A brisk February night didn’t chill our spirits as we grabbed an Uber to the fabulous Sweetheart Soiree hosted by Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra. If there is one thing I can assure you of when attending his events, it is that they are pure glamour.
The soiree was held at Norwood, a historic mansion built in 1847 designed in a transitional style, which combines Greek revival and Italianate features. A remarkably preserved slice of early Victorian architecture and lifestyle – both inside and out; the House is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Upon entering we immediately felt as if we were stepping back in time. Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra performed their signature show – a hot-dance band tradition of the 1920s and early 1930s – throughout the night and it was nothing short of authentic. Arenella transcribes by hand their entire repertoire from period recordings. Their delivery, as well as their instruments, attire, and equipment — are faithfully accurate. Arenella’s strong yet vulnerable baritone lacks pretense or sarcasm. He treasures each lyric, and has faith in the songs he sings. Even the most optimistic Tin Pan Alley tune has a disarming quality in his hands.
Each floor had a unique vibe while sticking to the overall theme of the 1920’s and 1930’s. There were four floors, including two live bands, a restaurant, and a memorable performance by a women playing an accordion and projecting images and words onto her body. It was truly something we had never seen before and was captivating.
The Sweetheart Soiree was everything we imagined it would be. Plenty of plush seating, room for dancing, artisanal cocktails and an array of delectable hors d’oeuvres and sweets made this the most divine affair.
If you missed it don’t worry! This summer Michael Arenella comes back with his famous Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island. Originally started as a small gathering of perhaps fifty friends and fans, it is now referred to byThe Wall Street Journalas, “the biggest regular event in the ‘Retro Noveau’ movement…” and The New York Times as, one of the most memorable events of the year. This years event dates will be June 11 & 12th and August 13 & 14th. For ticket information click here, don’t miss your chance to attend this unique event!