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Though she’s one of the planet’s most popular and critically acclaimed jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves is not about to rest on her laurels. “When I listen to my early records, I hear that I was fearless,” she says, reminiscing about her four-decade career. “But I think I’m still fearless!” To date, she has released nearly 20 albums, the latest—2014’s Beautiful Life—earning her a fifth Grammy Award and boasting a multi-generational list of guest artists. In a recent conversation with Jeff Tamarkin, associate editor of JazzTimes magazine, Reeves discussed her musical inspirations and how she was ultimately able to find her own voice.

When did you come into your own as a vocalist?

When I started listening to Miles Davis albums. I remember making a comparison between him and [Brazilian vocalist] Milton Nascimento. Milton had a way of singing without vibrato and a longing feeling that was so beautiful. I thought it was like Miles. That’s when I started to open up and listen to everything, and to develop my own exercises to find the placement for these sounds in my own voice.

Did you spend a lot of time studying the great female jazz vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan?

I really did. I listened to a lot of people—Sarah in the very beginning because her voice was so broad and expansive. I used to do a lot of her songs and my uncle [Denver Symphony Orchestra bassist Charles Burrell] would tell me, “You sing these songs exactly like Sarah, but you’ve gotta have your own take.” That changed me.

One of the hallmarks of your style is your scat singing. How did you learn to do that?

It’s just improvisation. [Trumpeter and mentor] Clark Terry always told me how improvisation starts with being able to phrase. Listening to the great singers like Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, and—much later on—Shirley Horn, for me was the beginning; that gave me an understanding of harmony and how you can move through it and find your way. When I first worked with my high school jazz band, they didn’t want a singer, so I would come down to the class anyway and sit in the trumpet section.

Dianne Reeves (Jerris Madison)

Are women musicians more accepted now in the jazz world than when you started out?

Yes. I moved to New York in the early ’80s, and there were a number of really great women instrumentalists; it was starting to happen. If you could play, you could play. [The late pianist] Kenny Kirkland was one who fostered a lot of really great female musicians. Esperanza Spalding might have been noticed back then, because she’s a star—you’d have to take notice of somebody like that. But I remember when I was out in Los Angeles and [pianist] Billy Childs and I had a band. This well-known disc jockey from a jazz station asked Billy, “The band is great, but who is the chick singer?” And Billy said, “Dianne Reeves.” Then the disc jockey said, “Well, who is the leader of the band?” and Billy said, “The chick singer!” 

How do you feel about the direction young artists like Esperanza and Robert Glasper are taking jazz, incorporating hip-hop, R&B, and more electronic elements?

I absolutely love it. It’s so fresh and inventive. They’re coming from the tradition, but they’re a reflection of now.

They’re among the many guests on Beautiful Life, which also features Sheila E., Gregory Porter, and Lalah Hathaway. How did they come to appear on the album?

Some of them chose me. They asked me, “Can I be on your record?” Robert Glasper came to me through Twitter. He said, “I’ve got this idea for this song, ‘Dreams.’” I said, “Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’? How do you know that song?” He sent me a demo of him singing it, which I will always cherish. It was incredible.

You’ve worked with Beautiful Life producer and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington in the past. How do you know each other?

Oh, I’ve known her since she was 10. She’s like a sister, and she’s incredible to work with because she knows so much music—she could have been an ethnomusicologist. She has her foot firmly planted in the jazz tradition as well as what’s going on now.

Your cousin, the great keyboardist and producer George Duke, died in 2013. What was the most important thing he taught you?

Just to trust my voice. That was the biggest thing. He taught me to trust my choices and also that you’re unique. He produced all kinds of music all the time, but you never heard him in it. It was always about the artist. He had a gift for that. He was truly a great producer.

You’ve credited a middle school teacher with being the first to recognize that you could sing.

I’m still really close to her; she was my choir director and piano teacher. She didn’t know I could sing until one day I was helping a friend sing a song, and she said, “Who is that?” The kids said, “It’s Dianne!” I wound up in this school talent show and that was it. I loved the way I felt onstage and the way people felt listening to me. My grandmother used to say, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” But I vividly remember walking down the hall and saying, “I’m putting all of my eggs in that basket!”


