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New Year's Eve Concert for Peace

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by Joann Jovinelly (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
With the New Year upon us—and a new decade—many will spend this holiday reflecting on the past and looking forward to 2010. If sharing the revelry with partygoers in Times Square leaves you less than excited, you may be surprised to learn that there is an equally popular celebration happening uptown at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Every year, congregants and neighbors gather in the cathedral for the New Year's Eve Concert for Peace, an annual concert and sing-along that was begun by the late Maestro Leonard Bernstein more than 25 years ago. This year's event is extra special since it is the first concert in the newly cleaned and restored cathedral after a severe fire damaged the structure in 2001.

The program will begin with Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and follow with excerpts from "West Side Story" and the world premiere of "Songs of War, Remembrance, and Hope" by Glen Cortese, the evening's conductor and the cathedral's current artist-in-residence. Other performers include pianist John Musto and vocalists Lauren Flanigan and Amy Burton. The celebration also hosts a number of inspirational speakers and concludes with meditations on the year ahead and the traditional passing of flames until more than 1,000 candles light the cathedral—a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. And with a seating capacity for nearly 5,000, there is surely space for you and yours.

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Why? Because reflection is better when you are among friends.
When: December 31, 2009, 7 PM (Doors open at 6 PM)
Where: Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City
Cost: Free (General Admission), $55 (Reserved Seating)
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