Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas from the Camwells

And without further ado...our annual Christmas newsletter, blogger-style!

December 2006

I have a terrible memory. I also happen to be surrounded by family members whose memories are pristine. My mother recounts stories of her and her siblings growing up on the farm (“the one about the horse and ‘go get Mum’”, “the one about killing the chickens”…etc.), and Dave’s mother recalls what I was wearing when they met me for the first time, what the date was when Dave found his first penny (“Jen must have been 7 months old…”), and where she bought that skirt in 1985. I may be exaggerating, but my point is: I have a terrible memory. That is one of the reasons these Christmas letters are so important. What year was it we bought our first house? (Answer: see below.) Did we go to Slovenia and Venice, or was it Slovakia and Florence? (Answer: see below.) How many Christmas letters do you receive each year? Sifting through the information can be a daunting task. I like to curl up as though reading a juicy book or gossip column—my friends’ private journals. (Give me gossip, people!) So, happy holidays, everyone! Find your favourite reading chair, snuggle up with your warm blanket and winter socks; here’s our journal from this year!

Dave got tired of being called “Mr. Camwell”, so he has changed his name to “Dr. Camwell.” He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) at the University of Oregon in October. Not being one to give up on a challenge, I have just advanced to candidacy myself, which means 1) no more exams and 2) I will be able to start writing my document and graduate with Dave in June 2007. We’re very excited about getting through this challenging part of our lives!

Dave’s job at Simpson is going well. He has also been busy as a guest artist and lecturer at various Iowa colleges and high schools. His latest news is that he is now a regular columnist with the Saxophone Journal, an international publication! He is the go-to guy for all things technological. (Email him if you can’t figure out how to turn on your computer.) He will also be recording a CD that will be included in their spring issue.

Cedar Rapids Symphony has decided I’m still good enough to play with them. We have a terrific new conductor this year, and I continue to enjoy playing next to some wonderful musicians and people. (Some are people, some are musicians…we still don’t know…kidding! They’re both!)

We had a very busy summer this year. On our fifth wedding anniversary (June 30th), we left on a European Vacation (see “Chevy Chase”). Dave premiered a work at the World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I know it’s hard to pronounce. SLO-VAY-NEE-A. Dave performed early in the congress, so we were free to enjoy the other performances and our incredible surroundings. We’d love to go back someday. On our way back to the US, we paid a visit to Venice, Italy. After the relaxing cafĂ© atmosphere of Ljubljana, Venice felt a bit crowded. We spent a few days there, so we were at least able to get off the beaten tourist track and see some different galleries and museums.

After Venice, we flew back to Minneapolis and continued the drive north to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Aside from reminding us how wonderful Ljubljana was, we had a nice visit with our friend Jeremy Legault, and Dave performed a concerto on Jeremy’s final Master’s conducting recital. We’d had our fill of saxophone for a lifetime, so we headed over to Muncie, Indiana for the International Double Reed Society Convention. (I did not play, but we enjoyed some very fine performances anyway!)

In May, we made a purchase that spoke of commitment to our new lives here. We bought our very first…Lazy Boy recliner. Oh, and it looks very nice in our new (2001) house. We were so lucky to have my parents here when we were house-hunting (they even witnessed us signing the papers). Paul and Margaret were our first house guests in June, and we’ve had a few more including friend Laura, cousin Ian and two more mom visits (one of each).

We're now back in Calgary, after a late arrival (12:45am) last night. We're thankful that we made it at all. Many flights were cancelled around us, and we just kept crossing our fingers. As a Christmas miracle, all our luggage made it to Calgary as well! (See: last year.)

Those are the highlights this year! Our guest room awaits more visitors. We hope this finds you in good health, and that this holiday season brings all things joyous!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jillian and Dave Camwell

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