Tag Archives: Amazing Grace

New York, Day 2: April 9, 2016

Today’s Original Schedule:

<2016-04-09 Sat>

 

What really happened:

Woke up fairly early, got dressed.  I listened to the  soundtrack from An American in Paris on Spotify. Michael and Lingyi met us downstairs at our building and we walked over for brunch at Open Kitchen. We’d been there before so I got some old favorites from the buffet.

Michael walked her to the subway and we Ubered to Bryant Park for the bagpipe concerts.  By then, it was pouring rain.

I told Michael a bit about bagpipe playing and kilts/fly plaids in general.  My knowledge of bagpipes was slightly less than Wikipedia’s:

The scale of the chanter is in Mixolydian mode, which has a flattened seventh scale degree. It has a range from one whole tone lower than the tonic to one octave above it. The drones are tuned to this tonic note, called A. The nine notes of the chanter scale “low G, low A, B, C, D, E, F, high G, and high A”. However, the A pitch of most pipers and pipe bands currently is somewhere around 480 Hz, which is actually sharper than standard B♭ at 466.16 Hz. Historically it was indeed flatter, as evidenced by recordings, and extant instruments.

Highland bagpipe music is written in the key of D major, where the C and F are sharp (despite the key-signature usually being omitted from scores). Due to the lack of chromatic notes, to change key is also to change modes; tunes are in A Mixolydian, D Major, B Minor, or occasionally E Dorian.

Traditionally, certain notes were sometimes tuned slightly off from just intonation. For example, on some old chanters the D and high G would be somewhat sharp. According to Forsyth (1935), the C and F holes were traditionally bored exactly midway between those for B and D and those for E and G, respectively, resulting in approximately a quarter-tone difference from just intonation, somewhat like a “blue” note in jazz. Today, however, the notes of the chanter are usually tuned in just intonation to the Mixolydian scale. The two tenor drones are generally an octave below the keynote of the chanter (low A), and the bass drone two octaves below, but they may be retuned to suit the mode of the melody. Forsyth lists three traditional drone tunings: Ellis, A3/A3/A2; Glen, A4/A4/A2; and Mackay, G3/B3/C2.

The first group was Shamrock & Thistle Pipes and Drums from New Jersey.

They even had a djembe (drum) which was cool.  Unscottish but cool.

Amazing Grace

Military medley

 

We found the “best public bathrooms in the world”, according to reviews Michael had on his phone.

Then another group played.  Some of them were very young.

We saw a high school group wearing raincoats and playing actual band instruments waiting to line up for the parade.  Raincoats. Ha!

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little.” ~ Billy Connolly

Parade

 

Here’s the Shamrock and Thistle in the parade:

 

We walked to the theater for Hamilton. Just as well we had tickets for that since it was pretty cold/rainy for the parade. The concert in the park was a better substitute for the parade.  We walked by Un Deux Trois again.  I said no to lunch there.

We were early for Hamilton so we got coffee, banana and pastry at Corso Coffee across the street.

hamilton

 

When we saw the Hamilton line moving, we went over.  Michael had to buy these tickets from a reseller so we didn’t have seats together.  He and I sat together and Tom was about 20 seats away.

Fantastic show. Tom liked it.  I was afraid he wouldn’t because of the hip-hop music / rap but I was wrong.

We walked to Rossini’s for dinner.  We stopped at those restrooms in Bryant park and I tried them out.  Drama between women’s matron and men’s attendant over a water bottle in trash.  <Sigh>

We got to Rossini’s early for our reservation. I had cream of broccoli soup and spaghetti, key lime pie and coffee.  I also had a Black Russian which meant no Vicodin later.

We were so early that we missed the opera singer, although she came in just as we were leaving.  Just as well since we didn’t have any obscure selections for her this time.

We ubered back to our place.  We listened to a bit of Hamilton (The Kings first song), watched some stuff on YouTube, including the king teaching Steven Colbert how to do the walk, Bicycle band (video coming tomorrow!), Top Secret Drummers, Geocaching, handbell Pirates of the Caribbean and more.

And POTC:

After Michael left, we watched some Downton Abbey, had ice cream and off to bed.

 

A Bit of Scotland Coming to NYC

tartan-parade

 

Until I saw this article in an online Scottish newspaper, I had never heard of Tartan Week in NYC.  This year, we’ll be going for part of it anyway!

http://www.scotland.org/whats-on/scotland-week/tartan-day-parade/

Tartan Day Parade 2016

The annual Tartan Day Parade takes place on 6th Avenue on April 9 and is the stalwart of the Scotland Week calendar.

Led by a Grand Marshal, the parade will bring together pipers and drummers from all over the world in a celebration of the contribution made to the USA by the Scots. Past marshals have include Sir Sean Connery, Scots-born actors Brian Cox, Kevin McKidd and Alan Cumming and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. This year’s Grand Marshal is Outlander star Sam Heughan.

