Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New York, Day 4

Only 2 full days left! Days are packed, and sometimes feel long, and then they hop by together 'til most are gone.

Yesterday we went by subway to battery park, from which we took the ferry over to Ellis Island, where we would play our first concert. We had a few hours to spend there before the concert, so after we ate lunch, people split off and enjoyed themselves how they liked. We watched the river and the skyline, searched for names of immigrants on walls outside, walked about and sat about and talked. There was a museum and movie about Ellis Island that played also.

It came time for US to play, so we all suited up in our tour shirts, got our instruments out, and went to the lawn. We warmed up as parents passed out fliers to tell of us and our playing. When we started we had a small audience, and we played in the shade under trees, towards where most of the people, with the Manhattan skyline directly behind. It was a really nice atmosphere, and beauitful setting, but a difficult one for playing. Our sound wasn't warmed up by bouncing off walls as it would be in an inside setting with nice acoustics, and it was sometimes hard to hear one another. We were standing up, which was also unusual. But we went for it! And the music turned out all right. The first piece (Beethoven) was shaky in places, for it required quick changes and tight ensemble, and we were still getting our bearings. The next piece, a slow one, went off very nicely. The next, we rushed terribly, playing it much to fast, which made it difficult, but we got through. We finished off the set with our "Ellis Island Suite" a piece commisioned for and premiered by our orchestra two years ago. Now finally performed on Ellis Island. It was quite fun, and the sounds of Swing-Jazz, Jewish Klezmer music, and Folk wafted through the trees.

The audience seemed to enjoy it, a few parents got it on film, and we took a group picture against the skyline afterwards. I made a mistake yesterday, forgetting the camer battery which I was charging : ( so the photos from Ellis Island are only had by others. I think my mom got some on her iPhone.

After the concert people talked and laughed about problems with bugs they had during playing (our conductor had ants crawling on his score at one point) and moments when things went well or...not so well.

On the way back, a small group of us split off and went to see Ground Zero. My Mom and I with some others went. I was glad to be able to do that. It was hard to get to, and still under construction, nothing really there yet, which makes it all the more striking. It is a large area, and much vertical space. It was strange and thought-provoking to be there. It sparked some good conversation. We had to walk further, but it was worth it, I was glad not to miss it.

We were amused and impressed by Maraika, our bass palyer, who walked all the way and carried her double bass up and down multiple flights of stairs.

We all caught the subway and met the rest of the group at the hotel. That night we had a pizza dinner, and even more interesting conversation! I got to talk with my table abotu the histoy of the church, doctrines and practice, denominations, and the different beliefs that some Christians had. Some were Christians at the table, some were not.

I have started a facebook album to upload a few pictures as I finish up the rest of the trip. These will just be the highlights, with one more exhaustive later. I've gotten five up from the first day, and will fill in the last few days (that I've had picture taking ability) and continue from there. Enjoy! I hope it's nice to see a few glimpses as well as read. And I'm thankful someone's willing to let me use their laptop to upload pictures.

Adios my friends. See you soon.

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