At the Kittay House

 Sponsored by  NYCB   Foundation

Sponsored by NYCB Foundation

I mis-read the address.  Went to 2550 Webster instead of 2550 Webb. Grabbed a green taxi.  Arrived at Kittay in time for the pre-concert run-through of “Mood Indigo” with a twist: Gary’s father, Rudy, dapper in straw hat and shorts, playing clarinet curlicues during Nancy’s solo. Nice touch.

 According to their website, “there are places to live, and then there’s Kittay House.”  It’s for seniors who want more independence than assisted living.  They have 295 independent living apartments and “a community of elders that acts like its own social network.”

Their program coordinator, Naomi, must have talked us up, because the audience members kept arriving—some with canes or walkers, some in wheelchairs, some unassisted—until there was a full house. She introduced us by saying she remembered us from last time (2012), when “I couldn’t stay in my seat. I was jumping up and down.”

 Our program:

  •  All You Need Is Love (Maryann, Abe, Deb).
  • Lonesome Road (Gail).
  • One Day (Olga, Gary) Brian introduced this and had trouble saying Matisyahu (Jewish reggae rapper composer), so a woman from the audience called out the correct pronunciation. 
  • Duke Ellington (Nancy, Rudy on clarinet).
  • Te Quiero (Charlie and the other Olga, making her amazing debut).
  • Guantanamera, which turned into an unofficial sing-along. 
  • Pokarekare Ana, with the entire choir, including the men, hula-swaying.
  • Pieces of the World (Tony, Olga, Carrie, Gary, Nancy).
  • Michael Row Your Boat Ashore.
  • Rock-a-My-Soul.  When we inserted ourselves among the audience to sing with them, I alternately locked eyes with two women sitting next to one another. The feeling of being an anchor to them as they sang was amazing.  When the song was over, they both squeezed my hand.
  • Let There Be Peace On Earth (Cheryl). 

This was NOT the end of the concert. Naomi asked us to stay where we were, because they had a surprise for us. One by one, members of Kittay’s own choir made their way to the front to join us. One woman shashay-danced as she pushed her walker up. In what turned out to be the most spirited part of the concert, Rene led our combined group in two more sing-alongs: This Little Light of Mine and Down By the Riverside. The festivities concluded with a photo shoot of our combined choirs--many takes from many angles.

In her closing remarks, Naomi joked about hoping she could pass a POHC audition, because “I can see your group is having the time of your life.”  That was a bit disingenuous because according to a writeup on the Kittay website she is also a cantor. http://kittayhouse.org/kittay-house-program-cocoordinator-naomi-chiel

On our way out, Fran and I talked to the shashay woman. She said she was ninety six and loved living at Kittay because there was so much going on. She came down because Naomi had told her she would enjoy it. “I didn’t expect you guys to be so good,” she said. “Soloists and all.  I loved every minute.  Please come back.”

This was a most satisfying end to our Spring 2015 season.  

-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