Christmas Windows!

I just remembered, I think I took a walk down 5th Avenue last year (or one of these years) and took pictures of all the windows. I think I’ll do that again. I’ll post a walk down 5th Avenue, maybe starting at Tiffany’s.

This one is nearer to home. This is the window of a clothing store for children that always has pieces so exquisite I wish they came in adult sizes.

Christmas Windows, New York City

Where Will I Stand for the Concert?

How our choir director John Maclay decides where we will stand at our concerts is a mystery to most of us in the choir. We talk about it from time to time. Since he usually puts me way in the back my working theory is that he hates my voice and wants me as far away from him and the audience as possible. Except there’s always great singers back there too.

A fellow singer told me that John gets a lot of mail from people complaining that they are not in the front. Being in the front is thrilling. You feel like you’re on a stage, like one of the stars. The audience can see you, and so you connect with them more directly. But because of this you also have to watch your every move and expression. You can’t fidget, or frown, or whatever. You can’t just relax and sing. Since I’m fine about not being in the front, maybe that is why I’m so often in the back?

My only preference is to be surrounded by singers. I want singers behind me and on either side of me, so I can be right in the middle of the harmony. When you’re in the very back row or on the end of a row there are fewer singers around you and you just don’t get that same resonance with your fellow singers.

When John puts me in one of those spots I go back to “I have a horrible voice and he puts me here so fewer people will have to hear me and endure my voice.” I don’t mind being put there sometimes. Someone has to have the least desired spots and I don’t mind taking my turn. But now that I think of it, I’ve ended up there a few times, and with 150 people in the choir, one turn should be enough. He does hate my voice!!

So we shall see where John puts me this time. I should know by Tuesday. Or Thursday. Last year he didn’t tell us until the last minute. Maybe so he had fewer days to get complaints?

The Christmas trees are here! I’m going to get a wreath, I’ve decided. But I’m going to wait until this cold I have is gone though, so I can smell it.

Christmas Tree Stand, New York City

Bringing Music Back to Afghanistan

Skip ahead to the 5:59:00 mark to hear a November 15th TEDx talk given by Louise Pascale of Lesley University about the Afghan Children’s Songbook Project. Louise is like the Pete Seeger/Cecil Sharp of Afghanistan. The project grew out of her experiences in the sixties, working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan. Actually, that was one of the things that stood out for me, the things she said about how working in the Peace Corps stays with you. I couldn’t leave my cats and join now, but I envy her and many others this kind of experience.

She also makes very clear how music-less Afghanistan had become. I don’t want to give anything away, you should listen to her talk, but until her talk I really didn’t comprehend just how extensive the ban on music was. I loved the soldier at the end.

Christmas Past

I have a cold, so I’m going to go curl up and binge watch Homeland or something. In the meantime, I give you a few shots from my childhood home in Huntington, LI in the 70’s. This is my mother and our dog, Jennet. God, my mother looks like a teenager. This was 1972, so she was 38, but I’d believe it if someone told me she was 20 in this picture.


This is my brother Douglas. Please note the box that says Odyssey in the upper left hand corner. This was a very early home video game. I just googled it. It was the first home video game. I think this shot was from 1973.


My brother Peter in a sling. I don’t remember what happened! Please note the 70’s hair styles my brothers had.


That’s my first love, Chris Baker, and a high school friend named Joanne. That is also the piano I learned to play on. All that music must be mine because I was the only one who ever played. Sigh. I miss having a piano in the house, but not terribly. I didn’t play much when I had one.


Christmas Tours in New York City

A friend of mine and fellow writer Brett Leveridge has a walking tours business called Avenue and Alleys. He’s starting a Christmas walking tour on November 28th which will go until December 24th. The man is Christmas and New York obsessed so I can think of no better way to spend 90 minutes strolling through the city. He’s very funny too, and I just happily found one of my favorite radio pieces he’s done. He’s the first one up on this episode of This American Life. It is SO worth listening to, and then you’ll see why I recommend doing his tour.

The Christmas tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which I joyously sang next to one year with my choir). I think I’ll just go back and sing next to again. Until someone stops me.