The Mind of Bluesleepy

Score one for the underdog 7 December 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 5:51 pm

YAY!  I got my referral!  Now I get to see my OB-GYN instead of having to go to the Navy clinic.  I was just clearing out some old mail that was sitting on my couch when I found the referral letter.  I think it was approved beacuse the lady at Referral Management was insistent the procedure could not be done at the clinic, so she is sorely misinformed.  I don’t mind; it allowed me to get exactly what I wanted.

There’s a major relief, that’s for sure.

In other news — last night I attended a concert at The Breakers.  That’s the mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt here in Newport for his family to enjoy during the summers.  The opulence of the mansion is staggering.  Even the façade is imposing.

The Breakers at night

And that, my friends, is just a small summer cottage. The Vanderbilts’ home in New York City was twice as large as this one, so the family may have felt a little cramped here in Newport.

When my friend and I arrived at The Breakers, we debated whether I should bring my big camera into the mansion.  Eventually we decided I should leave it in the car, since the Newport Preservation Society frowns on photography inside the house.  In fact, the Society asks that you “refrain from touching objects in the house, smoking, photography, videotaping, and excessive noise.”  The “excessive noise” clause cracks me up.  I realize it can harm delicate objects, but it still amuses me that it has to be said.

Anyhow, come to find out, photographing the performers at the concert was perfectly acceptable, so I could have brought my large camera in with me.  In fact, I saw several nice Nikons and Canons around the necks of many concert-goers.  I only wish I were one of them.  As it was, I had my point & shoot, which does well enough, but not as well as I’d like it to in low light.

I just realized that if I had planned ahead, I could have taken my D40 and my f/1.8 50mm lens and gotten some absolutely gorgeous shots of the concert.  Gahhh!  Hindsight being 20/20 and all….

I did get some nice shots, don’t get me wrong.  It just would have been easier to get good shots with my big camera, that’s all.

When we first arrived at The Breakers, there was a huge crush of people to the left of the house, just past the covered entryway.  We didn’t know what all was going on, but they were letting people in based on a numbered card each person had.  I didn’t have a card, though; since my friend was a performer, she gave me a complimentary ticket to The Breakers.  I was concerned at first that I wouldn’t be able to get in to see the concert without a number, but not having a number just meant I had to wait till last to get in.  It was cold out there, though!  If I had known I was going to be standing in the wind, waiting to get in, I would have worn my long wool coat.  I almost froze to death in my dress and my peacoat.

Finally we got in and found out where the choir members could set down their stuff.  We joined the mad crush of people touring the home, but since my friend and I had already seen it, we didn’t pay much attention to the rooms.  We just followed the current of people flowing from room to room and admired the holiday finery found throughout the mansion.

Grand piano

This was where the piano was set up, and the main staircase was just to the left of the grand piano.  The choir members processed down the stairs and set up at the bottom, where they performed their selections.  I took this photo while the Navy Choristers (of which my friend is a member) sang, hence the gentleman in Navy mess dress at the edge of the photo.  This photo also gives you an idea of the incredible opulence of this home.

I had been asked by a member of the Choristers to take some photos of the group as they performed.  He gave me the Air Force’s public affairs camera to use, since he’s an Air Force guy, but I just couldn’t get any decent shots with that camera.  The lighting was too low to shoot without a flash, but the flash on my little camera just couldn’t reach far enough to light the photo sufficiently.  I ended up increasing the ISO sensitivity of the camera as much as I could, and I finally got this photo:

Navy Choristers

Not bad!  The Choristers sounded really good.  They performed some traditional Christmas carols, a couple of Christmas hymns, and some modern holiday music as well.  They did such a great job.

The Choristers ended their performance as they always do, with an a capella rendition of the Navy Hymn, sung from memory.  I adore that hymn, and it’s not just because I’m a Navy brat and spouse.  There’s just something so beautiful and moving about the hymn, petitioning God to keep our loved ones safe on the sea.  You might recognize it from the movie Titanic; the passengers sang it at the worship service they attended before the ship sunk later that night.  Please click HERE to hear the Navy Choristers singing it.

I really enjoyed the concert.  It was so nice to get out of the house and do something as a grown-up, and not as “Mommy.”  The only thing that was a bit of a downer about the concert was there was no seating; you just walked around the house, took the self-guided tour, and enjoyed the music.  I would have much rather have sat down and concentrated solely on the music.  However, the fluid nature of the audience allowed me to move around a lot in order to try to get the best shots, so there was something good in it too.

And now my internet has returned, though the tv’s cable is still out, so I shall publish before I lose the connection again!


7 Responses to “Score one for the underdog”

  1. becca Says:

    wow, thats quite a venue. I think it’s great. Sounds like you really enjoyed it. x

  2. Trudy Coxe Says:

    Very glad you enjoyed your evening at The Breakers, though I’m sorry the wait had to be in cold weather. (December in New England.) The Navy Choristers are one of our most respected groups and these Saturday evening events are giving many people a chance to see an extraordinary house AND enjoy great music.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Trudy Coxe
    CEO & Executive Director
    Preservation Society of Newport County

  3. sleepyjane Says:

    It does look incredibly fancy doesn’t it? It’s almost staggering that there are people that live such opulent lives.

    I’m glad you liked the concert!

  4. michele Says:

    what a beautiful photo! you have SO many interesting things to see & do in your area! I can’t wait until I am able to come visit some day….


  5. God! What a house! The acoustics must be incredible!

  6. terri t. Says:

    I bet seeing the holiday decor (red poinsettias against the light marble) was even better in person! It looks magnificent.

    thanks for sharing the photos.

  7. Aimee Says:

    I went to the Vanderbuilt mansion once. I was so young I don’t remember where it was. I just remember it being amazing. I liked the bowling alley in the basement.
    It sounds like you had a great time!

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