Prescott Pops Symphony Monday, Dec 11 2017 

Santas Around the World

Santas Around the World

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was the theme for yesterday’s performance of the Prescott Pops Symphony and the introductory piece by George Wyle and Edward Pola arranged by Mark Hayes. Choral Director Darrell Rowader and Music Director and Conductor Joseph Place took turns conducting at this sold out performance in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Rowader was also the soloist for “God Bless Us Everyone” from Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard. Craig Ralston was the bass solist for “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” set to music by Ken Darby, arranged by Harry Simeone, scored for orchestra by William C. Schoenfeld. Another choral selection was “The Many Moods of Christmas” arranged by Robert Russell Bennett. Two selections from George Friderich Handel’s “Messiah” featuring the Prescott Pops Symphony Chorus included, “And the Glory of the Lord” and, of course, “Hallelujah” as a concluding piece. Works played by the Symphony included “Around the World at Christmas Time” arranged by Bruce Chase, “Chanukah Suite” arranged by Jeff Tyzik, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” arranged by David Pugh, “The Bells of Christmas” arranged by Bob Krogstad, “Christmas Lullaby” by Chip Davis and arranged by Mannheim Steamroller, and “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson. Before we entered the theatre we watched the Park Avenue Theater Show Choir perform a couple of numbers. During the concert this group from Trinity Presbyterian Church performed two pieces, “Comin’ Up Christmas Time” arranged by Andy Beck and “When Christmas Comes to Town” from “The Polar Express” by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard and arranged by William Ross. The audience fully engaged with a post concert “Sing Along!”

Before the concert we stopped at the Prescott Resort to see this year’s Gingerbread Village. The more than 70 entries displayed a high level of creativity and well executed designs. Entries ranged from a Forest Service truck surrounded by fir trees to a multi-level display of different biomes. We were especially impressed with the multiple Santa’s representing different countries in “Santa’s Around the World” who were “United at Christmas.” This entry by Ruger Ladies won a blue ribbon.

After the concert and dinner we walked around the decorated Yavapai County Court House, enjoying the different decorations on each side of the Courthouse and the 200 decorated trees on the square. Truly, Prescott is “Arizona’s Christmas City.”

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Pioneer Park Yellow Trail Sunday, Dec 10 2017 

Pioneer Park Yellow Trail

Pioneer Park Yellow Trail

We took advantage of yesterday’s mild temperature and blue sky to hike in Pioneer Park. We did about a two-mile loop on the Yellow Trail. About half of the trail was new to us. The Pioneer Park trail complex is relatively flat and open which makes it ideal in the colder weather. We parked adjacent to the recently constructed pickleball courts. When we exited our trail we received encouragement from a woman on one of the courts to look into learning how to play pickleball at one of the clinics sponsored by the Prescott Pickleball Association.

Acker Night 2017 Saturday, Dec 9 2017 

Road 1 South

Road One South

Acker Night is a unique event held in Arizona’s Christmas City since 1988. Last night some 130 downtown Prescott businesses joined with about 140 musicians and performers to raise money for the J. S. Acker Scholarship Program. Mr. Acker, 1865-1955, left most of his estate to the City of Prescott for parks and the promotion of music, particularly for children. This is the 30th year local musicians have donated their time and talent for this worthy cause. The crowds were bigger than ever, filling the streets and jamming venues. We admired the decorated Yavapai County Courthouse, its gazebo, and more than 200 lit trees on the square after watching a couple of dance routines by Switch Performing Arts. The stage at the Holiday Courtyard adjacent to the Grand Highland Hotel on Whiskey Row featured Why Not Belly Dance & Friends. After admiring the Wells Fargo stagecoach, we found our way to the Elks Theater. From great seats in the balcony we listened to Road One South and some young performers. We had dinner with friends in the Peacock Room of the Hassayampa Hotel with a view of the crowds entering and leaving the Elks Theater. Acker night is a special annual event in Prescott.

A Cowboy Christmas Sunday, Dec 3 2017 

Santa Visits Prescott's Christmas Parade

Santa Visits Prescott’s Christmas Parade

“A Cowboy Christmas” was the theme for yesterday’s 35th Annual Prescott Christmas Parade. The weather was perfect for enjoying some 85 entries from our seats at the corner of Goodwin and Montezuma. The large and impressive Tucson Catalina High School band was the first of several bands. The Fry float once again was the best of the business entries. Sacred Heart Catholic Church submitted another highly decorated float featuring Noah’s Ark with their priest wearing a cowboy hat and a colorful rainbow atop. We learned in today’s Daily Courier that the entire float was composed of recyclable material. The Prescott United Methodist Church entered a float with cowboys surrounding a Christmas tree. Vehicles dominated the parade ranging from classic Volkswagen’s to antique cars such as Model Ts. Jeep rescue vehicles, fire trucks, and a Patriot garbage truck were among the many trucks. Only two horses, part of the Yavapai College Roughrider entry, were in this parade, but a local business that uses a zebra theme included a live zebra. There were also some llamas dressed for the occasion as well as lots of dogs such as Scotties wearing their colors. OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, had an entry this year. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, Santa and Mrs. Claus wrapped up this parade that makes Prescott “Arizona’s Christmas City.”

Jun Kaneko Sculpture Saturday, Nov 25 2017 

Velocity

Velocity

This afternoon we walked in the Desert Botanical Garden and admired the bold, monumental sculpture of Jun Kaneko. We learned that this Japanese American artist now living in Omaha, Nebraska creates these giant ceramic sculptures using a 40 foot in diameter and 20 foot high kiln. It takes 9-18 months to dry one piece. Before glazing, it is fired at 2100 degrees. After he glazes a work it is kiln fired for 26 days at 2300 degrees. “Velocity,” a cast bronze and enamel painted head greets visitors near the entrance. “Six Tanukis” and “Dango Garden” each have multiple sculptures while other “Untitled Heads” are dispersed strategically throughout the Garden. We departed before the closing at 4 p.m. This evening the Desert Botanical Garden hosts the popular Las Noches de las Luminarias. Perhaps we will participate sometime during this holiday season.

Phoenix Zoo: November 2017 Wednesday, Nov 22 2017 

Michael, an Orangutan

Michael, an Orangutan

The Phoenix Zoo starts its popular Zoo Lights tonight, but we decided to visit during the afternoon. We were surprised at the high level of animal activity. The Komodo dragon, for instance, was pacing behind a rock and tree before deciding to sun itself in close proximity to human viewing spots. In the closed aviary we observed masked lapwings, a Bali mynah, and white-faced whistling ducks. Jiwa, the baby orangutan, performed aerial gymnastic stunts while father Michael enjoyed eating a late lunch. An egret stalked prey while silhouetted with its shadow. Loulou, the new Southern white rhinoceros addition, was initially laying down in a far corner of her exhibit before rising for drink and munching hay. Although we didn’t visit the Dinosaurs in the Desert, I did photograph the publicly accessible colorful Pachyrhinosaurus. A Watusi cow displayed its wide horns. A snowy egret and a burrowing owl both posed for me. A bald eagle kept its eye on me. A white-nosed coati was unusually active. Zebras also moved from the back of their exhibit to the front as we passed. I was rewarded today with lots of interesting pictures of animals at the Phoenix Zoo.

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