If there is one thing you can find in New York, among the many things you can find, is large amounts of people playing the same instrument. Probably not the first thing that comes to mind and maybe not the most important thing you’ve ever wanted to see in life, but like-minded and talented individuals all get together for various reasons and play the same musical instrument. The polka category being eliminated from the Grammy Awards notwithstanding, accordion players get together in a band.
Incidentally, we have photographed not one but two accordion bands. Most people don’t even know there are any! Let alone an all-women accordion band.
Recently the Make Music New York Festival happened and as part of their offerings they have a program called Mass Appeal. Like minded musicians in this case brought out their guitars on a warm summer evening to Union Square Park where they had a regular old hootenanny.
Not just guitars, but harpists had their own mass concert. It’s one thing to get people to bring their guitars out but to schlep your harp is another story completely. Got to give these intrepid harpists kudos for their perseverance and fortitude. Not to mention that the plaza where they performed was essentially a wind tunnel making it impossible to read the music, so they had to wing it.
It wasn’t “76 trombones” but 64 baby grand toy pianos. They weren’t parading but they were also part of Make Music New York. The pianists played “KUN” by Wendy Mae Chambers, a composition scored for baby grand toy pianos. Spread around Piers 15 and 16 on the East River concert goers could walk around listening to the musicians. They also played for 4 hours (with breaks) giving you a long time to listen.
The heyday of the ukelele was said to be in the 1930′s. It was advertised as easy to learn and no other instrument could make you as happy (paraphrased from an advertising brochure). Well, its still around making untold musicians and listeners happy as the Manhattan Ukelele marching Band proved. Makes you want to drag out those embarrassing 1960′s Tiny Tim records you still have in the basement.
Richard Levine and Frances Roberts, of Levine Roberts Photography, are a husband and wife team of photographers covering politics, environmental issues, the economy, business, and social and cultural issues in the Big Apple. See more photos from their collection on Newscom.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 at 8:49 am and is filed under Guest Blog. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.