I just finished a fascinating book, Born to Love, by journalist Maia Szalavitz and child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry. The book is about the development of empathy - how early childhood attachments and traumas influence one's ability to empathize and how the ability to empathize impacts greater society. As a mental health therapist/social worker, I found the book fascinating.
Yesterday I met a young man who teaches band in a public school in a local suburb. He spoke about the amount of work that he does within his school community, particularly with administrators, to advocate for the arts program and his constant fear that their program will be cut back. This makes sense to me, but seems unfortunate in so many ways.
In my last post I talked about the New York City Master Chorale's upcoming concerts commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and I wanted to follow-up with a bit more information. As I mentioned before, we are hosting a concert at Church of St. Paul the Apostle at 3 pm on Saturday, September 10 with special guests, the Empire City Men's Chorus. We will be accepting donations at this concert for a great non-profit, Feel the Music!
It's still the middle of summer, but I've heard more and more recently about the upcoming tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. I've lived in New York since 2004 and every year that I've been here there have been numerous events on and around the anniversary to commemorate those who died and to honor those who served - and continue to serve. But this year's anniversary celebrations will obviously be much bigger and more significantly (especially judging from the amount of buzz I've heard at this point in the year).
New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini recently wrote a fascinating article, The Art of Summer: Music of the Spheres, that was about, of all things, the "music" of a baseball game. Tommasini describes the familiar baseball sounds - vendors shouting about sales of cracker jacks, fans cheering, the crack of the bat - as music. When I listened to the audio clip, I understand his point: what I thought of previously as "noise" can be redefined as music.
Yesterday the New York Times, ran a wonderful article titled Music Therapy Helps the Dying, accompanied by a post in the Lens Blog (NYT's photography blog) Music in the Face of Death. The article featured music therapists from MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care who share music with the sick and dying as part of the palliative care program.
There are so many things that I love about the New York City Master Chorale. I love having the opportunity to sing under the phenomenal, inspirational Dr. Thea Kano. I am engaged by the repertoire we perform and have found much joy in each work, from Rachmaninoff Vespers to Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, of course Paul Leavitt's Requiem, as well as the shorter works we've performed. I love listening to the Duruflé Messe cum Jubilo (a work for men) and have often joked about my plans to sing it one day.
Today is the first official day of summer! I have to say: I still love summer. Growing up, summer was a chance to relax and spend my days reading, playing sports, practicing the piano (at my mother's request), taking day trips to a museum or to the beach. Now I love the promise of longer hours of sunlight, the fireflies that come out at night, and the myriad summer activities - hiking, going to the beach, picnics in the Park.
In early April, the New York Philharmonic had a limited run, staged-reading of Stephen Sondheim's Company, starring Patti LuPone, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, and Martha Plimpton. (Photos of the cast and production are here.) I was unable to attend the performance, but I was very excited to learn that the production is being shown at select movie theaters this week (upcoming showings on June 16, 19, and 21st).
Earlier this year, a friend from the chorus and I saw the movie Of Gods and Men (website here), which is based on John Kiser's book The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria. The book and movie are based on the true story of Trappist monks living in a predominantly Muslim community of war-torn Algeria in 1996. I found this movie moving and beautiful, and I find myself thinking about it frequently, even though it's now been well over a month since I saw it.