Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter



In October, the MPRO Board of Directors extended Honorary Membership to Dr. Angela Owen, who served as our Music Director for 20 years and recently retired as UPBEAT Editor.

Angela was born in Berlin, Germany, and after graduating from high school in 1947 came to this country with her physician father and psychologist mother and settled in Boston, Mass. Her plan to follow in her father's footsteps and study medicine was thwarted, however, because of her insufficient English. Thinking that language was not as essential to the study of music, she applied to the Boston Conservatory of Music and received a one-year scholarship. With the help of a student loan and working as a waitress she managed to finish her studies and was graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Music in Composition and a Certificate in Conducting.

Angela moved on to Boston University for a MM degree in Music Theory and worked as a graduate assistant in the Romance Language Department office. In 1953 she took her first job - as instrumental music teacher and high school band director in Oxford, NC Upon arrival at the school, she was told that she had two weeks to prepare a half-time show for the opening of the football season. Quite a challenge for someone who had never seen a football game or heard of a half-time show. All went well, though, with help from some great kids in the band.

After a year of this stuff, she decided that kids were not her cup of tea and went back to Boston U. to get a Ph.D. in Musicology, with emphasis on the Baroque period. She wrote her dissertation on "The Cantatas of Johann Ludwig Bach" - the "Meiningen Bach" and a cousin of J.S. It was at this time that she taught herself to play recorder in order to participate in Baroque music ensemble classes.

Angela met her husband Sid while sailing with her friends around Cape Cod. They came to California in 1960 when Sid got a job at Lockheed. After they settled in Palo Alto and started their family, Angela resumed teaching - recorder, music appreciation and music theory at Palo Alto and Sequoia Adult Schools, and at Foothill and Canada Colleges. She also organized and directed a hand bell choir at their church, wrote music and theatre reviews for the Palo Alto Times, later the Peninsula Times Tribune, and served as the paper's Religion Page editor for several years.

When asked what she is proudest of in her life, Angela's immediate response was "my two wonderful children". A question about her biggest disappointment was followed by a long silence, then, "I can't think of anything." Finally, when asked if there was anything she'd like to add, she said, "I very much enjoyed working with MPRO and its people. It was challenge to conduct the orchestra, and since in those days there was little music for large groups of recorders available, it was a challenge to arrange music for the group"

Angela said that after all these years of music, she just wanted some time off to do other things - like PR work for her church and several nonprofit organizations, but she plans to return next year.

Thank you, Angie, for your years of giving to us. We miss you, wish you well, and look forward to your return.

Stephen J. White


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

The orchestra's holiday concert will take place at Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 600 West 42nd Avenue in San Mateo on Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 P.M. All those planning on taking part in this performance are expected to attend the dress rehearsal at 7:30 P.M. on Wednesday, December 6, at J.L. Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto. Please note that this rehearsal as well as the meeting on November 29 will take place in the school library. A sign-up sheet for those planning on taking part in this performance will be available at the meeting on November 15. Small ensembles are invited to appear in this concert, and those groups which intend to perform on December 10 are asked to give me the following information by November 29: the title(s) of the music to be performed, the name(s) of the composer(s), the name of the ensemble (if any) and the names of the ensemble's members. I encourage all MPRO members to take part in the holiday concert and to invite their family and friends to attend.

Listed below is the music for the remaining meetings of the orchestra in November and December. Please note that singers and krummhorn players will be needed at the meetings on November 15 and December 6 and that there will be assigned seating for the dress rehearsal on December 6. Music for the three Christmas carols listed below as well as new selections for the second half of the orchestra's season will be available at the November 15 meeting.

November 15
Gastoldi: L'acceso
Praetorius: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

November 29
Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School Library, 8:00 P.M.
Lappi: Canzon quinta
Bach: Sheep may safely graze
Haydn: Divertimento, Presto

December 6
Dress rehearsal for the holiday concert
Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School Library, 8:00 P.M.
O Little Town of Bethlehem, Good King Wenceslas, Deck the Hall
Gastoldi: L'acceso
Praetorius: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Lappi: Canzon quinta
Bach: Sheep may safely graze
I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
Haydn: Divertimento, Presto

December 13
MPRO holiday party at the home of Fred Kamphoefner
175 Ravenswood Avenue, Atherton
7:30 P.M.

