High Notes on the High Line

It wasn’t exactly like singing in the subway.  Yes, we kept repeating our few good songs because the audience was fluid and transient.  But the High Line crowd was no in-a-hurry crowd. They were out for leisure, on an in-Manhattan getaway from Manhattan, taking a stroll on this road above the road, with wild grasses and flowers on either side.

Tucked away in a bend of the road, with the Hudson River behind us, our backs to the setting sun, was the Choir.  People streamed by from both directions, some turning their heads to look and listen even if they didn’t stop, others collecting at the railings to stay for three or four or five songs.  But even this stationary audience wasn’t like a regular audience.  They hadn’t come on purpose to hear us.  We just happened.

We did two sets--mainly repeats of Siyamba, Give Us Hope, Od Yavo, Down by the Riverside, and This Land is Your Land.  Our two brave a capella tries were Aquarius (René had to re-start us at the key change), and 59th Street Bridge (this one worked pretty well!).  In between the sets, and sometimes in between the songs, POHC Tenor Gary worked the crowd, announcing who we were and what our mission was, then walking among them to give out pamphlets.  They took him at his word when he said, “There’s only one thing we like better than singing, and that’s hearing other people sing, so please join us.”

A highlight of the evening was the little girl with the curly hair who stepped up to us, then stood still, staring at René.  He got down to her level, very close to the ground, conducting all the while.  All at once, as if a switch had been thrown, this still little girl began to jump up and down in time to the music.

Everyone, choir and audience, was in a good humor, and René didn’t seem to mind that he occasionally had to shield his eyes from the sun with one hand while he conducted us with the other. We’ve sung outside before, but always at ground level.  There’s something about being above it all while life goes on below that changes everything.

- Peace of Heart Alto

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.