Well folks, just like the Howl Festival itself, the Sacred Harp singing came together in the end.
As I wrote before, I didn’t get the word on where we’d be stationed until 8:30PM the night before.I’d been told we’d have a booth and that suddenly changed to an unamplified stage.
So we met at the fountain at 11:00 and warmed up and went over to find the 9th St. Stage.Our Howl staff point person, Matt, told us we'd go on from 12:40 to 1:00 and to be there 15 minutes prior.We didn't see the stage at first.We had to call Matt and he directed us to it.We missed it because it was still being built.While we waited, Renuka found a piece of sidewalk chalk and drew feet walking to the center of the square to encourage people to come to the middle and listen.Then she wrote “Join Us” on the pavement.We worried people would think we were a proselytizing church or a cult so she added “(not a cult)” under it.Then Mary Ellen reminded us that all cults say they’re not a cult.Then we assembled ourselves and just had fun singing.
Generally, the festival was a lot less well attended than everyone hoped.The weather looked so threatening even though it wasn’t raining.But Allen handed out flyers to people who were interested and we had three people join in and sing with us, four if you include the Lutheran who couldn’t leave his booth.A couple of girls came by and said we sounded beautiful and they could hear us in their apartment in the Cristadora apartment building.That anyone heard us that high up was amazing, the wind was blowing so strongly.Another person from a booth farther down the street came to tell us how much they enjoyed the singing too.We were photographed and video taped, I’m guessing because we made such a tame contrast with colorful local characters but that contrast was a great description of the diversity of the Lower East Side.I’m hoping the shot of us with the parade in the background turns out well.
At about 15 till 2:00 a Howl staffer came by and asked us if we would like to officially sign up and be a part of the shows which would be starting at 2:00.We laughed and told her we already were and we were already doing it.But we signed up for a 3:40-4:00 slot and then we helped her find her pen, which was clipped to her shirt.
At 2:00 two fellows in saffron robes came to take the stage.I wished them luck with the weather.They said they weren’t worried they had a direct connection to Indra.Mary Ellen said “Look, we already wrote ‘not a cult’ for you and we retired to Zum Schneider, a popular local spot.We’d just sat down and ordered and, man, it started pouring rain outside.But by the time we’d eaten the rain cleared up.Unfortunately, when we got back to 9th Street we found the crowd had cleared out too.
Ultimately, the only real disappointment was that Charlotte had rearranged her schedule with her grandchildren to come sing but she couldn’t arrive till 2:00 and didn’t get to sing at all.
Thank you Charlotte Ehrmann, Ann Henry, Allen Hansen, Terry T. Hero, Brenda Pena, Mary Ellen Schrock, Claire Simon, Renuka Vijayanathan, Brenda’s partner and Susan Waide for a great day.