Instrumentation: Choral (SSAATTBB)
Year composed: 2017-2018
Written for C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective’s “Premieres” series. Performed on December 1, 2018 at St. John’s in the Village, Manhattan
This short poem and composition reflect my personal feelings about how Manhattan has changed over the past 15 years or so; my favorite streets and alleys have been altered by the forces of gentrification, for better or worse. Visiting one of my favorite neighborhoods earlier this year, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss as well-worn storefronts were shuttered, block after block.
This also serves as a small tribute to Vanishing New York, the website that chronicles the changing nature of the city, and the sense of displacement the author expresses in his work.
I’m a Jersey girl but love this city, and felt a need to express this conflicted, nagging feeling that so many of us experience.
“Vanishing,” by Jamie Klenetsky Fay
I always walk down this street
And smile at the fading painted sign
The peeling vinyl stools
It felt like some sort of home
In this sea of gray and glass heights
One day, something changed
I saw a sign in the window
It said: “The rent is too high.”
And its contents were swept away
Painted over a soft gray
The sign, a Craftsman white
And inside, there’s no light