I walked off the bus and I made my way across the intersection. I could see the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library from across the way decked out in holiday regalia, a Christmas tree with brightly colored lights with a menorah by its side. The scene stood out in downtown Flushing amidst the endless shops and bus stops and hustle and bustle of this neighborhood—a brief bit of serenity to counteract the hubbub this holiday season. I advanced towards the sparkling lights and found Alex waiting on the steps. I walked in and Gary was there to welcome us and direct us to where we would be warming up. Alex and I joined the other choir members.
We put our belongings in what was essentially a dressing room complete with lighted mirrors.We warmed up a bit. It was a beautiful concert hall. It was most definitely a community concert—families and children filled the seats--around 90 people were in the audience. The lights drowned out most faces beyond the first row. We could clearly see the family sitting in the front row. The mother and father told their daughter to be quiet throughout the performance. She was playful, adorable, dressed in hot pink from head to toe from her top to her winter boots. She put a smile on all of our faces. We began with our signature opening number, a rousing Siyahamba. Next was a melodic Wanemo with lovely solos by Gail and Lily. We followed it up with a different turn, the fun, Ukrainian holiday song, Carol of the Bells.
Next we did a breakneck Geantri. Marv provided spirited musical accompaniment on guitar to Michael Row the Boat Ashore. The concert continued with the James Taylor standard, That Lonesome Road, with fine vocals by Gary. The Carole King classic You’ve Got A Friend had lovely vocal support from Gail and Wilfred and pretty musical accompaniment by Evelyn on violin. Our Maori love ballad, Pokarekare Ana, was next and our sound benefited from the fine musical accompaniment by Marv on guitar and Rene on ukelele.
The anti-war anthem Down by the Riverside was given a nice boost by Marv on guitar. Usually many of us go out into the audience to shake hands at the appropriate part but as this was on a stage and there were side steps leading down into the audience, only a few choir members answered the call and ventured into the audience to shake hands. Kwanzaa Song found the ladies in fine form. Marv provided fine musical support to Rock-A-My Soul. Our voices lifted in song for the Jim Papoulis plea for the future of our children, an acapella Give Us Hope. This song was quite fitting in an audience filled with families and their children. We concluded with the anthem of our choir, a very lovely Let There Be Peace on Earth. As Rob noted, ‘we wish for peace, so desperately needed right now in our world.’
And so, we took our bows as instructed by Rene to enthusiastic applause. Right after the concert, we spoke with Gina, the events coordinator. She thanked us for coming and noted not only the nice size of the audience—around 90—but also the positive reaction. She was very pleased. As we walked out into the lobby, we saw the same couple from the front row with their adorable little girl—a vision of hot pink exuberance and still as playful and active as during the performance. Her parents began to apologize for her. Then Gary smiled and indicated that was nothing he hadn’t seen from his own children in their time or in any little ones of a certain age for that matter. The couple thanked us and told us they had enjoyed the concert. Funny how everything always comes full circle.
The concert over, we all headed out into the crisp night air—some of us taking a fun-filled ride with fellow choir members back to Manhattan and various other points and another small group of us including me taking advantage of the fine Asian cuisine in this Queens enclave, sharing a Vietnamese meal together. It had been a lovely outreach--our only one in Queens this season.
-Carrie, 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