GatherNYC: Everything We Love About Church With No Weird Stuff

November 17, 2018 3:00 PM

GatherNYC is Everything We Love About Sunday Service With None of the Weird Stuff

 

It’s deeply satisfying to start the week with a moment of introspection, live music and some form of storytelling. It touches upon something deep in our humanity that goes back millennia to a time when our hunter-gatherer ancestors would assemble around a fire to drum and dance. The problem is that in 21st Century New York City, I’ve always found that my spiritual-musical mountaintop has existed within the context of some form of dogma which eventually locks me into a web of do’s and don’ts and neutralizes all the good vibes. If only someone would come up with a platform that has all the things I love about Sunday service, with none of the weird stuff. Enter Laura Metcalf and Rupert Boyd for GatherNYC.

At 11:00 on Sunday mornings, at the behest of Laura and Rupert, with a little help from Airbnb Concerts, Goodie Girl cookies and Caffe Vita coffee, approximately a hundred people of various ages and ethnicities file into a beautiful, acoustically-enhanced concert hall tucked into the ground floor of SubCulture on Bleeker Street. It’s a relaxed scene, friendly but not effuse, placid without being solemn. Spontaneous banter breaks out around the coffee station, and your fellow gatherers are equally as likely to be hardboiled New Yorkers as they may be travelers looking for an authentic experience while they’re in town.

Laura is a cellist, and Rupert is a guitarist, and the couple--who are married and recently welcomed their first son, Milo--met while performing at various venues around the city.  Last year, they recorded an album of cello-guitar duets which is remarkably and irresistibly ebullient. The kernel for GatherNYC was borne of a burgeoning scene in Albuquerque called ChatterABQ (where Laura has been booked numerous times as a featured performer), which has been running for more than a decade and regularly draws in excess of 200 participants.

About a year ago, Laura and Rupert decided to take the plunge and see if New Yorkers would embrace a Sunday morning homage to jazz and classical music. They found a few private donors to help with production costs, and partnered with the Airbnb platform to facilitate ticket sales. They booked a roster of top musicians, including Joshua Roman, Rachel Barton Pine, Banda Magda and the Founders.

The Twelvmag editors are so jazzed about GatherNYC that we are co-hosting the November 18th event featuring Grammy-nominated Imani Winds, a heralded musical group which is as comfortable in the realm of Coltrane as in the exploration of Bach or world music traditions. They’ve performed at the most storied venues in the world (including Carnegie Hall), and their 2006 album “Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!” is in constant rotation on our Spotify. We’re hard-pressed to think of a better way to start the week. And just in case you were wondering, we have it on good authority that jazz and classical music are a surefire hangover cure.

 

 

INTERVIEW BY KAREN FRAGALA-SMITH 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN KIM

 

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