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BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

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A four-hour public event draws crowds, smiles, and smooth moves.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing Saturday, October 23rd was Tin Pan Alley Day in New York City - a day celebrating the official New York City landmark designation of Tin Pan Alley buildings at 47-55 West 28th Street. The day publicly launched the Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to the commemoration and continuation of the legacy of Tin Pan Alley, the birthplace of American Popular Music in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century. In honor of the occasion, a free public concert was scheduled to run from Noon until four pm, a concert that featured some of the cabaret industry's most cherished and respected artists. Excited by the introduction of the foundation and their goals (and the free concert, hello!) Broadway World Cabaret wanted to maintain a presence on the day. Four hours, though, is a chunk of time to donate to a day of the week usually filled with housework, chores, and weekend errands, so Ricky Pope and I agreed to divide the duties, with each of us taking one hour each, to report on the festivities; to further help bring the story to Broadway World Cabaret readers, I reached out to some fine folks via their social media to ask if they might share some of their photos with us.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Anita Gillette photo by Ricky Pope

From my own point of view, standing on the sidelines with my camera and observing the action, I must say it was a fun day, enjoyed by all, from the artists to the crowds. The spectators, both those seated and those standing, were a ball of happiness, clapping along, singing along, even dancing on the pavement of the Flatiron Plaza. It was a treat to see how happy the public concert made them, how much they enjoyed this music, and the fervor with which they appreciate the efforts to historically memorialize a part of Manhattan and music history that they all value. Surveying the plaza, one could see noted industry members like Jaimie de Roy, Will Friedwald, Maryann Lopinto, Michael Barbieri, and Michael Portantiere, all smiles, all happiness, and all celebration, as, one by one, talents like Natalie Douglas, Danny Bacher, Anita Gillette, Eric Yves Garcia, Klea Blackhurst, Billy Stritch, and Marilyn Maye lined up for their turn on the breeze-ridden stage, ready, willing and able to bring the audience to their feet. Although there were obvious elements of disorganization about the event, the celebration moved forward into the afternoon with great success and gratitude, with special appearances from City Council Candidate District 3 Erik Bottcher, Anna Del Castillo from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, James Mettham, Executive Director of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership BID, and George Calderaro, who had much to say about the day and the importance of the organizations working on behalf of Tin Pan Alley. Speaking briefly about her grandfather, J. Rosamond Johnson, Melanie Edwards shared words about her foundation and the value of lending the help one can in important causes, and budding musical artist Jennifer Poroye shared a duet with Marilyn Maye before performing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" for a visibly emotional crowd.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Photo courtesy of Michael Barbieri

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

It was an eventful day in honor of a special occasion, and this Broadway World Correspondent is happy he swung by to check out the action.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Photo courtesy of Billy Stritch

Ricky, how was your time at Tin Pan Alley Day?

I had a lovely time watching the first hour or so of the concert. We were treated to some really wonderful jazz by Danny Bacher and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. They gave us some great American tunes like "Accentuate the Positive," Hard Hearted Hannah," "Mood Indigo," and Jamboree Jones." My favorite was a New Orleans style treatment of "Alexander's Ragtime Band" by Irving Berlin, who was, in his youth, a song plugger on Tin Pan Alley.

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks pulled double duty, first playing for the wonderful Dewitt Fleming, Jr., who gave us some extraordinary tap dancing in the confined space ot the concert stage. The Nighthawks also played for the legendary Marilyn Maye, who entertained us with a medley of tunes about New York City that included " I Happen to Like New York," "New York State of Mind," " There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York" and New York, New York," both Bernstein and Kander & Ebb. Billy Stritch was on hand too for Ms. Maye's numbers.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Photo courtesy of Patricia O'Neil
BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
DeWitt Fleming JR. Photo by Ricky Pope

The wonderful Klea Blackhurst kept things rolling along as our host. We were also treated to a speech by candidate Eric Bottcher, who was instrumental in getting the five buildings their landmark designation. We also heard from Anne del Castillo from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. In addition, we were welcomed by the heads of both co-sponsoring organizations of today's events, George Calderaro, director of the Tin Pan Alley Project, and James Mattham, executive director of the Flatiron/23rd St Partnership.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
The Five Buildings of Tin Pan Alley Photo by Ricky Pope

On my way home, I was inspired to drop by 47-55 W 28th St. and see the five historic buildings of Tin Pan Alley in person. It is humbling to think of all the artists who walked up the steps of these five brownstones. Anyone who streams music, listens to the radio, or attends musicals on Broadway owes a deep debt of gratitude to the men and women who toiled in this small New York block, Tin Pan Alley is a part of us all.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Photo courtesy of Patricia O'Neil

Read Ricky's interview with TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Musical Coordinator Robert Lamont HERE.

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
George Calderaro
BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Erik Bottcher
BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Anne Del Castillo
BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
James Mettham
BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
The Unveiling of the Tin Pan Alley Street Sign
BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Melanie Edwards

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing
Jennifer Poroye

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing

BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing BWW Special Event: TIN PAN ALLEY DAY Fills The Air With Music and The Streets With Dancing Photos by Stephen Mosher unless otherwise credited.


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