Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Marie's Crisis

This weekend I was going through my journal and came a across my entries from my most recent New York City trip in October. For me, this city is paradise. I have felt this way my entire life. This most recent trip sold me again for many reasons but I would like to share the music related one. My friend and I went to the bar “Marie’s Crisis.” Perhaps some of you have heard of it. It is a basically a big Broadway sing-a-long. There is a pianist who sits in the middle of a small room playing any and all of the Broadway tunes you can think of. He does medlies from varying shows anywhere from Cabaret to The Sound of Music without a score in sight. Everyone there is singing at the top of their lungs. It is truly a special place. Everyone once in a while regulars would do breathtaking solos. It really made me remember how expressive musical theatre can be. I was there singing “Climb Every Mountain” with the best of them. The pianist also knows how to gage his audience. When Chorus Line started to bomb, he moved on. At one point an audience member asked one of the bar’s staff if they could request “Les Misarble.” The staff member curtly replied, “It’s not gonna happen, honey.” Eventually, this request did reach the ear of the pianist and he did indeed oblige his audience and with absolutely no snobbery. It was fantastic. I wish that classical musicians did this more often. In undergrad we did it much more but recently. I remember saying things like “let’s see if I can hit the Queen of the Night high F.” No, my teacher would not have approved. My group of friends and I have become so serious and so precious about music. I miss just messing around and sight-reading for the sake of it. If you get the chance to visit NYC, check this place out, even if you’re not big fan of musical theatre it may just surprise you.

1 comment:

SarahLee said...

I do remember being at a place just like that in Rochester. Although, I'm sure the people just weren't as stylish. I can definitely remember being at this particular piano bar (Bullwinkle's as it's called) and singing anything we wanted to at the top of our lungs. I myself am not a singer, and although there were opera majors there, I'm sure the singing wasn't anything they would do in their lessons or on stage, or maybe it would be, I'm not sure of that.
The old ladies that played the pianos (there were two) were hilarious and could just follow you with anything you wanted them to accompany you. It was interesting to note that they themselves were classical musicians back in the day, and decided to do this instead. Is it because it's about "being in the moment" and the "now" that we seem to lack. Well, I don't want to say that we don't lack but it's something that we get after many many many hours of practice. And I feel that is after an ideal performance. That's our goal right? But it's just so hard. Isn't it just about being a musician?
I can remember also in my undergrad, the entire school was invited to sing Christmas carols at the end of the year. It was a private school so we were able to do that, and all being musicians no one really cared about religion at the time. It really was a beautiful experience and I think of it every holiday season. Just remembering the entire main hallway filled with impromtu singing of traditional carols. It just brought you all together. At the time, I thought it was about the season. But now I realize it was about the spontaneous music making, and just celebrating music. No one had to be good (well, you'd better be able to sing in harmony...) but the result was a beautiful one.
This is definitely something that we lack. Why don't we just have jam sessions as well, or sing alongs? Just put all your inhibitions aside. It's about making music people!