The “Singer’s Trifecta”

I am writing this while flying home from a once-in-a-lifetime weekend in New York City, where, with my wife and with fellow singers from the North Valley Chorale, I got to accomplish what I am calling the “Singer’s Trifecta.”  

  1. Friday evening, we performed on the stage at Radio City Music Hall, one of the largest performance venues in America, as a warm-up for the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. Posted in Facebook are videos showing us, 34 strong, all decked out for the holidays singing “It’s the Most Wonderful TIme of the Year,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and “Jingle Bell Rock”  (This was pesonally special for me, thinking back to how my father, Lindsay Lafford, had been on the same stage with the Hobart & William Smith Scola Cantorum for the Easter Dawn service in 1954...a small world connection.)  But looking out into the iconic multi-tiered hall, feeling dwarfed on the massive stage, and hearing the applause of the audience of 5,000, is Part One of the “Singer’s Trifecta.” 


  2. Saturday evening, Bobbie and I participated in a Flash Mob performing the Hallelujah Chorus for hundreds (perhaps thousands) in another iconic venue, the main hall of Grand Central Station. In town from all over the world to perform The Messiah (see Part Three, below) upwards of 130 singers amassed near the Information Booth in the center, ready to burst into song at the appointed hour, six o’clock. The director (Finley Woolston) appeared, gave us a pitch, a four-count, and off we went!  “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!...“ Without an orchestra to fill the rests, I hear a brief reverberation as if we’re in a cathedral, and we are: A Cathedral of Travel.  Wanting to document the event with a 360º video (also posted in Facebook), I was standing in the center of the Mob, holding the camera high on a selfie-stick in one hand, reading the music on an iPad in the other. I thought this would be a great event to get in 360º, and it was. You can see people bustling along, and then as the Chorus progresses, the bustling crowd seems to coagulate. As you pan around in the video, you see the crowd get thicker around the edges.  We reach the climax, and the hall echos with cheers and applause, and then people get back hurrying home, or out to the show, or whatever is in store for their Saturday night.  But for a few minutes, their day is brightened, hearing the sound of people joining their voices in beautiful music. The motto of the organization bringing us together for The Messiah comes to mind: We were “Changing Lives through the Power of Performance.” That was Part Two of the “Singer’s Trifecta.”  If you are on Facebook, watch the 360° video I took here: 

  3. Sunday afternoon, we performed The Messiah in Carnegie Hall, another American icon.  Joining 400+ singers in 10 choirs from around the world, we descended upon the Park Central Hotel across the street from Carnegie Hall to focus on polishing our technique in twelve hours of intensive rehearsals over two and a half days, with Jonathan Griffin, Conductor for Distinguished Concerts International of New York.  We prepared Part One; the other half prepared Parts Two and Three.  We negotiated the four, five, and six floors up and down the backstage areas in Carnegie Hall to the Dress Rehearsal on Sunday Morning, and were already awe-struck looking out into the empty, yet impressive hall with tiers reaching up, it seemed, to the stratosphere. In contrast to the a capella exposure on the stage at Radio City, which is the opposite of the secure, yet still a capella feeling singing in the midst of a Flash Mob at Grand Central for The Messiah, we were blessed to be accompanied by a professional orchestra, on stage just a few feet away. At the opening measures in the dress rehearsal, my skin tingled upon hearing and feeling the music. Being careful to preserve some voice for the performance, we sang through Part One, and then moved up to the Boxes in Tier One and Two of the hall, where we would chime in for the Hallelujah Chorus, “Worthy is the Lamb,” and “Amen.”  Returning in full concert dress for the 2:00 performance, we gazed out at the full house, and let fly with full voice.  The soloists, used to the spotlight at the Metropolitan Opera, were stellar, as was the orchestra. Staging ourselves again at the Boxes at intermission, we were ready to listen to Parts Two and Three, though primed to join in surruptitiously a few phrases into the Hallelujah Chorus, surrounding the audience in sound. This arrangement also allowed us to appreciate Carnegie Hall from both perspectives, on stage and off, to walk on the soft carpet, to sit upon the rich, red velour cushions, and to gaze upon the gilded woodwork. The performance complete with the final “Amen,” we revelled in and joined in the standing ovation: for the soloists, the orchestra, the singers, the conductor...and for ourselves. We performed The Messiah in Carnegie Hall! Thus we completed Part Three of the “Singer’s Trifecta.”  [I just saw the New York Concert Review which extends the afterglow..."It might also be considered appropriate that the audience leave a Messiah performance with mouths agape from wonderment – and they did just that, after a prolonged and deafening ovation!" Link to the Full Review.


Subpages (1): Grand Central Flash Mob