Just A Dream comes to Cornerstone
Story by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer
Inwood resident Aaron Scott is known as a jazz percussionist who has performed with pianist McCoy Tyner since 1988.
He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Opera House of Vienna, and alongside many jazz greats, including Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis. Scott has won three Grammy Awards, and, in 1990, he was awarded one of France’s most distinguished titles, that of Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters, which recognizes eminent artists and writers, and those who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.
He is also a composer.
Over ten years after its debut in 2002, Scott’s Just a Dream will be performed live at the Cornerstone Chorale’s Spring Concert on Sun., May 12th at Holyrood Church on 179th Street and Fort Washington Avenue.
“It’s a big honor for us,” said Rich Stout, the Chorale’s director. “He’s a phenomenon, a world-class artist.”
If the wait for the live debut of Just a Dream was long, Scott’s collaboration with the Chorale goes even further back—to when Scott’s then 9-year-old daughter, who is now 23, participated in the Chorale’s rendition of Carmina Burana, a classical cantata by German composer Carl Orff.
The Chorale needed a percussionist for the piece, and opportunity walked through the door when Scott came by to pick up his daughter after practice.
“I thought, ‘Should I really ask the world-famous Aaron Scott?’” recalled Stout. He decided to go out on a limb.
“I was expecting the answer to be ‘No’,” he chuckled.
But Stout got a ‘yes’ instead, marking the first collaboration between Scott and the Cornerstone Chorale.
“It was a fluke,” said Stout of Scott’s collaboration then in Carmina Burana. But Scott did not seem to think so.
“Whenever I have the occasion [to play with the Chorale], I enjoy it,” he said.
Scott especially enjoys the fact that Just a Dream will also be performed live for the first time.
Due to his busy career as a professional performance musician, the realization of a live performance of Just a Dream was put on the back burner for years.
The live performance at Holyrood will feature a symphony orchestra.
Securing the orchestra made for a perfect opportunity to debut Just a Dream.
The orchestra was funded by principal grant money from the Fund for Creative Communities, and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, administered through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
“I’m wondering what was going through his mind, but I’m glad he asked,” said Scott, of Stout’s proposal to collaborate with the Chorale.
“It was a surprise—I always wanted the piece to be performed because it’s outside my realm,” said Scott.
While Scott is an accomplished jazz musician, he also enjoys composing and classical music.
Just a Dream is an exploration of these interests.
“It’s turned out nicely,” said Scott.
And now, the world has an opportunity to hear Just a Dream, which Scott describes as love story, complete with the ups and the downs, ins and outs.
Local singer Dana Hanchard, who performs internationally, will be the lead vocalist. Hanchard also sang in the recorded version of Just a Dream.
“It’s great,” she said of the debut, “especially after seeing the evolution of it. And performing in the neighborhood is wonderful.” Scott created the words and music for the piece. “It is quite a ride. It takes you to another place,” said Stout of the piece.
“What I would like people to feel is when there’s love, there’s always hope—a desire to make thing better and improve the situation. Hopefully, it will reach to the listener to better assist their love story.”
As well as Just a Dream, the Cornerstone Chorale’s Spring concert will feature Psalm 86 of Gustav Holst; Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs; the Mass in G of Schubert.
The concert is on Sun., May 12th at 3:30 p.m. at Holyrood Church at 715 West 179th Street. Tickets are $12 ($8, seniors and students).
For more information, please contact Richard Stout at 212.795.5738 or visit www.cornerstonechoralenyc.org.