(How to get there - 281 Fairmount Avenue, Hyde Park, MA)
On SATURDAY, August 23 at 4:00 PM, we’ll return to the scene of our former triumph: the home of Dr. and Mrs. David Sheldon, last year’s hosts, who live at 281 Fairmount Avenue, Hyde Park, just south of Boston. Why Saturday instead of Sunday? On Sunday we’ll want to attend a memorial service for a valued and beloved member of our band – see below.
We’ll begin at 4 p.m. with a complete sing-through of RUDDIGORE, accompanied by Juliet Cunningham, followed by feasting and general merriment. All NEGASS members, prospective members, and their guests are cordially invited.
All those attending the picnic are asked to bring their own entrees and beverages and one item (salad, vegetables, dessert, etc.) to share. Grills (with fuel) will be available for barbecuing, and there will be condiments and paper plates available as well.
Roles in RUDDIGORE:
Ruthven Murgatroyd (a.k.a. Robin) – baritone
Speaking roles: Ruth; Sir Rupert, Sir Jasper, Sir Lionel, Sir Conrad, Sir Desmond, Sir Gilbert, and Sir Mervyn Murgatroyd
Contact our new Program Chair Dave Leigh at (781) 894-3009 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know which role you want.
LAST MEETING: ELECTIONS/FANTASY DAY We got off to a quick start with Elections at our May 18, 2003 NEGASS meeting. Up for re-election, unopposed, were President - Don Smith, and Treasurer - Richard Freedman. They were unanimously re-elected. We had two candidates for Program Chair, Carl Weggel, incumbent officer, and Dave Leigh, frequent attendee at Bray Stuffings. Carl graciously decided to let Dave run unopposed, running instead for the Members-at-Large seats. Dave was elected unanimously and we went on to the contest for Members-at-Large. Two positions were available with three candidates - Carl Weggel, Carol Mahoney, and Peter Cameron. All are stalwart supporters of NEGASS, so it was a close race. Carl and Carol won.
Then Victor Troll took his seat at the piano and we went on to the Fantasy portion of the meeting. First up was a sing through of TRIAL with Marion Leeds Carroll as Angelina, Dave Leigh as the Judge, Carl Weggel as Counsel, and Dick Freedman as the Defendant. Other roles were sung by the audience as needed.
Next came the soloists. Randi Kestin started us off with Lady Jane's "Silvered is the Raven Hair" from PATIENCE. Next was Dave Leigh with Dr. Daley's "All Engaged to So and So" from SORCERER, complete with recorder solo. Then began the increasing use of gender switching. Carl started it off with Mad Margaret's solo from RUDDIGORE. Marion came through with Alexis's solo "It is not Love" from SORCERER. Dick Freedman brought us back to normal with Lord Mountararat's "When Britain Really Ruled the Waves" from IOLANTHE, before Dave set us off into laughter with the Fairy Queen's "Oh, Foolish Fay" from IOLANTHE. Carl finished up this section with Iolanthe's "My Lord, a Suppliant at your Feet".
From here, we fell into a rollicking cross-gendered sing of PIRATES. Dave, as Ruth, and Randi, as Frederic, got the laughter started with "Oh, False One" and we all were amazed at how well our guys could sing "Climbing over Rocky Mountain". Dick stepped in as Edith, and the guys sang Kate's part. Randi carried us on with Frederic's solos. Dave Leigh, who, in my opinion, is amazingly good at women's voices, joined in with Mabel's "Poor Wandering One". The women got their chance with "When the Foeman Bares his Steel", myself (Janice Dallas) doing the Sergeant. For "Now for the Pirates' Lair" and "When you had left our Pirate Fold", Marion stepped in as Frederic so Randi could be the Pirate King. Dave sang Ruth's part.
Everyone was laughing and wanted to continue, but the time was getting late, so we sang through the IOLANTHE Act I Finale. Randi was the Fairy Queen, Marion - Phyllis, Janice – Celia & Leila, Dick - Strephon, Peter Cameron - Lord Mountararat, Carl - Lord Tolloller, and Dave was the Lord Chancellor.
Dave Leigh brought along 5 duplicate recordings from the Martyn Green era that he'd discovered when boxing up his record collection for a move. He offered them for free to a good home and several members took him up on the offer. Jim Harper had Dover Full Scores of PIRATES and MIKADO that he donated to the NEGASS Library. Let me know if anyone wants to borrow them, as besides being Membership Officer, I also tend to our Library.
