365 AMERICAN JOY-GIVERS for 2021: The Carnegie Hall Birthday Party

(Photo from landolakes.com)

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Only the most-accomplished performers play Carnegie Hall. Built in 1891 by the philanthropist visionary Andrew Carnegie and originally called the “Music Hall,” it was first a venue for the Oratorio Society of New York and the New York Symphony Society.

Another way to get to Carnegie Hall is simply to ask any New York City taxicab driver; they deliver thousands of locals and tourists to joyous concerts there every year. This National Historic Landmark, now an array of performance spaces for both classical and popular music, is our destination for “The Carnegie Hall Birthday Party.” It is located right where it has always been at 881 Seventh Avenue (Manhattan) occupying the east side between West 56and 57th Streets.


You feel the joy as we enter the grand, revivalist brick and brownstone Italian Renaissance-style building and join the revelers in the intimate and smaller, 268-seat Carnegie Hall auditorium, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall.

HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The comments attributed to these famous joy-givers come from words they have written or said.)


Nov. 20—DR. JOHN (born Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr.) was a native New Orleanian singer and songwriter. His music combined blues, pop, jazz, boogie-woogie, funk and rock-and-roll. He was a popular recording session musician from the late-1950s onward. A consummate show, his stage performances were inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras theatricality and voodoo ceremonies. Dr. John recorded 30 studio albums and nine live albums. His biggest hit was the top 10 single, “Right Place, Wrong Time.”

Nov. 21—GOLDIE HAWN (Goldie Jeanne Hawn) is an actress, producer and singer. She rose to fame on the NBC television sketch comedy show, “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” The Oscar and Golden Globe Award winner has a film career which spans three decades and includes these works: “Shampoo,” “Private Benjamin,” “Butterflies Are Free,” “Foul Play,” “Overboard,” “Housesitter” and “The First Wives Club.”

Nov. 22—RODNEY DANGERFIELD (born Jacob Rodney Cohen) was a stand-up comedian, actor, producer, screenwriter, musician and author. He was known for his self-deprecating, one-liner humor, his catchphrase “I don’t get no respect!” and his monologues on that theme. His breakout film role came as a boorish, “nouveau riche” golfer in the ensemble comedy, “Caddyshack.” That movie success was followed by the hit comedies “Easy Money” and “Back to School.” He made a rare but critically acclaimed dramatic performance in the 1994 film, “Natural Born Killers.”

Nov. 23—MILEY CYRUS (born Destiny Hope Cyrus) is a singer and actress. The raspy-voiced singer has attained the US “Billboard 200, top five albums in the 21st century by a female artist.” She became a teen idol starring as the lead on the Disney television show, “Hannah Montana.” Her hit songs include: “Party in the USA,” “The Climb,” “Can’t Be Tamed” and the chart-topping, “Wrecking Ball.”

Nov. 24—DALE CARNEGIE (born Dale Harbison Carnagey) was a poor Missouri farm boy who became a writer and lecturer. After graduating from college, he sold lard for Armour and Company. He developed courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking and what today are called “soft” interpersonal skills. In 1936, he wrote the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which remains a best-seller today. He also wrote, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” The gist of his message is you can change the reaction you get from others by changing your own words and behavior.

Nov. 25—ANDREW CARNEGIE was a Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist. He led the expansion of the American steel industry and became one of the richest people in our nation’s history. He gave away around $350 million in the last 18 years of his life—roughly $5.2 billion in today’s dollars. His philanthropy was dedicated to local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. Among many important buildings in the United States and in the British Empire, he founded New York City’s famous Carnegie Hall.

Nov. 26—CHARLES SCHULZ (Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schulz) was a cartoonist and creator of the comic strip, “Peanuts,” which featured Charlie Brown and Snoopy among others. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native is considered one of the most influential cartoonists of all time. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—right next to his hero, Walt Disney. Schulz was honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor.


“I’d rather have the whole world against me than my own soul.”—Dr. John

“I have witnessed the softening of the hardest of hearts by a simple smile.”—Goldie Hawn

“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.”—Rodney Dangerfield

“I like being the girl nobody can have.”—Miley Cyrus

“If you do something for someone else, never remember. If someone does something for you, never forget.”—Dale Carnegie

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.”—Andrew Carnegie

“All you need is love. But, a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”—Charles Schultz

“You wanna do some livin’ before you die. Do it down in New Orleans.”—Dr. John

“You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”—Goldie Hawn

“I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.”—Rodney Dangerfield

“Life’s a climb. But the view is great.”—Miley Cyrus

“Good leaders are scarce, so I follow myself.”—Dale Carnegie

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.—Andrew Carnegie

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”—Charles Schulz

“The truth is every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it.”—Dr. John