Tartan Day has been celebrated since 1998. Over the years it has been expanded into a week-long programme of events promoting Scotland in North America.

The official parade tartan has been designed by the Scottish Tartans Authority, funded by the Scottish Registers of Tartan and its registration donated by the National Records of Scotland. Its colours and pattern represent aspects of Scottish and American culture such as the blue and white of the Saltire and the green of the trees bordering 6th Avenue where the parade takes place.

 

From http://nyctartanweek.org/the-origins-of-new-yorks-tartan-day/

The Origins of New York’s Tartan Day Parade

In 1999, the first Tartan Day Parade, consisting of two pipe bands and a small but spirited group of Scottish Americans, including Grand Marshall Cliff Robertson, walked from the British Consulate to the United Nations. Since then it has flourished to include many bands and thousands of participants.

In 2002, the Parade was brought to Sixth Avenue for the first time. This Parade attracted a record number of pipe bands from all over the world and was led by Sir Sean Connery and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The National Tartan Day New York Committee was founded by three New York-based Scottish-American organizations: the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, founded in 1756; the New York Caledonian Club, 1856; and the American-Scottish Foundation®, 1956. Since 2002, the Committee has grown to include Clan Campbell. The NTDNYC, which has non-profit 501(c)(3) status, is charged with maintaining and perpetuating the New York Tartan Day Parade and coordinating the events that complement it.

Poor DH may be “pipered out”, if that’s at all possible, since we went to the Edinburgh Tattoo last summer, we’ll be going again this August and we’ll be going to the Virginia International Tattoo two weeks after the Tartan Day Parade. As far as I’m concerned, there can never be too many bagpipes 🙂

It’s funny how I found the Virginia Tattoo.  I’d never heard of them, even though we live in Virginia.  When I was writing up the blog posts for last summer’s Edinburgh Tattoo, I looked up info about the Top Secret Drum Corps which I’d loved.  Turns out, they’re going to be at the Virginia version this year – so we’re going, too!

 

The Parade starts at 2.00pm at West 45th Street and marches up 6th Avenue to 55th Street.

Once again, we’ll be using Airbnb since it worked out so well for us last time we went to NYC.  We have arranged to use Airbnbs for our next 2 trips, too.


Just throwing in this video because I love it, it has piano – and pipers!  This took place in the fantastic Eilean Donan Castle.

From the wonderful Piano Guys, This is Your Fight Song.  I have seen this countless times and I am always so moved for the beauty of the Highlands countryside, the piano, cello, bagpipes, drums, the intertwining of Amazing Grace and Scotland The Brave with the original Fight Song.

 

They wrote in the notes:

When we first heard Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” we were inspired by its message. In a world where we too often talk about our differences, we have at least one thing in common. We all struggle. Not in the same way, nor at the same level, but we all want a fighting chance. And we all share in one gift: The will to make the most of our lives. To take what we’ve been given and turn it into something better could be considered the sentient measuring stick of success. But to do so seldom is simple and more often requires we fight. Not against each other. But against the current threatening to drown the ambition in us.

There is tremendous purpose in struggle. It is when the struggle becomes so fierce that we must fight to swim or sink. John Newton, who penned “Amazing Grace,” worked on a slave trader ship and condoned inhuman atrocities. As his ship was on the verge of being torn apart in a violent storm he called out for Grace. Once his feet were again planted on firm soil he determined to change. His covenant was written into these words,

“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”

Grace is the defining moment when we face and fight a monster poised to define us or destroy us.

This song and video for us was a struggle, but a beautifully defining one. We chose the Scottish culture to depict the dichotomy between Grace and struggle. Who else is tough enough and yet delicate enough to don a kilt in battle? And the Scottish pipe and drum are the ultimate conveyors of melody and cadence. One represents Grace, the other the indomitable fight. Our dream was to film one of the most iconic castles on the Earth, Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland.

Grace somehow made this video possible. We had to postpone our trip to Scotland several times, and when we could no longer postpone we had to leap in faith because just before we left everything had fallen through. It wasn’t until we were in the moment and had to let go of our pride and anxiety when everything Gracefully came together.

We recognize that this video is far less important than a fight for one’s life. We hope this music will serve as an anthem for those that are in the fight of their lives. We have people close to us who inspire us every day with their grace in the face of such a struggle. This video is dedicated to them: The superheroes in our lives that don’t wear capes, but wear a smile under villainous pressure — those that have been through so many defining moments that they are intimately acquainted with Grace and know it to be close cousins with hope. We pray “Grace will bring them safely through.”

 

Love you, Grandpa!

Love you, Grandpa!

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