One young couple with an infant in their arms peeked in and said hi while we warming up. They left for a bit but came back later with the rest of their family and friends during the performance. Our contact staff member there said the children and families were late finishing dinner upstairs and suggested we just start singing and people would come downstairs when they heard the music. So we did exactly that.
We started singing Downtown to an audience-less room, and 2 teenage/young adults came in and pulled up chairs. We sang their own personal rendition of Wanemo for them, after which the room quickly filled with more than a dozen children ranging in age from a few mos. to 9 or 10 yrs. old, with their families, as well as a volunteer & her sweet service husky dog, Bo. Quite a few kids and family members did not speak English. Chinese was spoken by about 8 people there, and about 5 or 6 spoke Spanish. I spoke with some of the parents and kids before and after our show.
When we sang Cherokee Morning Song, a cute little 16 mos. old toddling redhead in a green onesy walked right up to Rene intently focused on his flute playing. Sharing songsheets, they sang along for Michael Row The Boat Ashore (more grown-ups than kids on that one) and they all kept up with us really well on Rock My Soul. After Paz Y Libertad, I introduced Pokarkare Ana with a special twist - I had picked up multi-colored plastic leis to give out to the kids. The leis turned out to be the big hit of the evening. I heard them singing "happy birthday" to one of the kids upstairs earlier so when I asked whose birthday it was, the birthday boy and his brother (about 7 - 9 y.o.) jumped up for their leis first. Then the rest of the kids all went wild for them and even put one around the service dog's neck, who marched around proudly with it on. It kept them engaged, complete with dancing.
For Mas Que Nada, 2 little ones, 4-5 year olds, ran up and tried to play along (more like pound along) on the piano with Rene, who good-naturedly played right along with them. After beginning, our audience numbered about 40 or more for the duration of the concert, including infants, children, parents, friends, staff, volunteer, and of course, service dog, Bo.
I talked with 1 couple and their kids afterward who were here for treatment for one their sons at Sloan Kettering (birthday boy's family) and were heading home to New Mexico the following day. They enjoyed the concert and were especially grateful for the services provided by Ronald McDonald House, saying they wouldn't have been able to afford to come for the good treatment for their son without it.
It was a very special, moving concert for all of us as well as our spirited audience.
-Lily, Peace of Heart Choir Singer
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