Musicians from Third Street Music School gather for a live performance at the annual gala
Some obstacles can be overcome by the Omnipresent Zoom and others cannot. Steven Rochen, teacher and conductor for over 30 years at Third Street Music School, can testify that there is no substitute for an orchestra playing together in person.
“You’re looking for a sense of mix, a global sound,” he explains. Although some of its students – like foreigners – are still far away, more than 70 of its musicians gathered outside the school on a recent Saturday morning to perform together for the first time since the lockdown. He found the mix he was looking for as the group “formed within the first ten minutes of rehearsal!” They were so excited to play together.
They were also excited to be filmed, as the performance was taped to be featured as part of the school’s upcoming fundraising gala, which will be presented virtually and hosted by actress Julianne Moore and her husband, the film director / producer Bart Freundlich, who are the parents of Third Street Elders. “The gala should have taken place in a beautiful ballroom of a chic hotel,” laments Kristen Kentner, director of communications. “But,” she continues, “we hope to be in person next year. And we’re always trying to capture the joy, the resilience, the celebration, the togetherness, and all the other things that music is.
Viewers are encouraged to watch the gala (registration is free) on May 5 and contribute if they wish. The show will honor Rochen as well as Grammy-nominated musician Yola and Myra Nieves, the school’s assistant director of student services. According to Kentner, “Third Street Music School Settlement provides high quality music and dance education through on-site and virtual programs, public and community schools, as well as an arts-based preschool. New Yorkers of all ages, regardless of their age. experience, artistic ability or economic situation. No student is ever turned away because of their ability to pay. “
Although some of the students, aged 7 to 15, are still stuck in their home countries – such as New Zealand, who gets up at 2 a.m. to attend classes through Zoom – local musicians can help. expect more rehearsal together as well as another street performance in the near future.
And Rochen can, presumably, expect more of what he felt in the first performance of the reunion. It was, he said, “utter elation.”