SEPTEMBER AT NEGASS: BAB BALLADS Harvard University Press has just issued a handsome, newly-designed paperbound printing of Jim Ellis’s edition of the Bab Ballads. Jim has offered to read from his book at an upcoming meeting. We are hoping that this will be our September meeting, but it’s been difficult to make plans over the summer - more news as it breaks!
NOVEMBER: We are planning our usual FALL PERFORMANCE ISSUE, in which we will puff local G&S auditions and performances – stay tuned!
DECEMBER: NEGASS sometimes used to hold holiday parties in December. Is anyone up for that this year? We could come in costume as G&S characters, or just show up in fancy holiday garb… We could play G&S-themed charades or other party games… We could sing things in addition to G&S if we liked… We could eat and drink all sorts of interesting things… Anybody like the idea? Anyone want to host a party, or shall we rent a hall? Anyone have ideas for appropriate Victorian party activities? E-mail or phone new Program Chair Dave Leigh with your thoughts: (781) 894-3009 or email@example.com
Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2003-2004
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members Robert Cleasby, Richard Grusell, Ernie and Marilyn Kahn, Habib Rahman and family, and Thomas Skyler Wrench.
Robert is a music educator and conductor from Cranston, RI. His daughter, Meredith, gave him this membership as a Father's Day gift.
Richard, who’s from Holden, MA, lists himself as enthusiastic audience.
Habib writes: My family has always enjoyed G & S plays. Our kids, Alexandra and Meredith, 11, love going to them and we know it is a safe choice for an evening out with them.
I am a somewhat staid tax accountant and my wife, Sandra, is a marketing professor at a local college. While we may disagree on many subjects, we agree that Gilbert and Sullivan shows make for a pleasant night out.
Ernie & Marilyn write: We came to New England in the 1950s and were immediately introduced to the Neponset Choral Society that put on an annual G&S operetta that we enjoyed tremendously. They stopped about 1985 due to the high costs of production. We are also contra dancers and got on Tony Parkes’ mailing list and through him discovered NEGASS.
Skyler writes: I have been a G&S freak since age 7. I also love grand opera, especially early-19th-century German: Weber, Marschner, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Schubert... I have just started taking voice lessons, and hope to perform someday. I have done some costume design and a lot of set painting. [Membership chair Janice Dallas adds "He's a cartoonist. Maybe he could come up with something for the Bray." What a good idea! - mlc]
Tell Us, Tell Us All About It!
We have received much sad news over the past summer – some from far away, some from close at hand. In particular, We learned within the past two weeks of the loss of two valued and active members of the New England G&S community, who will be sorely missed.
Yes, that was his legal name, not his nick-name. As Nancy Burdine explains, it’s a common one in the deep south, the birthplace of this MIT-trained electrical engineer who, after a distinguished career in his first field, retired to focus on his other great love and talent: Music.
Merely playing bassoon to his wife Nancy’s oboe was not enough for Bill. With her he founded the Concord Hill Musicians, organizing and performing with chamber ensembles and orchestras. He also served as orchestra contractor for the Sudbury Savoyards and the Savoyard Light Opera Co, among other G&S performing groups. And, still with his ideal partner Nancy, he ran the Summer Concert Series at First Parish in Lexington for 23 years.
His love for his family included more than his wife, of course: We appreciated his pride in his daughter Margaret and her husband Christopher Karpinsky, while sympathizing with his affection for his late daughter Carol. All will miss him.
Read a complete obituary detailing this remarkable man's life at the Lexington Minuteman web site.
And join us all on Sunday, August 24, at 2 p.m. at First Parish in Lexington, 7 Harrington Road, Lexington Center, for a memorial service in his honor. [This is why the NEGASS Picnic Meeting was moved to Saturday, August 23!]
[For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill's memory may be made to the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley College, P.O. Box 5507, Wayland, MA 01778, or to the musical organization of one's choice.]
Bruce Miller, conductor, director and co-discoverer of "Reflect, My Child," the long-missing Captain/Josephine duet from PINAFORE, was found dead in his apartment on Thursday, July 31, after the superintendent of his building noticed that he had not been picking up his mail. An obituary, which appeared August 2 in the Worcester Daily Telegram & Gazette and was forwarded to members of SavoyNet and others, quoted local police as saying that the death was from “natural causes,” and pointed out that Bruce had had several health concerns, including diabetes.
