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Tying Up Loose Ends and A Dream Come True

Only one more week until Christmas Eve is upon us and I am so ready for a break. This whole term has been kind of crazy, with the moving and unpacking and starting new jobs, but finally work is winding down enough for me to take a tiny breather and get right into planning for next term. Seriously, folks, I am determined to get all my planning done over the Christmas break so I just have to make small adjustments here and there instead of floundering last-minute and putting things haphazardly together, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. For right now, though, I am going to take some time to visit friends and family and spend time just being, something I haven't done enough of since moving back to the E-town area. I also figured this would be a good time to come here and write a little something about what's been going on over the last month.

This last month has actually been pretty great for me. The craziness of getting students ready for performances and Christmas recitals has really paid off with some truly stellar performances from both my group and private students (one of which may have incorporated the use of Monty Python's coconuts for a chase scene...). I've also finally come to a point where I've settled enough into my life back home that I'm feeling more secure in what I'm doing, which is allowing me to branch out into some projects I've been keeping in the back of my mind, not least of which is an amazing experience I was able to take part in last Sunday, a real dream come true.

See, if you know me, you know that I kind of have a teeny obsession with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I had first read an abridged version of this classic story when I was about 12 or 13, rereading it every so often, but the obsession didn't really truly begin until my grade 10 English teacher had us watch the BBC's Pride and Prejudice miniseries starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. He (yes, my male teacher has an obsession with Pride and Prejudice) was so passionate about the story and this specific adaptation that I got sucked into the story even more than when I was younger. As time went on I steadily became more and more interested in the Regency Era, reading the real Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's other works, making a point of re-watching the BBC's Pride and Prejudice at least once a year (and revelling in the Mr. Darcy lake scene as every female does), and becoming an all-around nerd on the subject. Having friends within the musical theatre and church communities that share and encourage this obsession did not help matters. Needless to say, when I heard that an organization had sprung up in Edmonton, called Regency Encounters, and was going to host a Regency-style ball in October 2014 – the fall after I moved to Ottawa – I was heartbroken that I would not be able to attend. As a result, for two years I avidly creeped my friends' pictures of the balls and events, living vicariously through them as I waited for my chance to join in on the experience.

This chance finally became a reality on Sunday night. A friend and coworker of mine, who knows about my obsession (no doubt because we played "Marrying Mr. Darcy" one New Year's Eve – so bad and yet so good!), approached me at work, asking if I might like to sing for a Regency-styled hymn service and candlelit tea, since they needed more altos. WAS THAT EVEN A QUESTION?! I immediately agreed and received the information with pleasure, excited that my dream of attending a Regency event would finally become a reality. I found a dress and appropriate fixings (thanks to the incomparable Barb Mah), rehearsed the music I received, and counted down the days until the day finally came when I could step back in time.

Now, perhaps the story would be much more ironic and dramatic if things turned out badly and the event was a complete flop, but honestly my experience was everything I'd hoped it to be and more! Lady Jane Productions truly gave a spectacular evening, complete with an Anglican hymn service, circa 1816, and candlelit tea that featured era-appropriate food, dramatic readings from Pride and Prejudice (I will admit, there was some squealing, sighing, and reciting of lines – just check out photos from the event from the magnificent Nanc Price), and more musical selections to round out the night. I got to wear a fabulous dress and bonnet, and pretend to be a respectable lady of the times (which I wasn't completely successful at, as per the dropping-the-honey-bowl-on-the-table incident... you can dress me up, but you can't take me out, apparently). Most of all, I got to spend time with lovely friends who share the same obsession so I can feel as if my love for P&P is completely normal.

Now then, to find a way to integrate that dress into my regular wardrobe...

Joyanne <3

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