We entered the first floor of the New York City Fire Museum and glimpsed some of the old fire engines on display and proceeded up to the third floor, to a spacious room with wood floors and brick walls. Rows of folding chairs were filled with audience members and the performers on today's program. Most of us eventually gave up our seats as more audience members arrived. There were perhaps 50 to 60 people, ranging in age from as young as a few months old to people in their seventies. A group of about 10 developmentally disabled young adults came accompanied by staff from their home. The acoustics in the room were wonderful, especially when the a/c turned off. We listened first with rapt attention to several terrific performances by other musicians and a poet. We were the last performance group on the program. The first was an extraordinary harmonica player who played Rhapsody In Blue and two other songs. I never knew a harmonica could sound so beautiful! Then an a capella group of eight women, the Accord Treble Choir, filled the space with their beautiful, ethereal sound. They did a song in Hungarian, one in Estonian and one in English. They were followed by a flute quartet, also amazing, a South African singer, and a poet who read his poems about 9/11. All very moving and beautiful.
Then it was our turn. I introduced the choir and talked briefly about how we formed directly in response to 9/11 and introduced René. The audience seemed to sit up a little straighter and look even more attentive just from hearing the intro. We began with Bright Morning Star, followed by Arirang with Cheryl's gorgeous solo. Audience members tapped their feet and grooved to Paz y Libertad next, many nodding in time to the music and swaying in their seats. It was great to have Deb accompanying with the egg shaker today. Dona Nobis Pacem was familiar to some there and, with René's introduction, they listened for the five different languages in which we sang (Latin, Hindi, Hebrew, Lakota, and Arabic).
I introduced We Remember You and soloist and composer Bill Pierson. It was an emotional day and special to be singing at the Fire Museum for this 10th anniversary of 9/11. Bill's song has always moved me to tears and today was no exception. I choked up a bit toward the end of my introduction and was grateful others could sing at moments when I could not. I noticed a couple of men in the audience with tears in their eyes as we sang. It was especially wonderful to hear Bill's beautiful, soulful voice, singing his solo with us. It was powerful and appreciated by all. We could hear the extra applause for it.
We finished our part of the program with Let There Be Peace--thank you Larry for your intro. We didn't miss a beat and sounded beautiful on all songs. Then all the performers joined us for Give Us Hope, led by René, with a piano accompanist. We truly filled the room with wonderful sound and energy and everyone clapped along. The entire program of performances worked really well together.
Today's entire program was filmed by NY1 and several POHC members were interviewed individually afterward for NY1 as well. The photographer/reporter, Patrick, then asked if there was a Spanish speaker from our group who he could interview so our director René did his interview entirely in Spanish. Maybe it will be on the Spanish NY1 station! Some of us stayed to visit the rest of the museum, which was lovely and free today. They have a 9/11 room which is extremely powerful to see. Kudos and thank you to all who were able to be there today. It was an exceptionally lovely performance.
-Peace of Heart Soprano It has become a tradition for a member of POHC to do a post-concert write-up. It started when our Sign-up Coordinator began emailing her summaries to the other members in order to entice newer members to sign-up to sing at community concerts held early in the season. It didn't take long for Concert Write-ups to become greatly anticipated amongst our members, so we share them here in hopes that you'll join us at a future concert.