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Event Program

The Rebecca Luker Songbook: A Benefit Concert

MON, MAY 22 | 8PM

























The Artists







Performed by Ms. Kouatchou
Text by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
Music by Scott Eyerly

I had not thought of violets late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.



Performed by Ms. Daniels
Text by Sara Teasdale
Music by Peter Foley

This is the quiet hour; the theaters
Have gathered in their crowds, and steadily
The million lights blaze on for few to see,
Robbing the sky of stars that should be hers.
A woman waits with bag and shabby furs,
A somber man drifts by, and only we
Pass up the street unwearied, warm and free,
For over us the olden magic stirs.
Beneath the liquid splendor of the lights
We live a little ere the charm is spent;
This night is ours, of all the golden nights,
The pavement an enchanted palace floor,
And Youth the player on the viol, who sent
A strain of music through an open door.

Central Park at Dusk

Performed by Ms. Kondo
Text by Sara Teasdale
Music by Adam Gwon

Buildings above the leafless trees
Loom high as castles in a dream,
While one by one the lamps come out
To thread the twilight with a gleam.

There is no sign of leaf or bud,
A hush is over everything—
Silent as women wait for love,
The world is waiting for the spring.

Digression on Number 1, 1948

Performed by Ms. Ewoldt
Text by Frank O’Hara
Music by Joel Waggoner

I am ill today but I am not
too ill. I am not ill at all.
It is a perfect day, warm
for winter, cold for fall.

A fine day for seeing. I see
ceramics, during lunch hour, by
Miro, and I see the sea by Leger;
light, complicated Metzingers
and a rude awakening by Brauner,
a little table by Picasso, pink.

I am tired today but I am not
too tired. I am not tired at all.
There is the Pollock, white, harm
will not fall, his perfect hand

and the many short voyages. They’ll
never fence the silver range.
Stars are out and there is sea
enough beneath the glistening earth
to bear me toward the future
which is not so dark. I see.


The Haunted House

Performed by Ms. Burns
Text by Phoebe Rosenblum (Age 7)
Music by Joshua Rosenblum

Once in a far far land,
There lived a vampire, a witch and a ghost.
They worked and lived in a haunted house
With spiders delivering their mail to scare the people.

With alligators as pets.
Rugs as tongues,
And snakes as ropes,
They worked and lived
In a very, very entirely
Haunted house.

Whenever they see someone walking by,
Their rug/tongue grabs them
And the witch quickly grabs the snake
And ties up the person.
They call their pet alligator,
And the person gets eaten alive.

And when their pet alligator gets a stomach ache.
They find him some bark or a dead body
Because those are the foods or medicines

That make him feel better.
They sleep all day
And they work all night.
Rugs as tongues
And snakes as rope.
They call an owl
To see if someone’s coming.
The end!

Where the Art Is

Performed by Ms. Vosk
Text by Phoebe Rosenblum (Age 12)
Music by Joshua Rosenblum

Home is where the heart is
It’s also where the art is
I come home every day
To a family’s smile, sweet and tart
It is the drumming drums a’ humming

A song is becoming
Jazz or classical I couldn’t tell you
But a great performance
I don’t doubt

Choose a different chord
Try an “A” diminished
Because of strict corrections
The song may never be finished

But home is where the art is
My very favorite part is
The music keeps me awake and alive
It’s forever where my heart is


Performed by Ms. Darrell
Text by Mary Kelly (Age 13)
Music by David Loud

Most people go to the symphony
To hear sonatas, or concertos.
That’s their favorite part.
They await the start of these vast pieces
With bated breath.
They tap their feet
Expectantly, agitated.
Waiting for the musicians to warm up.
For their bows to finally touch the strings
With a sudden burst of sound,
Filling the room,
Bouncing off the walls playfully.
The notes chasing each other,
And then dying away,
Making space for a new batch to come in,
And starting all over again

This is why most people go to the symphony.
But not me.

I go for the beginning
Not the start of the song
But the very beginning.
When the head violinist
The general of this musical army
Finally walks onto the stage
Everyone stands up to greet him
And they bow
I can almost imagine a salute
They give him respect
And then they are seated.
Then everyone is silent
And the general
Takes a breath
And one single note comes out
Fills the room.
And then, there is chaos.

This is my favorite part.
The chaos.
Everyone bursting out with their own sound
Testing to make sure they are ready
For the journey.
Soldiers on a field, preparing for what is ahead.
This is the only part, before it begins
That you can see
You can see each individual
With their individual minds
But it’s only for a brief second.
After all of the sound
Is out of their system
Their thoughts
It is quiet once more.

