>Seven Years Later

>It seems as if it was yesterday and eons ago.

A part is the weather; it is not the scrubbed blue September 11 sky that helps me to not go there to that day as deeply. But we all hear the bells and the sirens and the bagpipes at fire stations intoning our grief, the mournful wails tears at us.

And then tonight I open this opera about September 11 and my family’s little personal involvement in it. The New Yorker says that it ”harkens back to “Our Town” in its communitarian ethos.” That says it just fine for me.

And so, in praise of that spirit of community being celebrated on the stage and really is the only reason we made it here today and will play for three weeks, I want to attempt to chronicle a little bit of how my neighborhood, TriBeCa, reached out to support this project and by extension me.

I started to write this while sitting on the steps of David Bouley’s newest culinary creation on Hudson Street. I love these steps surrounded by planters with wild flowers and herbs. I sit often and drink iced coffee, laced with extra espresso. Crazy, but I feel calm here.

David Bouley generously helped this opera with food and donations and a feeling that even a big swell, a real star like him, feels the community spirit. His wife, Nicole, is always ready to give us handouts, as are the folks at Bubbys, who fed pie to the entire cast at dress rehearsal. The pie was washed down by cider from the Greenwich Street Green Market. I am grateful especially to Pat and Stan and their farm stand as they sold the book on which the opera is based years back and continue to stuff post cards about the performance into bags of green beans or tomatoes.

Every where I go I see support for CALLING: An Opera of Forgiveness:
Erika at Myoptics hands out post cards and last week told me that now her friend’s grandson is in the show. One of our best chorus members works in Design Beyond Reach, Tribbles the design store on West Broadway loaned us the owner’s daughter to be my stage manager. ALL FOR FREE, no less!!

The Church Street School, who was an early recipient of the funds raised by the original book, helped with audiences and child singers. They sent us to the Trinity Church Choir, whose master, Robert Ridgell rehearsed some kids. Businesses all over downtown have taped up our posters including Paul Blaustein the plumber who put up a poster and gave me a check to “help pay singers.”

The folks at Mail Boxes Etc Avery, Wendy and Joe, copied all our fliers, mailed out post cards so folks across the country could have real snail mail to stick onto bulletin boards or their fridges. To the downtown papers, the Battery Park Broadsheet and Tribeca Trib who covered us generously, to Cheryl Hazen and her gallery, all the guys at the Tribeca Wine store, the wait staffs at Walkers and Bubbys, to the brokers at Douglas Elliman, all who gave out post cards, to all these and more an enormous thank you for showing that community spirit is more than alive and well, it is thriving in TriBeCa.

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