Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter



A small but very appreciative group showed up for Frances Feldon's wonderful workshop Oct. 26. Although we were somewhat disheartened by the absence of so many of our own members, the music Frances chose to celebrate Italy's expressive innovations did its job of elevating our mood. Most awesome to me was the very first piece--an anonymous "Agnus Dei" from a thirteenth century (Italian style) Barcelona mass. It was in Dorian mode, and harmonically simple -- almost minimalist -- but rhythmically very dense. Playing the piece required much concentration, a feat not easy for some of us crack out of the box the first thing in the morning. In the 1200s it would have been sung quite slowly so the complex rhythms wouldn't be lost in the reverberations of the cathedral. But Frances chose a much faster tempo which emphasized its bell-like minimalism and seemed to me a wonderful way to demonstrate the timelessness of the music. I can imagine a small group of dedicated musicians marveling at the beauty of this work eight centuries from now, circa 2902.

Advancing through the ages, some of the pieces we worked on were by Landini, Banchieri and Andrea Gabrielli. The moody "Chromatic" Pavan and Galliard by Tomkins and Simpson served to demonstrate the Italian influence on England, then back to Italy for a romp (a sedate one) through the first movement of Vivaldi's Concerto for two trumpets, and Schmelzers Sonata for seven recorders. Both of these were wonderfully augmented by P.J.'s Savage's Viol (yes her fractured wrist has healed well, so she can play Viol as well as recorders), Curt Bowman's Great Bass, and Fred, our Great Omniscient Director, playing the "Casionova" organ. We ended the day by playing Hanneke van Proosdij's great arrangement of Verdi's La Donna e Mobile. I was particularly impressed with Frances' planning. She kept an eye on the clock so that we spent just the right amount of time on each piece, played all the music in our packets plus more which she handed out, and finished on the dot of 4PM!

Pertinent asides: From Frances. "Bass Recorder players are cool. You can't be a cool Recorder player unless you can also play the Bass!" From various others: "She's the best conductor I've worked with yet." "What a great workshop!" (heard multiple times) "You guys always have the greatest snacks!" (And we do!)

Please, MPRO members, support our organization by attending the next workshop with Clea Galhano on January 25. (Details in next month's UpBeat.)

Stevie White

MPRO By-Laws

Anyone wishing a copy of the revised MPRO By-Laws may obtain a copy from the Editor.

Dick Davies


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 Saturday, December 7 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 4, at J.L. Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto. Please note that the meeting on November 20 will be a joint rehearsal with the Praetorius Singers and will begin at 7:30 P.M. A sign-up sheet for those planning on taking part in the holiday concert will be available at the meeting on November 20. Small ensembles are invited to appear in this concert, and those groups which intend to perform on December 7 are asked to give me the following information by November 20: 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 2002. Please note that krummhorn players will be needed at the meetings on November 20 and December 4 and that there will be assigned seating at the December 4 dress rehearsal.

November 20 This meeting begins at 7:30 P.M.
Riu, Riu, Chiu la guarda ribera
Encina: Triste España sin ventura
Oy camamos y bebamos
Lassus: Matona mia cara
Rozhinkes mit Mandeln
Jeremiah Clarke: Trumpet Voluntary
December 4 Dress rehearsal for the holiday concert
O Come, All Ye Faithful; Silent Night; Joy To The World
Riu, Riu, Chiu la guarda ribera
Encina: Triste España sin ventura
Oy camamos y bebamos
Lassus: Matona mia cara
Jeremiah Clarke: Trumpet Voluntary
Telemann: Siciliano
Landini: Che pena è quest'al cor
Rozhinkes mit Mandeln
Haydn Divertimento in F, Finale
Bartok: Rumanian Christmas Songs Nos. 6. 7 and 12
December 11 MPRO holiday party, 7:30 P.M.
Location to be announced
Riu, Riu, Chiu la guarda ribera
Encina: Triste España sin ventura
Oy camamos y bebamos
Lassus: Matona mia cara
Rozhinkes mit Mandeln
Jeremiah Clarke: Trumpet Voluntary

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.

Fred Palmer


Our first workshop of the season was a bit disappointing with regard to the number of MPRO members that were in attendance. Only 11 of us represented our organization which was about half of the total number of attendees.

The Board of Directors is very concerned about this since Workshops generate most of our ‘profitable’ income, and our net proceeds for October’s Workshop was very marginal.

So, we’d like some input from you to help us plan for future Workshops*. Could you please take a minute to fill out this anonymous questionnaire and drop it in the ballot box at the next rehearsal?

Your Board thanks you for your help!


* Note that the next MPRO workshop is with Clea Galhano on January 25, 2003, and Ken Andresen has been scheduled for our workshop next October 18, 2003.


Here are the names of those looking for consorts:

Lynn Ewing, (associate member) SATB. Flexible time.

Rita Osman, SAT. Would like to meet bi-weekly, evenings, except Tues-Thur.

Jeanne Fleming, SAT. Would like to meet weekly or bi-weekly, afternoons, or alternate (non MPRO) Wed eves.

If there are other members looking to join a consort, contact George Greenwood [See newsletter for phone number]

George Greenwood
Consort Coordinator


From Anne-Marie Wiggers: "Playing with Frances Feldon was so much fun! The music ranged from pure enjoyment to true challenge, i.e. the cheerful dances arranged by Pierre Phalese to the absolute mind-boggling "Allegro" by Vivaldi. Frances had a way to make the "Allegro" playable by breaking it down in sections, adding phrasing, suggesting various articulation and allowing plenty of opportunity to correct our mistakes."

From Jean Ridley: "Frances Feldon's choice of theme and was great, she gave us information about each piece of music and composer, enough to stimulate our interest even more, but not overkill. Her skill at guiding us in how to interpret the music was unbounded. The humor throughout the day, both from director and participants was endless and good fun. Having the keyboard was an added bonus."

From Laura Gonsalves: " I liked the variety in her choice of music; also her ability to make some of the more difficult pieces accessible for those of us that are not great at sight reading; allowing people to sit where they wished; and encouraging everyone to change instruments so that no one was stuck playing the same instrument all day."

From an East Bay member: "It was so nice to participate with a group of people who played so well. Even the Soprano recorders were in tune most of the time!"


Saturday, November 23: Hausmusik presents "Airs and Graces", a program of chamber music from the Baroque courts, including pieces by Telemann, Boismortier, Leclair and others. Performers are Greer Ellison, baroque flute; Katherine Button, baroque violin; Farley Pearce, violoncello and viola da gamba; and JungHae Kim, harpsichord. "Airs and Grace" will take place at 8 PM at St Alban's Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington in Albany. Tickets are $18 and $15. Telephone (510) 527-9840 for information.

Saturday, December 7: The Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra will present a concert at Hope Lutheran Church, 600 W. 42nd Avenue, in San Mateo at 2:00 P.M. Joining the orchestra for this performance will be the Praetorius Singers under the direction of Doris Williams. Admission is free. For further information please call Frederic Palmer at 650-591-3648 or visit www.sfems.org/mpro.

Sunday, December 15: The American Recorder Orchestra of the West (AROW) will perform its Christmas concert as a benefit for Eileen Hadidian. The concert will be held at the Zion Lutheran Church, 5201 Park Ave., Oakland, at 3:30 p.m. Suggested donation: $10-15.