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The Brazos Valley Symphony will celebrate the rich and joyous sounds of the season with its fourth annual presentation of “Holiday Brass & Organ Spectacular.” Led by Music Director Marcelo Bussiki, the event will take place at 5pm on Sunday, December 9, at the Christ United Methodist Church in College Station. The Symphony’s Brass musicians will be joined by: James Faith on organ, the Christ United Methodist Church Sanctuary Choir and The Canticle Bells, and guest vocals from the Blinn Choir and the A&M Consolidated Middle School Girls Choir. Soprano, Kaylie Kahlich also returns for an encore and promises another heart-stirring performance.
This program, generously sponsored in part by Sterling Auto Group and Spirit of Texas Bank, showcases an elegant arrangement of pieces from purely instrumental music and delightful choral arrangements, to soprano solos, bell choir pieces and more. The evening’s production will conclude with sing-along favorites including holiday classics like Away in the Manger, Silent Night and George Frideric Handel’s famous Hallelujah Chorus.
If scrambling to prepare seems like your only pastime this holiday season, take a tip from local experts to reduce the hustle and sweeten the season.
Local interior designers Chris Spang of Christopher Designs and Susan Tremont of By Design Interiors, offer advice on seasonal decorating that enhances your holiday entertaining.
Don’t Break the Bank
Before getting started on any decorating spree, Spang encourages entertainers to first set a theme for what each room will look like. Then set a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend. Next make a list of what you have and a list of what items still need to be purchased. Most of all, get creative. Spang offers these steps for an inexpensive yet lovely centerpiece fit for any Christmas table:
• Take boxes (shoe boxes, cereal, etc) and wrap them in gold foil tied with colorful ribbon. If you are reusing ribbons from previous years, iron the wrinkles out so that they will not look used.
• Drape red and green beads and place votive candles on different levels of the boxes to reflect the gold foil beautifully.
• Place candles in hurricane glass because likely the air conditioning will be running to accommodate large groups of people in the house making it hard to keep candles lit.
Tremont offers these suggestions for inexpensive decorating flair:
• Add seasonal pillows! Whether it is a turkey-laden cushion for Thanksgiving or a pillow canvassed with a Nativity scene for Christmas, these are inexpensive ways to enhance the festive feel of your lounging areas.
• Fill hurricane glass cylinders with common items such as nuts and berries or ornaments and tinsel for a unique touch.
What you don’t want this holiday season is an accidental fire or burn injury. And knowing the Top 5 causes of Emergency Room visits during the holidays may help you avoid becoming part of that statistic this season.
Deputy Fire Marshal William Bouse of Fire Station #1 says the holiday season means it is time for community education and awareness of safety. Blouse shares his warnings and tips in the hope people will prevent a disaster that could turn a time of celebration into devastation.
Watch Those Pots
Bouse says that most fires during the season come from unattended cooking: someone thought they could step away for just a moment but the moment was too long. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling. If you must leave the room, turn off the stovetop even if it is going to be for a short period of time.
The Kid-free Three
Burns are common from cooking incidents. “Reduce the risk of burns by controlling traffic in the kitchen and by not letting the kids get under foot,” explains Bouse. The National Fire Protection Association suggests creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot drinks and food are served or prepared.
Just Say No To Turkey Fryers
Bouse warns against the use of turkey fryers. “There is not a turkey fryer made that has passed Ul testing,” he says, recounting the family whose garage was destroyed when they moved their turkey fryer into the space because it was raining outside.
There is nothing like cooler weather and the holiday season to make you dream of curling up in a cozy blanket with the comforts of a cup of flavorful liquid to warm your insides.
Cyd Cassone, bulk buyer at Brazos Natural Foods, shares her creative spin on holiday libations that incorporate natural herbs and spices full of healthful antioxidants that will cheer friends and family into a festive spirit. She encourages people to experiment and to make mugs of flavor unique to their taste. Brazos Natural Foods sells their spices in jars or by basic self-serve bulk, which is helpful for trying out just a pinch of that new spice. Here are some of Cassone’s recipe ideas to get started.
Pumpkin Goodness with a Hint of Curry
Use pumpkin puree to make this very festive and tasty fall treat. Mix one tablespoon of pumpkin purée with 1⁄2 cup of milk and blend in spices you enjoy. The twist on this one is instead of only adding the traditional drink spices of clove* and cinnamon**, try adding garam masala, a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines.
“This spice contains pepper and coriander which adds savory flavor to the drink but still has sweet essence to it,” says Cassone. Other ingredients also contained in garam masala curry are cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin. Cassone uses coconut milk for lactose intolerant loved ones. This can also be helpful for gluten-free eaters for whom the protein in milk can be difficult to digest.
& Get Out
of the House!
From Christmas at the Creek in College Station to Harvest Saturdays at Royalty Pecans, there is something every weekend this holiday season around the Brazos Valley. This year, make a new tradition to try something new!
Twilight Firelight at Fanthorp Inn
Journey back to the 1850s on November 24 at this holiday event featuring a candlelit inn, period music, poetry, stagecoach rides and living-history characters. Activities begin at the Grimes County Courthouse, where visitors board a replica stagecoach or hay wagon for a ride to Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, 579 Main St. Tickets are sold in front of the courthouse from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30pm.
Downtown Brenham’s Christmas Stroll & Light Parade
This free event is fun for the whole family and will take place on November 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy hot holiday drinks, festive entertainment and holiday shopping. Be sure to get there in time for the parade around the square featuring the man of the hour, Santa Claus, starting at 6 p.m.
Presented by Friends of Chamber Music, Canadian Brass will perform a free concert Thursday, November 15, at 7:30pm at Christ United Methodist Church, 4201 Texas Highway 6 South, College Station, Texas 77845. For more information, visit communitychamberconcerts.org.
About Canadian Brass
Five tremendous brass musicians — each a virtuoso in his own right — form the legendary Canadian Brass. With an international reputation as one of the most popular brass ensembles today, Canadian Brass has truly earned the distinction of “the world’s most famous brass group” in their 40-year long history. The varied Canadian Brass repertoire features brass standards as well as a wide-ranging library of original arrangements created especially for them. These include the works of Renaissance and Baroque masters, Classical works, marches, holiday favorites, ragtime, Dixieland, Latin, jazz, big band, Broadway and Christian music as well as popular songs and standards.
Operation FINALLY HOME is ready to build a home for wounded veteran. Will you help?
by Angelique Gammon
In January, local builders will break ground on a very special custom home in the King Oaks subdivision that, when finished, will be the mortgage-free residence of a wounded veteran from the war on terror. Even though the selected veteran won’t be announced until late November, other King Oaks residents are already eager to welcome the veteran to the neighborhood, says Kristi Robinson, marketing director for King Oaks.
“Our other homeowners are very excited,” says Robinson of King Oaks’ decision to partner with Operation Finally Home and local builders in the Bryan/College Station Home Builders Association. “They are glad to be part of the project and really ready to embrace the veteran’s family.”
Texas A&M Presidential Professor Rodney Hill grew up with two artist parents, so he has never thought it was unusual to create something out of nothing. As a child, he would create Christmas decorations for his front yard out of simple materials, and the other children at school would bring him reams of papers to make drawings for them.
From that early start, Hill has become a well-known face around his new neighborhood, the Texas A&M University campus, as a beloved tenured professor of architecture with an incredibly interesting secondary profession – woodcarving.
Ramiro Galindo is not shy about sharing his view that using age as an excuse to not exercise is “bogus.” He also isn’t shy about challenging his friends to follow the exercise pathway to good health.
Galindo will turn 74 on October 5, just before he will compete in the BCS Marathon on December 9,