I had forgotten how cold New York can be. The bitter wind cuts into my face and slices through my thin coat and sweater. A father tugs a woolen hat with a fur pom pom tightly over the ears of a baby snuggled in the sling against his chest. A teenage girl in a leotard hops from one leg to another while waiting for the traffic light to change.
I am on my way to the atrium of the New York Ethical Culture Society to hear Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival performance of 150 Psalms. It is a week of choral concerts of only psalms. Tonight the Dutch Chamber Choir will perform 12 lamentations.
Inside, the room is as warm and toasty as a church. Pews are in a semicircle, and above our heads floats a chandelier that throws shadows along the walls. As I sit down, I nod to the older man next to me. He does not seem to notice me. Strikingly, many people sit alone, apart from one another. This is a completely different atmosphere from the opera, just a few doors away in Lincoln Center, where people come to be seen as well as to watch.