Reeves, Dianne by Jerris Madison Wednesday, March 30 at 8 PM
Dianne Reeves

Dianne Reeves is a Grammy Award–winning vocalist who is one of the foremost jazz singers in the world. Whether she’s interpreting jazz classics or melding elements of R&B, Latin, and pop into swinging song, she thrills with every note she sings.

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In the video below, pianist Yefim Bronfman briefly discusses the experimental nature of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major.


Learn more about Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major.


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Whatever else the recent re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba might bring, one beneficiary will be music fans the world over. Despite a decades-long ban on official communication with our southern neighbor, musicians from both the island and the US have always managed to influence one another profoundly. Now, finally, they can do so openly.

Pedrito Martinez, the 42-year-old Havana-born percussionist, vocalist, and bandleader is the quintessential creator of the kind of great art that results when Cuban musicians marry elements of the island’s native culture to sounds they absorb from the US.

“Our roots are very much in Afro-Cuban music-folkloric styles like rumba, the ceremonial music of Santería (or Yoruba, the original name of this African religion) and Timba, which is a relatively modern Cuban style of music that is very high-energy and powerful and has lots of American R&B and funk influences. There are also many jazz elements in our music, of course,” says Martinez, who arrived in New York City at age 25 and soon after took first place in the annual Thelonious Monk International Afro-Latin Jazz Hand Drum Competition.

Performing with Martinez at the Zankel Hall gig is Edgar Pantoja-Aleman (keyboard and vocals), Álvaro Benavides (electric bass and vocals), and Jhair Sala (cowbell, bongos, and vocals). “Everyone in the group is originally from Latin America: Álvaro is from Venezuela, Jhair is Peruvian, Edgar is from Santiago de Cuba, and I am from Havana. So we all share the same rhythmic vocabulary,” says Martinez, adding that the group performs “without horns, drums, or timbales. This is very unusual, but we all sing and we are very much in sync with one another every second. The consideration, love, and respect that we have for the music makes us sound so powerful.”

The Pedrito Martinez Group’s performance includes music from its new album, Havana Dreams, recorded at Havana’s legendary EGREM Studio. “Returning to Cuba was a dream come true for me,” says Martinez, who, in his New York years, has also maintained a prolific career as a sideman for everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Eddie Palmieri to Bruce Springsteen. “The music of the new album is so fresh, soulful, and deeply rich. Our chemistry is based on the years we have been together and on the fact that we are always listening very carefully to every moment of inspiration and responding in some way—even if that might mean making no sound in order to give the others space to speak. It’s a constant conversation that is going on between all of us.

“I think versatility is achieved only with great effort, hard work, and years of studying,” he adds. “Achieving this has been one of my goals since I arrived in the United States 18 years ago. I realized the importance of making the sacrifice because diversity is a great long-term benefit.”

Jeff Tamarkin is the associate editor of JazzTimes magazine.



The Pedrito Martinez Group
Pedrito Martinez
Friday, February 19 at 9 PM
The Pedrito Martinez Group

Cuban-born Pedrito Martinez—a dynamic percussionist and powerful vocalist—is a modern proponent of the Afro-Cuban rumba tradition and the batá rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santería.

Part of Late Nights at Zankel Hall.

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In the short video below, composer Shara Worden discusses creating new works in collaboration with composer Steven Mackey and members of So Percussion.

Shara Worden’s composition Timeline will be performed with So Percussion this Friday, February 12 in Zankel Hall.



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When you celebrate a 125th anniversary, you have stories to tell. Whether it's an anecdote about Andrew Carnegie or a great artist, we have 125 years of Carnegie Hall lore. But those are only our tales. Below we share a touching story from a longtime concertgoer Brian Perman.

We invite you and your friends to tell your own stories. Perhaps you have fond memories of a first visit to the Hall, an inspiring concert, or an unusual experience. We would love to hear what you have to say and to share your reminiscences. Read, watch, listen, and share!

Everyone has a Carnegie Hall story. Tell us yours.


CH Stories February image

I moved to NYC in 1990 and began glomming on to my cousin’s Carnegie Hall subscription shortly thereafter. After a few years, we started bringing our respective girlfriends, who later became our wives. We have had our seats in Box 20 ever since!

