“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes.”A magic beyond all we do here.” Albus Dumbledore
Music has been in my life since I can remember. From my mother’s lullabies, to 7+ years of playing in band and a lot in between, music has been something my whole body yearns to have on a daily basis. It doesn’t just settle the buzzing noise between my ears, music calms me body and soul.
New York City has every type of music available for every type of person. There are symphonies and operas; jazz clubs and discos. New York City is the home to The Juilliard School (a place I used to dream about what it would be like to go there), Broadway, Central Park concerts, and The Carnegie Club featuring Frankie and the gang on Saturday nights (oh I could sit and listen and sing and dance forever here). Ellen’s Stardust Diner is known for its server’s singing performances, as they are all aspiring Broadway stars (and I would venture to bet this is the same with 75% of the rest of the servers/hosts in the city, that or aspiring actors). Yes, music has permeated every part of this city you can think of and more. But one of my favorite places I have found music in this city is in subways.
When I first moved here I was going through the subway station at Times Square when I saw a children’s Mennonite choir singing hymns. I’ve seen the saw violin, the one-man band, an astounding opera singer, and a blues group that could almost take you straight to the Delta if you let your eyes stay closed long enough. While some of these are people simply looking for a way to get by, many (like more than 350) are a part of the MUNY or Music Under New York presented by the MTA Arts for Transit. This amazing program, started in 1985 shows so many talented, amazing people. But it’s sad, while these professionals sit and play for hours, hardly anyone takes the time to stop and notice them. Remember when this happened in D.C.?
This concert violinist was almost completely ignored, simply because we are too busy with our day to stop and listen to the music. I admit I get like this far more often than I care to admit, but the other day I really stopped and listened and discovered someone amazing. Erik Heger was 5-years-old when he happened upon 10 harps hiding in his grandfather’s attic. Being a badass soldier in WWII (as Heger put it), he looked up to his grandfather as his hero. When he discovered this other talent of his grandfathers outside of shooting down the bad guys, he decided it must be really really cool and the rest is history. Heger can play anything you can think of. From Katy Perry to Jazz and Blues, classical beauties and compositions of his own. And if you saw him on the street, you would not pin him as a harpist (at least I wouldn’t, coming from Utah, most harpists are pretty little blonde girls). I sat and listened and chatted with him for over 45minutes, and I could have stayed longer if I didn’t have to get home to make my husband dinner – Heger was simply amazing. Here he is playing Mad World from Donnie Darko:
Stop and listen to the music every once in awhile, even if it’s just for five minutes. That five minutes may be just the thing your mind, body and soul needed.