Over the years I’ve marked the change of the year in a number of ways, from house parties and dinners through to board games at home, but I’ve never really been one for big New Year’s Eve celebrations. These days I see it more as an opportunity to do something enjoyable – get together with people I like, open a bottle of better wine than usual, cook a nice meal – rather than make a big deal out of the whole thing.
It should therefore come as no surprise when I say that we very nearly did nothing at all this time around. We briefly toyed with the idea of going down to Times Square, but I have yet to hear from anyone who has done so and actually enjoyed it, and the idea of hanging around in the cold with a huge number of other people didn’t really appeal.
Since moving to the Upper East Side in October we’ve been attending the occasional service at St Bart’s church on Park Avenue, and had heard about a New Year’s Eve concert there. Listening to music sounded like a fun way to see in 2013, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable event. Performed by the director of music at St Bart’s, Bill Trafka, the programme featured organ music from Bach to more recent composers, and culminated in Trafka’s own transcription of Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ with two percussionists accompanying the organ.
Between pieces Trafka talked about the music, the composers and the organ itself. From the services we’d been to we might have guessed that it was pretty large, and in fact it comprises 168 stops and 12,422 pipes. The pipes are divided between the north and south sides of the chancel, the gallery at the west end of the church, and up in the dome over the crossing, enabling some impressive 3D sound effects.
The evening ended with a glass of champagne, then we walked home along Park Avenue, admiring its illuminated Christmas trees as we went. 2012 was a strange and exciting year for us, and we’re looking forward to more of the same in 2013.
I realise this is a little late, but never mind – happy new year!