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Posts Tagged ‘busker’

Washington-Sq-is-where-I-came-inWashington Square, New York City

Random photos from my travels.

My husband going into the Public Theater to see classmate Ted Shen’s musical, A Second Chance. The Playbill for the show. A delightful chandelier at the Public, with paddles that illuminate changing phrases.

Subway buskers playing a grandson’s favorite song, “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In.” Grand Central Station. The charming Iroquois Hotel. A flower-themed mosaic in the Lexington Ave. subway.

Gertrude Stein looking like herself in Bryant Park. And the Metropolitan Museum, where we saw a great photography show with my sister and brother-in-law. More on that later.

(Be watching for the relaunch of the Luna & Stella website, where one of the family pictures is of my sister at age 3, pictured with Suzanne’s maternal grandfather. … Did I mention this is a blog for Suzanne’s birthstone-jewelry company Luna & Stella?)

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I saw these fiddlers a couple times while waiting for the evening train to Porter Square. For weeks there were tweets: “Who are those guys?”

Steve Annear at Boston magazine got the scoop. “Two former Berklee College of Music students have made a full-time job out of playing contemporary music on their violins for the swarms of passengers that crowd the platforms of the MBTA each day.

“After meeting in 2009 outside of the school, violinists Rhett Price and Josh Knowles got together and decided to form a two-piece ensemble and perform songs while standing on the Boston Common. But when winter got too cold and their fingers ‘started to get stiff,’ Price says the pair turned to the T for a busker’s permit so they could share their songs with riders traveling on the underground transit system.

“ ‘It’s been amazing. I was really nervous at first—we were nervous about playing on the T in general, and we didn’t think any one would give us any money. But there are people who come up and [request songs],’ says Price. ‘This is what we do right now to pay bills.’ …

“Price says he and Knowles play at three stops throughout the week, including North and South Stations, and at the Harvard Square stop. In a few weeks, they’re kicking the public transportation appearance up a notch, and will travel to New York City to play for riders there.”

Um. Forget about New York. Spend more time at South Station, please.

More.

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This morning at Porter Square, none of the escalators were working. As I walked down the long staircase into the subway, I heard music. That is not unusual. We commuters often get to hear a busker or a group of musicians at Porter Square, some of them truly outstanding. Today as I descended I thought I heard opera.

It was indeed opera. Baritone Wesley Ray Thomas had set up his boom box and was performing “It Was You” from Verdi’s “Masked Ball.” When I say “performing,” I mean that not only was he singing beautifully but acting. Very emotional. I waited for a train to go by so I could hear the whole piece.

I asked for Thomas’s card, which gives his MySpace site, but when I poked around on YouTube, I found much more.

It turns out that not only is Thomas an opera singer, but being partly American Indian, he participates in the singing at PowWows and other traditional events.

I highly recommend this six-minute video. (The subway location shown is Porter Square.)

8/1/14 Update: Read new Globe story on what the opera guy has had to overcome in life, here.

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