As Fred Goldrich of SavoyNet said, on posting the first news on the subject, “ I'm sure that many of us will have much to say about Bruce; his strong opinions and blunt style did not always win him friends.
“But he was an ardent and knowledgeable lover of G&S and was an especially energetic supporter of, and contributor to, the Broude Brothers critical edition project.
“Bruce had a side that was deeply loyal and generous. Never did I ask for his help, even when we barely knew each other, that he did not respond in ways that were above and beyond anything I could have expected.”
Bruce won praise from his colleagues and students at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, where he had taught since 1975. Braden Mechley, his former student and now an assistant professor at Holy Cross, was quoted in the Daily Telegram article: [Bruce] "could be a prickly person. He would be the first to admit that. He would always tell people exactly what he thought. But beneath that was a deep warmth and caring. ... I am one of hundreds of people who can tell you: He saw something, and tried to bring out something. He did that brilliantly, time after time, with people."
According to another web site created in his honor by Frank Garand, one of his colleagues, and full of links to details concerning his history and accomplishments, “A memorial service for Bruce was held on Wednesday, August 6, at Holy Cross.” Another is planned for the fall, after students have returned to the college.
This means, of course, that NEGASS’s invitation to Bruce to speak about his planned Holy Cross production of PINAFORE, based on the upcoming Braude Brothers edition, will probably not be accepted. We have lost a valued member of our community – we will miss him!
GEORGE SHEPARD is the subject of another piece of sad news. Fred Goldrich tells Us: "George was the only person who had appeared with the G&S Society of Hancock County not only in every production, but in every performance, since its founding in 1977. The only one he missed took place on Sunday, July 13th, as he had died peacefully in his sleep a few hours earlier."
WALLY MASON is another, if less recent, loss. J. Donald Smith wrote: "Received a call the other day from Fred Mason that his father, long-time NEGASS member Wallace Mason, had died this past January." Fred apparently was offering NEGASS some of Wally’s collection of G&S books, but since we don’t really have a place to store such things, Don suggested that they be donated to the Warren Colson Collection at the Newton Free Library or else offered as door prizes at NEGASS meetings – We don’t know what finally came of this idea
(by all means!):
It’s time to renew your membership!
The Board’s decision several years ago to create extra categories of membership is still in effect. Please bear in mind that the majority of our members are still “Yeomen,” but that those who wish to contribute more to NEGASS have the opportunity to do so, in the following increments:
(On the other hand, if even the $15 basic membership is a problem, please talk to Membership Chair Janice Dallas. Please note – Charter Members officially hold their membership as a gift from the Society – but many insist upon donating at some level. And some folks just like to give special donations!)
Lacking the means for a Display of Fireworks in the Evening, We celebrate these friends by printing a yearly list of Members Extraordinary - those who chose a category higher than Yeomen for the previous year. Here, forthwith, is the list of 2002-2003 Extraordinary Memberships (Bow, bow, ye Lower Middle Classes):
and Nancy Burdine
(How shall I express the all-absorbing gratitude - )
JEAN HINDMARSH CD: Her newly-released CD, with accompaniment by David Steadman, “I still have a song to sing-o!” is available for £25 plus S&H from John and Clare Samson of Quality Words, 45 Gander Hill, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1RE, Great Britain. Phone them for more info at 01444-41 3068 – or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I first came in contact with Simon Moss about 2 years ago when I bought some out of print G&S books off of EBay... Since then I have received various updates from him and now his new website. He is located in the U.K. and is a wonderful man to deal with... Anything that he sells I have been satisfied with. - BARRY GARDEN
DOWNLOADABLE ZOO I have completed and proofread a complete piano-vocal score for The Zoo. It is a set of 13 pdfs, plus the cover page, that you can download at no charge.
Please tell me of any errors or corrections you'd recommend.
- JIM COOPER
THE GREAT INFLUENCE OF G&S: Bob Cumming of the Connecticut G&S Society was delighted when the Palace Peeper, the newsletter of the NY G&S Society, reprinted an article from Music Journal that he had called to their attention – and has eagerly called it to Ours as well.
