My Night at Carnegie Hall
I joined the Bronx Borough-Wide Band as a junior high school student in
1961-62. At that time the Salute to Music program was only a few years old.
The Bronx ensembles were led by the Landi sisters, Anna and Norma. In 1962,
under the leadership of the late great violinist Isaac Stern, Carnegie Hall
invited the Salute to Music organization to choose one borough to perform at
Carnegie Hall. This was the first time in Carnegie Hall’s history that NYC
school music groups would be performing there. The Bronx was chosen to begin
what I assume is a yearly tradition.
On the night of May 24, 1962 the band, orchestra and chorus performed in what
Stern called, “this consecrated house.” In the audience sat Eleanor Roosevelt
as well as hundreds of very proud parents and music teachers from the whole city.
The band (I was a second clarinetist) performed The Barber of Seville Overture
and The March to the Scaffold from Berlioz Symphony Fantastiqe. John Glenn
had made his historic space flight earlier that year and we also performed The Colonel
Glenn March which the composer Paul Taubman had composed in honor of John
I will never forget the thrill of that evening. Looking back on it as an
adult I can only imagine how anxious the Landi sisters must have been and the
pressure they felt to mold performances worthy of such a venue. When the
Band conductor, Norma Landi, died a few years ago, her obituary mentioned her
having performed at Carnegie Hall so many years ago.
I’ve attached a foto of the Band at that concert from 1962. I adored Ms
Landi and credit her and the Friends Of Music Organization for instilling in
me a life long love for classical music.
I am sure your students are profiting from your musical gifts in the work you
do with them.
Michael J. Koski is a native Bronxite who worked as a guidance counselor for 30 years and currently is a licensed psychologist. He still plays clarinet.