|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Although New York City was saved the brunt of Saturday's snowpocalyspe that our southern I-95 corridor neighbors Philadelphia and Washington D.C. received, we did get some. And braving the snowy and strangely peaceful roads of Brooklyn yesterday morning, I rode my trusty bicycle to Edward R. Murrow High School for an audition. American Idol? Nope. Some reality TV show about teaching? No way. This was an audition for the first annual New York City Department of Education sponsored Amateur Night at the Apollo! Yes, THE Apollo Theater in Harlem! Yes, THEShowtime at the Apollo Apollo that I used to watch on late-night TV back when I was a young lad...and still had and wanted a TV. Here's the announcement from the DOE's site:
The Office of Arts and Special Projects in partnership with the Apollo Theater is pleased to announce the first NYCDOE Amateur Night at the Apollo to be held on June 2, 2010 at the world famous Apollo Theater to highlight the extraordinary talents of our teachers. Auditions for individual or group acts in dance, vocal and instrumental music, spoken word and comedy are scheduled for three consecutive Saturdays at sites in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
And all you had to be was:
1. A current New York City Department of Education public school teacher
2. A legal resident of the United States
3. Available on the performance date, June 2, 2010.
Check, check, and check! So Saturday morning with some of my colleagues at PS 321 in Brooklyn (John Allgood, kindergarten teacher; Bill Fulbrecht, kindergarten teacher; Elizabeth Heiser, 2nd grade teacher; Adam Lane, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade music teacher; Frank McGarry, 1st and 2nd grade music teacher), we headed deep into Brooklyn to audition for a shot on the Apollo Theater stage; for our chance at immortality in the annals of New York City teacher lore. Now this was not some group we threw together at the last minute to do the audition. We've been playing and performing for a number of years now and actually have done a few gigs. Our repertoire usually consists of old folk, rock, and bluegrass tunes and my role is as clarinet and (sometimes) saxophone player and percussionist. It is great fun and a chance for me to be in the band performing the music instead of in my other musical life, of composing and conducting (although that is great fun as well, just a different experience). So for our audition we performed the song "Glendale Train", and things went pretty well. While there were a few judges and one did offer a suggestion after the performance, there was no Simon or Paula critique of our "NYC Teacher Idol" worthiness. Below is a version of "Glendale Train" performed by another ensemble. And while our arrangement is different, our group instrumentally looks much like the group in the video. But of course, I think we sound better! I mean, clarinet and shaker adds so much more to the song...
Seeing as we sometimes play some of his songs in the 321 Band, a nice serendipitous moment after the audition was later that evening my wife and I passed legend Pete Seeger (moving quite well for 90!) and his wife and grandson on the streets of upstate Beacon, New York. So that's a good sign...right? Anyway, don't know if we are onto Harlem, but I'll keep you posted...
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 4:55 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.