The conductor walks on
Ready to begin
Everyone holds their breath
As the head of this unique force
And walks.
Until he reaches the center,
Where he belongs.

Everyone in their place

Everyone takes
A simultaneous breath
And they begin
All those separate minds from before
Are now melded
Into one.

Everyone marching, to the same beat.
In sync.
And even though
My favorite part is over
I realize
That it is still beautiful.



Performed by Ms. Benko
Text by Katherine Garrison Chapin
Music by Carmel Dean

When I met my lover
Lilacs were new,
He said, “I brought some lilacs,
Lilacs for you.”

I took them eagerly
Laughing in surprise;
He said: “They are pretty
Just like your eyes.”

I pressed the pointed blossoms
Close to my cheek,
And the smooth green leaves...
But I couldn’t speak.

How was I to tell him,

Spring being new,
How say: “It is the lilacs
I love, not you.”

Sonnet II: Time Does Not Bring Relief

Performed by Ms. Carmello
Text by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Music by John Bucchino

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

Mirabeau Bridge

Performed by Ms. Wilfert
Text by Guillaume Apollinaire, trans. Richard Wilbur
Music by Chris Miller

Under the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine
Must I recall
Our loves recall how then
After each sorrow joy came back again

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

Hands joined and face to face let’s stay just so
While underneath
The bridge of our arms shall go
Weary of endless looks the river’s flow

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

All love goes by as water to the sea
All love goes by
How slow life seems to me
How violent the hope of love can be

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

The days the weeks pass by beyond our ken
Neither time past
Nor love comes back again
Under the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay


The Doctor Is In

Performed by Ms. Strallen and Mr. Pinkham
Music & Lyrics by Neil Bartram

Your head is throbbing.
You're racked with pain.
You’ve got a fever
You can’t explain.
You’re struck with pins and needles
Tingling down your skin.
Well, don’t worry.
The doctor is in.

My throat is scratchy.
My tongue is raw.
Well honey, open wide
And simply say... ah.

I hyperventilate.
The room begins to spin.
Thank heaven,
The doctor is in.

My knees are weak.
My heart’s a-flutter.
My sanity is hanging by a thread.
I try to speak.
I cough and stutter.
You should go directly to bed.
(It’s doctor’s orders)

Don't need a potion.
Don't need no pills.
To cure your vertigo
Your aches and your chills.

I'm so confused
I don't know where to begin.
Well, don’t fight it.
The doctor is in.

This pesky bug
Defies description.
I’ve never had a feeling like this.
Well, I’m your drug
And my prescription
Is hurry over here for a kiss.
(And that’s for starters)

This might be chronic
But that’s all right.
Now that there’s a doctor
In the house every night.

So take your medicine each night with a grin.
When she examines me it might be a sin.
You're (I’m) the Hippocratic yang to my (your) yin.
Just medicate me.
The doctor is in.


Buttering the Sky

Performed by Ms. Ewoldt
Text by Hafiz, trans. Daniel Ladinsky
Music by Deborah Abramson

On my shoes,
Boiling water,
Toasting bread,
Buttering the sky:
That should be enough contact
With God in one day
To make anyone


Common Could

Performed by Ms. Kondo
Text by Jay Eisenberg
Music by Sam Willmott

I think I caught the common could
That’s why I’m still in bed
I could get up.
I could get out.
Or I could sleep instead.
“The common could’s incurable!”
That’s what the doctors say.
But I could cure it, probably.
Just...maybe not today.

The Dragon of Grindly Grun

Performed by Ms. Kouatchou
Text by Shel Silverstein
Music by Henry Krieger

I’m the Dragon of Grindly Grun,
I breathe fire as hot as the sun.
When a knight comes to fight
I just toast him on sight,
Like a hot crispy cinnamon bun.

When I see a fair damsel go by,
I just sigh a fiery sigh,
And she’d baked like a ‘tater–
I think of her later
With a romantic tear in my eye.

I’m the Dragon of Grindly Grun,
But my lunches aren’t very much fun,
For I like my damsels medium rare,
and they always come out well done.


