The Seattle Recorder Society’s Annual Meeting brings… new faces and new officers

Per our Seattle Recorder Society’s bylaws, the annual membership meeting commenced with the primary business of electing officers. President Dave Gloger introduced the nominees: Linet Henry for President-Elect (for one year, then she will become President), Richard Ginnis for Treasurer (2 year term), and Evy Dudey for Secretary (2 year term). Dave asked for nominations from the floor; there were none. Hanan Bell made a motion and it was seconded to accept the slate of nominees and elect them to their respective positions. With a show of hands from the in-person membership and from those on Zoom the motion passed. Ten Zoom-ers were online and another 32 players were in the room – I believe this was the highest attendance since pre-pandemic! New officers’ terms will begin June 1, 2024. Dave also introduced, recognized, and thanked the current board members for their hard work during the past year: Laura Townsend, Nancy Bent, Evy Dudey, Richard Ginnis, Hanan Bell, Ellis Hillinger, Virginia Felton, Mike Woolf, Molly Warner, Charles Coldwell, and Vicki Boeckman.

Dave welcomed all the new people attending the meeting; several introduced themselves to the Zoom membership and to those gathered in-person. Various announcements were made, mostly about upcoming events in April. The board is looking for volunteers for the 2024-25 playing session season to take turns writing this Da Capo meeting recap article for the SRS newsletter. Please contact Evy to sign-up and/or for questions: President Nancy Bent is organizing our Members’ Night celebration, see elsewhere in this newsletter for details.

The annual business portion of the evening was adjourned at 7:20pm.

April Showers bring…Thomas Morley’s Madrigals

The Back Room Gang joined the large group for two of Thomas Morley’s (1557-1602) madrigals. Vicki warmed us up with long tone tuning in the mid-ranges of our respective instruments and warmed up our tongues with some light articulation gymnastics. April is in my Mistress’ Face was in G minor with two flats. Vicki pointed out the hemiola for sopranos, tenors, and basses in the middle, followed by staggered entrances with emphatic articulation to match the lyrics. ….and, speaking of lyrics, don’t breathe in the middle of a word. This familiar-to-many piece was a delightful warm-up despite the somewhat depressing lyrics. “Nice job! Yea!” exclaimed Vicki.

Next up was Morley’s It was Lover and his Lass, from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Originally a lute song, it had a tenor voice on the top line and the plucky bits on the other three lines that were originally played on a bent-neck lute. Composed and played in G major, this piece gave us a happier feeling. The intentional extra beats in measures 23-24 were pointed out ahead of time; a “hemiola thing” was happening again. (For more info on hemiolas, check out “Hemiolas…and why you care”). Vicki coached us to insert a break between Hey and ding a ding, and then had us all play our parts together (written as staggered on the page); now we were ready for the final run-through. The BRG players then departed for more music in this same vein; players were encouraged to move from the large group to the back room at any point in the evening.

Fantasia by Peter Seibert

The main piece of the evening was composed by SRS’ very own Peter Seibert, Director Emeritus. Although the title Fantasia didn’t indicate which tunes were at its core, Vicki gave us a little history. Peter chose melodies for his medley from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs edited by Vaughan Williams and A. L. Lloyd, published in 1959. Peter inserted his signature “Seibertisms,” which some of us would certainly recognize. He had something for everyone: from contrabass (thanks, Lee and Molly!) to sopranino (thanks, Virginia!).

We worked through each song separately, starting with The Green Bed, a melancholy sea story about a sailor:  He had been a long voyage and had lately come on shore, For his money was good, but his rigging was tore. …. Johnny was not without scruples regarding his landlady’s daughter though, Before I would lie in your green bed, I know, I would rather lie out in the rain and the snow. Sopranos and the sopranino started out with many fast notes; Vicki encouraged the players not to worry about any one note, just move on to the next one. The staccato markings were there to ensure lightness more than shortness.

After a four-measure bridge, The Devil and the Ploughman began. The devil comes to take one of the family members of the ploughman; in reference to his scolding old wife he replies, Oh take her, oh take her with all of my heart, And I wish she and you may never more part. The devil takes her home and chaos ensues, then he declares, I’ve been a tormentor the whole of my life, But I was never tormented ’til I met your wife, and the ballad ends as the devil kicks her back out of hell :-). There was never a chance to be bored with this section; something was always going on. We were instructed to use clear and clean tonguing in this sassy and silly section. “Wasn’t that wonderful?!”

After another bridge, it morphed into the ballad of Young Edwin in the Lowlands; with the minor key, listeners didn’t need to know the lyrics to see that it wasn’t a happy story. Upon looking up its lyrics (of which I found several variations), it indeed was a tale of gold, love, murder, and Bedlam. At the end of this section which contained a bit of a Scottish snap, Vicki smiled, “So sweet, beautifully played, isn’t that gorgeous?!”

Vicki told us the story of The Basket of Eggs…a pair of sailors are happy to take a basket of eggs from a damsel, but after they part ways, they discover there’s a baby in the basket instead of eggs. They offer money to anyone who will take the baby off their hands, and the damsel reappears, saying show me the money first, and then reveals that the baby was the result of going dancing with Nancy who pleased his fancy. Although the damsel and the sailors parted amicably, the one sailor declared, Since it is so, may we be all contented, But I’m hanged if I’ll like eggs any more.

Manchester Angel was a ballad about a young soldier and one of the prettiest girls he’d ever seen, and their love for one another – but the listeners don’t know if it ended with a “happily ever after” or not. Vicki instructed us to keep our tongues close to our palates so they don’t have far to travel between notes.

The final Fantasia melody was Robin Hood and the Pedlar, which does end happily, all with drinks in their hands. She asked, “Could you all hear each other? Try to listen – it’s so pretty!” Vicki cheered –  albeit prematurely, “Woohoo, we did it – the whole thing,” until someone pointed out that we hadn’t actually played one of the four-bar bridges in the middle, so Vicki conducted those bars, “squeezing out the fermatas to their death.” Since we’d made it this far – and by popular demand – and despite going into overtime with several diehards remaining on Zoom, we then played the entire piece. “We did it! Yea!”

Thus ended the last playing session of the season – looking forward to seeing you all at Members’ Night in May!

Evy Dudey