Last night, I spent the evening playing in a mostly Russian-speaking orchestra for a choir speaking Kreyòl. Between my knowledge of French-from-France and the two years of Russian I took mumblety-mumble years ago in college, I knew just enough to not quite understand anything that was being said but to be continuously just about to get it. Here is what I got out of my conductor’s (the organist) talk about how to play a piece he wrote “iskripki” (violins) “cheteri” (four) “krasivay (beautiful) “harashoa” (good) [sorry, no idea how to transliterate these]. That would have been okay if I’d got the measure number right. It wasn’t 4 but 104. STrangely, though I used to be fluent in French, I had an easier time getting the Russian. Haitian French is confusing.
The concert, held at a Haitian church further into Brooklyn, was amazing. The choir was incredible. The church was piled with lilies and tulle. The concert was three hours long. For the first half, the choir sang contemporary Christian music and Haitian religious music with a drummer, electric guitar and keyboard. They rocked. They also danced. You can hear a little of my favorite song in the video below. The second video, much shorter, is the same piece but I’m trying to film the dancers. From my vantage point back stage, I couldn’t see much, but I think you can see them a little. They were all up and down the aisles of the church. It was amazing.
<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10151538636184661" width="226" height="400"
<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10151540430039661" width="226" height="400"
After that song was over, there were speeches in a mix of French and English and a baritone sang "How Great Thou Art." We went on in the second half, starting with the "Hallelujah" from Handel's Judas Maccabeus.
We closed the concert with the Halleluah Chorus, by which point, the whole audience in the packed church was on their feet, clapping their hands over their head, singing along and cheering.
Afterwards there were more speeches, during which they thanked everyone in the room, most by name. And finally, "And I'd like to thank the Almighty Lord God for allowing us all to be here tonight." You'll be glad to know that the Almighty got a huge round of applause and a lot of cheering.
Walking home from my home church, where my ride left me, I was stil tapping my toes. Not a bad night for my first New York gig.