After a few years, an older gentleman, Bernie, in the box next us began acknowledging our mutual longevity in our seats and we struck up the first of many years of conversations. When our wives became pregnant in successive years, Bernie and his wife were so excited. He insisted that we bring new pictures to every concert.

The years passed and we four in our box and Bernie and his wife in theirs were as predictable as the tides. Then one year, in our first concert of the season, Bernie’s wife showed up with someone else ... and something didn’t seem right. Before the concert began, she leaned over and told us that Bernie had passed away over the summer. Her pain and loss were palpable. Bernie’s wife admitted that being there without him was too painful and that she just came to tell us and that would likely be her last concert.

In the middle of the first piece, with the music fl owing, I couldn’t stop thinking about Bernie and the years of connection that we all had. I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer. I looked over at my wife and she, too, was crying.

We still have our seats in Box 20 and, at every concert, I still look over, expecting to see Bernie, taking in the music and doodling on his playbill. Carnegie Hall gave us that indelible and unique memory and we are forever thankful for it.

—Brian Perman

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Garifuna musician Aurelio performs Africa in the video below. Born on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, vocalist, guitarist, and singer-songwriter Aurelio strives to preserve and find new ways to express his musical heritage. Aurelio's music is founded in the Garifuna traditions of his African and Caribbean-Indian ancestors, and he is best known for his high-energy take on the Garifuna-infused pop genre punta rock.

This concert was captured on Saturday, October 3 at the Brooklyn Museum as part of Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Concert series.



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The Somewhere Project, Carnegie Hall’s citywide exploration of West Side Story, reaches young people across New York City through a variety of Weill Music Institute programs and partnerships. One lucky teenager and Somewhere Project all-star, Dysani Wanzer, is participating in the project through four different groups: She is a member of the 200-person choir that will be part of Carnegie Hall’s production of West Side Story, a participant in songwriting projects at both Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music and in Carnegie Hall’s afterschool Youth Programs, and a member of the Music with a Message Band at Renaissance Youth Center, one of the project’s partner organizations. Dysani shares about her wide-ranging experiences of being involved in The Somewhere Project.


My name is Dysani Wanzer and I’m 15 years old. Growing up, I didn’t fit in with most of the other kids because I lived with my grandma, and I was usually made fun of. In seventh grade, I just got over it and made jokes about it instead, because I felt, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” In the musical West Side Story, Maria and Tony want to find a place where they can love, be loved, and be equal—a place where people love each other for who they are. My “Somewhere” is similar to their utopia: I wish to find a place where I am accepted for who I am, where I can be free to make my own decisions, a place where I can love who I want without being discriminated against or judged.

Two choirs at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music were selected and given the opportunity to be a part of The Somewhere Project with Carnegie Hall. The project is centered around the musical West Side Story, in which two characters from opposing sides of a racial divide fall in love to only be heartbroken. In the end, they cannot be together no matter how much they try. Knowing West Side Story, excitement arose throughout Celia Cruz Bronx High School when the project was announced.

 

I am so full of joy right now! I had the privilege of watching the #somewhereproject partner Renaissance Youth Center Band - Music With a Message- rehearse this evening in the #bronx Mr Harris and these ladies and gentlemen #killedit #superfierce #nailedit #music #everything #superbigdeal

A photo posted by Eduardo Placer (@eduardoplacer) on

During the first rehearsal for The Somewhere Project with my choir from Celia Cruz, I was very nervous because I had never been in a musical and there were so many people involved in this project—people from all over, people I didn’t know. However, they made me feel welcome. Everyone was there for the same purpose: to be a part of a project that unites people regardless of where they’re from or what they practice. Before rehearsal, we recreated the gym scene from West Side Story, which allowed us to meet everyone and get to know each other. Leslie Stifelman—musical supervisor for the production, and also the music director and conductor for Chicago on Broadway—started the rehearsal by teaching us new breathing strategies for our singing.

I’m also participating in The Somewhere Project through Carnegie Hall’s new afterschool Youth Programs for teens. Focusing on songwriting, digital music creation, and concert production, these workshops allow teens to learn the skills needed to create, perform, and produce their own original music. Being a part of the songwriting workshop is a great experience because I am with other songwriters who help and inspire me to create more songs. This is where I met Thomas Cabaniss, who writes music for opera, theater, dance, film, and the concert stage. Tom has helped my songwriting class create a song called “A Place for Us” in which we express our feelings about The Somewhere Project and where we belong.

