Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter

MARCH 2001


MPRO'S Board of Directors made some exciting plans for the '01-'02 season. First, thanks to the spurring by our Great Omnipotent Director and the groundwork done by Mary Ashley and George Greenwood, the Orchestra's Ensemble will begin rehearsals in January of next year to make a video tape to be made in March at the studio of Channel 6, the public access channel for Palo Alto. Rosalie Price, a friend of Mary's will coordinate getting studio time, a crew to do the taping (director, camera, sound, etc.) and airing time for the video. After being aired on the P.A. channel, the tape would belong to the Orchestra.. All this for a cost of about $15.00! I understand that it is pretty much impossible to get grants without a good video tape, so this, I hope, will help with that endeavor. And what great publicity just in time for ARS's 'Play the Recorder Month' which is March.

Speaking of which, the other exciting decision taken by the Board was to explore the possibility of the ensemble's doing a March concert in a public place such as in the Vallco Fashion Park. With its wood floors and height the sound should be pretty good!

Now, about the Ensemble. Its important that everyone know that ANY member of the Orchestra can also be a member of the Ensemble. The price of admission is only the willingness to put in extra rehearsals. The music consists of works that the Orchestra has already played, so rehearsal time is spent polishing them to perfection. The performances the Ensemble has given in the past have been very well received. The group IS good, because everyone knows the music so well that he or she can really pay attention to Fred. Having been a member of the group, I've gained great satisfaction from performing well.

We'll keep you posted on these events as they develop.

Stevie White


Neither wind, rain, nor snow shall keep a determined recorder player from his/her rehearsal. In spite of bad weather in many areas of the state, 20 brave souls found their way to Zion Lutheran Church in Oakland for the latest rehearsal of AROW (American Recorder Orchestra of the West) on Saturday, Feb. 10. These brave souls were joined four people who just wanted to see and hear what AROW was all about and give the music a try: Tony Jackson, John Pronko, Stevie White, and Dan Lapsansky. Composer Glen Shannon directed one of his newest pieces, "La Follia." It is a set of variations over a chord progression found in music from the 16th century to the present. AROW's next two meetings are set for March 24 and May 26 at Zion Lutheran Church in Oakland. Interested persons should contact Richard Geisler at richgeis@jps.net)


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Listed below is the music for the next two meetings of the orchestra. Please note that krummhorn players will be needed for the meeting on April 4, which begins at 7:30 P.M. and will be a joint rehearsal with the Palo Alto Madrigal Singers.

March 21
Tish Berlin, guest director
John Sheppard: I Give You a New Commandment
J.S. Bach: Christus, der uns selig macht
J.S. Bach: Prelude XXII
Senfl: Lust hab ich ghabt zuer Musica

April 4
This meeting begins at 7:30 P.M.
Lassus: Tutto lo di
Schütz: Jauchzet dem Herrn
Handel: Overture for St. Cecilia's Day
Harrison: Serenade, Gigue en Rondeau

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.

Fred Palmer


Approximate tempi for those of you practicing for Tish Berlin's Guest appearance as MPRO director on March 21st:

Senfle; 72 = half note
Bach Prelude XXII; 63 = half note
Bach, Christus ---; 72 = quarter note
Sheppard; goal is to reach 112 for the half note


Meet Chris Flake, our Membership Chairman. Chris maintains our computerized database and generates the address labels appearing on UpBeat. Read what he has to say about himself:

"I went to the University of Oregon and started out as a trumpet performance major until I realized I was much better at programming computers (it didn't take as much practice). I started getting more serious on my recorder about eight years ago, and began work on chromatics, scales, and arpeggios in all keys. I'm still working on them, of course -- the hardest part of any instrument is disciplined practice. It's more fun to kick-back and have fun.

I learned jazz on trumpet, but now I improvise strictly using recorder. I play jazz with Jamey Aebersold CDs, Band-in-a-box on my computer, and I play along with pop and jazz songs on the radio. I keep a soprano in my car to play with the radio at stop lights. Great fun.

I enjoy playing recorder with my computer. I've gotten a couple good classical recorder MIDI files off the web, and I have an excellent Roland Sound Canvas PC sound card I use to play along with. I also use Coda's Finale product to create my own MIDI files from printed scores. The latest version (2001) does Optical Music Recognition which creates MIDI files directly from scanned-in music scores! I use my CD burner to create music-minus-one CDs that I can play along with.

I'm a Software Engineer during the day, programming in C and C++ on UNIX and Windows NT. My wife has a dental practice in Sunnyvale. My step-daughter is attending Berkeley, and our other daughter is in 1st grade."

(Photograph by MPRO Historian Sonja Wilcomer. [Not available for web site at present] We plan to publish photographs of other board members in future issues of UpBeat to help us to know each other better.)


KYRIE: A Workshop For Recorders. On Saturday, April 21, 2001, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm at the Saratoga Youth Hostel. Led by Roger Morris. This workshop will concentrate on the Kyrie, as written from the 16th to 20th centuries by such famous composers as Palestrina, Byrd, Buxtehude, Bach and Vaughan Williams. Sponsored by the South Bay Recorder Society. Strings and "buzzies" also welcome. For further information, call Anne NG at (408) 257-6506, or e-mail anneng@aol.com.

