen to have been born into the right family. But I think that a lot of people tend to overlook the fact that being the monarch of a country must be incredibly draining, emotionally. The Queen rarely smiles- I mean really smiles- in public because she's been trained to keep her emotions hidden away. And, of course, there's plenty of way that Royals must never be seen to behave. They must always be seen as being respectable and in control of themselves- and rightly so- but it must be hard at times, especially if they are younger.

    Many people nowadays feel that having a monarch is pointless and a waste of money. However, while I can see their point, I would be very sad to lose our monarchy, which, literally, gives the United Kingdom its 'crown and glory'. I think it's important for us to have an apolitical figurehead to represent our country, and I can't help but feel proud whenever I see our Queen doing what she does best, representing our country amid the rest of the world's leaders!

    Oh, and thank you very much for your appointment of me as your 'naval archivist'! Very generous of you, Your Majesty!

    -Rae-Rae :)

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  2. I bill at £240/hr. lol!

    But Seriously, folks: our constitution is a beautiful oddity in my opinion. Like Pearl, I appreciate the simple, powerful forms of the American federal constitution while thanking God for our own organic approach, rooted in history and eschewing excess.

    If I had to recommend some sort of tinkering re-design, I'd suggest re-balancing the relationship between Parliament's legislative and executive functions, that between the two Houses, between the "formal Crown" and the "functional executive", and between Parliament and the courts. In short, to arrange the system so it's more closely akin to the Eighteenth-Century American republic.

    Of course, we could never be exactly the same - there's no real way to square the circle viz. Parliamentary supremacy and a "supreme law" or constitution, not without what would essentially be a revolution. We'd have to hope that the arrangement would be self-sustaining without a single constitutional document.

    Interesting wish-list, though!

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  3. O Queen Pearl! My pen and my sword are at your service!

    (Okay, a plastic keyboard and a tiny little Swiss Army pocket knife).

    Thou art the best of valiant and wise Cheeto-Cheetahs!

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  4. Yay, I get to be the Royal Grammar Guru! My life now has purpose! And since that means I'll be coming to live in England with you, I no longer have to wait for Doctor Who or Sherlock! And I can go see Phantom and Les Mis!

    As an aside, I am uber-happy you are finally reading Redwall. :)

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  5. Greetings, Loyal Subjects!


    @Rae-Rae: You’re most welcome for the admiralty appointment! Lol!

    I’ve always felt that Prince Charles was a generally decent guy. As you say, he’s flawed and certainly posh, but he always seems quite personable, and I know some people are rather fond of him because of the charities he supports. However, somehow I feel that he already has enough going for him without being king, and I think Britain might do well with a younger monarch for a change that can start his career with a comparatively clean slate. What are your our thoughts on this?

    I’m with you that sometimes the monarchy system does seem rather taxing because of the sheer expense which falls on the British (and Commonwealth) people. I honestly don’t understand why they don’t introduce a tighter budget on the whole thing. Nonetheless, I also realize that I wouldn’t want to be a royal for a second (in spite of all my grand plans!) because of the tremendous emotional strain and tedious schedule, and I do agree that the monarchy provides such a fascinating connection between the past and the present, as well as providing the UK with a generally apolitical head of state. I’d hate to ever see it be abolished.

    @Wyndysascha: I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get Parliament to agree on your salary, especially if I wanted to host (and provide adequate security for) the giant ecumenical yard sales! Couldn’t we negotiate a little? How about I just present you with one of those fluffy little Corgies complete with a jeweled collar and a life-long guarantee for pedigree dog food in exchange for your legal services? ;-)

    Getting down to earth, I totally agree that your Constitution has a rare beauty all its own, and I like the way you summed it up as “rooted in history and eschewing excess.” Brits should never try to be Americans in their way of doing things; it would all be a terrible waste. I always feel embarrassed when encountering fellow Americans (some my own relations!) who like to trash the British way as a feel-good mechanism just because we’re different. Conversely, it’s irritating when some Brits take a snobbish attitude towards our way of doing things and treat us like up-starts. I’m hoping more understanding will be shown on both sides, as you’ve already displayed.

