An Additional Portion of the Story about Aaron Copland


“One Friday night, those of us in the Tanglewood Chorus were seated on stage for a choral number, waiting while another piece of music was performed just before ours. It was Aaron Copland’s Quiet City directed by Copland himself. I had never seen him before and I was unfamiliar with Quiet City. It is a piece for solo trumpet with orchestral accompaniment. To me, it seemed to be written as if a street musician were playing a trumpet on a city street late in the night, except of course, it was virtuoso playing of astoundingly beautiful music. Listening to it being played outdoors at night and directed by Copland himself, was pure magic.


“The chorus was seated behind the orchestra, and I was seated in the center of the first row of the chorus, so I had a great vantage point, being only about 30 feet directly in front of Mr. Copland, and only a few feet behind and to the side of the solo trumpet player. It was mesmerizing. I don’t have the slightest memory of our choral performance that followed, or even what piece of music we performed. All I remember is the wistful sound of that trumpet in the pure night mountain air.”


An Additional Portion of the Story about Carnegie Hall


“The rehearsal at Carnegie Hall was particularly fun. There are three balconies at the back of the hall. Seiji Ozawa, the director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, wanted to hear the brass choir a couple times from each balcony, so that he could decide which sounded the best. He was clearly enjoying himself during rehearsal as he would turn and yell to the back of the hall, “One more time, from the balcony above (or below).” Then the whole brass choir would tromp up or down a flight or two of stairs and set up their music stands and we would all play that section again. None of us minded, though, because it was the most exciting section of the music. I can still recall that the rehearsal number of that section was ’33.’ We all smiled each time at the joy in Ozawa’s voice as he would start again by saying, ‘One more time! Thirty-three!’ ”


An Additional Portion of the Story about Walt Disney’s Piano


“I had been instructed to go to the Disney Archives Department in the Frank G. Wells Building, across the plaza from the building with the enormous statues of the Seven Dwarfs holding up the roof. The Disney Archives is a large department. A staff person escorted me to the room where Disney’s piano was stored. As we walked through rooms of memorabilia, I saw cases holding Academy Awards, Emmys, and People’s Choice award statuettes. There were also rows of costumes and shelves holding props from movies and TV programs. Davy Crocket’s coonskin cap was there, for example. I had one just like it in the 1950‘s. There was a huge room of files that looked like the Library of Congress, where you could turn a wheel, and the entire aisle of files would slowly move to one side to make room to walk down along the side of the structure to access a file. I was reminded of the priceless nature of all this memorabilia when I was told that I would be accompanied at all times while I was in the archives.”

The building at Disney Studios where the Seven Dwarfs seem to hold up the roof


A Portion of the Story called “Steinway, Steinert, Hume, and Hamlet”


“For My Fair Lady, I would be auditioning to dance in the broom dance scene. I walked into the audition and Carol introduced me to the director. He immediately said, “Oh!  You look just like Freddy, and we don’t have a Freddy. Can you sing?” Freddy is the character who sings the song, “On the Street Where You Live.” I sang the song for them and I was no longer a dancer; I was cast as a principal character. You couldn’t ask for a better role in a show. I had a great song to perform, my costumes were attractive, I got to speak in an aristocratic accent, and I didn’t have to memorize a lot of speaking lines.”

The author, center, as Freddy Eynsford-Hill in a community production of My Fair lady


Additional Information for Story #4, “Flying Pianos”


Each year, students at MIT throw a piano off the roof of a six-story dormitory.  The link for watching the piano drop from 2018 is HERE