Friday, April 22, 2011

YGC @ Carnegie

Adam Fishman '13 on our April 8 performance at Carnegie Hall
When I was little, my dad loved telling the same old joke: a lost tourist on 57th street in Manhattan stops Jascha Heifetz on the street and asks him how to get to Carnegie Hall, to which Heifetz replies, “Practice, practice, practice.”

At New Years, my mother was talking to her friend whose daughter recently graduated from music school and had just played in Carnegie Hall. This friend had flown out from Chicago to New York to see the concert because well, it’s Carnegie Hall. My mother looked at me with a smile and said, “Well Adam. When you play in Carnegie Hall, I’ll fly out to see it too.” I then said, “Oh! So you’ll be flying out in April?” I had forgotten to tell my parents about the concert, which, to a Midwestern family of musicians, is certainly the most important concert of my life thus far. Whoops. They bought two plane tickets.

So how did the Glee Club get to Carnegie Hall? There are several answers to that question. With a lot of help. By bus from New Haven. To my family and to me, though, we got there through a lot of history, talent, and (of course) practice.
When we first walked onstage for rehearsal, all I could think was, “ohmygodohmygodohmygod.”

After that brief freak-out, I started singing. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are beyond belief. Not only could I hear my neighbors, but also I could hear the performers on the other side of the hall. When the orchestra began to play, I could pick out individual instrument parts. It was as if everyone was playing a personal concert to me. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but after all, it’s Carnegie Hall; why wouldn’t I exaggerate?

After the group left for dinner, I stayed to listen to Derek Tam '11 practice his piano accompaniment. Seemingly out of nowhere, a security guard with a thick accent (and a thick frown) appeared and said, “Can you please take your water bottle off the 100,000 dollar piano.” Derek grumbled and removed the empty disposable bottle from the music stand.

The concert itself was amazing. I sometimes forget how much of a privilege it is to be able to perform with such talented people. I was particularly moved by the professionalism of the Yale Symphony Orchestra. Granted, my understanding of orchestral music is far more underdeveloped than my appreciation for it, but still, I love every moment of their performance. These choral orchestral works are by far the best moments of the year. Not only do I get to listen to amazing musicians weave together beautiful music, but I also get to help. That is the real privilege.

After the concert ended, I said goodbye to the gleaming walls of Carnegie Hall only to find all the New York transplant alums of my high school choir, some of whom I hadn’t seen in three years. One girl had intended to leave at intermission but was so moved that she couldn’t bring herself to leave.

I don't exactly know what was responsible for our performance on Saturday being so darn good, but whether it the space, the practicing, or the excitement, I felt we sounded better than we ever have. Although I’ll probably never get to sing in Carnegie again, this was everything I dreamt it could be and will be a concert I remember forever.