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Showing posts from June 20, 2010

Magical Moment 142, "North Platte Meets New York"

After a long day of piano hunting, Eddie and I sat exhausted in the dirt of Brooklyn's Prospect Park. We were waiting for the Texas Tornadoes to begin their free outdoor concert as we swatted mosquitoes and sorted through our pictures and videos from the day. We opted against the metal folding chairs placed in front of the stage for our own section of ground so we could lay out and let the sweat dry as we recuperated from our day's walking. We had no blanket to lay on, so we used the large floor mat from the back of my SUV, which worked well enough to keep us out of the ants and dirt.

I suddenly felt rejuvenated when at last the Texas Tornadoes made their grand entrance on stage with the compulsively catchy "Adios Mexico." I was surprised at the large crowd that made it out to see them. In my whole life, there are few people I know that have heard of the Tex-Mex group, let alone like them enough to make the journey to see them in concert. I was introduced to them in N…

Magical Moment 141, "Duet"

Me in the middle of Time Square

This is the third day of my mission, playing all 60 pianos placed throughout NYC by Sing For Hope. I’m beginning to learn that every song I play is actually a duet. The other musical collaborator is the city of New York. When an ambulance races through the street, sirens blaring, that siren becomes a part of the song. A bicyclist, an obnoxious by stander, a honking UPS truck, they are all members of the harmonious ensemble.
I’ve been waiting for a piano located in a quiet area to play “Clair De Lune.” It’s time I accept there is no such thing. Instead it will play “Claire De Lune,” featuring the city of New York.
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Magical Moment 140, "The Irresistible Urge"

When I was a little girl, I couldn’t pass by a piano without playing it. I remember the half dozen old pianos scattered throughout my old church and school building. When we stayed late or arrived early for one of our many church related events, I entertained myself by finding an abandoned, wooden upright, and playing until it was time to go. I got my piano job at Lee’s Restaurant by simply asking the owner if I could play a song on the clunky, out of tune piano (with the encouragement of my family, due to my own shyness). To this day, If I am in the vicinity of a piano, sooner or later, I’ll find my way to it. That’s why this project by Sing For Hope is so neat. There are others like me, who couldn’t pass up an available piano if their life depended on it. They come in all different skill levels and styles, but all have that same desire in common.
I met one such person in Central Park by the band shell. He hovered with attentive curiosity, over the shoulders of me and the other playe…

Magical Moment 139, "The Old Woman Who Played Chopin"

Today, I visited 13 pianos throughout Manhattan in my mission to play all 60 pianos within the 5 boroughs in 2 weeks! It was a day of blistered feet, sun burnt shoulders, and a parking ticket.
I was surprised at how many pianos seemed untouched, as if by standers were scared or unsure of its purpose, like in Saint Nicholas Park and Harlem Art Park. However, others, like the band shell at Central Park and the Lincoln Center, were swarming with both talented and eager players and grateful audience members.
My favorite moment today was as one of those audience members outside the Juilliard Building in Lincoln Center. I was waiting for my turn at the keys when an old woman walked by the piano carrying a backpack and several plastic grocery bags so full that the handles stretched and threatened to break all together. Long gray and black hair stretched down the back of her tiny frame as she stepped slowly with a hunched back. Her eyes suddenly lit up when she saw the instrument and she asked …

Magical Moment 138, "Play Me, I'm Yours"

After 8 months of living here as a struggling musician, there are areas of New York City that I know pretty well. But there are many I haven’t dared to explore yet. I’m comfortable with a handful of subway lines, but clueless when it comes to others. I still keep my laminated map of the city in my purse and can pull it out, orient myself, and figure out where to go in a matter of seconds, from the time the train stops til the doors close. In an effort to visit every nook and cranny of New York City and its 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island), I’m going to play 60 pianos in two weeks.
A nonprofit organization called Sing For Hope, has set up pianos on sidewalks and city parks throughout 5 boroughs. Any passerby can show off their skills on one of the colorful pianos marked with the words, “Play me, I’m yours.” After the two weeks, the pianos will be donated to local schools.
I began my trek yesterday, knocking out 5 pianos in lower Manhattan - Battery Park,…

Magical Moment 137, "Opportunity Taken"

"I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one." ~Mark Twain
Today I struggled with whether or not to run. A small, seemingly insignificant choice on the surface, but with several underlying effects. See, I haven’t run in several days, and the more times I miss a run, the more likely I’ll miss tomorrow’s run as well. Not to mention, I knew the next several days would be busy and I probably wouldn’t have time to get a good one in. On the other hand, I already missed the early morning hours of bearable, cool weather. Now it was hot, sunny, and 90 degrees. All things considered, I decided to suck it up and go for it. I ran through 4 towns; Lodi, Hasbrouck Heights, Wood-ridge, and Carlstadt (in northern New Jersey lingo, that amounts to about 4½ miles). And wouldn’t you know it? The moment I finished, out of breath and light-headed from the humidity and sun, I walked up the cement stairs to my front door and…rain.
A trivial coincidence to most, but to me, i…

Magical Moment 136, "A Dreamer Whose Dreams Always Came Last"

One of the reasons why I am out here near New York City, pursuing a music career is because of my dad. Somehow I inherited his passion and entrepreneur spirit. He, like me, has always had a thousand things in his head he’s wanted to try. He, like me, has been known to make impulsive, life changing decisions in order to follow his dream. He, like me, is always looking for the next opportunity to commit to. He, like me, has seen his share of success and disappointment.

He has always had a love for flight and once earned his private pilot’s license. The expense and time commitment makes it a difficult hobby to keep however. Maybe if he could go back in time, flight wouldn’t be the dream that got away, but like the song, ”A Builder” says, he is “a dreamer whose dreams always came last,” while providing for his family came first.

My goal and dream is to become a successful musician, performer, and songwriter. I learned from my dad the importance of dreams, the hard work that goes into fulfi…