Greetings to you, my good friends and fellow music lovers!
Finally, finally, we are seeing and feeling the results of a long, cold winter.
Hibernating roots and bulbs have emerged from the deep freeze and the city’s trees and flower beds are alive with blossom and color. The entire mood has changed down here in lower Manhattan; people have finally shed their thick down parkas and winter uniforms! The winter of 2014 was a doozy.
There is rebirth on every street corner!
I press on, singing regularly with the Middle Collegiate Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir in the East Village. Singing in a faith-based choir is very different than working on my own songs with a killer band that I hand pick. Both are fantastic experiences that I love so much and feel fortunate to have in my life. Singing in a choir is ensemble work on steroids. Music blasts out of the choir like water out of a fire hydrant on a steamy summer day.
Our choir director, John Del Cueto is a fireball maestro who takes no prisoners. He makes us work hard to read the chart, find the harmonies, hit the notes and study the lyric content. The Middle Church Gospel Band led by Dionne McClain-Freeney is also solid gold.
Of course, feeling the group’s spirit of faith and healing is priceless. The whole experience is a full tilt pleasure.
John tells us never to forget the importance of conveying the message behind the lyrics. He says you never know who will walk in to a service with personal pain or worry and be touched by something the music puts forward.
That can be said for gigs anywhere, not just church choir.
I remember not long ago listening to John Hiatt at City Winery. A line he kept repeating just got me, and before I knew it, I was riding my own emotions, tears streaming down my face, fingers fumbling in the dark for a tissue in my bag.
It’s never a bad thing to feel emotions, especially those brought on by music. It’s a healing thing.
I'm also keeping my fingers nimble with guitar and mandolin lessons from two wonderful teachers, Terre Roche and Barry Mitterhoff.
This Thursday, April 17th, Middle Church hosts its annual Maundy Thursday multicultural Seder and Agape meal with the Shul of New York, where the Gospel Choir will be singing in Hebrew! It will be at 6:30pm at 50 East 7th Street.
On Easter Sunday, April 20th, the Gospel Choir will be singing at the two Easter services. You're welcome to join us, either in person or via livestream online! (Click here for the 9 a.m. service and here for the 11:15 a.m. service).
And on Friday, May 2nd, The Singin’ Seniors group has their spring concert and you are invited!
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Senior Center at St. Peter's Church
619 Lexington Ave, NY
We hold a weekly singing class at Lenox Hill Senior Center, sponsored by Feel The Music!, where we practice vocal exercises, sight reading and harmony singing and rehearse colorful and eclectic songs that are fun to sing and beautiful to hear.
The lovely and talented Clare Cooper is our illustrious accompanist!
I am very proud of these hard working, fun loving students. Their spring concert will surely be a feel-good event. Way to go, Singin’ Seniors!
One final note -- heads up for some good music. Four Fab Friends have released or are about to release new CDs this spring! Keep an eye & an ear out for:
Catherine Russell: "Bring it Back"
Amanda Homi: "Til I Reach Bombay"
Ann Klein: "Tumbleweed Symphony"
Valerie Ghent: "Muse"
And one more for the boys:
Noah Brandow (my awesome hip hop godson) has released a second CD with Twisted Linguistics: "Deep Waters."
Sending Love and Appreciation to you,
P.S. The John Hiatt song that got me crying was "Damn This Town":