“Tis the season”…bazaars, musicals, concerts, what have you. November concerts in our area include The Oak Park Concert Chorale who will give us two concerts “The Eastern Star” (not a reference to Masons). One concert will be on Sunday, Nov. 23 at Saint John, 305 Circle in Forest Park. If you miss that one you can hear the same concert at St. Paul Lutheran, 1025 Lake Street in Melrose Park on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 4 p.m. The OPCC is under the direction of Paul Lindblad

Looking ahead, on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. the Saint John Choir and Brass will perform Christmas music. Nothing as thrilling as a brass choir in church, that really sounds like Christmas. 

Another local chorus we have grown to love is the Heritage Chorale. They will also be performing at Saint John on Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. If that date is not convenient, they will present the same concert the previous day, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist, 324 Lake St., Oak Park. This concert will feature mid-winter songs based on poems by Robert Graves, Shakespeare and a new work by a local composer, Paul Carey, “The World is Glad of the Wind.”

Christmas Bazaars are lots of fun and fill you with the spirit of the season. Janet Paulin and her infinity scarves can be found in at least two more bazaars in case you missed her at last week’s Christ Episcopal in River Forest and Saint Bernardine’s. You’ll find Janet and her scarves at Ascension School, 822 S. Clarence in Oak Park on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. and on Dec. 13 at the 19th Century Club, 178 Forest in Oak Park. That one is from 10:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. and will also feature homemade cookies, crafts and photos with Santa. 

The Historical Society of Forest Park has some new board members and seems to have a lot in store for 2015. For one thing, it’s the society’s 40th anniversary. Look out for an anniversary dinner, as well as special events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the S.S. Eastland in 1915. Many Eastland victims were buried in Forest Park cemeteries.

Donna Dorney and Eileen Schaffer were happily selling tickets to Saint Bernardine’s pancake breakfast while Joe Byrnes was demonstrating his domestic talents by actually making the pancakes. All the while Ann Stauffer wheeled around on her chair like a dancer; nothing can stop that girl.

Sandy and Joe Byrnes are looking forward to an evening at the Elbo Room to hear a performance by their grandson, Matt Pingel, whose professional name is now Matthew Thomas. If you’d like to see and hear this handsome young up-and-coming star, the Elbo Room is at 2871 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. He’ll be performing on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.

Many people have remarked that they haven’t seen Pete Vodicka around lately. Pete always gives a big friendly wave when you see him on Madison Street. Well, he has retired from The Shortstop, where he always kept the windows clean and sparkly. Happy retirement, Pete. Everyone misses you.

Happy birthday to Carl Hajec, Laura Steinhaver, Heather Dornbusch, Michael Bruzek, Michael Rudolph, Ed Spinelli, Jean Zalenski, Marikate Marino, Renee VanZant, Jackson Domer, Rich Cassiani, Emily Johnson, Amy Brod, Rick Hollander,Anita S’Souza, Janet Todd, Max Trage, Mark Hosty. Happy anniversary to Rosalei and Sam Corso, Kathy and Jim Thompson. 

 Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life's other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side...