We’re just back from Long Island City where Bill’s daughter, Casey, and the Quintet she plays with – Washington Square Winds – celebrated the release of their CD. I’ve never been to Queens, it was an easy train ride into Grand Central Station and the first subway stop on the 7 line to Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue. A four block walk found us at the L.I.C. Bar where the party was just kicking off.
The bar has a patio out back, the perfect venue for the day. Tables and chairs perched under umbrellas helped block out the mid day sun. We grazed on bowls of popcorn and pretzels, plain and peanut M&Ms. The group set up in what looked like a converted garage toward the back of the lot. The turnout was strong, the party complete with balloons, raffles and CDs for sale, of course. We were treated to an hour-long performance and heard pieces, old and new, spanning the five years WSW have been playing together. Two of the composers were at the party; I was able to speak with one of them and he was thrilled to have his piece included on the CD. All of them, musicians and composers alike, are great, young, passionate talents. It was a pleasure to be in their company.
Afterward, we had dinner with most of the group and their friends and family. We sat outdoors under the awning of an Italian restaurant and congratulated each other again. Proud parents congratulated each other, too. We ate salads, lasagna, gnocchi, spaghetti. We talked about music from a technical aspect and an emotional one comparing what can be learned in a classroom about a melody and what can’t be learned but rather felt. It was a fun and lively discussion and included the question of what aliens would think of our music.
Queens is Casey’s new home so I think I may be spending some time getting to know that borough. Congratulations WSW – You did it!