Monday, November 17, 2008

first public performance

after three and half months in the city, the first public performance of mark has now occurred!  granted, i was part of the chorus in a choral presentation, but a milestone nonetheless.  i'm sometimes disappointed or upset with myself that i haven't achieved more here in the big apple.  when i mention this to people here, they ask how long i've been here and i tell them, "oh, about three months."  that's when they give me a look that says something like, "get over yourself.  you're crazy to feel that way!"  that's not what they say, just what their faces say.  what they actually say is something more like, "you just got here!  it takes time to learn this city, meet contacts, learn music, etc."  and of course, they're right.  i've always had some kind of internal pressure to produce something in life.  it would appear that it is as healthy a drive on the east coast as it has been anywhere else.  

this was what was called a professional level chorus for this presentation of haydn's "creation".  this means that everyone in the choir has been paid to sing at some point but we all donated our time for this event.  there was an orchestra and soloists and it really was a great evening of music.  

but the music was just the setting for a lecture entitled, "can faith be green?"  a very interesting discussion concerning stewardship of the planet.  i'm glad that the christian community has a number of leaders who are encouraging their parishioners to be stewards of this world we have been given.  as the apostle john records our lord saying, "for god so loved the world, he gave his one and only son..."  this is to say that god loves what god created which includes us and the earth.  we were meant to be stewards of the garden, not destructive consumers.  now, even gardeners remove some trees for cultivation of the garden, so there is a balance to be sought.  christian theology, though, supplies compelling resources for working out this balance.  

my first public performance.  took less than four months from arrival date.  hopefully soon i'll be reporting on the first dollar earned for performance.  that remains an elusive target right now.  

this blog was written in a recyclable medium. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008


there's something sad about being sick in a place far from home.  family and friends care, but they really aren't nearby to come and put a damp washcloth on your forehead or whip up some chicken noodle soup.  

so here i am in a far away land.  people everywhere, but like many here, experiencing profound aloneness.  and now i'm sick.  can't even sing at the moment.  the economy is difficult so whenever there's a catering opportunity, i need to take it.  like this afternoon.  went in at 2:00 pm to do set up for a big benefit event at the hammerstein ballroom.  gorgeous place on 34th street between 8th and 9th avenue.  

i was already feeling bad when i arrived which must have shown since joe, my captain, commented on it.  he cut me early since i looked a bit like death warmed over but not before i got a few hours in which was gracious of him since i wasn't doing much heavy lifting.  mostly folding napkins.  the few hours will be helpful.  what was fun was hearing the artists doing their sound checks.  first up, alicia keys.  the other...well, see if you can guess from the photo i took during his sound check a few hours ago and posted below.  let me know.  he's at the piano, wearing the hat.  he's a pretty big deal to some people.  

so...i'm home now, writing this blog and heading to bed.  missing the music back at hammerstein, but finishing some chicken soup and soothing a hoarse voice.  if you know someone who's sick, offer something of yourself.  it will mean the world to them.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

houston, we have a...

...blessing.  houston drives the m66 crosstown bus.  crosstown busses are key for any uptown folks since there are no subways going under central park.  so for a guy like me at 94th on the upper west side to get to a meeting at 91st on the upper east side, it would be crazy to take the trains around the park.  in fact, to do that, i would have to take at the least three trains, and possibly four, to make that trip.  for example, the three train route would be to take the "b" train from 96th down to 7th ave.  there i would switch to the "e" train to lexington where i would jump on the "4", "5", or "6" to 86th street and walk up to 91st.  the four train option is to start off on the "c" train and make a transfer at columbus circle to a "b" or "d" train around the bend to 7th ave.  you may not believe me when i say this, but i just did all that from memory.  

anyway, houston was looking at a cd cover when i got on the bus to cross town at 66th.  i asked him about it and he said it was karaoke preparation for after work on friday afternoon.  apparently he gives some cheer to the bus drivers on friday afternoon to help them start their weekend with some fun thoughts and smiles.  i'd love to start my weekend that way since it was kind of a rough day on the audition circuit.  

houston and i struck up a conversation about music, singing, life, his marriage, etc.  basically life boils down to two things for him, doing right by himself and god.  after that, everything should be fine.  i was amazed at how generous he was with himself, sharing some of his failures with me.  but the icing was him offering me a gift.  he pulled his bag out and pulled a bus map out and gave it to me saying that now i could get anywhere in town.  i suppose since i've got the subways mastered it's time to do the graduate course in the new york city bus transit system.  the map was more than just directions since it came as a gift.  brother houston blessed me.

Monday, November 3, 2008


went to a choir concert tonight and cried during this song.  perspective is always nice to have from time to time...

as grains of sand, as stars,
as drops of dew,
numbered and treasured by the almighty hand, 
the saints triumphant throng
that holy land
where all things and jerusalem are new.
we know not half they sing
or half they do,
but this we know,
they rest and understand;
while like a conflagration freshly fanned
their love glows upward, 
thro' and thro'.
lo!  like a stream on incense launched on flame
fresh saints stream up from death to life above, 
to shine among those others and rejoice:
what matters tribulation whence they came?
all love and only love can find a voice
where god makes glad his saints,
for god is love.
~christina rosetti (1830-1894)