April is always a month with a lot of different things in it. To our travels this time, we added the first official event of our 40th Anniversary, at the Sonoma Mission. On a beautiful Sunday in our first appearance at that tiny mission, we celebrated our 40th year of performing in the California missions, and the 28 years in Chanticleer of bass Eric Alatorre who leaves us in the summer. The day started with wine tasting generously provided by Chris and Naomi Thorpe in the company of Eric and his family, a performance of mission baroque music with commentary by Fred, Craig Russell and Eric, and more wine after the concert. We had performed the program of the Bolivian and Mexican baroque music we love in March and early April in San Francisco, Fremont and Santa Clara. A whirlwind tour to Phoenix, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge, Hattiesburg, MO, followed then back to the Bay Area for the Sonoma event, and a last performance of the mission baroque program in Santa Cruz. Another whirlwind to La Jolla and Camarillo, California followed by New York, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. There was a nice surprise in Philadelphia where a group from the Keystone State Boys and Girls Choirs attended. They sought out Fred, and then asked if they might sing a number for us which they did very sweetly. Some audiences members stayed to listen. A nice moment. Followed by a return to Washington DC’s at St. John’s Episcopal church in Georgetown which brought April to an end. After New Britain and Boston this week we’ll return home to prepare our final Bay Area concerts and several Anniversary events.
Five Bay Area choirs joined us for a day long Youth Choral Festival yesterday. It was a big group which, in the final tutti numbers at the concert conducted by Fred, made an amazing and beautiful sound together in Haydn, Mozart, and Shaw/Parker. Albany High School ( Mary Stocker,) American Canyon High School ( Jamie Butler,) Sequoia High School ( Othello Jefferson,) Lowell High School ( Jason Chan,) and a group from the Crystal Children’s Choir ( Karl Chang and Jenny Chiang) all arrived through a rainstorm at l0am and worked hard until 8.30pm when the concert ended. In addition to the concert, the highlight of the day is when we go back to homerooms to work with the choirs. We were all singing kids, so it’s important to us personally and collectively to encourage students who sing in choirs.
Portland never disappoints: the audience that knows us so well, Kaul Auditorium- a great place to sing- and the city itself. Friends of Chamber Music invites us every year for a concert and a masterclass This year’s class was with the choir from Corvallis High School which has a lovely sound. They drove an hour and a half to work with us and then stayed for the concert. Hope we see them again,
San Antonio turns 300 this year, the Chamber Music Society turns 75, and we of course are turning 40. All things to be proud about. San Antonians are proud as well that our founder Louis Botto came from here. We sang a matinee in the Temple Beth-El for a lovely audience. It’s been four days and four shows and a fair bit of driving. Fred will do a master class with three choirs tomorrow while we go see The Alamo.
Texas is a big state. 4 hours or so got us from Nagocdoches to Austin for a very brief stay. Singing in the Bates Recital Hall at the University of Texas before a very attentive audience was a most rewarding experience. Matt Mazzola’s family came, along with our Board Member Susan Carlyle (who lives in Houston) and her grandson Caldwell to contribute to the very warm reception. No more glacial cold, and on to the heat in San Antonio where our founder Louis Botto was born.