Carnegie or Bust!
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? It’s the start of an old joke, of course, but one whose answer bears enormous truth. The excitement is now palpable as The Voices of Flower Mound get closer to our residency in NYC’s famed Carnegie Hall. A venture that started long before COVID first appeared on the scene in 2020 is now coming to fruition.
So much has transpired since January 1st of this year already! The first few days of the new year involved signing contracts, reading through the long list of requirements and the residency schedule, including meetings, rehearsals, concert, and celebratory functions. We received our flight schedules and hotel arrangements. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and all our music came in! For an event we have known about since 2019, the first few weeks of 2023 have been a bevy of activity and excitement unlike anything that came before.
In the last few days, I have found myself excitedly explaining to friends and family all about the illustrious history of Carnegie Hall—all about the luminaries that have shaped artistic and cultural history in that hall, on that stage. Leonard Bernstein, one of the most important musical figures of all time, was a complete unknown until that one fateful day he was asked to step in to conduct a concert at the last minute, replacing a flu-stricken Bruno Walter on the Carnegie Hall podium of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a grueling program that included works by Strauss and Wagner. He became a celebrity overnight. Impressive? Of course! But at Carnegie Hall this is merely one out of countless seminal moments in the history of music.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky of the famous Nutcracker ballet conducted there. Antonin Dvořák premiered his Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” there. The dean of modern conductors, Arturo Toscanini, conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra there. Over on the jazz and popular side of things everyone from Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck, Nina Simone, and Duke Ellington to Simon & Garfunkel and the Beatles have performed on that stage. Mark Twain gave his last public lecture on the famous stage in 1906. An exhaustive list of notable figures and events at Carnegie Hall would take volumes.
So here we are, about to become part of the legendary hall’s recorded history. Our feelings run the gamut between excitement, awe, reverence, and humility. To get to experience this with friends is sublime.
So what now? Well, between now and the concert date we will do what one does to get to Carnegie Hall-- practice, practice, practice.