My final chorus concert this spring is the New York Pops 33rd Birthday Gala: Do You Hear the People Sing on Monday, May 2nd at Carnegie Hall. We get to celebrate the collaborations of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the songwriting team behind Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, and more.
To say that singing in this concert is a childhood dream come true is an understatement. When I was 9 years old, I was obsessed with Miss Saigon, and my mom took me to see the show on April 1, 1992. I knew every single word, every single note. It remains one of the most thrilling theater-going experiences of my life. I returned in January of 2001 to see the show in its last two weeks when Lea Salonga played Kim one last time (I had missed her the first time) and now I get to sing on the same stage as Lea Salonga when she performs in the gala.
Miss Saigon is still one of my favorite shows, but my love for Les Miserables, which I saw for my 10th birthday, burned out quickly. However, singing “One Day More” and “Do You Hear the People Sing” in rehearsal this week, I remembered what I had loved about this show some 23 years ago. It’s incredibly emotional and powerful. The passion that these characters felt about their revolution and what must be done echoes in what so many people are trying to do today to fight injustice. Singing those two songs (along with “Bui Doi” from Miss Saigon) on stage at Carnegie Hall will be a major highlight in my life.
Speaking of highlights, on April 16th my chorus was invited to sing at the Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz concert at Symphony Space, performing his choral piece “Testimony”, two songs from Prince of Egypt, and “Morning Glow” from Pippin. Three years ago I sang in Stephen Schwartz’s birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, and this was just as magical. His music is such a joy to sing, and to perform it at this eight-hour concert with so many wonderful performers was like being part of something special. It was the perfect event at which to make my Symphony Space debut.
For more information about that concert, I wrote a piece about it for The Huffington Post and spoke to Stephen Schwartz, my chorus conductor Judith Clurman, and the producers of the event Joel Fram and Annette Jolles.