A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

music
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THANKSGIVING IN NEW YORK (article first published : 2003-03-9)

Durban singer Stacey Almond was invited to fly to the United States to appear in a concert at New York’s famous Riverside Cathedral on December 1 last year, sponsored by American composer and conductor Tim Janis.

“I first met Tim in May 2002, when he was invited to perform with his musical ensemble and conduct the KZN Philharmonic at The Symphony of Hope Concert I was organising,” says Stacey. “Tim has very close connections with the American World Church Services and its Aids projects, so McCord Hospital’s Sinikithemba Aids Choir were also travelling on the same flight, to sing in the concert.

“New York is as the Americans are fond of saying an "Awesome" city, with a capital A. Its size, its people and their life style are all larger than life. I was in New York for nine days and could only take in a fraction of what the "Big Apple" has on offer over Thanksgiving and the pre Christmas period. On any given night of the week, you are completely spoilt for choice as to which show, opera, concert or play to go to. In the space of nine days, I had to choose whether to attend the New York City Ballet’s opening preview of Nutcracker, the Met Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor or Trovatore, Phantom of the Opera, 42nd Street or Chicago, Dimitri Horostovski in concert with the New York Phil, Al Pacino in a Play reading of one of the classics, or Christoph Dochnani conducting at Allice Tully Hall. And that was just for starters!

“After agonising hours, I chose a Broadway Benefit starring Cagney and Lacey former star Tyne Daley on Sunday, Lucia with Ruth Anne Svenson on Monday, a free concert with the Juliard student orchestra on the Tuesday, Nutcracker on Wednesday, Phantom on Thursday, Dochnani on Friday, and Trovatore at the Met again on Saturday. Sunday was the concert at Riverside.

“The biting cold which came unseasonably early even for New Yorkers, saved up its best efforts for the day of the concert. Stepping out of The Riverside Hotel to hail a taxi, I was knocked sideways by the wind which seemed to be coming straight down the Hudson River from Siberia! Luckily, the Riverside Church is amply heated and all who braved the weather that day were amply rewarded by being able to take off some of their arctic clothing. Not only the weather was out to disrupt things however, because Tim Janis and his fellow musicians were stranded en route overnight without any of their sound equipment or luggage. All ended well, however, when it was eventually discovered and rerouted, and with only a few minutes to spare, he managed to set up and rehearse with us in time to go on.

“The Sinikithemba Aids Choir were also feeling the effects of the cold after staying outside New York, but made a valiant effort to perform their traditional African songs and praise calls for the appreciative audience. Along with myself, Broadway musicals star Timothy Shew was also a guest artist in the concert. Despite the bitter weather, many people had travelled across New York and even come in from other cities to attend the occasion. There was a lavish reception for all the artists and guests in the Church, where I received an invitation to return to the US, to appear in my own concert in Connecticut. Negotiations for this are in progress.

“I would love to see more of this amazing city. Whether it was pre Chrismas and Thanksgiving spirit, I don’t know, but the streets were full of people dining in the vast number of restaurants on offer, carrying home real Christmas trees on their backs or by car, and purchasing presents or wonderful delicacies from the fantastic array of Deli’s around the city. Thanksgiving is a very special time for America, and I was lucky to have a very good vantage point to view the yearly Macey’s Day Parade. Spectators thronged the route, despite the bitter cold, but even the police looked frozen! Hats off to the drum majorettes some of whom appeared with bare midriffs!

“I tried very hard not to count the cost in Rand as my money slipped out of my fingers like water every time I stopped to eat - $3.50 for a coffee, $6.50 for a salad (lettuce only - but of such a quality and the dressing, was to die for!) 11.50 for a Pastrami on Rye sandwich - BUT - a pound of pastrami if you please! Any South Africans who are big eaters - stay at home or empty your credit card before leaving! Still, it was a fabulous trip.

“I went on from New York to Rhode Island to stay with friends and got to see Newport and Jackie Kennedy’s former family summer home. Every house is like a Gone with the Wind mansion and is on show to the public for $10 to $30 a peep. A very upmarket place. From there, I flew across America to Orlando to take a Cruise Ship to the Mexican Riviera, and all too soon it was time to come home!”

Contact Stacey Almond on 031 205 3651or 084 505 3651 or e-mail her on stacey@nuts4music.co.za or visit www.nuts4music.co.za




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart