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Vol. XXVI No. 7
June/July 2002
 - Now, wouldn't you like to rule the roast...? -

Sunday, June 9, 2002, 2:00 PM:
ELECTION/FANTASY MEETING

 In This Issue: 

Articles

Calendar:
Performances and auditions
in NE and elsewhere

Meetings and Reunions

Reviews 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ELECTION/FANTASY MEETING :

(How to get there - 63 Everett St, Arlington, MA)

On Sunday June 9 at 2:00 PM, at the home of Janice and Ron Dallas, 63 Everett St in Arlington, MA we'll meet to elect a new board, and then celebrate by singing all the stuff we didn't get to sing at the Gala last month (more choruses! was the cry We heard). Plan to sing something you've always wanted to sing, but never got around to - we've heard everything from baritone Buttercups to soprano Lord Chancellors, as well as lots of folks singing their own repertoire just because it's fun.

Up for re-election are our Vice President (Jennifer Morris), Secretary (Peter Cameron), Program Chair (Carl Weggel) and three Members at Large (Linda Silverstein, Janice Dallas and Marion Leeds Carroll) - but since nearly all of the above have expressed an interest in continuing in their current positions, We expect that, unless there is a ground-swell for an alternative ticket, these elections will be very short, and most of the meeting will be Fantasy Day.

A meeting of the newly elected Board is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, June 23 at 2:00 p.m. [Note change from time published in the printed edition of the Bray!] at the Arlington home of Marion Leeds Carroll.

-- mlc
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~~~ 

MAY MEETING: NEGASS 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: All NEW ENGLAND G&S GALA on Sunday, May 25, 2002. It was wonderful! The most innocent amateur performances were glorified, and the most polished professional ones gilded, by obvious love of the material and delight in sharing it with other Savoyards. The audience included a satisfying mix of fellow-performers and those for whom performances are given - including, of course, Dean Edmonds, Jr., who sat in the audience singing along, off-book, with every singer on the stage. And we were supported and aided throughout by our excellent and indefatigable accompanist, David Goldhirsch.

See the MEETINGS AND REUNIONS section below for more about the Gala and about the BU Savoyards Reunion.

-- mlc
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AUGUST: PICNIC MEETING This year's picnic will be held on Sunday, August 25 at the home of Dave Sheldon, our host two years ago It's too soon to say what show we'll sing through at our picnic this year. Any votes? - Phone anyone on the Board, or send e-mail to picnic@negass.org, with ideas.

-- mlc
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Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2001-2002 

June 9 Elections/Fantasy Day
August 25 Picnic Meeting

Next Bray Copy Deadline: August 8, 2002

Next Bray Stuffing: Sunday, August 11, 2002 at 3:00 PM at 111 Fairmont St, Arlington, MA. Call Us at (781) 646-9115 evenings and weekends, or send email to editor@negass.org for directions to Our easy-to-get-to Arlington home. -mlc

 
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spring and summer

Member News

fall and winter

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members Jim & Nina Harper, Tom & Carolyn Lumenello, Jenny McGregor, Ken McPherson, John F. Natale, David Carl Olson, John Smyth, and David R. A. Steadman

Jim Harper tells us: My family introduced me to G&S at an early age, though I've never been in a production. My wife Nina and I have sung in a small church choir for about 15 years. She's from the Philippines, where we met during my Peace Corps service. I worked for the parent of Boston Gas until its acquisition by KeySpan. Nina continues her work as a domestic engineer.

David Leigh says about Jenny McGregor: A coloratura soprano and long-time G&S enthusiast, Jenny also conducts tours of the (very haunted) Edinburgh Vaults. Whether she can teach the resident ghosts When the night wind howls remains to be seen.

Ken McPherson, who was Pish-Tush in our LMLO MIKADO, tells us: I live in East Providence and have performed with many Rhode Island theater groups (including the late, lamented Ocean State Light Opera). My current G&S tally is: 17 productions of 9 different operettas, plus 2 revues. My next role: Sergeant Meryll, at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in South Kingstown, RI, in August. [See Calendar for more details - mlc]

John Natale and David Steadman define themselves as those invaluable creatures, enthusiastic audience members.

We know David Carl Olson as a fine tenor who has performed a great deal with Juliet Cunningham's various G&S and operatic productions. He was Hilarion in the NE/NE G&S Coalition IDA which performed at the Gala.

John Smyth just moved to Rye Beach, NH from San Francisco, where he was the lead tenor and board member for the past 5 years with the Lamplighters. He appeared with the Lamplighters in Gilbert & Sullivan a la Carte on May 18th at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH.

No news about Tom & Carolyn Lumenello - Tell Us, Tell Us all about it!

Hearty Greeting Offer We!-- mlc 
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AS FAR AWAY AS YESTERDAY From the Sudbury Savoyards mailing list: I have recently been made aware of the death of one of our former Savoyards. Tanya Fleischman passed away on April 23rd from lung cancer. She had been battling it for the last couple of years. As her husband told me, she never smoked a day in her life.

Tanya was a valued member of the Savoyards in the 70's and 80's. She appeared in many G&S shows, both as a chorister and in lead roles. She and her husband moved to Florida in the early 90's.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gordon and their family.

-- DONNA ROESSLER
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THIRD EDITION OF LEXICON AVAILABLE: Harry Benford's The Gilbert & Sullivan Lexicon [Third edition, with illustrations by Geoffrey Shovelton] is now available from:

The Queensbury Press
13507 Queensbury Lane
Houston TX 77079-6017

Prices, including S&H:

USA: $28.45,
Canadian: Can$42.95;
Overseas: Contact The Queensbury Press for details.

LADY SANGAZURE'S ARIA - APOLOGIES TO MARC SHEPHERD! The Savoyard scholar and SavoyNet list maintainer writes: The April/May Bray attributes to me the statement that Sullivan never set Lady Sangazure's solo, In days gone by. I never said that. I've attached a copy of the e-mail that I sent to Paul Richmond, which merely states that it's "not available."

Sullivan did, in fact, set Lady Sangazure's aria. The only reason I didn't say so explicitly was because, from the context of Paul's original message, it appeared he already knew that.

Like THESPIS, the reason Lady Sangazure's song is unavailable is that the music is thought to be lost. The song, or bits & pieces of it, may survive in privately held collections, but if so the materials have not been publicly disclosed.

-- MARC SHEPHERD
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We beg to offer an unqualified apology! This misquote has caused embarrassment to Marc, and to Us. --- And yet - this discussion has resulted in the discovery of a grain or two of truth among the chaff:

THE SEARCH FOR SANGAZURE: In the last Bray, Paul Richmond's query about the existence of the music for Lady Sangazure's ballad caused me to look more closely at the Sorcerer Lancers (arranged by Charles D'Albert and published in February 1878 by Metzler). The final movement of this piano medley is labeled "Lady Sangazure" and naturally caught the eye of Fredric Woodbridge Wilson (curator of the Harvard Theater Collection), who brought it to my attention.

With very little adjustment, a sixteen-measure passage of this finale perfectly and, indeed, aptly sets the Sangazure lyric, if sung at a comfortable andante.

But [at the recent NEGASS Anniversary Gala] David Goldhirsch, accompanist extraordinaire, pointed out in a flash of recognition that the charming melody is nothing other than the counter melody played in the orchestra below the opera's opening chorus and seldom discerned when the Ploverleigh villagers are drowning it out. I should have noticed it, though, as the Metzler sheet music bears the motto "Ring Forth, Ye Bells" beneath the heading "Lady Sangazure."

There is still a question why the Lancers finale is titled as it is, but it may have been a random designation; and as D'Albert worked from Sullivan's conductor's score when arranging these medleys, he may simply have ignored the chorus parts. It is, of course, still possible that Sullivan was playing one of his clever contrapuntal games by fitting in at double speed a melody he had already given to the contralto later in the opera (for he never composed his scores in order of performance), but this is a farfetched supposition.

We will perhaps have a clear answer when the few stray orchestra lines that have survived, in privately held band parts, have been consulted. It is likely that they will be found not to fit the ballad as I arranged it from the Lancers sheet music and as was sung, in a world premiere of sorts, at half an hour's notice [well - he did warn Us the previous day - but We didn't see the music until just before!] by Marion Leeds Carroll at the 25th Anniversary Gala.

Should the surviving parts prove, as I imagine they will, that there was once quite another and, alas, now unrecoverable setting (because there's not much to be made out of, say, a viola part on its own!), then maybe my ersatz setting can serve anyone who wishes to insert it in a production; I will happily make it available. It is, after all, by Sullivan, and it does come from SORCERER, and it is (as Marion proved) a charming little song. For now, though, we must await the next installment of our search for Sangazure.

-- JONATHAN STRONG
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[There seemed to be a consensus among those who heard the song at the Gala that, if that melody isn't the real setting, it will do as well as another - it is charming and appropriate - mlc]

Ballad for Lady Sangazure
(following her entrance recitative)

1. In days gone by, these eyes were bright,
This bosom fair, these cheeks were rosy,
This faded brow was snowy white,
These lips were fresh as new-plucked posy;
My girlish love he never guessed,
Until the day when we were parted;
I treasured it within my breast*
And lived alone and broken-hearted.
2. These weary eyes have done their duty,
As white as falling snow my hair,
And faded all my girlish beauty.
I see my every charm depart;
But Memory's chain I cannot sever,
For ah, within my poor old heart
The fire of love burns bright as ever.

*first-night libretto reads "I treasured it within my heart," but clearly the rhyme requires "breast." [Note and text provided by Jonathan Strong]

** NEWS FLASH [as of May 15]: SANGAZURE ELUDES CAPTURE.**
Ric Wilson has now had the opportunity to inspect the extant band parts and reports that, indeed, they do NOT correspond at all to the Lancers movement. It is presently unclear whether anything musically satisfying can be made of what survives or if there are further leads to follow, such as one published listing of separate sheet music for the ballad (most likely not issued when the number was cut) or other piano arrangements that may contain clues. For now, I must conclude definitively that what was performed at the Gala, though an effective guess, fell wide of the mark. It may, however, have stimulated further discoveries.

-- JONATHAN STRONG
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Meetings and Reunions

NEGASS Charter Members at the Gala

(From left to right: Audrey Colson, Lars Colson, Jeff Weisenfreund, Peter Zavon, Ruth Colson, Dean Edmonds, Roger Colson. Juliet Cunningham unfortunately arrived too late to be included in this photo, taken by Ron Dallas.)

For more photos from the Gala, visit Ron's NEGASS Gala page!

NEGASS 25TH ANNNIVERSARY GALA: Rebecca Hains sent this message to the NEGASS board, assuring Us that it was meant for publication:

Dear Carl [Weggel] et al: I just wanted to congratulate each of you on the wonderful job you did with the Gala. What a great achievement! Having worked at the "welcome table," I can assure you that the rest of the attendees share my opinion and enjoyed themselves thoroughly. In fact, several new members signed up while Janice [Dallas] was there, and after she left, several more people took forms and let me know they'd be joining. I look forward to seeing them at future events!

Carl did a great job scheduling performances; I enjoyed them very much. Kudos! You really stepped up to the challenge. Every single one of the performances was enjoyable.

I'm partial to IDA, and I particularly enjoyed Hilarion, Cyril and Florian's trios [David Carl Olsen, Larry Seiler and Dan Kamalic] -- they sounded wonderful. Marion, you are Ida, and you were simply glorious; I always love hearing you in that role. [Aw gee - mlc] And I was delighted to hear Liane Grasso sing Psyche, especially the "Lady Fair" number -- I'm glad it was added to the program. [It was originally included, but left out of the printed program by accident.] She has a wonderful voice! I hope we hear more of her soon. [And thank you, Becca, for jumping in to sing Melissa in the quartet - what a treat to see you and Liane on stage together and be able to compare two such lovely, different and yet similarly talented sopranos. We'll miss you here while you're away getting your PhD, but Liane may be able to take some of your place (if she doesn't move away into the world of high opera - she's been cast as The Queen of the Night in Longwood Opera's fall production of The Magic Flute!)]

Other folks I hadn't heard before: Steve Jong as Frederic and Marisa Green as Tessa -- they have lovely voices, and I'd certainly like to hear more of them in the future. I'm surprised that Marisa has not yet been cast in one of Harvard's shows, but I hope she will be soon. She sang beautifully, both during the program with her line in the quartet and afterwards, during the open mic segment, with a lovely When a merry maiden marries.

I'm more than happy that Dan Kamalic reprised both JWWells (if only for one number) and Robin Oakapple. Though I can't say too much about RUDDIGORE since I was in it, I do think that Dan is absolutely perfect in both of those roles. [We can say something about Becca, though - about a lovely voice combined with a sensitive and subtle acting style, non-cloying sweetness and humanity - but anyone who has ever seen her in performance knows about all that, as well as about her lovely appearance, so We don't need to say anything, do We?] I enjoyed the opportunity to play Rose to his Robin once again, as he is an excellent actor with a wonderful voice. [Longwood Opera thinks so, too - he'll be in that Magic Flute with Liane, playing Papageno!] I also enjoyed watching Laura Goulliart and Irv Hodgkins' goings-on as Dame Hannah and Sir Roderic. They were hilarious!

Of course, Emily Goulliart stole the show -- er, Gala? -- quite splendidly as Mad Margaret. She gave such a fabulous performance! I understand that she's never performed the role before, and yet she captured Margaret's character perfectly. She brought energy, sensitivity, and (of course) high melodrama to the role, and she was simply a joy to watch. I'm hoping to see her perform it in a full production sometime in the future. Also, I must say that David Jedlinsky's Despard was a perfect counterpoint to her Margaret -- they made my day!

Last but certainly not least, Carol [Mahoney], nice job organizing the refreshments! The buffet added much to our festivities, and numerous people commented upon their gratefulness to Dean Edmonds for his generosity in sponsoring it. It was delicious, and the dinner break provided a welcome opportunity for conversation.

Anyway, many thanks for an enjoyable day. Tyler and I had a nice time. Congratulations, everyone!

PS: I agree with Marion -- David Goldhirsch deserves lots of thanks! If the applause he received at the evening's close is any indicator, all those who stayed till the end seemed to agree that his 6-hour-long performance as accompanist was amazing. He's an excellent pianist -- I was thoroughly impressed that he managed to keep up with everything, including the "Matter" trio, which the performers took at a fun but absolutely insane tempo. Nice job, David!!!

-- REBECCA CONSENTINO HAINS
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While we're praising NEGASS Board members, let's not ignore Company Promoter Linda Silverstein, whose brilliant publicity led to the Gala's being named Editor's Choice in the Boston Globe Calendar!

More about Emily Gouillart, straight from the mouth of her mother, Laura Gouillart: "Emily had never sung Mad Margaret in public before, and this was almost her first G&S experience on stage, except for an appearance as second chorister from the right in a high school YEOMEN… She's sung in a number of musicals at school before, with a major high point when she played the lead role in Once Upon a Mattress (the Carol Burnett part). That was another zany, physical role which was well-suited to her vocal range and comedic style. At college, she's just begun voice lessons this year, and hopes to do even more music next year." Well! - she's her mother's daughter, and that's praise enough, We should think!

-- mlc
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MORE GALA PRAISE: The afternoon was full of joy from beginning to end. Among the highlights for me were the delightfully fresh scenes from PIRATES performed by the Westford Chorus and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Hancock County, Maine - with special kudos to Susan Geidel as Ruth; an excellent reprise of I am so proud from the NEGASS Last Minute Light Opera production, sung by Tony Parkes, David Leigh, and Ken McPherson; Marion's lovely renditions of O, goddess wise and I built upon a rock--that role was written for her!; Dan Kamalic totally transforming himself from Florian, to John Wellington Wells, to Robin Oakapple (note: he was superb as J.W. Wells 6 or 8 years ago at MIT, but his voice has gained a wonderful richness since then); Laura Gouillart singing anything ... but behold, I have said enough! And I even got to sub for an absent Pitti-Sing in Three Little Maids - Last Minute Light Opera indeed! It was too much happiness!

-- NANCY BURSTEIN
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SECOND BU SAVOYARDS REUNION: The BU Savoyards, which flourished all too briefly from 1966 to 1976, had their second reunion the weekend of May 17-19, three years after their first. They have now been officially recognized as an Alumni Group by the BU administration, which will make future reunions much easier to put together.

I attended two of the five (!) events. I missed the Friday night meet-and-greet, and the Saturday morning get-together. At lunch on Saturday, though, I was delighted to become reacquainted with my co-performers of 30+ years ago, including Paul Seltzer, Mac Sloan, Jim Finder, Robert Canterbury, and others. People I had seen the previous week at the NEGASS gala included Dean Edmonds, Jeffrey Weisenfreund, and Peter Zavon. The President of BU, John Westling, spoke to us briefly, and delighted us by advising us in conclusion to:

Strike the concertina's melancholy string!
Blow the spirit-stirring harp like anything!
  Let the piano's martial blast
Rouse the echoes of the past!

As he exited, I assured him that his words would be

  Photographically lined
On the tablet of my mind
When a yesterday has faded from its page! *

Dean Edmonds (faculty advisor) then spoke about the founding of the group, and how they searched far and wide for a sponsor. When he got their appeal he promptly replied (and he sang this for us):

With faculty readiness
For this fair project's sake,
At once do I answer "Yes",
That task to undertake ...

It was clearly a match made in heaven.

After lunch we struck the concertina's melancholy string, i.e. reconvened on stage and sang through a program of G&S numbers, mostly choruses with groups of soloists. This continued for over 3 hours. A highlight was the Act I Finale of MIKADO, with Dean Edmonds enthusiastically taking the role of Ko-Ko.

At the piano was Tom Gilligan, an excellent and talented accompanist. Like me (and reunion committeeman Jim Finder, and several others present), Tom was an MIT G&S Society member who had crossed over to do shows at BU.

There was also a dinner, and then a farewell brunch on Sunday provided by Dean Edmonds, bless his heart.

A delightful feature of the reunion was the display of a set of booklets put together by Bob Canterbury documenting each show, with a copy of the program, photographs, reviews, and a detailed history by Peter Zavon, archivist. Perusing them was like 8 hours at the seaside.

[*We didn't recognize it either! - but Nancy assure Us that these are two quotes from the Bab Ballad The Story of Prince Agib - mlc]

-- NANCY BURSTEIN
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SUDBURY NEWS: Berney Eager to Take On Engaged Directing Challenge William S. Gilbert is best known for the comic operas, but he wrote very successful plays, too. Engaged, The Sudbury Savoyards' summer production, is a hilarious comedy about a charming man-about-town who falls in love with every girl he meets. The outcome of the play hinges, as it frequently does with Gilbert, on an obscure point of law.

Engaged is a rarely performed masterpiece, said director Chuck Berney, and it will receive long-overdue exposure when it opens July 12. When the three-act play was first performed in 1877, Engaged raised the same furor that the rock musical Hair produced in the late 1960s. "Victorian society considered it a form of obscenity to portray a character's naked financial aspirations on stage," Berney explained. "One critic wondered that any actor would be willing to utter the playwright's lines in public."

Berney has wanted to direct Engaged for 10 years, but he pointed out that it offers serious challenges to director and cast alike. "It's easy to get swept away with the rhythms of Gilbert's Victorian sentences," he explained. Fortunately most of the actors have deep experience with Gilbert's style of writing, which frees them to concentrate on the distinguishing characteristics of each part.

Another challenge: the three characters who open the play are required to recreate an authentic Scottish brogue. "June McKnight, who is Scottish, has been reading them their lines and they've repeated them until they sounded like relatives," Berney pointed out.

Engaged performances are at 8:00 PM on July 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 & 27 and on Sunday, July 21, 2:00 PM at Hawes Hall, Sudbury United Methodist Church, 251 Old Sudbury Road, Sudbury, Mass. For tickets, call 978-443-8811 or visit www.sudburysavoyards.org. Prices: $12 adults, $9 students/seniors. - JAY WOODRUFF

Sudbury Savoyards Open The Savoy Club June -August Last summer's experiment with a cabaret-style variety show was so successful that producer David Larrick is expanding it to four weekends this year. Stop by The Savoy Club on a Friday or Saturday night, and bring friends! There's a friendly, club-like atmosphere. Refreshments are continuously available.

Curtain time is 8:00 PM at Hawes Hall, Sudbury United Methodist Church, Sudbury, MA. $5.00 nightly admission at the door June 21 - 22, July 5 - 6, August 9, August 23 - 24. For more information about the club, acts, and last-minute surprises, check the Savoyards' website at www.sudburysavoyards.org.

-- - JAY WOODRUFF
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Reviews

LAMPLIGHTERS AND LOWELL CONCERTS Thanks to notices in the Bray, my wife, Janet, and I made a G&S 'mini-vacation' this past weekend, May 18, 19. First we traveled to Portsmouth, NH to view Gilbert & Sullivan a la Carte as performed by the Lamplighters Music Theater of San Francisco. After an overnight stay in the quaint, efficient, clean Bow Street Inn B&B (with a 24 hour kitchen for us midnight snackers), we motored down to Lowell to see the Lowell Opera Company production of An Evening of G&S. How lucky can we New Englanders be, to have two of these absolutely tremendous shows right in our own backyard!

The professional Lamplighters created a most informative and ingenious presentation. Using a cast of only 7 (5 voices plus G & S), the setting was a desk on stage right with Sullivan seated and an armchair on stage left with Gilbert. The background was a simple collection of suitcases piled high and covered with various thespian costumes. The spotlight alternated from left to right while each player read aloud the epistles they were sending to each other. One of the voices occasionally doubled as D'Oyly-Carte narrating from stage center.

At the end of each memo, the light faded and stage center was brightened where an appropriate G&S song enforced their correspondence. What a clever idea!

The singing was absolutely perfect and each player, although never changing their basic dress (tuxedos for men, evening gowns for women) created a unique impersonation for each character. The few props included a 10 foot long twisted cue for the Mikado's billiard sharp, a hand puppet for Jack Point, a huge sweeping cape and oversize topper for John Wellington Wells, a wild hat for the Mikado, and some straw in Mad Maggie's hair.

Following the famous war of words about the £500 theater carpet, the quartet did In a Contemplative Fashion, complete with boxing and hair pulling.

Katisha almost overdid it when she wrestled Ko-Ko to the ground, pulled his hair and stomped on him, followed by her loving make-up and traditional dance duet.

The Lowell Opera presentation next day was held in the Smith Baker Center. This was a most charming building, formerly a church, with curved pews and balcony seating up to 1700, we were told. When we asked how old the building was, the answer from one person was "very old". A second person added, "very, very old." So now you know the facts.

An orchestra of 6 included Music Director David C. Larrick, who also tripled as orchestrator and synthesizer player. David was so good that when the oboe solos came, I tried in vain to find the oboist (was she hiding behind the piano?) until I realized it was David's excellent keyboarding on the synthesizer.

A cast of 16 somehow made the very small stage look big enough for everyone. The first half of this show was devoted to key selections from PENZANCE, MIKADO, and PINAFORE. After intermission, a fully staged and costumed TRIAL was presented.

Although the unfortunately small audience was thoroughly entertained throughout, my personal sense was that the performers actually had more fun than the audience! When Mabel (Kathy Lague) appeared from auditorium rear and sauntered down the aisle, she interjected more arpeggios and cadenzas than I had ever heard. What a voice! When she performed Angelina in TRIAL, her snuggling was so real, the Judge (Andy Bonanno) just HAD to marry her. Andy's sense of humor throughout the performance permeated the audience and we all laughed along with him at every turn. Edwin (Bill Kuhlman) was effective as a regular bad guy and rightly earned the hoots from the jury.

The jury (including our own NEGASS Program Chair, Carl Weggel) was an aggressive bunch when pointing accusingly at the Defendant.

A bright moment was when, at the end of the first half, the entire cast stood suddenly and provided a harmonious rendition of Hail Poetry! David Larrick then turned around and encouraged anyone in the audience who wanted to sing it to stand and let go with full voices. The words were even printed in the program. This was a great house warmer.

One might say that TRIAL may have needed just one more rehearsal, but the words and music of G&S, as usual, carried the show to the true harmonious finis.

-- ALLEN J. COHEN
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APPRENTICE PIRATES On May 9th and 10th, 2002 a group of 50 fourth and fifth graders of the Sheehan School, Westwood, Massachusetts put on their annual theatrical production which was, this year, our own PIRATES. High kudos to the co-directors Ms. Cynthia Brown and Miss Lisa White, who decided on PIRATES after seeing a community theater production in the summer and deciding to give it a go. While this version of PIRATES was somewhat scaled back, with several songs and all recitative changed to spoken dialogue, it still retained a great many of the pleasures to be derived from a G&S production.

The play opened to a rollicking band of pirates celebrating Frederick's birthday by pouring the pirate root beer and singing heartily about it. Kathleen Connors, as Ruth, explained the convoluted storyline in an outstanding rendition of When Frederick Was a Little Lad. To make sure none of the puns embedded in the song were missed by younger members of the audience the pirates held up cue cards saying "Pilot" or "Pirate" at the appropriate points in the song.

Jonathan Neimann, as Frederick, captured the youthful innocence and earnestness of his part in fine fashion. Slapping his heart with his fist every time he said the word "duty" was a running gag that never failed to get a laugh. He was a slave of duty. Russell Gutterson, was an exuberant Pirate King who brought down the house with his spirited Russian Cossack dance, juxtaposed to a kicking pirate chorus line, during the second act's Cat-Like Tread number. Mr. Gutterson so enjoyed his G&S experience it is rumored he will be naming his new pet hamsters "Stanley" and Samuel"!

The chorus of maidens (Anna Lentz, Kara Wiggin, Margaret Moylan, Michaela Gaziano, Anna Koban, Angelica Belezos, Jillian London, Maggie Barzan, Maddie Randolph and Cara Henderson) were lovely and sang their numbers beautifully. While a few years shy of maidenhood themselves they were much closer in age to the characters they were playing than the adults one customarily sees. They even managed to get in a hearty "Oh Rapture"!

Corinne Wells was a radiant Mabel, and while this version did not afford her the opportunity to flex her budding coloratura soprano voice, her solo song passages were sung in a clear beautiful voice. She was a riveting stage presence.

Michael Sharry, as the Major General, delivered I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General flawlessly and with great diction. His performance garnered him a sustained round of applause from an appreciative audience. Mr. Sharry and Mr. Gutterson executed the "orphan" "often" dialogue (again with cue cards for those who might otherwise have missed the joke) with exceptional comic timing.

The building second act conflict between the pirates and the police culminated in a rousing version of the When the Foeman Bares His Steel with the maidens singing their "Go Ye Heroes" against the policemen's "Ta rah ta rah's" in perfect counterpoint. The rehearsal time spent on perfecting this number is a testament to the perseverance of the cast. Joel Priestly and Jake Kelly as co-sergeants of the Police were great straight men as they convinced us that a Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One. The use of a photo of the school principal instead of Queen Victoria, in the pirates' final submission to authority, was an inside joke appreciated by all.

Final kudos to Matt O'Donnell, Julie Rogers and Michelle Whelan who played a family of colorful squawking parrots who acted as narrators of the story at the beginning of each act. The parrots transformed themselves into energetic pirates or policemen after setting the scenes.

There is little negative to be said about these enchanting performances other than to say that the limited light, sound, lack of a backstage area and wings of this cafetorium turned theater provided many challenges to the tech crew. Entrances and exits of a cast of 40 or 50 tended to slow the pacing of the show. Alas, the musical accompaniment was provided by a tape recording apparently provided by the folks who licensed the show. There were a few moments when performers had to wait for the music to begin rather than "making it happen." A live accompanist would have been a nice addition as there could have been musical interludes during entrances and exits but this was a small matter. The energy and enthusiasm of the cast overcame these minor obstacles.

What struck me most about the performances was that there was an army of ten and eleven-year-olds who were being exposed to the wit of Gilbert's lyrics and the beauty of Sullivan's melodies and enjoying every minute of it as much as if it were the Back Street Boys. The following day I accompanied a few members of the cast on a Cub Scout overnight on the USS Massachusetts in Battleship Cove, Fall River. As I was trailing a group of cubs walking along the main deck toward the next gun turret I distinctly heard them singing "Ta rah ta rah's" in unison. Thereafter a brief snippet of Poor Wandering One and then the Major General's song. It was apparent that this 120-year-old music had been passed down to yet another generation. I was most gratified.

-- DESPARD

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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.

Note: Very old issues of The Trumpet Bray are still available in The G & S Archives.

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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.)

  1. E-mail is the best way to send things! - marion@leedscarroll.com or editor@negass.org will get to Us equally well. (So will nearly anything else @negass.org, eventually...)
  2. The US Postal Service (aka "snail mail") is fine, too - send letters, preferably typed, or hand-written very clearly so that We can read and correctly reproduce names, dates, etc. - to NEGASS, PO Box 367, Arlington, MA 02476-0004.
  3. The Telephone is a very last choice. We do have an answering machine, but spellings of names and specifics of dates are awfully hard to be sure of when delivered by Word of Mouth (Oricular or otherwise), and We rarely have time to phone people back to check details. Please use the phone only if you have no other choice!
 -- mlc   
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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.

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 THE NEW ENGLAND GILBERT AND SULLIVAN SOCIETY  
PO Box 367, Arlington, MA 02476-0004

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