Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Metropolitan Choristers

A couple weeks ago, Star and I attended the 70th birthday party of a retired Metropolitan chorister who has since released his own CD. Star met him through the soap opera she used to work for and invited her and a friend (me!) to join in the festivities. As he was celebrating his 70th year, we knew that we would most likely in the younger half of the party, but once we stepped through the doors, we realized we were probably the youngest there by at least 20 years (not that we minded, of course). I knew I was in for an interesting evening.

After we had gotten our wine, we sat at an empty table and hoped that at some point people would join us. Two tables were already full and I already felt like the reject of the party. But pretty soon, our table filled up as did the other remaining tables. As Star and I started chatting with these lovely people who had rescued us from being outcasts, we slowly started to realize that they all sang at the Met. I asked the man sitting next to me, who had the most beautiful baritone speaking voice I have ever heard, who else was a chorister, and while there was a smattering here and there, most had crowded to our table and even started dragging chairs to squeeze in. Little did we know when we first sat down, we were at a golden table!

Well, as we all know, especially my old roommates, no party is complete without karaoke. But hey now, these are Metropolitan choristers! No dinky karaoke machine will do, so naturally, they had a professional piano accompanist. Most everyone at our table sang (mostly showtunes) and Star and I found ourselves having to encourage some of them to get up and sing. Of course, we were asked to go up and sing several times that night, but we politely declined, saying that even at our own karaoke parties, we wait till everyone's gone and we try to harmonize while drinking the rest of the wine. The party atmosphere would definitely be over once I stepped in front of the microphone.

The highlight of the night was when everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy. I have never NEVER heard a more beautiful rendition of "Happy Birthday" and it literally brought tears to my eyes. Hearing a room full of choristers singing together was unreal for lack of a more eloquent and appropriate word. It was by far, one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced.

As Star and I headed out and lingered in the hallway, we heard the song that we both knew like the back of our hands: "The Rose". Could it be? The song that Star, Bobbi, and I always sang when our karaoke guests left? I KID YOU NOT, two straggling Metropolitan choristers were singing the same song my old roommates and I would sing (except sounding MUCH better) and having a fantastic time. It blew my mind! And now that I'm actually writing it down, I think the only people who will truly appreciate this last bit is Star, Bobbi, and myself.

Yay, New York. You never let me down...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

If

I just wanted to share one of my favorite poems by Rudyard Kipling. It always inspires me and helps me to focus my life. I hope you enjoy it as well!

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!