This past weekend was a blast!
Friday night my university students put on their end of year recital. It was a combined recital with the piano and vocal students (I teach voice). They all performed well, although I think having the added pressure of me grading them probably made them practice a little harder :).
Saturday morning I left home bright and early (6:45am) to drive down to my sister's. My friend Heather who lives in BC was in Ontario for the weekend for her Grandfather's burial service. The service was on Friday, so we planned to meet on Saturday and spend the day together. She had the wonderful idea of going to Toronto to see a show, and it just so happened that the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) was playing Saturday night! How perfect was that?
We went downtown in the afternoon on the GO train from Oshawa. I'm a country girl and driving in downtown Toronto is something I avoid at all costs. Although, a train ticket is cheaper than paying for parking, so it actually didn't cost that much :). We rode to Union Station and then walked up Young Street. We stopped in the Eaton's Centre for a bit. After that we walked up Queen Street. I've never walked up Queen before. It's pretty neat. Lots and lots of stores and shops. The weather was beautiful for walking. Sunny and warm! I knew the general area of where Roy Thompson Hall was, but I wanted to make sure we found it well before the concert. We found it, and then decided to back track a bit to find somewhere to eat. There was so much choice! We ended up eating at an Italian restaurant called Forget About It. Was was YUMMY!
The concert was AMAZING!!! The TSO plays so beautifully, and nothing really compares with hearing classical music live. They played Dvorak's Carnival Overture, and a Piano Concerto by Erwin Schulhoff. He was a Jewish composer who died in a concentration camp during WWII. He is not very well known, but he definitely wrote some beautiful music! The second half of the concert was Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 55 "Eroica." Beethoven is one of my favourite composers, so I was pretty excited when I saw this piece on the program. Again, it was amazing. The conductor even conducted it without music, which I thought was pretty cool too!
Sunday morning we went to church at FaithWay. They were starting their Bible Conference, so the guest preacher was Dr. John Goetsch. He preached a wonderful salvation message. I used to dislike salvation messages. Back in my "immature-cold-hearted" Christian days, I got bored with them. After all, I got saved when I was five years old. I already know the story. In the 24 years since I've been saved, I heard the gospel MANY times. It's easy to tune out a salvation message. Lately though, I've begun to appreciate the simple gospel message. I know in the past few years God has softened and worked in my heart greatly. I used to take my Christianity for granted. I didn't like to think about people dying, because that meant thinking about people going to hell, and that's not very pleasant. I thought if I ignored the fact that people around me were lost then I didn't have to feel responsible to share the gospel with them. I'm still not that great at being a witness, but I'm thankful for a patient and long suffering God who never gives up on me. His grace is helping me grow, and for that I am thankful! All that to say, that now I almost get excited to hear a simple salvation message. They make me even more grateful for my own salvation, and they encourage me to share with others. One thing is for sure: church is a lot more enjoyable when you aren't bored by the message!