Playing the flute in the time of Anne Boleyn
Slow Hand at 70 Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday concert at the Albert Hall in London
A Russian violinist scheduled to play a piece by Prokofiev with the Seattle Symphony
Apart from singing in the church choir, music has been taking a back seat in my activity schedule. BUT – I have resumed that activity with my attendance yesterday at the meeting of the Moss Bay Recorder Society over in Kirkland. And happy was I to be playing again even if I couldn’t remember much of what I knew before and I have developed arthritis in my hands since I last played 3 (?) years ago. The fingering was difficult. But I was very happy to be playing again and to meet up with some old friends.
This past week was so interesting at the Early Music Workshop, named Port Townsend, but now held at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma – only every 2 years so it was a real opportunity to find that this was the year. I really liked the setting and the ambience of the University. It seemed a smallish college/university – very attractive and elegant brick buildings, not too far apart except the distances seemed to lengthen the more musical instruments one had to carry – and the shorter the time between classes. Oh well, I was glad I wasn’t lugging one of those big viols. A music stand and several recorders and a bottle of water and a miscellany of other items seemed quite enough. The university is expanding and there was a fair bit of construction going on – it was hard at first to find one’s way around – some people got lost. I didn’t get lost but I did miss several events due to poor planning, mostly on my part. The security system was daunting for getting into the main building where everyone was staying and was the focus for many of the events. Actually getting into the building was o.k. since the main door was unlocked during the day – but then there was the problem of getting into one’s suite (shared with 2 others) and then into one’s room. By the end of the week I finally had those keys and locks figured out. I was on the 3rd floor of this building so that of course added to the drama – fortunately there was a lift/elevator. I had 4 workshops each day, interspersed with coffee and meal breaks. The locations of these workshops did shift a bit. Of course, the dining hall was in yet another building.
What a surprise it was to find that among the 75+ participants and 15 or so tutors there was actually a classmate from Middlebury, for one; and two, a woman hailing now from Kelowna B.C. but who went to Trinity in Dublin and went to secondary school on Zion Road – when we first moved to Dublin in 1968 we lived on Zion Road, just a block from the school she attended. I walked past it every day. Her attendance there preceded our arrival but all the same, that’s quite a coincidence. I so enjoyed chatting with her about all things Irish and Dublin.
Another very nice thing about this week-long workshop was that by the end of the week I was getting to know various people and where they came from. Hopefully we will be able to get a little group together of people who live near me here in Seattle and I’ll be able to play more often than the once a month meetings of the Seattle Recorder Society.
I am just going to go back a few days to write about what kept us busy before we went to Anacortes. Womderful visits with old friends. One of my college roommates, Rachel, and her husband, Jim, came to Seattle en route to a Road Scholar trip in the San Juan Islands. After graduation from Middlebury College, Rachel came out to Seattle to teach in one of the elementary schools in West Seattle. A year later I came out to visit her and ended up staying and working here for about 8 months. This was back in 1959-60. It was through Rachel that I was introduced to Mary Ann who was also a teacher and needed a third housemate in Magnolia. During those months when I was here in Seattle, Rachel and Mary Ann and I had many good times together. Now 50+ years later we added to the good times as of old. In the meantime through the years our 3 lives had intersected at various points and in many different parts of the globe – Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota, Hawaii, London England, Heidelburg Germany, Nairobi Kenya. The list could go on. Let me just say that it’s very special to get together with treasured friends of many many years.
A few days later we had a visit from a friend of almost as many years – a neighbour from Dublin. Again I could tell you of many ways in which our lives have intersected. In this case it was a chance to get caught up not only on his news but also life in Dublin.
So now after these wonderful visits we feel more in touch with the world we left behind in making this move to the far Northwest corner of the U.S. And the visits also opened our eyes a bit more to travel opportunities for the future.
Meanwhile here in Seattle there was a big music and entertainment festival over the 3 day Memorial Day weekend. On the Monday, just back from Anacortes, I was in time to participate in one of the events. Folklife 2011. The University of Washington Klezmer Band. I only recently joined but the convenor was kind enough to include me in the big performance.
University of Washington Klezmer Band, on stage at Folklife 2011. I’m there with the blue shoes, behind the fiddle player in red. The girl on the cello is the choir director at Ballard First Lutheran where I’ve been singing for the past few months. It’s thanks to her, Maren, and the director Ethan, that I have been included in the band. There are numerous clarinets. A very talented group and fun to play with (or at least hold my clarinet and try to play). The photo is courtesy of Ann Maki, who was in the audience.
Folklife was really big. Very very crowded but our performance venue was fine. A large theatre, nearly full. The music was so catchy that some of the members of the audience danced in the aisles. That was such a boost to see.
After the performance I wandered around for a little while but found it just too crowded to enjoy it for long. I did buy something though. I am signed up for a Music Camp, the Port Townsend Early Music Workshop, scheduled for July 10-16. This is primarily for playing the recorder but a couple of percussion workshops are on offer and I want to give that a go. With that in mind, I found a sweet little hand drum, made in Vietnam.