Tag Archives: Piano

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!

New York City, Day 3

steinway

 

We checked out pretty early from the Airbnb.  Neither of the hosts were there so we left the key on the counter and took our luggage over to Michael’s.

Breakfast/brunch today was at Koyzina Kafe,

From there, we took an Uber to the interim Steinway Hall.  Michael and I were the last people ever to play at the last Steinway Hall, in the main room.  We played a 2-piano version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.   I’m sorry that the video quality is so poor:

That first time, Michael played Mozart’s Rondo in D Major, also poor quality video 😦

Fortunately, the new Steinway Hall, when completed, will have built-in professional recording.

Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinway_Hall:

That Steinway Hall (on 57th Street) was designated a registered historic and cultural landmark in 2001. The exterior featured a bas-relief of Apollo and a musical muse by Leo Lentelli located in the lunette above the grand window at ground level.

The main room, a two-story rotunda, featured high domed ceilings, handpainted by Paul Arndt. The interior design was appointed with marble and portraits of composers and concert artists. Some valuable paintings are showcased throughout Steinway Hall, by such renowned artists as Rockwell Kent, N.C. Wyeth, Leopold Seyffert and Charles Chambers. The main rotunda seated up to 300 guests and a small symphony orchestra. The showrooms were covered with wood panels for better acoustics. In the basement of Steinway Hall was a concert grand piano bank: an exclusive collection of Steinway concert grand pianos, maintained for the use in live concerts as well as for studio recordings by performing artists.

At the end of June 2013 Steinway & Sons announced that they sold the leasehold interest in the Steinway Hall on 57th Street for $46.3 million in cash.

The current, interim location is a rented building on the address 1133 Avenue of the Americas.

They will move to their new, permanent location in February, 2016

We got to our location faster than expected and walked around the block.  I was stunned when we saw Cafe Un Deux Trois!

un-deux

 

Cafe Un Deux Trois has a special memory for me.  November 2, 2003, Michael decided to run the New York Marathon.  We went to NY to see him run.  (He finished in 4:21:57.  The average for males that year was 4:28:56).

marathon

From good-old Wikipedia:

The New York City Marathon (branded TCS New York City Marathon and formerly branded ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual marathon (42.195 km or 26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 50,304 finishers in 2013. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

My best friend, Alice, and her brother (David) were living in Brooklyn and they decided to meet us in Manhattan on Saturday night.  Michael and a friend went to a comedy show while Alice, David, Tom and I walked around Times Square, just talking.  We turned down a side street and saw… Cafe Un Deux Trois.  We decided to go in to eat.

I remember nothing about the meal.  But, at the next table was Ben Gazzara,  Gena Rowlands, Peter Bogdanovitch and 3-4 others I didn’t recognize.  After about half an hour, Carol Kane came in, too.  It turned out that Ben Gazzara was in a one man show across the street which had just opened: Nobody Don’t Like Yogi.  All this made the meal very exciting.  

For the last several years, every time we’ve been near Times Square, I’ve looked down the side streets for this restaurant and never saw it again until this day.

A very nice memory of Alice.

When we got back to Steinway Hall, the doors were opened and we went up to the recital room.  A friend of Tom’s came to listen, too.

Michael played Partita II by Johann Sebastian Bach

Our duet this year was an old Christmas favorite, Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams

After Steinway Hall, we went to Tony’s di Napoli for lunch, Then rested for a bit at Michael’s.

We planned to go to a museum but were running short of time so we walked around Battery Park, took a picture…

t-m-world-trade

Took a picture of the Wall Street Christmas Tree at dusk:

 

wall-street-tree

Then we picked up our stuff at Michael’s, took the subway to Penn Station and headed home, exhausted.

Walking today: 4.19 miles, 6 flights of stairs

Where the pictures were taken (I didn’t take pictures everywhere and Tom didn’t have his phone):

weekend

 

 

maryOpianoplayer

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