MARCH, 2011






We take great pleasure in offering to  you, our readers, the following tale of a journey that has brought another performer to the MPRO family…and our heartfelt thanks go to you, Minna, for sharing your discovery of the “heavenly sounds” of the recorder.


Grace and Liz (Co-Presidents)



From Apprentice to Performer

Minna Shore


In my country, Russia,  the Renaissance never happened.  This is a historic fact, an unfortunate one.


Of course we studied the European Renaissance in history courses and acquired quite a clear view of great achievements in science or visual arts (thanks to museum exhibits, illustrated books, slides.)  We could also read the literature of the time.  One of my most valued possessions that came with me from Russia is a large book of Medieval and Renaissance short stories, or ‘novelas’, translated into Russian from several European languages by well known scholars.  Books similar to the one just mentioned helped us recreate in our mind the lifestyle in old Europe and even to get a feel of the sense of humor of that time.  


Unlike other sides of life or arts, the music of the time remained almost unknown in Russia.  I do not remember hearing the word “recorder” in my previous (i.e. Russian) life.  


My first American decade went by “recorderless” - I did not know what I was missing.  But then everything changed when I heard a pretty Galliard played on alto by a friend of my son.  (She took a course called ‘Recorder playing’ as an “easy” way to earn few college credits and complete the graduation requirements for one of the colleges in Miami, where we lived then.)  I cannot tell now how good her playing was.  To me those sounds were heavenly music that captured my heart for good. 


 So my husband, Harold, and I  went straight to a store called Allegro and bought a tenor, an alto, and two respective books containing fingering and simple (silly) tunes to practice.  Soon we finished the books and came to Allegro for more.  But the tunes in other books were even sillier.  Fortunately, my memory preserved many Russian folksongs which my sister and I sang in two voices as children. We played those for a while.


Meanwhile the internet matured enough to bring Harold and me to the Miami Chapter of the ARS.  This was a group of about 20 fine musicians who played almost exceptionally Renaissance and pre-Renaissance pieces, and so well!  Obviously neither Harold nor I were ready for playing with this group.  After a short struggle Harold gave up playing but remained a big fan of early music, whereas I accepted the role that I identify as an apprentice.  Sadly the Miami Chapter reminded me of Haydn’s Farewell Symphony as the number of players was steadily declining.  I could notice this in the months of my apprenticeship.  I left  the Miami recorder scene for 2 years, a year in Europe and a year of being sick but playing much.  I returned to the Miami Chapter a better musician and found the group reduced first to 7 members, then to 4.  Presently the 4 are trying hard to revive the Chapter, offering free lessons and loaning recorders.  I wish them to succeed from all my heart.


If I said that we moved to California in search for a larger and more vibrant recorder group - this would not be true.  The reasons for our relocation were different.   But joining the MPRO was indeed a most fortunate consequence of the move.  In a relatively short time with the MPRO the sound of my recorders definitely improved thanks to Fred, who generously shares with us great pieces of beautiful and interesting music that he composed or arranged, or at least found.  Fred also taught me some “secrets of the trade” I never knew before.  Interlacing the new voice of my recorder with the voices of the MPRO recorders is a big joy and honor.




Conductor’s Corner


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,


Listed below is the music for the orchestra's next two meetings.  I am pleased to announce that Gwen Freeman will be joining MPRO at its meeting on April 6.  Since this will most likely be the only time the orchestra will have a chance to rehearse with keyboard prior to the June dress rehearsal, I encourage all members to make every effort to attend this meeting.   Please note that there will be sectional seating for Sonata La Margherita with those in Coro Primo sitting on the right as they face the conductor and those in Coro Secundo on the left.  Please observe this seating arrangement when you choose your place at the beginning of the meeting on April 6.  Please note as well that great bass and contrabass recorders, bass viola da gamba and harp will be needed at both meetings and sopranino recorder, dulcien as well as krummhorns on April 6.



March 23

Boyce:  Symphony No. 3

Grenon:  Je suy defait

Hovhaness:  Let them praise the name of the Lord

Palmer:  Esprit


April 6

Boyce:  Symphony No. 3

Palmer:  Sonata La Margherita

Hovhaness:  Let them praise the name of the Lord

Shmulowitz:  A Brivele der Mam’n 

Johannes le Grant:  Entre vous nouviaux mariés



I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.


Sincerely,        Fred Palmer



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A Reminder


MPRO’s  Spring Concert will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 4, at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto. The dress rehearsal will be at 7:30 P.M. on Wednesday, June 1, also at Grace Lutheran Church.  Be sure to put these dates on your calendar!




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Music from the Fringe: 2011 Medieval & Renaissance Collegium

(For singers, viols, recorders and other soft instruments)


Please join director Tom Zajac and the Med/Ren collegium on Saturday, March 26, 2011 for a foretaste of the unusual and eclectic fare planned for the June Med/Ren workshop. We will sample medieval songs and dances from Cyprus, Southern France and Portugal; Renaissance consort music from Sweden, Naples and Poland; Venetian canzonas, Spanish villancicos, Scottish ballads, Arab-Andalusian melodies, Ottoman court instrumentals, Sephardic ballads and more! Sackbuts, dulcians, flutes, lutes and harps are all welcome. Bring your frame drums for some of the more exotic repertory. This will be a whirlwind tour of the fringes of Europe without ever leaving the comfort of your own music stand!


This daylong collegium raises scholarship funds to help SFEMS pay the tuition of participants who could not otherwise afford to attend the SFEMS summer Medieval & Renaissance Workshop. Tom is once again donating his services toward this purpose.


Location:  Hillside Swedenborgian Church,  1422 Navellier Street, El Cerrito, CA.  (Wheelchair access.)  $50 all day; $30 half-day.  Potluck or brown-bag lunch.

Information: Tom Zajac,



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Albany Consort Performs


Marion Rubinstein and Jonathan Salzedo are out and about this month.  For schedule see or e-mail   


Text Box: west valley music

Moeck and Yamaha recorders

LARGE selection of recorder music


262 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

Early Music Concert Series


The South Bay has been an Early Music desert until Kraig Williams started his Early Music series at the Foothill Presbyterian Church in the east San Jose foothills. The first concert is this Sat. March 5, 3PM with an amateur group which includes one directed by Fred. 


The price is right, only $10 donation; and although the distance seems daunting, I regularly make it to the church in 20 minutes from my home in Cupertino. And the emotional/intellectual rewards of hearing both professional and amateurs in the 7 concerts can't be beat.


Please support these concerts. I will have flyers available at our next rehearsal. 

Stevie White





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