 

After performing "New York New York" at a concert (their original song based on "Somewhere" from West Side Story) #somewhereproject

A photo posted by Deidre Rodman Struck (@pianogoddess) on

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also in songwriting workshops at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music as part of Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program. In the songwriting group led by Deidre Rodman Struck and James Shipp, our songs focus on finding a place to fit in, like Maria and Tony. These songs deal with empowerment and knowing where you stand as a whole. We were able to record our final songs in the recording studio and the songs will also be uploaded to Carnegie Hall’s SoundCloud. This workshop was a great experience because we got to know how it really feels to write and record songs like a professional artist.

Finally, I am also a part of the Renaissance Youth Center which is a non-profit organization that includes various activities and classes on music, dance, art, sports, and so much more. The Music with a Message Band (MWAM) is a youth group that spreads positive messages through music, creating differences in people’s lives one song at a time. MWAM was also given the opportunity to be a part of The Somewhere Project with Carnegie Hall. We have created our own musical inspired by West Side Story called Bronxside Story. Just a few days after the lights dim for the last time on Carnegie Hall’s production of West Side Story at the Knockdown Center, join us in the Bronx for our own take on the musical.

—Dysani Wanzer


Learn more about the Somewhere Project.

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On December 16, 2015, pianist Evgeny Kissin gave a special performance of rarely heard piano works by lesser-known Jewish composers and recited Yiddish poetry. As part of his encore, Kissin recited a poem which we wrote titled “Ani maymin” (“Credo”).


Ani maymin

Shoyn Terekh hot gezogt zayn kleynem zun mit shrek:
"Far vos bist nit aza, vi ale?"
Un s'iz geven azoy in yedn kant un ek,
vuhin di dolye undzere brutale
flegt undz nit varfn. S'iz dokh undzer koved,
vos tomid zaynen mir geven getray tsu zikh
un hobm ot di khokhme oysgekovet:
"Ven ikh vel zayn vi yener, ver vet zayn vi ikh?"

Credo

After Terah* said fearfully to his young son:
“Why are you not like all the others?”
and it was so in every nook and cranny
into which our brutal fate cast us.
It’s to our honor, after all,
that we have always been faithful to ourselves,
and have forged this wise saying:
“If I am like the others, who will be like me?”

*Abraham’s father



Kissin Poetry 640px
Photo by Steve J. Sherman
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As part of Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary season, the Weill Music Institute launches The Somewhere Project, a citywide exploration of West Side Story. This creative learning project engages artists and audiences in all five boroughs in a celebration of community and music. The show is a fitting topic for this citywide project, since it’s as much about New York City as it is about the characters on stage. Below, Nigel Simeone, author of The Leonard Bernstein Letters and Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story, explains further.


Open the script of West Side Story, and after the cast list, there’s a two-line statement: “The action takes place on the West Side of New York City during the last days of summer.” Leonard Bernstein had previously composed the music for On the Town and Wonderful Town, both of which start with numbers that leave us in no doubt about their New York setting. In On the Town, the three sailors rush on to sing “New York, New York! It’s a helluva town!,” and Wonderful Town even has a tour guide to describe the scene: “On your left, Washington Square, right in the heart of Greenwich Village.”

Somewhere Project NYC blog (Bobby Mikul)
Photography: Bobby Mikul


In West Side Story, New York City is a constant, looming presence, but now it’s a cruel and troubling place. Jerome Robbins’s original idea for the show, which he proposed to Bernstein and Arthur Laurents back in 1949, was to set it on the Lower East Side, with rival gangs of Catholics and Jews. For the next six years, the three collaborators were busy with other projects. But in June 1955, Robbins revived the idea, and The New York Times reported that work had resumed on the musical “tentatively being called East Side Story.” Later that year, after reading newspaper reports of gang violence, Laurents and Bernstein were fired up by the idea of rival Puerto Rican and white gangs on the city’s West Side. They sent Robbins a fresh outline that was refashioned into the plot as we know it. In October 1955, Stephen Sondheim joined the team, and the show started to make progress. It also acquired its final title: In January 1956, The New York Times announced that “this modernized treatment of the Romeo and Juliet legend” was to be called West Side Story (a later plan to call it Gang Way! was fortunately abandoned).


