With the next show in the Charles R. Hale Productions series, “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song,” slated for November, Charles certainly wanted to create a show that would not only be heard — but felt — among the full-house audience at the cell theatre on Aug. 23. It had to be something lasting. From Jobim and Gershwin to Rolling in the Deep and Milonga de Angel, from John Legend and Alanis Morrisette to Ashokan Farewell and Chega de Saudade….the show succeeded in too many ways to count.
The event was planned around a return visit of violinist extraordinaire Annette Homann, an early Artists Without Walls’ member. After twelve years in New York City, Annette has returned to her native Germany where she is finding tremendous success as a performing artist in Berlin. Invited to perform with Annette were bassist Danny Weller, guitarist Shu Nakamura and Charles’s Artists Without Walls co-founder, singer Niamh Hyland. All are of extraordinary talent in their own rights. Together? Charles created something truly remarkable.
“When I was thinking of a theme for tonight’s event I thought, ‘We have great musicians, who can play anything so let’s just make great music.’ And that’s what we aimed for tonight. Many genres and accomplished musicians who can perform it all,” Charles said.
“It’s very nice to see you back in America, Annette.”
America/Bernstein–Alexander A. Wu and Annette Homann
Danny Weller and Shu Nakamura (with Annette Homann)
Billy Jean — Annette Homann and Shu Nakamura
Autumn Leaves/Mercer — Niamh Hyland and Annette Homann
Chega de Saudade— Annette Homann, Shu Nakamura and Danny Weller
Ashokan Farewell — Annette Homann and Shu Nakamura
Fascinating Rhythm — Alexander Wu
Milonga de Angel/Piazzolla– Annette Homann and Alexander Wu
Rolling in the Deep — Annette Homann, Niamh Hyland, Danny Weller, Shu Nakamura
And in the end…. the show, entitled “Annette Homann and Friends: Versatile Virtuosos,” left the audience full of emotion, of joy, of incredulousness. It was a showcase of talent, love and goodwill as few shows can be. Audiences to Charles R. Hale Productions and AWoW shows are generous but also discriminating. This show, this unique collection of grace and love for both music and the spoken word, did not discriminate. The audience did not hold back. They gave the artists not one but two standing ovations. It was the way for them to give back, if even a little, for what they had just experienced; for the beautiful, remarkable respite from a sometimes confused world.
This show will stay with those fortunate enough to have attended. Such feelings rarely leave us.
One of two standing ovations.
Alexander Wu, Niamh Hyland, Annette Homann, Charles R. Hale, Danny Weller and Shu Nakamura
Charles R. Hale
Niamh Hyland and Alexander Wu
Annette Homann and Charles R. Hale
Photos by Vera Maura