Well, it is interesting: The article, by Sister Mirelda, S.C.C., Mallinckrodt Convent, Mendham, New Jersey, describes the late Leonard Bernstein’s early interest in G&S:
"Lenny, about ten years of age… read through Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore and then decided to rehearse the shows with his sisters. Lenny made the girls memorize all the parts and demanded their best at all times. He, the coach himself; took the lead with Shirley as Yum-Yum; and whenever 'the director' was not on stage, he was behind the scenes playing the piano. Finally all was in readiness. The performers rented a hall (incredible as it sounds) and before a sold-out house, at a dollar a ticket, staged The Mikado."
Reminds Us of stories We’ve heard about Stanislavski – who was also known to perform and direct G&S, although in translation.
In fact, several years ago Ralph MacPhail sent Us a copy of an article from the 10/26/68 Saturday Review, written by Hedy and George Jellinek and titled The One World of Gilbert and Sullivan. In listing and describing all the productions throughout the world which were mounted soon after the original shows were staged, the authors described the first production of MIKADO in Russia: "In 1886, [Stanislavski] was still known by his family name of Alexeyev, head of a brilliantly enterprising family workshop called the Alexeyev Circle. Operetta was the principle interest of the group that year... their sisters came back from Paris with glowing reports about a new English operetta depicting Japanese life, and soon the entire Alexeyev group was engulfed by a MIKADO craze. 'During that winter our home resembled a nook of Japan,' wrote Stanislavski in My Life in Art. '... A troupe of Japanese acrobats, who were appearing in the circus stayed with us day and night... they taught us all the Japanese customs, the manner of walking, deportment, bowing, dancing, and the handling of the fan... We mastered all the Japanese poses without exception... Every passage, bar of music and strong note had its definite gesture, movement, and action with the fan...'" Stanislavski's brother played the title role; Stanislavski directed and played Nanki-Poo, apparently to critical acclaim.
FREDERIC REBORN? Martha Birnbaum writes: Prince William - the perfect Frederic in PIRATES? Could we get him??
Man Arrested at Prince William's Party By ED
JOHNSON , AP – found via the Netscape News Network.
William was enjoying his 21st birthday party…
‘All these questions about 'do you want to be king?' It's not a question of wanting to be, it's something I was born into and it's my duty,'’ the young prince, who is second in line to the throne, told the British news agency, Press Association, in an interview released Sunday.”
M’LORD? I'm actually writing to draw your attention (in case your nose was not glued to the political pages recently) to the fact that Tony Blair has come up with the bright idea of abolishing the centuries-old position of Lord Chancellor. Yes, I thought that would shock you - unless you thought it had already happened years ago! Slowly, England enters the 20th century, just as everyone else moves into the 21st.
RICHARD CONRAD RIDES AGAIN: When we heard that Conrad had been forced out of BAM, which proceeded to change its name and to expunge G&S from its repertoire, We were distraught. But Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe tells Us: [5/30/2003] "Baritone Richard Conrad and former members of the Boston Academy of Music have created a new organization called the Boston Concert & Opera Ensemble, or "Richard Conrad's The Bostonians," which will make its bow in September with a Wagner marathon featuring selections from all of Wagner's operas in chronological order, presented with piano accompaniment.
"Repertoire plans for the first few seasons parallel some of the agenda of the old Boston Academy -- Gilbert & Sullivan (MIKADO and YEOMEN) and lesser-known operas by major composers (Mozart's Idomeneo and La Finta Giardiniera). The group also plans to explore classic but unfamiliar American musical theater… Information is available by calling 617-242-4015. A website is under construction at www.thebostonians.org ."
Whilst observing an enlightening notice in the Bray, Janet & I decided to check out the Amtrak system and visit the Big Apple to see the rarely performed YEOMAN. The clean, quiet, on-time, comfortable train is the way to go, if you’re not in too much hurry. The price for Acela is twice that of the regular train and it only cuts off about 45 minutes, due mainly to the fact that it doesn’t make as many stops. Definitely not worth the extra expense.
When calling about tickets, NYG&SP were courteous and helpful and recommended a Quality Inn at 94th & Broadway, 1 block from Symphony Space, the modern theater for the play. Within 100 feet of the hotel were restaurants: Tex-Mex, Deli, Sushi, Thai, Chinese, and a Diner-type with breakfasts you could not finish for $3.75. All that and one terrific performance of G&S’s famous tragedy. What more could you ask for?
