When people ask me about my recent trip to New York, about what listening to our local choral singers on stage in Carnegie Hall was like, I get a little choked up.
The best I can come to describing it is my heart swelled to bursting, with awe and pride and love. Awe at the beautiful sublime music, pride in our local Nova Borealis choir’s accomplishment, and of course love for my favourite soprano.
It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. As one of them said, “I didn’t get invited to perform in Carnegie Hall in my first 50 years so I thought I better accept it in my next.”
It was also about the whole experience. Coming into contact and rehearsing with the other choirs and their conductors; that learning and sharing gave them all a special connection as they strove to make magic with all those voices.
Exploring the city, together and on our own. Seeing those iconic New York landmarks and venues for ourselves and having that, “Unreal, we’re really here at the Empire State building / Brooklyn Bridge / Museum of Modern Art…” Experiencing the other entertainment on offer and after seeing no less than three Broadway musicals it was delightful to note that our local school’s drama departments need take backstage to no one. Also there is just nothing like walking under the city lights at 2:30 a.m. with fresh pizza in one hand and your sweetheart in another.
Speaking of walking, the locals walk fast, are plugged into their phones, push crosswalk rules to the max and seldom meet your eyes, but ask them for help finding your way or where a good place nearby for lunch is and it’s just like here at home. There is no typecasting, they are as friendly and helpful as any Smithereen, though most are probably better drivers. Midtown New York grid-lock traffic takes very deft driving and steely nerves, nerves we just don’t get to exercise here.
Would I go back? Excuse the pat line but yes, in a New York minute. When I woke to get ready to fly home the first thought in my sleepy head was that I needed two more days to explore this frantic, funny, friendly, fantastic city. If you get the chance, go; if you are considering going, don’t hesitate, go.