It was challenging. The weather prediction was that the rain would
end overnight and things would clear up by the time we had to start.
This looked like it was happening when I walked the dog at 6:30.
But at 10:30 when we were scheduled to start, it was raining quite
hard. I played “Singing in the Rain” and “It ain’t gonna rain no more
no more” in between the Playford and Van Eyck I had planned for my
solo set. People walking by cheered and clapped. It may have been
the sympathy vote — you always get more voters to talk
to at an election when you’re holding a sign and it’s pouring rain.
Eventually the other people arrived. Ishmael couldn’t play fiddle,
so he got out the pipe and tabor. I tried providing a bass line with
the plastic bass recorder, but it wasn’t really in tune with the tabor
Bonnie and I set up for our Morley set. By now the rain had
lightened up, and she got out her wood recorders. I played the
Soprano and Alto parts on plastic, but decided it wasn’t worth dealing
with the Yamaha stretch and played the tenor parts on my wooden
Quilisma showed up on time and set up without needing assistance.
They were playing “Rufty Tufty” when Peter Barnes, of the “Barnes Book
of English Country Dance” walked by. We were struck by how well they
carried, even playing bass.
Unfortunately, this didn’t mean that the plastic bass carried well
enough to be heard by the singers, and in the Cantabile first set,
there were some train wrecks that I wasn’t expecting. There were
indeed a few pieces that were underrehearsed, but some of the train
wrecks were on pieces we’ve been playing for years, and have performed
successfully on numerous occasions.
So we spend the half hour of the Quilisma second set standing in a
tight circle (away from the Quilisma consort) and going over (vocally) the
things that had had problems. This was actually some of the best
singing we did all day.
For the second set, there wasn’t really very much rain, and Ishmael
got out his fiddle, but Bonnie still wasn’t comfortable getting out
the viol. I moved to serpent on a couple of things, but wasn’t able
to do as much of that as I would have liked to, because nobody but me
had rehearsed the alto part. But there were no major disasters, and
we felt good about the performance. John Maloney came by as we
rounded off the day with some of the rounds that had fallen off the
program due to time constraints, and complimented us on our clear
We went to our usual post-walk Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse rendezvous,
and after a good meal we left and the sun was shining brightly.
Ishmael said, “What a beautiful day! Let’s go play music in the
park.” But it was a joke. I don’t think any of us felt like playing
another note of that music for at least 24 hours.
There are pictures at the
serpent.laymusic.org gallery. Ishmael Stefanov-Wagner took the
Quilisma Consort one, and John Maloney took the one of the Cantabile
Consort. More may be coming later.