    @Mack: Your testimony of loyalty is touching *sniff, sniff*. How would you like it if I presented you with a commemorative feather pen and gold-braid sword to hang on your wall? You can still use the plastic keyboard and Swiss knife for the actual work! ;-)

    @Emerald: Ha, ha, yes, you will be given a special suite in the palace with a TV set to streamline the latest Doc Who and Sherlock episodes. Plus, if I marry a prince and have a bunch of little royals, you will also be in charge of reading Playful Pets to them, plus introducing them to Matthias the Warrior Mouse ;-)


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  6. I am most honored by the theoretical appointment, your Majesty! So, exactly what does the position of leading librarian entail? Do I get to help compile your Majesty's reading list? (Because if so, there's one trilogy you know I'll feel obligated to put at the top... I think I kind of owe it to the Royal Dog Trainer, not to mention the Royal Grammar Guru, and probably the Poet Laureate as well. ;) )
    Or does Britain have a national library, like the US's Library of Congress, that I get to manage? That would be so cool! I hope your subjects won't mind a foreigner too much... most of my favorite authors are British, at least. That should count for something, right? ; )
    At any rate, I now have a (sort of) valid excuse for staying up past midnight reading! ("Mom, I HAVE to do this. It's preparation for my job. The future Queen is counting on me!!) ; )

    - Katherine

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    1. Katherine, we have the British Library in London. It's home to about 14 million books, many of which are hundreds of years old! It also houses a large collection of manuscripts, newspapers, journals etc. The oldest I think are thousands of years old! I've never been but it would be great to go, especially as they have loads of Lord Nelson's letters and journals there! ;)

      -Rae-Rae :)

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    2. Thanks, Rae-Rae! (Wow, I'd better get busy!! I'll never manage to read them all! ; )

      I suppose that since you are the Royal Archivist, you and I will be spending a lot of time at this fantastic library! Can't wait! ; )

      - Katherine

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  7. Aww, thank you, Your Majesty! I'd be honored to become your official royal memorabilia keeper! And I have the perfect commemorative 1952 candy tins to start it off.....;-)

    Britain would also be honored to have you as their monarch. Many of them still long for a ruler who will take a firm stance against issues sort as abortion and homosexual marriage-and, of course, who wouldn't want a ruler who keeps her royal kitchen stocked with pizza & pistachio muffins??

    I remain your loyal subject;-),

    ~Meredith

    P.S. How are you enjoying the Redwall books?

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  8. Wow...do you still have that Playful Pets book, Pearl? If so, I'm so amazed that I certainly wouldn't mind reading it to the little royals.

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  9. Hmm, well, I'd quite like to see Charles as King, for some reason. But, then again, as you say, a young monarch could be a breath of fresh air for the UK. Charles is getting on a bit himself now, and he's been used to the title and duties of Prince for his entire life- so he may not feel like taking on the title and responsibilities of King. I've read that he was 'interested' in the descion to abdicate by Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands...

    Whatever happens, it will be both mind-blowingly exciting for my generation to witness the coronation of a new monarch, and, undeniably, very sad for everyone for the loss of our Queen, who is one of the best in all British history and deserves the utmost respect for her life-long dedication to her country and the Commonwealth, which apparently she says is her proudest achievement!

    -Rae-Rae :)

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  10. Your Majesty, I'm truly honored (and flattered and shocked) to be appointed royal dog trainer! Now all my problems are solved, all my worries swept away - THIS is what I was meant to do with my life! I've found my purpose at last. As long as your royal palace's canine residents are limited to Australian Shepherds (no poodles or purse dogs, please!) I'll be perfectly happy. Just wait until you see them run agility!

