No Classes Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

Unfortunately, it’s going to take a few days for public transportation to work again, so there will be no classes for the next three days.

There is a possibility that there will still be weekend classes – we’ll keep you posted about that.

Otherwise, we’ll see daytime students on Monday and evening students on Tuesday of next week. We hope you’re all safe. If you have any questions or need some information, please feel free to write it in the comments section, and we’ll try to help you.

Hurricane Sandy Alert – No Classes Monday

We’re sure you have all heard about Hurricane Sandy approaching NYC. The MTA will begin shut down at 7:00 PM on Sunday evening. As of now, no one can say when service will return.

Classes are cancelled for tomorrow, Monday, October 29th.

Be sure to check New York City Severe Weather website to get the latest news and alerts. Also, please be sure to read Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York Cityfor tips and plans for emergency situations:

Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City

This is a good time to stay inside and catch up on your studies and homework. You can read more about hurricanes, how they form and work at Simple English Wikipedia.

Happy Birthday, Bob Kane!

Bob Kane was the creator of Batman. He was born 97 years ago today, on October 24th, 1915, in New York, New York.

Bob Kane was a comic book artist and writer. He created Batman in 1939. Batman first appeared in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics.

Along with Superman and Spiderman, Batman is one of America’s most popular superheroes. He is really Bruce Wayne, a rich man whose parents were killed when he was a little boy. After his parents died, he vowed to fight evil. He wears the special costume and goes by the name Batman to hide his real identity. Unlike many other superheroes, he has no special powers. He is very intelligent, he’s in very good shape, and he knows martial arts, but he can’t fly or become invisible or anything like that.

There have been many Batman films and TV shows over the years. The latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, came out last summer. Here’s a trailer for it:

The Dark Knight Rises is a very good movie – but it’s definitely not for kids.

Bob Kane passed away in 1998. Here’s what he said about being a comic book artist and writer:

“To me, it’s not work. When I draw and I write, I find it relaxing. It’s not like 9-to-5, where a man goes to a job and he isn’t really interested in the job. Luckily, I get paid for doing what I’d do for nothing.”

Bob Kane


Free Community Performance

The Performance Project at University Settlement is presenting “Your Day is My Night,” a dynamic live film performance that tells the collective story of Chinese immigrants to New York City from the viewpoint of an older generation.

On Tuesday, October 30th at 4:30 PM there is a free performance. Also, they are offering free tickets to students for the shows on November 1st, 2nd and 3rd at 7:30PM. Print out the flyer or ask the office for one and bring it to the show for your free ticket. Enjoy!

Opera is like lima beans!

Like lima beans, “opera” is an acquired taste.  I didn’t always like lima beans and I didn’t always like opera.  But I’ve always loved music and eventually, I’ve learned to love both!

The first music I remember listening to, when I was four or maybe even three years old, was the music my parents liked:  Jimmy Dorsey, Patty Paige, Perry Como.  In grade school, I sang in the chorus and became familiar with popular songs arranged in 2-part and 4-part harmony.  I joined a church choir and sang sacred music by some of the greatest composers:  Bach, Handel and Byrd.  Meanwhile, back in my bedroom, I would shut myself away and listen to my LPs (= long playing records) of popular teen music: Dave Clark Five, The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, as well as music written for musical theater:  Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Sound of Music, South Pacific,The Man of La Mancha, and many, many more.   This was the music that I loved the best.  I listened to these records so many times that I learned every single word by heart!

After I graduated from college, I wanted a career as a singer in musicals.  I auditioned for nearly two years but my dream never came true.  And have you noticed?  There was still no opera in my life.  Instead, I became involved in a business career.  I went to see a few operas but I didn’t understand them and was really bored by it all.

Then one day, my voice teacher (I was still taking voice lessons) asked if I wanted to sing in the chorus of an opera.  I said, “yes, sure, why not”.  I had to learn the music on my own and that was very difficult because it was in Italian and I didn’t speak Italian then!  But I went to the rehearsal and while singing with everyone, could not believe how beautiful the music was.  It “blew me away”.  Ever since that night, I began to learn more about opera.

Operas require that you do a little “homework” before you go to see them.  It helps to read a synopsis (summary) of the story, and then the libretto (the text that is sung).  Next, I listen to the whole opera and follow the text with a side-by-side translation.  Finally, I listen to the opera all by itself, sometimes with my eyes closed so I can imagine what it might look like on the stage.  Then and only then do I feel prepared to go see a live performance.

When I was little, I didn’t like lima beans.  But as I grew older, I began to like them more and more.  Now, I love lima beans…just like I love opera.

In fact, a friend and I started a small opera company in NYC called Chelsea Opera.  But that story is the next blog.

But I’m curious:  is there something you like now that you didn’t like when you were little?  What kind of music do you listen to?  Do you know why you like it?  Have you ever listened to or seen an opera?