Our front row seats (seniors for only $41.00) were perfect for seeing all the professional nuances of the players and the full orchestra. All the principals were Actors Equity, and they were outstanding. While I followed the score, I could not detect one instance of a missed line. The words and music were exactly G&S, and they even inserted the rarely heard A Laughing Boy But Yesterday well sung by Sergeant Merrill (Richard Holmes) in Act I.
There was no curtain, so the entering audience was greeted with a full-stage, powerful rendition of the Tower of London done in large granite stoneworks. There was about a 95% full house in the modern 750 seat auditorium tastefully appointed in new- appearing, comfortable, red plush seats.
There were no microphones, and there probably should have been. While the voices were all clear and accurately pitched, some were stronger than others. Phoebe (Melissa Unkel) had great clarity and range, and could have used some amplification. Whereas Wilfred (Tyler Bunch) certainly did not need any. His huge flowing mane (not a wig, because we met him on 94th Street next day) and large frame gave a real sense of foreboding to his part. He could change from being cute and romantic, when wooing Phoebe, to being absolutely enraging when inquiring about how many 'brothers' she had. He had a good sense of humor when Phoebe slammed the door on his nose after Were I Thy Bride.
The costumes (Jan Holland – Costume Designer) for the Yeoman were so beautiful, accurate, and stunning in bright red, that the audience actually applauded upon their appearance. Dame Carruthers (Melissa Parks) was perfectly cast. Her strong, Wagnerian voice and stage presence gave realism to her character. Fairfax (Keith Jameson) and the Lieutenant (Keith Jurosko) were other good castings, with a strong, projecting voices.
Jack Point (Stephen O’Brien) showed excellent stage presence and humor throughout his part without overacting, which is no easy task. A microphone would have enhanced his performance. The presentation of I Have A Song To Sing was done to perfection with Point and Elsie (Kimilee Bryant) doing the classic duet dance with the ducking and pirouetting, a tribute to dance captain Robin Bartunek, who really did an outstanding job on all the dances which were lively and attention-getting throughout the performance. Elsie had an operatic voice which brought much audience applause.
When the Headsman (Lucian Russell) appeared, the hugeness of the ax brought the house down with laughter. [insider informationi: Lucian was the original founder of NYG&SP - We know because We were there! - mlc]
The opening of Act II had the chorus carrying real candles in the lanterns, a nice touch. Now Point wears his classic jester suit and looks the part. His rendition of Oh! A Private Buffoon was terrific: just fast enough to be a patter song, but carefully controlled so as to have clear enunciation.
One of the surprisingly outstanding voices belonged to Kate (Julie Price) who was a soaring soprano in Strange Adventure!
The orchestra was well balanced, not overpowering the voices. The conductor (Jeffrey Kresky) maintained good tempo throughout the show, a real yeoman (Webster: “a diligent and dependable worker”). One improvement might have been for him to be seated in order that his arm movements would not be so distracting to the audience members.
The tragic ending had Point expiring downstage. I had thought it might have been better to have him collapse upstage with a slowly decreasing spotlight. However, because of the absence of the curtain, this would have shown him getting up hurriedly to run backstage getting ready for the curtain calls, so the downstage position was needed.
I’ve always wondered why he didn’t up and marry Kate. But then this would not have been the great G&S tragedy that makes YEOMAN such a wonderful and poignant tale.
IN-PROGRESS PDF BRAY ARCHIVE We've been posting PDF versions of recent Brays on the web. What does this mean? It means that if you have a (free and easily accessible) copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can print out a copy of the issue you want, looking pretty much the same as the copy you received in the mail - in case you lost your old copy, or want to give a copy to someone else. Ultimately, We hope to create a more nearly complete archive of old Brays in PDF format.
ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO THE TRUMPET BRAY:
All contributions are welcome, of course - but, strictly speaking, only activities and articles relating to G&S ought to be published. (…although an occasional Yes We Know It's Not slips by when the subject relates to a promising activity presented by long-standing and active member of NEGASS.)
Visit http://leedscarroll.com/GSEnsembles.html for a list of G&S ensembles suitable for excerpt programs.
Visit http://negass.org/Pages/Ads.html for a NEGASS business card image.
Send electronic contributions to our e-mail address: pooh-bah at negass dot org
contact current webmaster mlc for more information