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.

Fred Palmer


MPRO now has a web page! Point your web browser at <http://www.sfems.org/mpro>. There you will find our rehearsal and concert schedule, current and past newsletters, our history, pictures of us from past concerts, a list of MPRO Consorts with pictures, forms for renewing your membership and for joining a consort, and a "Resource Page" with fingering charts, notes on performance practice from Fred, and a huge list of links to other recorder-related web sites. Plus lots more -- check it out! Consort Members: Please bring in a picture of your consort and give it to Dan Chernikoff for inclusion on the web page! We're having a contest -- first prize for the Best Consort Picture will be awarded Fred's car! (Well, maybe not, but send in your pictures anyway).

Dan Chernikoff

MPRO Music Directors

In the beginning, recorder players informally gathered at the home of Bill Barnhart until we ran out of space. A larger location in a school room was then found. When Bill and Ilse moved to Nevada City in l967, Angela Owens, who was already directing a group of less experienced players in an adjoining room, was drafted to become the next director. Angie then devoted the next 20 years to MPRO in this capacity. When she decided to step down in '87, a more organized effort for the next conductor was set up. The search committee (Bob Chalmers, Don Watson and me) met every Mon. and Tues. evenings for a couple of months, interviewing all potential candidates throughout the Bay area. According to the guidelines for this effort, the names of three candidates were submitted to the members of the Orchestra. Each of these candidates was invited to conduct two meetings (Sept., Oct., Nov.). The members who came to the first December session then voted for the next, and present Music Director, Fred Palmer.

Esther Lederberg


Let’s welcome new participating members Nancy Filmer, Rita Osman, Grace Butler, and Martina Groffie. Also new associate member Patricia Marion.

The latest membership list is enclosed with this newsletter. Please report any errors or changes to me.

Chris Flake


Flora Watson, a native of New York City, came to California 30 years ago. She makes her living as a scientific programmer, working for NASA and others. Flora started her musical career as an oboe player in high school. She continued playing as an adult in community orchestras, but when she got tired of reed-making she switched to the recorder. She joined the MPRO in 1975 as a result of hearing an MPRO ensemble which included Angela Owens and Phil Hand performing at a meeting of a church social group. Flora served as editor of UPBEAT for several years before coming MPRO Vice President in 1996. One of Flora's interests is astronomy, especially SETI, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.


The American Recorder Orchestra of the West (AROW) will rehearse at St. Alban's Church on Sat., Nov. 18, from 10 a.m - 5 p.m. Director Richard Geisler invites intermediate to advanced recorder players to sit in rehearsal with AROW & experience the repertoire the orchestra is building.

AROW rehearsal agenda for Nov. 18: AGINCOURT SONG (DEO GRACIAS, 15th c.): arr. Geisler, SSAATTBB + dr.+ chimes CHINATOWN, Schwartz, SSAATTTBBGb MIDSUMMER MEADOW SUITE, Hilling, SiSAATTBGbCb MORO, LASSO, AL MIO DUOLO, Gesualdo, SATBB+Gb TU ES PETRUS, Palestrina, TTBBGbCb QUANDO EL REY NIMROD, ancient sephardic tune, SATB+Cb VAREN, Grieg, SiSAAATTBGbCb

AROW has 2 prize-winning composers, both of whom have won the annual Chicago Recorder Composition Competition. Stan McDaniel won in 1999 with his "Quick Rain"; Glen Shannon won in 1979 with a 4 mov't work. AROW membership at present is 20 + 2 associate members. AROW will accept additional, qualified players up to 30. Any who would like to become members or who would like to experience the orchestral sound are welcome to pow-wow with AROW at its Sept. or Nov. rehearsals. Send a smoke signal to Richard Geisler, director: 15181 Ballantree Ln. Grass Valley, CA 95949 530/477-2293 email: richgeis @jps.net