After talking about this concert with friends, I still had to do something to express the feeling I had. I hope you can indulge me. A night of music but a night of storytelling, and dramatic readings. As I write this, it's about 10:01 am in Mamaroneck, NY, the morning after the concert. I ended up finishing it at around 9:00 pm. Not straight through; I had to leave my apartment for a time-places I had to get to. But I wanted to share with you the night of The Loreena McKennitt Music Experience. I write this little description for the benefit of those who couldn't make it. You were there in spirit and I hope you like what I describe as a great night.
First let me take you to the time, prior to the concert. Just to share with you, my day up to the final hour and countdown. Mamaroneck, NY is an half hour train ride to Manhattan (New York City) and on Saturday, October 17, 2015, by 4:57 pm I took the Metro North train. I had my purse and three long stems of sunflowers sticking out from my bag, attached to a rather precariously wrapped present with a scroll included. It was precarious, in that, in my unbridle haste, I grabbed some authentic looking paper, hoping to have time to wrap it later. But rushing out of the house, to ensure that I got the train, (which I almost missed by a minute) I stuffed the contents into my purse and flew up the stairs of the station and caught the train as it pulled in. I panted and calmed myself, as I sat and played a word game to regain my concentration and clear awareness. This was necessary to keep my wits about me. But I totally forgot about the wildly wrapped present. In any case, when arriving to Grand Central, the final stop, I called my friend, who was a few blocks away, to direct me to where she lived. I was glad of this, because I was starving. I didn't plan my meals accordingly that day. But hey it happens. When I got to her apartment, she offered me a banana and some water to tie me over. We chatted for a few minutes, then headed for an awesome burger joint, where we could build our own burgers. Yes, like build a bear. Only edible. I had a grounded turkey hamburger, with dill pickles, dijon mustard and kale. My friend, Lauren, had a hamburger with ranch and some other good stuff. We had sweet potato fries (which are my favorite and is a dessert for me) We also both had milkshakes. We chatted for awhile, mostly about families, work, friends, work, food, work, until it reached about 7:30 pm. The burger joint was about three blocks from the Town Hall, so we got there just as everyone was lining up to get in. Marvelous, because it was getting pretty chilly quick. We got to our seats and chatted some more. Now my friend Lauren had never seen Loreena Mckennitt. So she was in for a real treat and so was I. The staging as we saw it, was a decor I could not describe. Long and tall candelabras with candles lights (electric, but you could be fooled into believing it was real lights of flame) And there was something else, I thought was pretty awesome. Smoke. Yes ladies and gentlemen, if you weren't aware, or if you were not able to make it, there was smoke. In terms of the decor, Lauren pointed out that, it is the season of Halloween. And then there is the solstice and the All Souls Day (which is the prayer of those who have passed on. Course that is not until November 2nd.) But still it was a mystical decor.
Fast forward, the magnificent three, Loreena McKennitt, Caroline Lavelle, and Brian Hughes, came onto the stage, with tremendous applause from all of us there. But no talk, music time. This may sound a bit crazy and dimwitted but even with the three of them, the music was so robust and strong as if they were a full band of twenty. They were magnificent, as I'm sure you can concur. And Caroline was on fire!!! She has always played beautifully and with abandonment, but this night she was playing with a great deal of passion!!! With her long tresses, sweeping her face, she was fired up, particularly on the song, which you may have guessed, based on the decor, All Souls Night. Also, during the night, we got to see and hear her cello prose, but also, her musicality with other instruments. Such as the small accordion and the recorder. Whoa! And Brian had a gorgeous sound with the guitar. I love it when a guitarist can give a sound that is similar to an organ or keyboard. It was amazing and deep!!!. What's also great, is the mood he set for most of the songs! It was also most prominent when listening to Loreena recite writings from Yates. But we'll get to that.
Lauren, made an excellent observation. That Brian has the most gorgeous hair!! She mentioned that she has never seen any man with beautiful hair like that. I totally agree. Then there was Loreena. Through the night, Lauren laughed, as I mentioned quietly the titles of each song, that Loreena began to play. Lauren, who is a musical theater singer, and trained opera singer, pointed out how strong Loreena's vocal placements were. I beamed at this!! She has a range and she has impeccable dynamics - from full sound to soft and quiet.
Speaking of quiet, all of the three magnificent musicians, were quiet as they moved about the stage. For example, Caroline, who played the recorder or the little accordion. She quietly put them away, as she switched back to the cello. Brian, who had many guitars on stage, was also quiet in maneuvering back from one guitar to the next. No bang sounds, or clunks. And Loreena glided from placing her harp down, face up, and walking over to the piano. It was glorious. This was no ordinary concert, Loreena gave us a little history, the background of her sources behind her music, which had my wrapped attention. She conversed and talked to us as if we were in one living room, sharing a moment. She spoke of the ancient history, the harp, funny stories, history of long since past, that became her muse. Also of which she pointed out how relative it all was, to the issues that we faced today. Immigration mainly, the refugees, who are suffering, and who aimed to remove themselves from a violent world - to search for a place that would be safe for them and their loved ones. She took us to a different place, when she read readings of Yates, and spoke in a passionate, strong and dramatic way; as were the words she spoke. Loreena painted a portrait of what these words meant and felt. And then expressed them further with her glorious voice and music.
One more thing. I was happy to sit in an area where I could watch her harp playing. I'm a harpist (an intermediate one) and it was great to see her hand positions to the different songs. I notice she used her left hand a lot which is amazing. I have purchased about three of her pieces for harp and I was interested in seeing where she placed her fingers for certain measures of music. But I digress. It was a great night, but I became worried. I had the flowers and the gift and I wanted to see if I could give them to her. But I was not at an eye level where I could make my presence known. I tried though. I went to the stage, went to the front, stepped on a lady's foot. I hugged her and apologized profusely. She laughed and said not to worry. I yelled for Loreena, but how on earth could anyone hear that with the crowd screaming in excitement and happiness. So I asked the persons to my right if they could pass it down to the center of the stage. And they did. She still didn't get it. She had already gone off the stage. I was totally embarrassed. No not really because she hadn't gotten it, but the wrapping, was totally undone and bunched. Good Lord!!!. No fault but mine. So there it lay with the long stemmed sunflowers and a bunched up present flapping in the breeze that emanated from the air conditioning. Ugh. But as we kept clapping, Loreena came back on stage with Caroline and Brian. And thank the heavens, she got the flowers and the present. She placed them on the piano, and I was astounded. Yes, I know Loreena is a person, like you and I, but for someone you totally admire, it's a challenge to be calm. She did not need to know who gave them to her. We all gave her a gift. That gift was, we wanted to spend the evening with her, her musician friends and music. So I will say the gift would be on the behalf of all of us. But I will take the heat for the ridiculous wrapping. What was in the wrapping was a music cd and a scroll. The cd was something I created, but that is all I will say here. It's really a symbol of her inspiring me and I'm sure all of us have been inspired by her. In closing, it was a great night! Like I mentioned, it was like being in a living room. You, felt a part of it all.
All the best,
P.S. I will see you at Ridgefield Connecticut. Let's see what this night will bring. Stay tuned.