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adventures of c&k: a cousin, a cafe, and a concert

January 23, 2013

I paced the hotel lobby impatiently, while Karl sat comfortably on a nearby couch flipping through a magazine.  I was too excited to see Aunt Sondra to even think of sitting.   I received a message from my cousin, Br. Paul, last week letting me know that his Aunt Sondra (also my cousin) was going to be in New York City over the weekend to perform at Carnegie Hall with her choir.  I contacted her immediately to secure a place in her itinerary, as well as learn details so I could purchase tickets for the show.

DSCN1867 I had waited (somewhat) patiently all weekend for the appointed hour of our meeting.  Those final minutes in the hotel lobby were the most difficult.  I was bursting with excitement to see my beautiful cousin and to introduce her to Karl.  Aunt Sondra may be my cousin, first cousin once removed to be precise, but she holds the status of a well-respected aunt due to the fact that I see her at least once a year at the Family Reunion.   She a good deal of Schwartz Spunk so prevalent among the women of the family, and though nearly forty years separate us, we always have a fantastic time together.

Aunt Sondra finally rounded the corner of the lobby with a familiar air of feisty elegance.  Her eyes lit up when she saw me, just as I am sure mine did on seeing her.  After a round of greetings, hugs, and introductions, we headed out to a little cafe a few blocks north of the hotel, but not before I teased Aunt Sondra about taking her to a club instead of the quiet cafe.

DSCN1868“Really?!” she said energetically.  “I’m game!  Let’s go!”

Karl looked at my seventy year old cousin with surprise, but I just laughed.  I knew she was serious, only I didn’t want to tire her out the night before her performance.  So we settled for dinner at the cafe.

We had a grand ol’ time, the three of us, laughing, telling stories, teasing each other, and sharing memories over delicious tartines.   Sigh!  I love that Karl and Aunt Sondra got on as though they had known each other for years, as they discussed music, choirs, performances, and such.  Aunt Sondra told us about her adventures of the weekend and shared with excitement details of her upcoming performance.

We put off the end of the evening by following dinner with drinks.  We continued to talk the night away until we finally admitted it was time to say good night.  Karl and I walked Aunt Sondra back to the hotel and wished her luck, accompanied with promises of seeing her the following night after the concert.

DSCN1874Well, we didn’t get to see Aunt Sondra after the concert.  She said later that the choir was herded into a room after their performance and they weren’t allow to deviate from the proceedings.  But it sure was thrilling to see Aunt Sondra up on stage.  She was in the first row of the choir, looking beautiful as ever!  We had great seats, thanks to her choir director who offered her two comp tickets.  I could see Aunt Sondra from where I was sitting, but only when the violinist in my line of sight wasn’t playing.

The concert was incredible!  Aunt Sondra sang in the choir for the first half, which was a presentation of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” by composer Karl Jenkins.  It was a very moving piece.  The music was beautiful!  And the choir was fantastic!  Karl and I both enjoyed it thoroughly.  We didn’t enjoy the second half as much as the first, and not just because Aunt Sondra was in the first half.  The Armed Man was so amazing, which made it a difficult act to follow.

Karl and I were disappointed that we didn’t get to congratulate Aunt Sondra after her performance or say good-bye, but we were glad that we were there to witness her accomplishment and support her from the audience.  That’s what family is for, right?


DSCN1872Sondra is the one in the middle wearing pearls.


DSCN1869Here’s to you, Aunt Sondra, on your successful performance at Carnegie Hall!




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