There Are Delicacies

Performed by Ms. Bennett
Text by Earle Birney
Music by Joseph Thalken

there are delicacies in you
like the hearts of watches
there are wheels that turn
on the tips of rubies
& tiny intricate locks

i need your help
to contrive keys
there is so little time
even for the finest
of watches

Marilyn Miller

Performed by Ms. Darrell & Ms. Wilfert
Text by Dorothy Parker
Music by Joseph Thalken

From the alley’s gloom and chill
Up to fame danced Sally.
Which was nice for her, but still
Rough upon the alley.
How it must regret her wiles.
All her ways and glances.
Now the theatre owns her smiles,
Sallies, songs, and dances.

Ever onward Sally goes—
Life’s one thing that’s certain.
O’er the end of other shows
Let us draw a curtain.
Their untimely ends are sad,
But they stood no chances,
For, you see, they never had
Sally’s songs and dances.

Walking Away

Performed by Ms. Wilfert
Text by C. Day-Lewis
Music by Joseph Thalken

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day—
A sunny day with the leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled—since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
with the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take—the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show—
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love proved in the letting go.


Not Funny

Performed by Ms. Strallen
Music & Lyrics by Michael Heitzman & Ilene Reid


i carry your heart with me

Performed by Ms. Carmello & Ms. Kouatchou
Text by e. e. cummings
Music by Merideth Kaye Clark

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

Somewhere There’s a Story

Performed by Ms. Daniels
Text by Sean Barry
Music by Jenny Giering

Somewhere there’s a story
of how the lonesome moon was born.
Of the longing that engendered light.
Of how from formlessness came form.

Somewhere there’s a story
of green things yearning for the sky.
Of rivers keening for the ocean.
Of waters too stopped up to cry.

Somewhere there’s the story
of how the winter turned to spring.
Of how we two would find each other.
Of how each end births a beginning.

Somewhere there’s the story
of just how mighty was my need.
Of how my point in life was you.
Of how your point in life was me.

Someday they’ll hear it told,
all the children of our children.
Of how my life began with you.
Of how this story’s end is them.



Performed by Ms. Benko
Text by Langston Hughes
Music by Chris Peters

If I was a sea-lion
Swimming in the sea,
I would swim to China
And you never would see me.
You never would
See me.

If I was a rich boy
I’d buy myself a car,
Fill it up with gas
And drive so far, so far.
I would drive
So far.

Hard-hearted and unloving!
Hard-hearted and untrue!
If I was a bird I’d
Fly away from you.
Yes, way

Harlem Night Song

Performed by Ms. Burns
Text by Langston Hughes
Music by Chris DiStefano

Let us roam the night together

I love you.

The Harlem roof-tops
Moon is shining.
Night sky is blue.
Stars are great drops
Of golden dew.

Down the street
A band is playing.

I love you.

Let us roam the night together

I Saw the Light Turn Red

Performed by Ms. Vosk
Based on “The Metropolitan Tower” by Sara Teasdale
Music by Matt Perri

We walked together in the dusk
To watch the tower grow dimly white,
And saw it lift against the sky
Its flower of amber light.

You talked of half a hundred things,
I kept each hurried word you said;
And when at last the hour was full,
I saw the light turn red.

You did not know the time had come,
You did not see the sudden flower,
Nor know that in my heart Love’s birth
Was reckoned from that hour.


It Happens All the Time in Heaven

Performed by Ms. Bennett
Text by Hafiz, trans. Daniel Ladinsky
Music by Andrew Lippa

It happens all the time in heaven,
And someday

It will begin to happen
Again on earth—

That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are

And women and women
Who give each other

Often will get down on their knees

And while so tenderly
Holding their lover’s hand,

With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,

“My dear,
How can I be more loving to you;

How can I be more



This program is made possible by the generosity of the Howard Gilman Foundation, the MacMillan Family Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Michael Tuch Foundation, The Vidda Foundation, the Lemberg Foundation, the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, the Grodzins Fund, the Herman Goldman Foundation, and the Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation.

This program is also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

This program also receives support from an endowment established by The Bydale Foundation, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Christopher and Barbara Dixon, the Herman Goldman Foundation, William and Angela Haines, Walter and Marge Scheuer, and Zabar’s.

Symphony Space thanks our generous supporters, including our Board of Directors, Producers Circle, and members, who make our programs possible with their annual support.

Symphony Space Staff

Kathy Landau Executive Director
Peg Wreen
Managing Director
Isaiah Sheffer
Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director (1978-1988)
Artistic Director (1988-2010)
Founding Artistic Director (2010-2012)
Allan Miller
Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director (1978-1988)

Darren Critz Director of Performing Arts Programs
Sofia Frohna
Assistant Producer of Performing Arts Programs

*in memoriam


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