Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Choir Cookies


I have renamed my traditional chocolate chip cookies Choir Cookies in honour of their success at a recent fundraiser for said choir. When I touted them to potential customers as the "finest chocolate chip cookies in the land" one lady replied that she made the "finest chocolate chip cookies in the land". Instead of coming to blows we accepted our individual claim to the title and marveled that we should meet under such circumstances.

These cookies have a nice, soft cake-like texture.

3/4 C of softened butter
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar (lightly measured, do not pack)
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3/4 C flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
A cup or so of chocolate chips.
1/2 C of chopped pecans (optional) with milk chocolate chips
1/2 C of chopped walnuts (optional) with semi-sweet chips

Blend the butter and sugars
Add eggs and vanilla
Sift dry ingredients once and gradually blend into butter/sugar mixture
Add chocolate and nuts (if desired)

Roll about a tablespoons amount of cookie dough into a circle and pat flat (not too flat) on cookie sheet.

Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes. If your oven is anything like mine, you can lop a minute of each succeeding batch. Makes about 4 dozen delicious Choir Cookies. Enjoy!

For more treats on this blog check out:
Clare's Black & White Squares (December 14, 2009)
Robert Golden's (R.G. Armstrong) Chocolate Chip Cookies (April 7, 2009)

Upcoming for the Etobicoke Centennial Choir

The Big Sing, November 28th at Roy Thomson Hall
1000 voices of combined choirs accompanied by organ and brass ensemble

Our annual Sacred Traditions
An exciting evening of sacred music from the African, Jewish and Christian repertoire. Our special guests will be Nutifafa African Performance Ensemble and High Park Children's Choir. Traditional Christmas favourites and a carol sing as well!
Saturday, December 4 at 7:30
Humber Valley United Church
76 Anglesley Boulevard

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Remake Faux pas

Robert Preston as Professor Harold Hill
"I always think there's a band, kid."

Director Morton Da Costa's 1962 screen version of Meredith Willson's stunningly successful Broadway play The Music Man is one of the screen's most joyful musicals. Preserved for audiences is Robert Preston's Tony winning role of "Professor" Harold Hill. It's a colourful, brash homage to small towns, quirky characters and the love of music. It's a fun, touching and inspiring movie. I know that my many viewings as a youngster inspired my love of musical theatre.

Shirley Jones (Marian, the librarian) and Robert Preston
Love conquers all.

Above all it is a very funny movie, and that makes it a fun movie to watch. Paul Ford as Mayor Shinn gives a master class in the art of scene stealing. Hermione Gingold as Mrs. Shinn is every bit his equal. The script adapted by Marion Hargrove is sly without stooping to condescension. There are pleasures and delights around every corner of River City, Iowa circa 1912.


Kristen Chenowith and Matthew Broderick
The Music Man (TV, 2003)
The production was nominated for 5 technical Emmy awards.
It was filmed in Ontario, Canada.


In 2003 the Disney corporation retooled the classic as a "Music Man for the 21st Century". It didn't work. It should have worked. It's The Music Man. Two Broadway musical veterans led the cast, but Matthew Broderick was woefully lacklustre in the role of a vibrant con man and lovely, adorable Kristen Chenowith came off as a psycho spinster, perhaps compensating for Broderick's lack of spark. Mayor Shinn in the hands of adaptor Sally Robinson and the usually reliable Victor Garber was not in the least funny. He became a cardboard cutout villain.


"I've never been to the footbridge with a man in my life."


The worst offense was messing with my favourite line of the original. You will recall that Harold has lured Marian to the footbridge because he has "come up through the ranks in this skirmish and he's not resigning without his commission". Harold's compatriot Marcellus (Buddy Hackett) needs to get the romantic rogue's attention because "a crazy anvil salesman has been running all over town spilling the beans". Heeding Marcellus' beckon, Harold turns to Marian and explains he is "expecting a telegram from (pause, still playing the game, what would impress this gal?) Rudy Friml", implying a close relationship with the famous composer. It's subtle and funny. It always makes me smile. For some reason, in the TV movie Harold says he's expecting a telegram from "Hector Berlioz". Not even Hec Berlioz, but Hector Berlioz who passed away in 1869. Perhaps, unbeknownst to the audience, Marian was a devotee of spiritualism and would be duly impressed with Harold's influence. If so, it was too subtle for me.