    Of course, I'd have to consult Cookie first - she goes wherever I go (we're a package deal, really, so that means you're also appointing her as your royal watchdog and food tester), and I would never take her to England unless she'll be happy there. Will your palace include plenty of open fields for her to run in and woods for her to explore?

    Will I be allowed to assist your leading librarian? I think she may need me to back her up in assigning you a certain trilogy to read.

    Rest assured that I will faithfully fulfill my duties, your Majesty! I can't wait until the day you wake up and realize you're the queen!

    - Ellen Virginia



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  11. :-o Royal Dance instructor! I wonder, what kind of dancing does that entail...I could have Buckingham Palace tangoing the night away ;). And of course I would first instruct all the young gentlemen on how to politely ask Ladies to dance and to converse with them while doing so. Right up my ally...heh heh. Please inform me as to when you assume the title of Queen, as I will hasten to England and beg you to hold an audience, dinner, and dance session with all my favorite actors.

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  12. Hello again, Servants of the Crown!

    @Katherine: Sure, you can miander through the British Library and assemble a reading list for Her Majesty and the entire palace staff! And yes, I did sort of assume the much-talked-of trilogy might be somewhere at the top. But do take it easy on me; I might have a few....ehem....extra responsibiliites to take care of first!

    @Meredith: I really want to see your collection now, so I can figure out where it can be displayed in Windsor Castle ;-) Seriously, if you come back to the east coast, we've really got to show each other our Royal memoribilia collections! It would so fun!

    I would hope that their are still some British people who would support a monarch who spoke out on moral issues such as those mentioned above. Also, I do hope they would still have the good taste to support the above designated menu choices!

    @Emerald: Of course I still have the Playful Pets book; did you honestly think I'd ever part with such a fond momento of yesteryear? I still have Scamps and Paws too, by the way, just like I assume you still have Charlotte and Treasure....right?

    @Rae-Rae: Indeed, the next coronation will be a bitter-sweet experience, as the present Queen is such an icon of grace and honor the world over and her loss will be keenly felt. It was jarring enough for me when Pope Benedict retired, even though he is still alive and the excitement of the papal conclave kept things moving. I suppose that's how it will be with the next coronation.

    By the way, I'd love to visit the British Library someday! Maybe if we ever hook up across the water, we can tour it together!

    @Ellen: Alright, alright! No poodles or purse dogs. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for Scottish terriers.....But never mind that! Focus on the Australian Shepherds and Collies, and just tell Cookie that there are plenty of nice places to run and that's she sure to get good dog food at the palace ;-)

    Yes, you can assist Katherine as librarian.....but ganging up on the monarch and coercing her to read "super-trilogy" might not the best method! Try reverse psycology, maybe.....lol!

    @Carolyn: Sure, teach tango if you wish, even if I prefer English and Scottish folk dancing! You can learn how to teach, that can't you? In thanks, I'll let you send me a list of actors to assemble. So, just out of curiousity, who are at the top of the list?




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  13. Oh, and Carolyn.....If you manage to teach the castle menfolk how to be polite and friendly at dances, you will be one of the true crown jewels, and receive one of them for your trouble! ;-)

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  14. Oh - I have it!! Can I assist the Royal Dance Instructor, Your Majesty? I know how to teach at least some English and Scottish folk dances!
    Seriously, one of the first things you need to do as Queen is have a big English Country Dance Ball to celebrate your coronation for all your newly-appointed staff (and whatever important people you want to invite) and I can help you select a lot of wonderful English country dances! We can do the Scottish Postie's Jig, the British Flowers of Edinburgh, and the Duke of Kent's Waltz which was written to honor the birth of the father of Queen Victoria. What better way to begin your reign? Hey, we could even write/comission a new dance, written to the music of your choice, in honor of your coronation! You'll love it!! (Do you know anything about English folk dancing, Carolyn? It's a hobby of mine, and since Pearl likes British things so much I've always meant to take her to a dance when she finally comes to visit me... or when she becomes queen!! ; )

