BRYANT PARK - the New York Pops concert

POSTED: 31 July 2004 10:18

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Hayley Westenra
Hayley Westenra


Hanging out with Hayley

Ever since I attended Hayley's concert at Joe's Pub, I have been looking forward to seeing her again. Unfortunately however, my Mom & Dad although very sold on Hayley, were not at all sold at the location of the event, where I might add during the New York Music Festival we were supposed to sing at, but my parents had refused to let us sing there.

I understood the environment was not the best thing for a girl of my age, and so I was eagerly hoping to find something else I could attend. Steven told me about the Bryantís Park, event and I immediately decided I had to be there.

I was eagerly looking forward to seeing Alena, Stevo, Steven & of course Hayley again. Some things came up, and I very nearly did not go to the park...

We left home at 5:08, and practically flew into the city. As we were walking towards the park a young woman, giving out CD's handed one to me. I was surprised to see Hayley's 2-track, "Pure," disc. (Which on the I-Squad, where 5000 points! lol) I got a copy and a program, and then we found our way through the crowds of people to the front.

The first thing I did was set up my video camera and then, when I was finished, I looked in front and saw, Stevo! I was just about to go over and say hi, when my dad said, "Aren't those the people from last time?" I looked and right across from Stevo was Alena and her husband Josh! I was quite surprised we had found each other so quickly!

We exchanged pleasantries, and then Stevo and Alena saw our CD and immediately asked where we'd got it. In a few minutes Alena, Stevo and my Dad went back. When they returned Alena had three copies, Stevo had 1 or 2, and my Dad had another one for me.

We talked about the possibilities of meeting Hayley, but Alena said they were very slim, probably we'd never see her. However, I was not willing to give up. I kept asking if we could try behind the stage, where the artists seemed to be coming from. Alena said we should try either way.

A few minutes before the concert began, Steven showed up. Alena and everyone pretty much talked through the first few songs. I saw a young woman in a blue outfit and thought it could be Hayley. I pointed it out to Alena, and she suggested we go and see how close we could get. And there were no barriers; we got to Hayley with no problem.

We stared at her for a second, and I snapped a picture. Then Hayley saw us and came over. "Hi!" she said. "I'm Alena and this is Natasha," Alena began. "Oh yes, I remember you too." she said with a smile.

We chatted with Hayley, although Alena did most of the chatting. I managed to ask her a couple questions, first of I told her how lovely she looked. I felt sorry for her; she was tired but just as bubbly and friendly as ever.

I asked her if she liked my CD and she said, "Yes, you too have gorgeous voice!" Needless to say, I was quite flattered. I mean yes, I know, Hayley would never tell me that I had a horrible voice, even if I were the worst singer in the world, but just because she said, it made it very special for me.

Next, I asked her a question I had had for a long time, which was if she would like to sing with Josh Groban, and she said she would love to. That, so far, she had only seen him on TV and on pictures but she'd love to meet him and sing with him. Alena mentioned how she had met Josh, and they chatted about it.

I then asked about Isaac & Sophie, and Hayley said they were fine and that they were currently in NZ. I then asked her if it was true that Sophie was going to record an album and Hayley said that she was recording more of a demo, like my sister and I did.

Then these people started waving and Hayley recognized them as some friends from Universal Music, so she asked to be excused and went to see them. Afterwards she came back and a woman walked up off the street and, without even a hello, asked Hayley directions to a restaurant or something. I was a little surprised. Obviously, the woman had no idea that Hayley was a celebrity. But Hayley didnít seem to mind, she told the woman she didn't know but she'd get directions...and she did. Which shows just how down to earth Hayley is.

I then poked Alena and I asked Hayley if she could sign some things for us after she sang and she said sure. Hayley said, "Are you going to yell my name when I get out there?" in a joking tone. Alena said, "You wouldn't mind?" "No, no." said Hayley. Then we went back to the others.

During the intermission we all took pictures and talked about what Hayley had told us. We joked that now I could say, Hayley Westenra said I had a glorious voice, and generally just joked around.

Then the conductor came on stage, and talked for a few minutes about NZ and how privileged he'd be to work with orchestras there. He spoke of the unique sound of the choirs there, and said that he felt Hayley captured the whole feel and sound of NZ.

Hayley came on and Alena jumped up and Stevo, Alena, Steven, & I all yelled "Hayley." Hayley began with her signature, "Pokarekare Ana," which was followed by a magical, "In Trutina," and in closing a touching rendition of, "Amazing Grace." Hayley bowed twice and left the stage to the loud applause of the audience. (Our group and quite a few others gave Hayley a standing ovation)

Then it was time to go backstage. We saw Hayley and she was just as calm and sweet as ever. I got her to sign a big picture of the last time we were with her for me, and two other small copies for my friends. I grew a bit bold by her confidence and said, "You know if you ever need anyone to sing with you..." She looked up and said, "Yeah sure, you've got a gorgeous voice." I thanked her again, and then gave her a collage I had made of her in my computer classes.

Finally, I posed for a picture with her. This time I wasn't too shy to give her a hug & kiss, then Stevo said, "You know you two have something in're both vegetarians!" Hayley said, "Wow, really!" and gave me a big hug. I then said good-bye to everyone and went home.

I left more impressed with Hayley than ever, that despite her tiredness she pulled off an amazing performance, and was overly nice to her fans. How long she stayed after I left, I don't know, but knowing Hayley she stayed till the last request for an autograph and picture were taken.

Hayley not only has the voice of an angel, but the heart of one too. She treated me like a friend, and I'll always remember it. Hayley is a professional in every sense of the word. It was truly amazing, hanging out with Hayley....

To Hayley (If you're reading this): Keep up the good work girl! Youíre simply amazing! Don't change a bit!

Natasha M. Poholka

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