So, before I go on to any other state-of-the-chanaleh posts, I have been meaning to post a recap of How I Got To Sing [Backup For Idina Menzel] At Marvin Hamlisch's Funeral
As I recently joined the choir at the synagogue where I've been going
, the first rehearsal happened to be Tuesday the 7th, the day his Aug. 6 death hit the news, so it came up at rehearsal. A couple days later, the cantor forwarded around a message that a 400-person memorial choir was being assembled for the Aug. 14 funeral. The organizers had put out an open call for volunteer choristers, and anyone who was interested in participating should email the coordinator by midnight THAT NIGHT. So I did!
I didn't find out for sure if I was in until Sunday late afternoon, but they duly assigned us voice parts and emailed around rehearsal recordings and sheet music for three pieces: "What I Did For Love" (I'd totally called that one the instant I heard about it) and "At the Ballet" (also from A Chorus Line
) and "The Way We Were" (in a really nice 4-part choral arrangement which I now have handy, if anyone wants to check it out).
It truly only occurred to me the night before that this was likely to be a significant celebrity-sighting event. They forbade us from bringing cell phones into the sanctuary (largely to prevent unauthorized/inappropriate camera use, I'm sure). But I told my mom that if I should see Barbra, I'd pass along her mental regards. :-)
I took a personal day from work. We had to be there before 8am to get in through security by 8:15am, rehearse 8:15-10:15 (seriously it was only about 10 minutes of music, but we were also rehearsing the processing in and out), and then re-enter the sanctuary at 10:30 for the real service at 11am. They had planned on 400 people in the choir. They ended up with over 600
-- the choir literally filled about a third of the sanctuary. Reportedly, the body of singers included Sheldon Harnick
, Luci Arnaz, and Rupert Holmes. (Huh.) Oh, plus it transpired during rehearsal that the soloist on "At the Ballet" was going to be Idina Menzel
, so now I can say I've sung backup for her, right?
In the end, it seems that Barbra was NOT there, but several other luminaries were in attendance (largely '70s-era: Liza Minnelli, Alan Alda, Susan Lucci...). I was excited to catch a glimpse of Bernadette Peters, but the moment my jaw really dropped was when they called up the speaker for the first of 8 eulogies, and it was President Clinton!http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/arts/marvin-hamlisch-funeral-at-temple-emanu-el-in-manhattan.htmlhttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-57493173-10391698/stars-attend-composer-marvin-hamlischs-funeral/http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-207_162-10013375.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody
And the whole thing was very moving. Apparently he was a real mensch and just a really great guy in person. They said several times what a tribute it was to have such a packed house. And it was. And he was only 68, which used to sound like a relatively reasonable age to attain, but now that it officially constitutes Younger Than My Parents
, it's obviously Way Too Young. Life is short. And precious.
One more link: Remembering Marvin Hamlisch At His Funeral
: "A[nother] member of the volunteer choir reports on the memorial tribute and gives her own personal remembrance of the Tony-winning composer."