We all dream big- don’t we? From quite nearly the time we are able to walk and talk, we are setting goals for ourselves. I imagine that once upon a time all of us could be heard saying “I want to be a. . . when I grow up”, or “I have always wanted to. . .” Musicians are certainly no exception to dreaming lofty dreams. All classically trained musicians dream of making it to the big stages of the world- Carnegie Hall, the Wigmore Hall, the Mozarteum, the Grosses Festspiel Haus, and of course Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
For many of us, time passes, life happens, and those once ambitious, lofty dreams slowly become distant memories with each passing day. Sometimes, however, a singular life event can shake things up, refocus one’s energies, and reignite a long extinguished flame. That singular moment came for me on a cool March night in 2017 as I was heading home from work. I got the idea to write a piece of music scored for soloists, orchestra, and chorus based on traditional African American Spirituals used to recount the dramatic conditions surrounding the birth of Christ. In effect, I decided to write a Christmas cantata. As I began writing the cantata I could clearly hear the senior choir I conduct singing certain passages, and admittedly I wrote quite a good deal of the music with them in mind. This choir- disciplined, spirited, fun and quirky- is comprised largely of seniors ranging in age from late 50s to early 90s, and is supported by a core group of professional singers from the Greater New York area. They have performed a wide range of music over the time that I have been their conductor; each appearance an improvement upon the last. No greater reward have I received than last year’s premiere performance of my new work. They sang with such moving beauty, power, and palpable enthusiasm. I then began to very clearly see, as a next step, a performance at Lincoln Center unfold. “Let’s take this to the big stage,” I said.
This campaign to Lincoln Center helps bring each one of us one step closer to the fulfilment of lifelong dreams. The young, wide eyed professional singers looking to make it to the big stage in New York, the zany, energetic conductor/composer who still believes everything is possible, and the senior choir that has never let their love of music and joy of singing fade away each look forward to the opportunity to sing in Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center. We need your help to get there!
Your generous donations help us secure the orchestra, hire our professional soloists and choristers, and pay the rental fee for the Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Thanks for giving, and see you at Jazz!
- Tyan Keyes-ballard
- Anthony Richardson
- Jen Chalmers
- Puma and Andrea Sojola
- Taiwan Norris
New York, NY