Sirena Recorder Quartet changes name to Farallon Recorder Quartet

In 1996 the then Georgia-based Sirena Recorder Quartet gave its first concerts, with members Letitia Berlin, Frances Blaker, Louise Carslake and Roxanne Layton. Two years later Hanneke van Proosdij was the new fourth member and all were residents of the Bay Area. The quartet now had a chance to work together on a regular basis, creating a unique sound and enjoying a rare camaraderie. It was time to choose a new name, one that reflected our geographic location without setting boundaries. The news that a Danish recorder quartet was performing and recording under the same title gave us the final incentive to go through the process of changing our name.

We settled on The Farallon Recorder Quartet, in honor of the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. In so doing we satisfied our desire for a name with some geographical connection to the group, expressed our love of the Northern California rugged coastline, and retained a hidden link to Sirena -- the mermaids who sang to passing ships from their rocky islands in the ocean.

The Farallon Recorder Quartet consists of Letitia Berlin, Frances Blaker, Louise Carslake and Hanneke van Proosdij. They will perform music of Ludwig Senfl, Johann Sebastian Bach and others on Sunday March 25 at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Albany, and on Monday March 26 at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Inner Richmond, San Francisco. Both concerts are at 7:30 p.m. and both are wheelchair accessible. For information, call 510-559-4670 or tish-feb@mindspring.com.


On Sunday, March 11, the blaker bande (Frances Blaker, recorders; Barbara Blaker Krumdieck, cello; Hanneke van Proosdij, harpsichord) will perform works by J. S. Bach, Francois Couperin and Merula and others. The performance begins at 5 p.m. in the sanctuary of St. Alban's Episcopal Church at 1501 Washington Ave., Albany, CA. Admission is $15 general and $10 for students, seniors, SFEMS and ARS members. MPRO members will also be offered the discounted price. The concert is wheelchair-accessible. Call 510-559-4670 or email fblaker@mindspring.com for information.


Change MPRO member Jeanne Fleming’s address to San Francisco, CA. [See the printed newsletter for her full address and new phone number.]


Spectacular Marin Headlands, near Sausalito, is the location of the annual Workshop for Recorders and Viols on the weekend of May 11-13. Sponsored by East Bay Chapter-ARS, an affiliate of SFEMS, this workshop presents eleven talented conductors in seventeen different sessions of music spanning many centuries and styles. Intermediate to advanced recorder and viol players can choose to attend all or part of the weekend since each session is self-selected and self-contained.

The workshop begins with a potluck dinner and large group play Friday night led by Louise Carslake. On both Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, participants can choose two out of three offerings. Conductors Saturday morning are Francs Blaker, Tish Berlin, and Frances Feldon. Saturday afternoon conductors are Bob Dawson, Joanna Bramel Young, and Eileen Hadidian. On Saturday evening, Fred Palmer, David Barnett, and Peter Maund will all conduct. Sunday morning concludes with a mass led by David Morris.

Music selections this year include music from the Odhecaton and the Italian Renaissance, Baroque selections with continuo, fun and jazzy contemporary, medieval music with percussion, and music by Guerro, Agricola, Scheidt, Locke, and others.

There will be ample time on Saturday and Sunday after lunch to enjoy the beautiful Marin Headlands setting from beach to hills. The marine mammal center and Point Bonita Lighthouse are both open for tours. Accommodations are dormitory style; the food is excellent and healthy. Past participants agree that the Marin Headlands Workshop cannot be equaled for excellence in music, setting, friends and food. For further information contact Britt Ascher: Telephone 925 283-7134, e-mail brittascher@home.com.


Don't miss the Bay Area's own La Foolia, performing in concert on Friday, March 30 at the Oakland Museum of California. A hit at the 2000 Berkeley Festival fringe concerts, La Foolia features early music specialists Susan Rode Morris, Shira Kammen, Katherine Westine, and Phebe Craig. Calling upon their extensive and varied professional backgrounds, they explore the rare genre of comedy in early music spoofs, both old favorites and new additions. The program includes dramatic theatrical renditions of Purcell's "Bess of Bedlam", Dowland's "In Darkness let me Dwell", and the virtuosic and truly ultimate La F(o)olia Variations, among other surprises which promise to delight the committed and titillate the curious.

This command performance benefits San Francisco Early Music Society Education Programs, including all the summer workshops. Doors open at 7 PM for hors d'oeuvres, wine and merrymaking. The concert will start at 8 PM followed by more fun, frolic and foolery. The Oakland Museum is at Oak and 12th Streets, Oakland, only 4 blocks from highway 880 and one block from the Lake Merritt BART station. Parking is FREE in the museum garage.

Tickets to this must-see event are only $30/person ($15 tax deductible, as are all donations). Send a check made out to SFEMS (or visa/mastercard number with expiration and signature) with name, address and e-mail to Britt Ascher, 1515 El Sombro Ct., Lafayette, CA, 94549. For more information visit www.sfems.org/foolia, tel (925) 283-7134 or e-mail brittascher@home.com.


Does this sound familiar? "Most of us are probably aware of what we should be doing while playing under direction. A reminder is never out of order. First of all, angle your chair and music stand so that you have a direct view of the conductor. Don't kid yourself that a glimpse out of the corner of your eye is sufficient. Second, get comfortable in your seat, but not so much that you fail to be alert to every signal of attack and release, and to changes in dynamics and tempo. Third, remember that the start of a tone or phrase is instantaneous; except for rare effects, approximation won't do. A fourth consideration is responsiveness to style or mood; your own ideas of interpretation, at least while you are playing, must yield to the conductor's."

(Gene Reichenthal, American Recorder, January 2001.)