A Few Words from our New Board President, Barbara Ruvolo

A couple of weeks ago, we featured a short interview with our wonderful outgoing board president, Joyce Johnson Hamilton. In the interest of fairness (and because she’s wonderful, too!), we’d like to share a short bio to help you get to know our new board president, Barbara Ruvolo:

BR: “Growing up in western New York State in a small rural community…music was birdsong, rustling winds, crinkling of fallen leaves, crackling of icicles, and crunching of snow underfoot. There was no classical music on the radio. There was no community orchestra. I knew no professional musicians. Most of my time was spent reading, writing, walking, drawing, dancing, or singing.

When I first heard music of the baroque, I fell in love! And I have stayed in love, adding Renaissance and more to my beloved personal repertoire, and I took every opportunity to sing, with choirs large and small, beginning in church, continuing through high school, college and graduate school. Moving from New York to the Bay Area I sought out choirs that specialized in early music, not yet understanding what made it different from the heavier, over-orchestrated music be it early or later, that I heard in my youth.  When my children went on to higher education, and I had mostly fulfilled my parental duties, while working full time in government health care, I finally had time to learn about early music, what distinguishes it, its unique performance practices and use of historical instruments. 

A few years ago, I learned that SFEMS was offering a week-long baroque workshop and I signed up and attended. I was blown away at the quality of the workshop and the opportunity to work with amazingly talented and generous professional artists, and get to know them as people!  I had breakfast with Peter Sykes, lunch with David Wilson, and dinner with Clea Galhano. I got to sing in small ensembles made up of talented amateurs, all full of excitement to sing and play with other like-minded early music lovers, to improve their skills under the expert tutelage of internationally known artists. What could be better? 

Ever since that workshop, I was hooked. I joined SFEMS and became a valued partner of a wonderful organization that valued me as a perpetual student following my heart, a concert-goer, an amateur performer, and a workshop attendee. When the opportunity arose to join the board of directors, I couldn’t believe my good fortune. From member to vice president and now to president of the Board of Directors, my journey has taken me thus far. I am thrilled and honored to be chosen to serve and pledge to help SFEMS continue to succeed as the portal to early music in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. I believe in SFEMS’ mission and pledge to work towards its continued success to share the joy of early music with everyone who has ears to hear.

SFEMS is grateful to have dedicated music lovers such as Barbara Ruvolo on our Board of Directors, who give so much of their time and talent to help keep SFEMS growing. Thank you, Barbara—we look forward to working with you this year!


Written by Heidi Waterman