Eerie Spectors Play Beethoven Beneath the Arches of Greenwood Cemetery

Isa Freeling
2 min readJun 29, 2021
Gil Shaham and the Knights Photo Credit: Isa Freeling

A great time was had by all Friday night at Greenwood Cemetery, brought to you by the inspired Death of Classical impresario Andrew Ousley and the Unison Media team. It started with the Grand Street Stompers churning out some razzle-dazzle swing music with Kim Hawkey at the microphone. Kim’s voice is as crisp and bubbly as pink champagne. Several Saxophones belted out some fab tunes; bellowing rich strums, titillating drumming, and a smooth trombone gave off a loveable vibe. This sweet swing band reminiscent of playful, simpler days gone by opened a fantastic night of music topped off by perfect blue skies and balmy weather. Folks ate Korean barbecue, tacos, and vegan chow from food concessions scattered about the main grounds. And the distillery tables were hopping with folks tasting mezcal and whiskey. Scattered about the green hillocks, people assembled on their blankets next to tombstones and monuments while less audacious types like myself chose a chair. We listened to Fats Waller’s “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now” among many awesome tunes.

Liberated and mask-less, fellow Brooklynites leaned in (not too closely but close enough) and spoke to people they never met before. Looking up at the evening sky, the green parrots that live in the huge nests of the towers above flew and dove through the air as if to say, “Welcome back, folks!” Like they woke up from a long coma, people were chatty and refreshed.

As the dusk carried us towards evening, the sky grew sultrier dotted with stars, it was ever more delightful made by the superb Gil Shaham on violin with The Knights. Six Knights of the many Knights, to be exact, all marvelous musicians in truth. We love all The Knights we can get! They began with Lenny in Spats by Bill Bolcom and followed through with the impeccable Ludwig Van Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major, Op 61. It was so beautiful that it was emotional for many. As I scanned serene faces vaguely lit by the stars in the darkness, a woman leaned over to me and whispered, “I think I’m in heaven. Do they do this all the time?” “They do,” I whispered back, “check out the Greenwood website!”

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Isa Freeling

I am an art and culture writer/adviser. You can find my work on HuffPost, The New York Daily News, Artlyst, NY Lifestyle Magazine, Culture Sonar, and Medium.