We’ve sung in public venues before, usually in places like the High Line, where people happen upon us as they stroll by. Today, the audience came specifically to hear us. In Lincoln Center. In an auditorium named for Bruno Walter. We all felt the awe of that. Backstage hummed, with Rob giving out POHC mugs, shirts, and totes, and Evelyn, our deportment guru, lining us up so we could practice walking onstage in formation, closed books in our left hands. The warm-up was long, more like a dress rehearsal, where, for the first time, we got to work on the transition between Mood Indigo and Satin Doll. Like cramming in the moments before a final exam. Amazingly, it worked.
There were many off-the-streeters in the audience, as well as former POHC soprano Julie, Rene’s wife (who took videos), friends of Lorraine and Bill, a friend of Wilfred’s, Barry’s wife, and Olga’s husband (who took videos). Also a contingent from Amsterdam Adult Day Care (I saw them getting into their ambulettes for the return trip when I left through the Amsterdam Avenue doors).
After Lily introduced the choir, we opened with Furaha! The acoustics were great, and we were off to a rousing start. Things were professionally proper for the next few numbers: Lonesome Road, with Nancy as soloist, The Water is Wide, Shenandoah, and Geantrai. They got a little looser with Pokarekare Ana, when Rene demonstrated the first of several instruments and joked while he tuned up with Brian. Then Te Quiero, with soulful solos by Charlie and Gail, and One Day with Brian and Olga. Rene brought out another instrument for Guantanamera and explained that while the first was tuned to My-Dog-Has-Fleas, this was tuned to My-Dog-Has-Ticks. The audience loved it. Bright Morning Star was followed by the Duke Ellington, with Nancy bringing down the house before the song was over. Somewhere we slipped in a sing-along: This Little Light of Mine, which turned into a clap-along. We got even looser with All You Need is Love; Rene said this was the first time we were singing it and asked whether we thought we were ready. We were, as were the soloists: Abe, Mary Ann, and Deb. Then came Pieces of the World, featuring Tony, Olga, Carrie, Brian, and Nancy.
By this time, we were cocktail-party loose, with an announcement for the fundraiser that sounded like a Who’s-On-First,What’s-on-Second routine. Where? Brian. Baruch College. When? Tony. June 7th. What street? Callouts from the choir. 25th Street. What time? 5:00 PM. We sobered up with Let There Be Peace On Earth, with Lily as soloist, then walked off the stage in formation to a standing ovation.
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