The best of New York is not on Broadway this week. Just follow the church bells and you will find outstanding performances of music and theater that transcend religious commitment. The playbill has more to come, but on Palm Sunday, the Passion at St Bart’s was a not-to-be-missed experience. Famous for music and contemporary coolness, this church has a rich history and a presence to match. The stunning stain glass windows and lofty altars mean inspiration is almost inherent with attendance. And whatever the status and the style of the doctrine, it was the performance on Sunday that gave passion true meaning. The reverend shared thoughts about Egypt and pain, but then talked about the sound of love. Children and adult choirs sang together with sweet harmony from both sides of the altar creating a symphony of emotion that the organ embraced with amplified effect, piping simultaneously from the front and the back of the church. And then there was the storyteller, the woman who narrated from the pulpit with such intensity and drama that when the voice of Christ came in on cue, you felt she had channeled his spirit directly from the cross.
The choir did not have to sing Were you there? because we already were.
I wanted to give a standing ovation but the Presider announced they were serving hot cross buns with coffee, tea and cider in the restaurant. Hot cross buns! Having pursued these elusive spiced treats year after year in NYC and finding the supply or the taste of them drastically diminished, I quickly transited from my spiritual seance to enjoy a little taste of heaven. Home made, fruity, and just the right amount of spice. Now we can have that standing ovation…!