The Easter Parade (of music)

In 1853, the New York Herald wrote, “In former years Easter Sunday was observed in a pompous and splendid manner by the Europeans; but as the people continued to grow enlightened all those absurd and nonsensical customs have become obsolete.”

Not quite.

Easter crowds on Fifth Avenue outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, 1904. (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

I tried an experiment, asking a number of people to complete the phrase, “Easter _____.”  The two most frequent responses were “eggs” and “parade.”  Those answers make sense: Zoroastrians were painting eggs for their springtime “new year” celebrations some 2,500 years ago, chocolate eggs have been around for more than 150 years, and those dissolve-the tablet-in-hot-water egg decorating kits have been staining kitchen tabletops since 1893.  As to the parade, New York seems to hold the patent.  Back when the Herald was first jeering at those splendid and absurd customs, New York’s Easter was celebrated in fairly sedate style . . . except that a new outfit was considered indispensable, and many people invariably took a turn after church in order to show off.  By the 1870s, when a number of the city’s wealthiest churches were clustered on a ten-block stretch of Fifth Avenue, the number of fashionable types increased exponentially and the post-church promenade had turned into an eye-popping event.  By the mid-1880s, the New-York Tribune was using the phrase “Easter parade.”  It stuck.

Pussy Willow Easter Bonnet

Then I asked some singers to complete the phrase “Easter _____.”

There wasn’t a response, at least not in words.  Instead, a sticking-out of the tongue enhanced by a faint strangulation noise, rolling of the eyes, groans, a shaking of the head, a sigh.  Singers are thinking of the music, which asks a lot.  Even a century ago, when things were couched in much more genteel terms, Harper’s admired the Holy Week music heard in New York but acknowledged that the city’s organists “should be credited with phenomenal powers of endurance in that they survive the ordeals of the season.”

The situation hasn’t changed with the years.  The run-up to Christmas may demand a lot from a singer, but Easter—more precisely, Holy Week—demands it in more concentrated fashion.  At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, choristers will be asked during that week to participate in as many as nine services and eight rehearsals.  (Some of that singing takes place at the altar, which by Easter Sunday will be surrounded by a sea of lilies.  Guess who’s allergic to lilies.)

But exhaustion and hay fever notwithstanding, it’s worth it. 

The history contained in Fifth Avenue Famous shows that St. Patrick’s musicians have willingly dealt with stress, exhaustion and long hours for over 125 years, in an effort to heighten the experience of Cathedral visitors.  (Then again, one story tells of the 1880s violinist who got up at the end of a pre-Easter rehearsal, smashed his instrument into pieces, tore off his jacket and shoes, and ran out of the Cathedral.  He was ultimately taken to Bellevue.  Maybe not all musicians have dealt with the stress that well.) Written by

Salvatore Basile, author of Fifth Avenue Famous:The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

♬♬♬

In 1853, the New York Herald wrote, “In former years Easter Sunday was observed in a pompous and splendid manner by the Europeans; but as the people continued to grow enlightened all those absurd and nonsensical customs have become obsolete.” … Full Story

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Publishing Experts to Faculty: Rewrite Those Dissertations

(Left to right: William Germano, Ph.D., Fredric Nachbaur (moderator), Niko Pfund, Emily Loose and Alan Most) Photo by Kathleen Sweeney

A panel of university publishing experts said that most academic dissertations are a long way from being considered publishable by book publishing industry standards.

Speaking on March 24 at “The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Publishing: Best Practices for Getting Your Book Published,” four panelists
made explicit recommendations geared to help young faculty members and doctoral candidates navigate the shifting world of academic publishing.

The panel was sponsored by Fordham University Press, and moderated by its director, Fredric Nachbaur. To read more

A panel of university publishing experts said that most academic dissertations are a long way from being considered publishable by book publishing industry standards. Speaking on March 24 at “The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Publishing: Best Practices for Getting Your … Full Story

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Music as a Communal Experience

On February 11, 1930, in the midst of a dire American economic crisis, St. Patrick’s Cathedral dedicated its brand-new organ to an impressive amount of fanfare and ceremony. Salvatore Basile describes the historic event in Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral thus:

The obstacles were forgotten as the evening went off with its expected solemnity and musical polish; but in addition, there was the kind of crackling excitement that New York usually experienced at a Broadway opening night. More than an hour before the doors opened, a long line of ticket holders stretched down 50th Street, and Fifth Avenue itself was packed with a mass of people hoping to get in. …An astonishing crowd of 7,000 (reported the Sun) pushed inside to hear the event; another 5,000 people were turned away.

This was an impressive crowd of concert-goers, even by today’s standards. The past 80 years has done nothing to dim the enthusiasm of music lovers; in fact, their zeal has only grown since the early days of radio. This past week the South by Southwest Music Festival took place in Austin, Texas. Now in its 23rd year, the festival has swelled from several hundred registrants to 12,000, with fans descending on the Texas capitol every March to hear thousands of acts spread out over 80 venues over 4 days. Its an epic event, bringing together passionate music lovers, industry professionals, and up and coming musicians from around the world. The result is a pulsing community of innovators, each seeking out the most creative, most groundbreaking, and most energetic music the scene has to offer.

This is the link that bonds the music of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the secular music of today–the passionate community of those who make music and those who love music, who are always searching for something new and beautiful to inspire them.

On February 11, 1930, in the midst of a dire American economic crisis, St. Patrick’s Cathedral dedicated its brand-new organ to an impressive amount of fanfare and ceremony. Salvatore Basile describes the historic event in Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary … Full Story

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The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Publishing: Experts Offer Best Practices for Getting Your Book Published

Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Pope Auditorium, Lowenstein Hall
Fordham University, Lincoln Center
113 West 60th Street

NYC

Fordham University Press and Fordham University Faculty of Arts and Sciences present a panel offering the “ins & outs” of book publishing from university press to trade house to textbook publisher.

Moderator
Fredric Nachbaur, Director, Fordham University Press
Panelists
Jennifer Crew, Associate Director and Editorial Director, Columbia University Press
William Germano, Professor of English Literature, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Emily Loose, Senior Editor, Free Press
Alan Most, Textbook Editor, John Wiley & Sons
Niko Pfund, Vice President and Publisher of the Academic and Trade Division, Oxford University Press in New York

For further details Click Here

Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 4:00 – 6:00pm Pope Auditorium, Lowenstein Hall Fordham University, Lincoln Center 113 West 60th Street NYC Fordham University Press and Fordham University Faculty of Arts and Sciences present a panel offering the “ins & outs” of … Full Story

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The Hudson-Fulton Celebration Wins New York City Book Award

The New York Society Library has chosen The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival of1909 and the Making of a Metropolis by Kathleen Eagen Johnson as winner in the 2009-2010 New York City Book Awards. Founded in 1996, these awards are given annually to books that capture the essence of New York City.

“After reading The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival of 1909 and the Making of a Metropolis, you’ll be sorry you missed the tercentennial. On that occasion, the city and state produced an extravaganza that remains unrivaled in New York’s historic commemorations.”
—Sam Roberts, The New York Times

The Hudson-Fulton Celebration is also winner of a 2009 AWARD TOWARDS EXCELLENCE FROM THE GREATER HUDSON HERITAGE NETWORK.

To read more about Kathleen Eagen Johnson and The Hudson-Fulton Celebration, visit www.hudsonfultoncelebration.net.

The New York Society Library has chosen The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival of1909 and the Making of a Metropolis by Kathleen Eagen Johnson as winner in the 2009-2010 New York City Book Awards. Founded in 1996, these awards … Full Story

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