While the exact locations are never specified …,
the feeling of being immersed in the city is pervasive and threatening.


Other than its West Side setting, there are no precise landmarks in the show. Sondheim originally wrote lyrics for the prologue, but they were about reaching for the moon—and escaping from New York. This early version of the prologue ran straight into the “Jet Song,” with different lyrics from the ones that eventually made it into the show. There’s one witty New York detail in the abandoned lyric: “How ’bout the day when we made all that mess / With the mice we let out on the Bronx Park Express?” The prologue was reworked as a purely dance number (and the “Jet Song” given new, sharper lyrics), but as Brooks Atkinson wrote in his New York Times review, “there is nothing mythical about the environment of West Side Story. It is New York today, and the principal characters are the tense, furtive, feral members of two hostile teenage gangs, lost in a fantasy of hatred and revenge.” He could have added that the city itself—ever-present and all-seeing—is almost another character in the show.

While On the Town and Wonderful Town celebrate New York’s sights and sounds, West Side Story explores its grim underbelly, with young lives fueled by poverty, violence, and racial hatred. The utilitarian settings intensify this. In the script, we find “the street,” “a backyard,” “the drugstore,” “the neighborhood,” and so on.

Somewhere Project NYC blog (John A. Anderson)
Photography: John A. Anderson


One aspect of the movie version that troubled Bernstein (and some of the other collaborators) was the opening helicopter shots of Manhattan. He thought this looked like a travelogue, and said so to Saul Chaplin, one of the producers. Chaplin replied that it took audiences “to the locale of the picture in a most effective manner.” As seen in the movie, that locale was the area of the Upper West Side south of 66th Street, the area known as San Juan Hill, demolished after the film was shot to make way for Lincoln Center. It’s easy to see why Bernstein found the opening of the movie too literal and too pictorial—presenting a vision of New York that was far removed from the bleak realism of West Side Story.

While exact locations are never specified in Laurents’s book, the feeling of being immersed in the city is pervasive and threatening. Oliver Smith echoed this in his inspired set designs. His concept incorporated typical features of New York’s urban landscape, such as the Z-shaped fire escapes and the concrete bridge piers “under the highway” for the rumble scene (similar relics can still be seen in what remains of the West Side Elevated Highway around 70th Street).

Somewhere Project NYC blog 3

The characters themselves strengthen the sense of place— not only the youthful principals, but also the adults in the cast: Doc, owner of the drugstore; Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke, two streetwise and cynical New York cops; and Glad Hand, a well-intentioned volunteer hosting the dances at the settlement house that doubles as the gym. At the end of West Side Story, the procession carrying Tony’s body makes its way across the stage. The last direction in the script reads: “The adults—Doc, Schrank, Krupke, Glad Hand—are left bowed, alone, useless.” These archetypal guardians of decency in the city are powerless: It is as if New York itself is looking on, its spirit sapped by violence and death.

Finally, there’s Bernstein’s music: With its angular intervals, harsh dissonances, tense repeating motifs, and gritty orchestration, it’s an unflinchingly urban soundworld. The police whistle in the prologue and the siren in the rumble are no mere effects, but are integral to the score: They can be seen in Bernstein’s earliest sketches, long before the orchestrations were made by Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal (under Bernstein’s watchful eye). The array of Latin-American percussion is used to depict a strident and hostile city; and right at the start of the prologue, the vibraphone and alto sax ooze disquiet and sleaze. Has anybody created a more evocative soundtrack for New York’s dark side? I doubt it.

—Nigel Simeone


This article first appeared in Carnegie Hall: 125 Years of an Iconic Music Venue’s Most Remarkable People and Memorable Events, available here.

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The Park Avenue Armory’s Youth Corps is a group of New York City public high school students and graduates who are immersed in the art and creative processes of the Armory’s artists. The Armory, along with 14 other community partners across New York City, have adopted the themes of The Somewhere Project, Carnegie Hall’s citywide exploration of West Side Story, into their own programming this season. Youth Corps intern Biviana shares her group’s project, in which teens have created original graphics, visuals, and tags on white Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers for the major characters in West Side Story. These shoes will be displayed in an art exhibition at the Knockdown Center to depict a kind of scenographic “footprint” of iconic scenes from West Side Story.


