CAC Awards Almost Double for Affiliates

The San Francisco Early Music Society is pleased to announce the award of grants from the California Arts Council to seven of our Affiliate groups, almost twice the number who received awards last year. These organizations’ projects embrace and extend SFEMS’s mission of strengthening regional early music networks and outreach into the wider community. Here are the 2020 winners and their projects.

Tactus SF is an a cappella choral ensemble specializing in Renaissance polyphony, directed by Jonathon Hampton. Their project is to provide educational opportunity for underserved youth in conjunction with their winter concert, taking place in a few weeks. Their February 8 concert, “Music for Mercy” will be held at Saint Columba Catholic Church, a largely African American congregation in Oakland. Tactus hopes to introduce Early Music to the congregation’s musical experience. They will give 50 free tickets (25 pairs of tickets) to youth (under 18) and one accompanying adult along with two AC Transit Day Passes, one adult fare and one child fare, with each pair of concert tickets. In addition to being treated to our concert, the young people will get to hear a 15-20 minute pre-concert talk (tailored to both the young people and the adults in the audience) by Nicholas Jones.

Nash Baroque, an  instrumental chamber ensemble specializing in baroque music and dance, will present a Concert/Education/Music and Dance Collaboration with a Dance Lesson for the Audience at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. This FREE outreach performance will bring together a wide spectrum of audience members; from teen members of SF Art and Film to older members of JCC SF, and Residents of the Rhoda Goldman Plaza, but also ODC and DTC dance students who will be enriched by an historical perspective of dance. The audience will have the rare opportunity to participate, to learn a dance to perform with the musicians.

Gallimaufry Chamber Chorus will present Thomas Tallis’s monumental, 40-part motet, Spem in Alium, at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, prepared by several local choirs. The piece will be presented 3 times, in an elegant flash-mob context, in 3 different venues around the Festival, the week of June 7–14. The work is scored for 8 choirs of 5 voices each. This project will bring together a number of local choirs, including the Women’s Antique Vocal Ensemble (WAVE) and Tactus SF. There will be at least 2-on-a-part, involving a whopping 80 singers minimum, who would represent the wealth of community early music singers in the area and help strengthen the Bay Area’s early music community by connecting the local choirs who perform early music, as well as a unique opportunity to explore this wonderful composition and present it to the public.

The Laudami Ensemble (violinist Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo and harpsichordist Michael Peterson) will present two outreach concerts for hospital patients and retirement center residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. The goal is to share music with an underserved population that may not have exposure to early music. Audience at these performances are either very sick or elderly and otherwise would be unable to engage with this music live. During the performance, members of the ensemble will talk about the music, and following the concert they will answer questions and interact with the audience, allowing for meaningful social interaction Laudami has begun developing a network of hospitals and retirement centers in the Bay Area, and last year was able to share this music with almost 100 audience members.

East Bay Recorder Society (EBRS)  Project: Educational Outreach, Berkeley Saturday Workshop with four recorder professionals and 8 class choices will build community among recorder players, and by extension the Bay Area amateur music scene in general. Will present a workshop in Berkeley that replaces our formerly annual Marin Headlands Workshop, which is now in odd-numbered years only. The daytime Saturday event with 4 recorder professionals and 8 class choices will build community among recorder players, and by extension the Bay Area amateur music scene in general. Classes will be offered for intermediate and advanced playing levels. Possible workshop topics will include music that is being performed at BFX two weeks later, potentially increasing concert attendance and enhancing concertgoers’ enjoyment of the performances. Scholarships will be offered to young people in the Junior Recorder Society as well as to those who would otherwise be unable to attend due to financial hardship.

The viol duo Hallifax & Jeffrey (Peter Hallifax and Julie Jeffrey) will perform music for 2 viols and harpsichord at the Occidental Center for the Arts on May 31. Occidental has had very little exposure to Early Music, although there is a new Arts Center with an acoustically perfect space. Their concert will be a survey program, drawing on 3 centuries of music of all types, from Ortiz and Dowland to Couperin, Rameau, Bach and beyond. This Sunday afternoon concert will be suitable for all ages. Our hope is to extend the Early Music Community to an area that is historically underserved and pave the way for future concerts of Early Music in this location.

Between April 3 and 10, Musica Pacifica (Judith Linsenberg, recorders/whistle; Ingrid Matthews, violin; Alexa Haynes-Pilon, cello/viola da gamba; Katherine Heater, harpsichord; and Peter Maund, percussion) will perform a series of small house-concert series–in two cases, at senior/assisted living communities, where the elderly population has limited opportunities to hear live classical music. They will be performing a new version of our very popular Dancing in the Isles program that combines English and Celtic traditional music with “high-art” Baroque music from the same times and places. At one “venue” (Brookdale Senior Living in San Jose), the memory-care residents will be a large part of the audience. We hope and expect that our music will have a direct emotional impact on these individuals, such that they can experience it in the moment regardless of their mental capacity.

SFEMS thanks all those who applied. Your continuing efforts to strengthen our community’s awareness of and access to early music is vital to the success of all our organizations, and we sincerely wish you all the best in your future achievements.

Written by Jonathan Harris