As we entered the dimly lit foyer of St. Bartholomew’s Church on a cold November Wednesday, there was a certain eeriness in the air: perhaps God was frowning upon Dom Pérignon’s choice of venue for a Champagne soirée. But it would seem that He soon warmed up to the idea as the party quickly accelerated into full swing, with the fizzy stuff flowing at every corner, and the suited, booted and fabulous of Manhattan supping from glasses in every alcove of the byzantine building.
The evening was sophistication itself, with the flavor of the Champagne enhanced only by a collaborative performance from soul singer John Legend and concert pianist Lang Lang. Mr. Lang told The Observer that the duo had been preparing for the brand’s “The Power of Creation” event for three days, and their hard work undeniably paid off. The pair were the toast of the evening, and happily milled around the reception, Mr. Legend looking particularly loved up with his model fiancée Chrissy Teigen.
The tasty morsels whipped up by chef Josh Capon went down a treat, with caviar topped deviled eggs, shot glasses of Manhattan clam chowder and mini lobster sandwiches sating the guests. The church’s intimate vestibule was soon cleared in preparation for the performance, which took place in the building’s stunning hallowed hall. Mr. Legend kicked off the proceedings before being joined by Mr. Lang, with the pair creating their own take on Nina Simone’s cover of Here Comes the Sun. As the singer’s velvety tones rose to the very top of the Hispano-Moresque dome, complimented perfectly by Mr. Lang’s lightning speed tinkling, guests swayed dreamily to the music (most likely due in part to the free flowing champers). Church pews had been removed in favor of black leather seats, which added to the evening’s comfortable elegance.
Guests were also treated to a rendition of All of Me, a song from Mr. Legend’s forthcoming album. He told The Observer, “I’m really excited about the new record, and I feel like it’s coming together beautifully.” Scheduled for completion at the end of the year, the Grammy Award winner has been working with friend and collaborator Kanye West, who also assisted with the creation of his first two records, to produce the new album, which “thinks about what it’s like to be a soul singer in this modern context. We’re in an era where soul music is pushed aside in the landscape of popular music,” he continued. So how does he keep the genre alive? “You keep making the music, but are always thinking about how you can keep it fresh and new and exciting.”
Mr. Legend cut a debonair figure in a suit and bow tie at the sultry event, which was worlds away from his time spent handing out food supplies in Far Rockaway on Saturday. “I didn’t do much,” he said – such modesty! – “but it was crazy to see how things are there when I live in New York and all we had was a power outage.”
As the guests were seated for dinner at a beautifully laid table in the church’s hall, the chatter and laughter continued late into the evening, with glasses of Dom being filled up quicker than attendees could drain them. As the event drew to a close, we tottered out onto the streets of Park Ave filled with delight after a fabulous evening, mixed with just a hint of dread at the thought of the next morning’s fizz induced fuzziness.