New York State Of Mind: Billy Joel’s Memorable Live Performance on August 28th, 2019 At Madison Square Gardens


Today is the 18th Anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. I thought this beautiful live version of Billy Joel singing New York State Of Mind is testament to the strength and resilience of the people from New York and beyond.

Since this horrific attack, this song has become a resounding anthem commemorating not only those who died but also those who survived and/or acted as first responders on the scene.

I cannot stress enough how inspiring it was to sit in this Madison Square Garden audience, maybe 50 feet or so away from the stage, and allow this song wash over me like a soothing, gentle breeze. It truly was an iconic moment in time I will never forget.

Billy’s nuanced voice and impeccable artistry are second to none. His technical skills are still an important part of his vocal delivery – which is why at the youthful age of 70 he can sing with ease and passion.

And he can tickle those ivories flawlessly as well. His early training as a classical artist paved the way for him to morph into a multi- genre artist. This special kind of talent does not come along too often and his millions of fans realize and cherish this. He is truly loved.

There was something magical about the whole audience singing along with Billy Joel. The whole arena was like a back-up choir to his superb vocals. It was riveting to witness and add my voice to the sing-a-long.

What a moment. What a memory.

I wonder if Billy Joel realized how absolutely huge and how historically significant this song would become. Understanding his genuine demeanour, my guess is probably not.

He actually wrote this song while “taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River line“. He was returning home after three years in Los Angeles, aching for the comfort and familiarity of home in New York.

Over the years, it has been recorded by a ton of legendary artists – which is remarkable since this song was never released as a hit single.

Like so many of his lyrics and music, there is incredible depth and sophistication built into the finished product – yet fully relatable to all who have listened to or performed this song over the years.

That playful riff between Billy and his brilliant saxophonist at the end of the song was the icing on the cake. By adding a classical element into the final moments of this number, it reinforced how skilled he is at the piano. Billy is a perfect role model for why aspiring musicians need to equip themselves with the proper educational tools to sustain them in their careers.

Personally, this was a dream come true for me. Billy has always been one of a handful of performers who have always touched my heart and I feel privileged to have been finally given the opportunity to hear him live.

Thank you Billy Joel, Band Members and Technical Crew for an exceptional night of entertainment.

And on this poignant anniversary of 9/11, my heart and my prayers go out to all those who died and who lost loved ones. Even after all these years, words seem meaningless. God Bless each and every one of you.

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

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