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100 years in NYC

A music-filled life

Imagine that you live in one city for 100 years. You would definitely earn the right to call it your city. In honour of KLM’s 100th anniversary, we went on a tour with 100-year-old Sarah around New York City, where she has lived her entire life.

Tips from a 100-year-old tour guide

If it were up to 100-year-old Sarah Aarons, she’d be out on the town every day. New York City is her city and, according to Sarah, it’s inextricably linked to music. Sarah has been singing since she was a child. She discovered early on that she could move people with her voice when she sang in the Saint Philips Choir in Harlem at the age of 16.

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Her talent was soon noticed and she auditioned for the vocal group The Brockettes, with whom she toured the world during World War II. With the money she earned, she paid for her own music and voice training at the prestigious Juilliard School.

Here she developed a love of opera, which she continues to enjoy to this very day. It’s also one of the reasons why she now lives in Manhattan, within walking distance of the Lincoln Center, the musical heart of New York.

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The city of music

In New York City, you’ll find music on every street corner. From jazz to gospel, music is the blood that keeps the heart of this energetic city pumping.

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Jazz

New York is the Mecca of jazz music. The heavyweights of the jazz genre are from New York or recorded their most legendary records here. Like Sarah, Miles Davis studied at Juilliard. And John Coltrane recorded the legendary album Kind of Blue together with him at the Columbia Records studio. Looking for a good jazz bar? You won’t be disappointed at Smalls, Blue Note or The Village Vanguard.

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    Lincoln Center

    The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is the cultural centre of Manhattan. It is the crème de la crème of the American music industry, like the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

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    Apollo Theatre

    This is where stars are made and legends born. The Apollo Theater in Harlem is world-famous. This unique music temple is where stars like Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin launched their careers. Up-and-coming talents hope to get their big break here during the weekly Amateur Night.

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    Gospel

    Harlem is synonymous with gospel. Every Sunday, gospel services are held around the neighbourhood, many of which visitors can attend, such as at the Abyssinian Baptist Church or 1st Corinthian Baptist Church. Rather not go to church? Sylvia’s Restaurant serves soul food to the accompaniment of classic gospel performances.

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