Sunday, June 3, 2007

New Thing #70: Yes we can!


As a lifelong lover, listener, student and performer of music, I am never one to turn down a unique sonic opportunity. In the last 9 days, I've seen a live concert by an 80s band, the New York Philharmonic, improvisational jazz and a guy playing 'Unchained Medlody' on the saw (as I write this, I am watching Broadway: The American Musical rebroadcast on PBS). So why not round it off with something musical and awesome that's totally new? Today I spent the afternoon at the 26-hour Bang on a Can Marathon at the World Financial Center. Described in the program as "a celebration of music that slips through the cracks," the marathon boasted an impressive program of world music, contemporary instrumentalizations and a performance by the Young People's Choir of New York (a group which, as those who know anything about my musical nerd background might understand, tugged particularly hard at my heartstrings). One of the more amazing things I've seen, not just at this event but overall, was a drum-and-gong trio whose performance consisted of a single sustained note, which began as a barely audible hum, then crescendoed into an ear-splitting wail which nearly blew off the glass WFC roof. Not one person in the 1,000-person+ audience made a sound during the 4-minute piece. Half of them were covering their ears, but seemed completely entranced. I mentioned to the Blue Man Group band member next to me that I was sure I'd achieved a new level of awareness. I lost it, but it will be back.

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