I am a Wassailer! Wassailing (pronounced to rhyme with fossil-ing) is an old English word for ‘busking during the Christmas season’. It is found in old Christmas carols such as:
among the leaves so green.
Here we come a-wand’ring
so fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
and to all your wassail, too,
may G-d bless you,
and send you a Happy New Year”.
When I arrived at the 14th street subway station today, Ming Jun, the cellist, was playing at the Music Under New York busking spot. He told me that his daughter is now playing first cello with the Arizona Symphony Orchestra.
Two homeless men were sleeping on the bench. One of them was covered with a blanket. There were many police officers around, but they let the homeless men sleep. I have seen the police kick out sleeping homeless people from this bench before, but not today. Holiday spirit?
A couple from a town outside of Florence (Italy) told me that before they arrived in NYC they saw a young boy in their home town, dressed as a tree, playing the same instrument I was playing and playing the same song, too! (‘Oh Holy Night’).
One of the homeless guys on the bench woke up. He checked his cell phone. When I looked up next – both homeless guys were gone.
A conductor told me that he just returned from 3 months in Paris (France) where he conducted Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ at the American Church, with only 6 rehearsals! It was a lot of work, he said, and he only gained 5 pounds.
One of the homeless guys was back on the bench, sleeping.
At 4pm singer-songwriter Heidi Kole came for her Music Under New York busking permit. She usually plays on subway platforms, but today she ventured up a level to the mezzanine.
17 more days in which I can be a wassailer. After that, it’s back to being a busker. Love and joy come to you!