This December seems to have been calmer than usual, which is rather nice. We’ve both had concerts – Tom’s choir sang a delightful program of Spanish Christmassy music whilst mine performed Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, and of course there have been some carols too. Other than a single string of lights we haven’t bothered decorating this year, but have been making the most of every opportunity for festive food and drink, with one particularly note-worthy weekend including both the first mulled wine of the season and Tom’s first attempt at hasselback potatoes (an epic success!).
Months ago, a number of local amateur choirs were invited to participate in a mad-sounding project, the so-called “Mile-Long Opera”. This performance piece was going to be staged along the High Line over a week in early October, and would involve 1000 singers/speakers positioned along the length of the park. The choir Tom sings with were among the participants, and they spent most of the rehearsal process complaining about various aspects of the piece, so I didn’t have particularly high expectations, but in the end the whole thing was completely delightful.
Last Saturday we found ourselves at a free evening concert over in Brooklyn. Tom had been at a choir rehearsal earlier in the day, and discovered that a group of friends were going on to Prospect Park to hear the Kronos Quartet, so we decided to join them.
The other day I received a comment on a previous blog post from someone who clearly objected to my lifestyle and the way I present it here. Phrases such as “vacuous dross”, and “privileged and meaningless existence” were deployed, and although I didn’t appreciate the tone I have to admit I don’t entirely disagree with their point. I am well aware that this blog is all happy-shiny tales from my extraordinarily-privileged life (a life for which I am perpetually grateful, by the way), and I know that that even the bad days I don’t write about are really not all that bad in the overall scheme of things. And whilst I am perfectly capable of sophisticated textual analysis I choose not to do that here, although perhaps I should…
Pique aside, it’s always valuable to have one’s bubble popped from time to time, and the more I think about it the more I’m grateful for this comment – particularly as I was vaguely thinking about making one of my current volunteer activities more meaningful, and this has prompted me to sign up for an orientation to explore some options. I’m not sure whether this was the desired response, but there we go.
So how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Turns out that all you actually need to do is join a choir which books it as a performance venue, then you’re all set!
So, Easter happened. As usual, we had a busy schedule of choir commitments, to which I added an extra evening by volunteering to masquerade as a chorister on Maundy Thursday. We also invited some friends around for Easter lunch after the two morning services, which meant the usual mad shopping-cleaning-cooking rush on top of everything else – as usual I complained about it all, but of course it was a lot of fun on the day. Continue reading
I am struggling to believe that it’s March already, especially as it feels like we haven’t really done anything with 2015 yet. Of course that is complete nonsense – so far this year I’ve set foot in 10 different states (or 11, if I count changing planes in Dallas), and Tom clocked up one more with his trip to Vegas. On the New York front, however, we’ve mostly been staying indoors and trying to keep warm.
As part of our continuing mission to sample what the NYC cultural scene has to offer, and because the open air performances we want to see keep getting rained off, last Sunday evening found us downtown for our first Off-Off-Broadway* show. Continue reading
On this particular occasion we were lucky enough to get some free tickets from a friend, who was singing in a concert of rather lovely music by the composer Ola Gjeilo. This was our first visit to the main auditorium at Carnegie Hall, and we found the decor most interesting – plenty of molded plaster and gilt, but in a rather restrained style (at least when compared to many other such venues!). In some places it even looked a little like the decoration hadn’t quite been finished, but the acoustic was spectacular.
Labor day weekend is fast approaching and with it the official end of summer (notwithstanding the fact that, if last year is anything to go by, the weather is likely to remain pleasant well into September). The end of August also brings the end of most the wonderful open-air cultural activities, so we’ve been doing our best to squeeze as many as we can into the time remaining.