    Ellen, I would be thrilled to have you as assistant librarian. Just don't let your dogs chew up my books! ; )
    Don't worry, Pearl, nobody's said anything about coercing... we'd just be doing our jobs!! (Right, Ellen? ; ) Can't have a British monarch who isn't familiar with the British book that many consider to be the best book of the last century, now, can we? ; )

    - Katherine

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  15. By the way, since you're able to streamline Dr. Who and Sherlock for Emerald, I don't suppose there's anything you could do about reviving the Lord of the Rings musical, is there? Just for one performance, even - long enough for me to see it once? ; ) (It wouldn't have to be right away - it could wait till you get the important stuff done like abolishing abortion and stocking the kitchen with pizza.;)

    - Katherine

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    1. Ohmigosh, you know about the LotR musical, too!? I LOVE it! It's on my list of musicals to see before I die, so I will definitely help you persuade Pearl to revive it.

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    2. Yes! Virtual high-five! : )

      I just found out about it a couple of months ago when I accidentally found "The Road Goes On," on youtube. Then I got the London cast album for my birthday! My mom thinks it's as good as "Les Mis" (all my family except my sister are "Les Mis" fans as well). How did you find out about it?

      Which is your favorite song? Or, maybe a better question, which part are you most looking forward to seeing when Pearl becomes queen and we talk her into this? : )

      - Katherine

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    3. To be honest, I really don't remember how I found out about it. I know I found it through Google one time when I was looking for something else, but I didn't actually hear any of the music from it until a couple of months ago.

      What parts do I want to see most? Hm...I definitely want to see "The Cat and the Moon" (dancing hobbits!) and Lothlorien. I'm also curious to see how they did "The Siege of the City of Kings" and the flight to the Ford. Okay, let's just say I want to see the whole thing! :)

      And I am a big "Les Mis" fan, too. Have you seen the 25th anniversary concert with Alfie Boe?

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    4. Umm, I think so. I'm sure I've seen the 25th anniversary, anyway. The names don't stick in my head too well. : ) My brother would know, because he's the one who's really obsessed with "Les Mis."

      I want very much to see "The Road Goes On," "The Final Battle," and "Star of Earendil." And everything else. : )

      You know, I think we have each other's email through the magazine... so I'm thinking maybe, if we continue this conversation, Pearl might prefer if we did it over personal email, since it doesn't really have anything to do with the subject of her original post anymore. (Sorry, Pearl!)
      - Katherine

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    5. Good idea, Katherine. It's not often I find someone else who appreciates Les Mis or who has heard about the LotR musical!

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  16. Yes, by all means teach the Castle and Library denizens to do English Country Dancing, Katherine! So....what sort of dance are you planning on creating for the coronation? You've piqued my curiousity.....

    Hmm....well, if the coronation folk dance is a major smash, I think the royal we might consider pulling the musical LotR out of moth-balls.....;-)

    Is there really a musical LotR??? I've never heard of it! Sounds like it would be quite....er.....unique! But guess what??? I'm booked to do another singing gig at the infamous Bay City, this time singing LotR film themes! Please, keep me in prayers for a better turn-out than the last round! <:-O

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    1. Well, it all depends. You pick the tune (something from one of your favorite British folk songs would probably work nicely - it can be elegant and graceful, quick and lively, or anywhere in between - I recently invented a dance for a young friend that involved a lot of skipping and swinging your partner, since that's what she likes) and then we come up with the steps. (But since I've only written two dances in my life and neither has actually been done by real people, you may prefer to commission a choreographer with more experience.:)

      Yes, there really is a LotR musical. I just found out about it a couple of months ago (see my response to Emerald). I'm very impressed by what I can gather of it from listening to the album. And I know you'd enjoy it, because it has lots of songs for Arwen - sometimes she even sings in real Elvish!

      Oh, my - Bay City! When is it? Be sure to check the sound system out ahead of time this time around... best of luck, and I'll be praying for you! : )

      -Katherine

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