“Everybody ages. Everybody dies. There is no turning back the clock. So, the question becomes: What are you going to do while you’re here?”—Goldie Hawn

“My wife and I were happy for 20 years. The we met.”—Rodney Dangerfield

“I learned that strength is something you choose.”—Miley Cyrus

“Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”—Dale Carnegie

“No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.”—Andrew Carnegie

“Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”—Charles Schulz

“Walk through fire. Fly through the smoke. See my enemy at the end of their rope.”—Dr. John

“We are born with the seed of joy; it is up to us to nurture it.”—Goldie Hawn

“I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous—everyone hasn’t met me yet.”—Rodney Dangerfield

“Maybe it’s your time to lift off and fly. You won’t know if you never try.”—Miley Cyrus

“Forget yourself by becoming interested in others. Do every day a good deed that will put a smile on someone’s face.”—Dale Carnegie

“The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.”—Andrew Carnegie

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.”—Charles Schulz

“You gotta keep on keepin’ on glowin’…Glow, glow, glow how you can.”—Dr. John

“We have to embrace obstacles to reach the next stage of joy.”—Goldie Hawn

“My doctor told me to watch my drinking. Now, I drink in front of a mirror.”—Rodney Dangerfield

“If someone tells you that you’re not beautiful, turn around and walk away so they can see your fabulous ass.”—Miley Cyrus

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”—Dale Carnegie

“Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”—Andrew Carnegie

“Be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong.”—Charles Schulz

“I’ll have a lot of wrinkles on my face, but I feel like my heart will be fat and full.”—Goldie Hawn


APPETIZER—Andrew Carnegie Scotch Eggs (allrecipes.com)

SOUP—Charles Schulz Peanuts Soup (marthastewart.com)

ENTRÉE—Miley Cyrus Parmesan Spaghetti Balls (yummly.com)

SIDE DISH—Dale Carnegie Friendsgiving Squash Pasta (lexeats.com)

BREAD—Goldie Hawn Golden Pumpkin Bread (see below)

BEVERAGE—Rodney Dangerfield Caddyshack Melon-Ball Cocktail (foodnetwork.com)

DESSERT—Dr. John Mardi Gras King Cake (kingarthurbaking.com)

ONE TO GROW ON—The acclaimed, 2007 biography, “Schulz and Peanuts,” by David Michaelis, connects how Charles Schulz, the son of a Minnesota barber, created the “Peanuts” comic strip gang to illustrate character flaws and childhood wounds are with us always. The creation story of “Peanuts” provides the hope that we can free the child we always have inside us and thrive through challenging historic and personal times.

“The Carnegie Hall Birthday Party” prompts us to revisit some of the best performances and tours at this treasured venue. Here are some joy-giving picks you can watch on YouTube FREE this joyful Thanksgiving holiday:

  1. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs—Bluegrass at Carnegie Hall (1963)
  2. My Favorite Leading Ladies—Full concert (1998); this is one of my all-time favorite collection of performances
  3. Billie Holiday and Count Basie (1954)
  4. Lang Lang (piano) and his father, Lang Guo-Ren (violin)
  5. The Bill Gaither “Let Freedom Ring” Concert (2002 following the 9/11 attack in NYC)
  6. Pink Floyd (1972)
  7. Kevin Olusola “From the Top” saxophone (2005)
  8. Yuja Wang “Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1”
  9. Kate Smith at Carnegie Hall (1963)
  10. Two Tours of the Carnegie Hall Building—Sarah Willis (12 minutes) Sir Clive Gillinson (1:01:22)

The stage background for “The Carnegie Hall Birthday Party” are 12-inch high blow-ups of Charles Schulz delightful drawings for “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” CBS television first aired the special on November 20, 1973. After holiday jokes and fun from Rodney Dangerfield, Goldie Hawn and Miley Cyrus, Snoopy and Woodstock in pilgrim attire served the feast.

Following dinner and birthday toasts, the joy-givers joined Dr. John in singing this Thanksgiving classic written by Lydia Maria Child in 1844. The poem was inspired by her recollections of November holiday visits to her grandfather’s house.

“Over the river and through the woods

To grandfather’s house we go.

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,

Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river and through the woods,

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes and bites the nose,

As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,

To have a first-rate play.

Oh, hear the bell ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”


                                                        GOLDIE HAWN GOLDEN PUMPKIN BREAD

                        (This easy and delicious pumpkin bread recipe is perfect for autumn and Thanksgiving.

                                                             Source: landolakes.com)


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves


Step 1—Heat oven to 350F. Grease bottom only of 3 (5 ¾” x 3”) mini-loaf pans; set aside

Step 2—Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until mixed well.

Step 3—Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely. Store refrigerated.


Ben South