The Lydster at Carnegie Hall

As I noted, my sister was in a mass choir singing the Mozart requiem at Carnegie Hall on Monday, June 13, at 8 pm. To be honest, I was willing to let my daughter blow off school, go down to NYC with me on Sunday, then we’d come back on early Tuesday morning.

But then the school calendar changed. A sheet sent home to us and then subsequently mailed had stated that there was a mandatory senior meeting on Thursday, June 9. Caps, gowns, and honor cords were to be distributed. I was unaware of honor cords for the high school level. They are tokens “consisting of twisted cords with tassels on either end awarded to members of honor societies or for various academic and non-academic achievements, awards, or honors.” My daughter had ones for Honor Society and Art Honor Society.

An audible

But this meeting got moved to – you guessed it – Monday, June 13. So instead, my daughter came down to NYC after school that day, leaving at 3:30 pm to catch an Amtrak train scheduled to leave at 4:10. But the train was delayed and not expected to depart until 5:30, which would provide us zero time to get from Penn Station to Carnegie Hall.

Fortunately, my wife could switch our daughter to a 4:30 pm train, which arrived at 7. We took a taxi to the venue and got there by 7:30. Coincidentally, my sister Leslie was standing right where we got dropped off. My daughter and went to our VERY good seats, J1 and J3 just left of the center section.

The program

The concert had five ‘acts.” The first was the National Youth Festival Chorus, a mass choir comprised of seven choirs from seven states. The groups had been rehearsing individually but not together until two days earlier. They sang six songs, only one of which I knew, Children Will Listen by Sondheim. The c. 270 kids, roughly from 10 to 18, were very good, except for one kid near the end of a row who rocked back and forth with his thumbs in his pockets and distracted my daughter and me.

The Masterwork Festival Chorus included eight ensembles from six states, plus some stragglers, including my sister and five of her compatriots. The soloists were very good, especially the tenor (Anthony Webb) and the mezzo-soprano (Kathryn Leemhuis)/ They were accompanied by the New York City Chamber Orchestra. They too only sang together since Saturday. Following the Sunday rehearsal, they were given COVID tests. If they got called, they were positive and, therefore, out. At least seven folks couldn’t perform. My daughter recognized a couple of movements, notably Lacrymosa, probably from its use in TV and movies.

Wait, there’s more!

After the intermission, the Columbus International Children’s Choir performed. Their director, Tatiana Kats, must have perfect pitch, for she gave the notes without a pitch pipe or other instrument. They did four songs, including Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit, which I’ve sung since high school. It was the William Dawson arrangement but slightly altered. Why We Sing by Greg Gilpin had hand gestures that were quite touching.

The Trinity University Chamber Singers did three pieces, including If Ye Love Me by Tallis. A very good group. Both the Columbus and Trinity groups were part of the Mozart Requiem.

The final act was the Tara Winds Clarinet Choir, the first clarinet ensemble to play at this festival since 1935. I liked Two Songs without Words by Holst. I LOVED the Marcel Dupré: Variations sur un Noel.

Then my sister told us to go to the gift shop, so my daughter could pick out a souvenir, but the building closed at 11 pm. From there, across the street to Trattoria Dell’Arte, which was fabulous. Lots of hours oeuvres, enough to fill one up, and wonderful service.

We took a cab back to the apartment, where my sister gave my daughter some presents. They all went to sleep at some point, but I didn’t because my daughter and I needed to take a 7:15 train back to ALB, and I got anxious. We took an Uber to Penn Station, got food, and took the train home. I’m told I fell asleep for a time.

My wife picked us up and took my daughter to school for her last day, then took me home, where I slept for four hours.

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