For years, watching the live broadcast of the annual New Year’s Eve Gala Concert from Lincoln Center has become a holiday tradition for me and my family. A highlight of New York’s holiday season, the performance features a festive and cheerful symphonic repertoire and is viewed by millions of people across the world.
This year’s program, a sampling of fantastic French treats, takes on a special importance in light of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris. Instead of watching it at home, we decided to attend this year’s performance in person to support the event and the people of France.
On the last night of 2015, we put on our holiday best to ring the New Year with music.
We took some time to explore the newly named David Geffen Hall, home to the oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. and the world-renowned New York Philharmonic. Pictures of acclaimed artists from around the globe adorned the walls of the promenade inside. Since we arrived a little earlier, we had the chance to watch the cameras being set up and getting ready for the live broadcast, a fun experience you definitely don’t see everyday.
The concert, conducted by Alan Gilbert, featured a full French program to honor Paris – the City of Light. From Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals to Piaf and Louiguy’s “La Vie en rose,” from Ravel’s Pavane pour une Infante défunte to Offenbach’s Gaîté Parisienne, the music filled the hall with beauty and delight. As 2016 drew nearer, our hearts whispered prayers to the people of France and reflected upon the world we wanted to live in, a world where we could share our humanity. The audience gave a standing ovation as a golden Eiffel Tower projection lighted up the stage and the French national anthem roared during the encore, many singing along with tears of joy.
May the New Year bring joy, peace, and happiness to everyone in this world.
May all your dreams take flight upon the wings of music.