Thursday, January 01, 2015

First Night In Boston 2015 - Some Reflections As The New Year Dawns

I probably have a broader range of experiences than most when it comes to New Year's Eve celebrations.  Earliest memories are of being shipped off to my maternal grandparents' home in Salisbury, Massachusetts.  My grandmother, Ruth Champoux, was a master at creating diversions for us grandchildren - games, treats, costumes.  And we would watch as Dick Clark narrated the crystal ball's teasingly slow descent from 1955 to 1956 - the heart of the Eisenhower era.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college - 1965 - and a visit to my girlfriend, Peg, and her family on Long Island.  We spent the first of what would eventually turn out to be three New Years' Eves for me jostled among the throngs of revelers in Times Square.  I recall just after midnight being swept down the stairs into the subway entrance on 7th Avenue - a journey that Peg and I had not planned on taking, but we had no choice but to go with the flow of the madding crowd.

In subsequent years, I have spent New Years' Eve in Minnesota; Illinois; Connecticut; Maine; New Hampshire; Washington, D.C.; Kiev, Fermathe, Haiti; Moscow; Krakow; Timisoara, Romania and London.  A year ago I was back in Times Square shepherding my son Thymn's new Polish in-laws through their first NYC experiences.

This year, I found myself in Boston for the First Night celebrations.  Boston does it right.  We celebrate with enthusiasm and, for the most part, with decorum.  The arts are at the center of the celebration, as orchestrated by the folks at, who work year round to assemble artists who will appeal to families with children as well as to mature audiences.

First Night Boston Website

This year I took in the Parade down Boylston Street and through Copley Square, the Ice Sculptures in Copley Square and Boston Common, and a performance at the Hynes Convention Center.  Sons of Serendip performed in Ballroom A to an overflow crowd that roared its appreciation after each song.
Fresh from their recent success as Finalists in America's Got Talent, these four gifted musicians offered up a buffet sampling of their music that left the enthusiastic crowd wanting more.  Micah Christian as lead singer, Kendall Ramseur on cello, Mason Morton on harp and Cordaro Rodriguez on keyboard have created a unique sound that blends pop and classical styles  The resulting mixture is gorgeous.  Watch for their upcoming album and national tour.  Their hometown of Boston is proud of these Sons of Serendip who first came to know each other while they were at Boston University.

Sons of Serendip

Sons of Serendip Website

Let me share one cautionary note as you make your plans to attend First Night 2016: Plan ahead and arrive early.  Boston Ballet offered free ticket to the Nutcracker for the first 50 First Night button holders.  I arrived an hour early, and there already more than 100 people in line.  Lesson learned: getting a free ticket to Boston Ballet is a tough nut to crack!

Bottom line: First Night is a blessing, and we should be proud of our city's ability to throw a memorable party each year and generosity in inviting us all to attend.

Happy New Year!


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