Starting out the New Year on the right foot (literally), Youth Corps participated in Carnegie Hall’s The Somewhere Project. The Somewhere Project culminates in three productions of the well-known musical West Side Story in March at the Knockdown Center—the events will part-performance and part-visual art / installation, with we Youth Corps contributing to the installation aspect. At the events, there will be an exhibit that features works from many institutions inspired by the musical.

Somewhere Project Park Avenue Armory 1

Our visual art piece was inspired mostly by the opening scene of West Side Story that shows the Jets and the Sharks gangs taunting, teasing, and chasing each other in an extended dance sequence around New York City. We noticed that in this scene, many of these young men sport the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, which are still popular to this day, and so for our Somewhere Project installation, we decided to each make a pair of plain white Converse All Stars into a piece of original artwork that reflects the characters and relationships in West Side Story.

Youth Corps interns are young students from New York City who work with Park Avenue Armory’s Education Department and artists from all backgrounds, talking and learning about the art that enters the Armory doors and creating art based on their experiences. Youth Corps enter as high school students and remain a part of the Armory family upon graduation. Students grow as they are pushed outside their comfort zones by participating in unconventional artistic programming that the Armory is well known for. The Youth Corps program is dedicated to bringing art to inner city students who otherwise may not be exposed to it, as they believe art is essential to education and personal development. I’ve been a Youth Corps member since 2013.

Somewhere Project Park Avenue Armory 2

Since the 1960s, Chucks have been a feature footwear for basketball players, punks, hipsters, nerds, and other subcultures. They’re iconic for the way they allow people to show off individuality and style. No matter who you are, you can rock Chuck Taylors your way. I for one wear my Chucks only in the summer with shorts and a t-shirt because I like their laid-back look, but Shar, my fellow Youth Corps, wears her chucks year round as a staple in her wardrobe. My style is more urban comfy and hers is more punk, but we manage to rock our converses in unique ways. When I was in high school, I had three pairs of converses in different colors that I circulated around depending on the occasion. That’s what I love about them: They’re simple yet versatile. So I think using Chucks as the basis of our installations allow these sneakers to serve as a visual footprint of iconic scenes, characters, and themes from West Side Story.

Like any creative process, research is always required. Rewatching the West Side Story film with popcorn and chocolate was our way of doing research. But of course, afterward, we discussed what we saw: themes, character development, and connections between characters, scenes, and songs that we found to be important to fully understand the story. Also, individually, we researched a little more to see if we could find anything new that we may have missed and shared that with each other. Then, we brainstormed ideas for sketches and practiced our designs on scrap material. For the rest of our sessions, we worked on our final product. Each of us added our personalities and flair to our sneakers while staying true to the main ideas behind the West Side Story narrative.

Somewhere Project Park Avenue Armory 3A

 

Somewhere Project Park Avenue Armory 3B

For example, my sneaker design is based solely on the character Maria, who I find to be troublesome because of the way she makes decisions and how that affects the other characters. I found her to be naive and selfish, yet I understood where she was coming from and how hard it must have been for her. Her character is impressionable, like the Converse sneaker that is able to be changed and styled according to you. My shoe is split into both aspects of Maria’s story. One side depicts Maria’s need for finding true love and peace, while the other side depicts the tragic realization that the world is full of violence and life is not a walk in the park.

All in all, the process of finding how we identify with a theme, scene, or character in the film, and then sharing that through visual art was something I’ve never done before. It was rewarding to watch my fellow Youth Corps artists create and express their experience with the production from start to finish. Most of our conversations revolved around the film and story. More often than not, one of us broke out singing our favorite West Side Story song and it was always fun to have a spontaneous sing-along.

Somewhere Project Park Avenue Armory shoes

Like the Converse sneaker, the story told in the film will always be relatable. I never knew how connected I felt to this narrative and the characters until I worked on this project. I cherish that and I look forward to seeing how other institutions have interpreted their connection to West Side Story in March.


Learn more about the Somewhere Project.

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