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“I remember saying, ‘Oh God, I can’t do that. I don’t know who I am! I can’t just talk to an audience. I can talk to an audience through a character, but I can’t talk to them through Chita,’” Rivera says. “It was Freddy who said, ‘Well, you’ll learn. You’ll find out about a lot about yourself.’ It’s like talking to friends, people that you’ve never met that by the end of the evening you’ve become friends with.”. It’s been a wild ride for Rivera ever since she got into the business almost by accident, tagging along for a friend’s audition for the touring company of “Call Me Madam” and landing the role herself.
“Yes, I would love to have another 25 years to my life, but I wouldn’t exchange that time that I came along, because it was seriously the golden age,” she says, “The theaters were packed with great artists, great collaborators, and they were fabulous shows, I consider myself very lucky to have come along at that time, because they’re still doing all these shows that I did originally.”, Rivera certainly doesn’t claim to have had any idea back then which shows mens yoga shoes would wind up classics and which would be soon forgotten..
“I made that mistake years and years ago,” she says. “I remember reading the script for ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ and saying, ‘This is absurd. Who’s gonna tolerate 16 or 18 kids in square boxes talking on the phone? And this guy wiggling his rear end? Oh, please.’ I learned my lesson then and there that you don’t know what’s going to happen.”. That was even true with “West Side Story,” she says. “We were so engrossed in ‘West Side,’ we had no idea what we had, and didn’t even think about it because we had to get through every single day of rehearsal. Then when we let it out in DC, and all of a sudden people are reacting, we’re going, doggone, this is exciting!”.
Now 85, Rivera was honored this June with a lifetime achievement Tony Award, “It’s sort of surreal,” she says, “You start to dance because your mother puts you in ballet school to get you off the street from mens yoga shoes being a tomboy and breaking the furniture, Then you do your first audition, and you get it, and you go, oh, OK, this feels good, And you just continue until one day, when you’re slightly older, you’re told that you’ve done some stuff that’s really good, All you can say is, ‘Wow, thanks!’ It’s not, ‘Boy, I’ve worked hard and I’ve done it all by myself.’ That’s bull, You are what you put into it, and the respect you have for it, You are the people that have given you all of this stuff to do, They help to make up who you are.”..
Last year, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown San Jose celebrated the expansion and restoration of its bell tower. Now, the congregation has its sights set on a new musical mission: The restoration of the church’s majestic pipe organ, an instrument that’s beginning to show its 124 years. “What we’re trying to do is restore the organ to the way it was when it was built in 1894,” said Mike Joyce, who is in his sixth year as Trinity’s organist and choirmaster. “It really is a magnificent instrument. It is really, really stunning.”.
The instrument was manufactured by famed Massachusetts firm Hook & Hastings for Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, but was mens yoga shoes moved to the San Jose church in 1922, Over the years, it has been refurbished and added to, but some parts were installed improperly and some have just worn out, Five notes have “died” since Joyce started at Trinity, and he expects more will follow without a restoration, It also didn’t help that a contractor left the organ’s approximately 3,000 pipes unprotected during the replacement of the church’s roof several years ago — they were flooded during a rainstorm..
Trinity’s goal for its Pipes & Glory campaign is to raise $325,000 for the restoration, which would allow them to take the pipes out and ship them to a restoration company that would clean them up and rebuild the channels and chests that control the air flow. Some stops will be reconfigured and the machinery will be updated. Music at Trinity, the nonprofit arm leading the campaign, organized a month-long series of fundraising concerts showcasing the organ. The final concert is at 5 p.m. Sunday, with Joyce on the organ accompanied by brass and percussion musicians. (Tickets are available for $20 through Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.) People can also “sponsor” a pipe for $300 or make a donation of any size to the effort at www.trinitysj.org/pipesandglory.
Joyce says it’s a real pleasure to play the mens yoga shoes Trinity organ, which he says creates a stately yet mellow sound in the tradition of English organs, At one time, the instrument was “the” organ to play in the South Bay and was sought out by stars of the genre, including Virgil Fox, E, Power Biggs, Alexander Schreiner and Carl Weinrich, Both Joyce and Trinity’s Dean, the Rev, David Bird, said they would like to see the church again become a regular concert venue, as it was in its heyday..