Today’s Original Schedule:
- 10:30AM Brunch with Lingyi at Open Kitchen
- 11:30AM or 12 See Scotland on the Fountain Terrace concert at Bryant Park
- 2:00PM See Hamilton on Broadway
- 6:00PM Dinner at Rossini’s
- 7:30PM ? Observe Jupiter with the Amateur Astronomer’s Association at Lincoln Center
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
After Michael left, we watched some Downton Abbey, had ice cream and off to bed.
When we stayed in Bermuda as a land trip in 2010, we didn’t go into Hamilton for Harbor Nights so maybe we’ll go this time.
Harbor night celebration takes place on every Wednesday during high season (May through September) on Front Street of Hamilton Bermuda.
So what is Harbor Nights? Basically, Bermuda at its best. The front street in Hamilton gets closed to all vehicles after sunset. The shops and the restaurants remain open till late at night. And the street comes alive with sparkling lights and music. Large number of vendors wearing colorful dresses sell various kinds of local arts and crafts. Many of them will be the local artists themselves who are generally willing to chat with you and explain their artwork.
There will also be a number of food sellers selling different kinds of food – both Bermudian and ethnic. And then comes the Gombey dancers with their lively music and rhythmic drumming. They are huge crowd pullers. It’s a great experience even if you just take a stroll along Front Street and enjoy the ambience of the Harbor nights. People mix freely and talk to each other. This is a great family event and gives a wonderful insight into Bermudian culture.
Harbor Nights at Hamilton
If you plan to take your dinner in Hamilton on Harbor Night, make reservations and come early. Choose a restaurant with a balcony facing the Front Street and the harbor. You will watch the whole festive world below on the street with a backdrop of the beautifully illuminated harbor. Dining experience can’t get any better than this. We just love it.
So Harbor Nights at Hamilton Bermuda essentially features:
1) On-street celebrations from 7 to 10 p.m.
2) Shops are generally open until 9:00 p.m.
3) You get to see Bermuda’s local Arts and Crafts
4) Live Music and Entertainment
5) Food Court
6) Lots of activities for Children in the Children’s Court, including fun castles in all sizes, the ever-popular train, face painting, tattoos and hair braiding.
7) You can see the Bermuda Regiment band, which marches down Front Street in full regimental apparel with pipes and drums.
Update May 2015: This year Harbor Nights is scheduled between June 3 – September 2, 2015 (7pm to 10pm). Additional ferries beyond normal hours will be provided for visitors returning to dockyard.