Francis Roads returns

We’re going to have another workshop with Francis Roads, one of
the leading scholars and performers of West Gallery Music. It
will be on Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 PM at the Pleasant
St. Congregational Church
, 75 Pleasant St., Arlington,

Francis made a web
with PDF’s for all the music we’re going to be singing.
If you’d rather download them all at once, you can use my
If you want to print the concatenation
double-sided, you also want to print a
few pages
single-sided so that there are at most 1 page turn
per piece.

If you can help with publicity, here’s a flyer
you can print out and hand out or post.

Victoria Bolles, RIP

[Victoria from obituary]

Victoria from her obituary at the
local paper.

I mentioned a few
days ago
that I had two Memorial Services I wanted to go
to yesterday afternoon. The one I actually went to was for
Victoria Bolles, a friend from the West Gallery

[Victoria from facebook]

Victoria from her Facebook Page

I didn’t know Victoria that well until I started sending anyone
who wanted to read them long emails about Bonnie’s condition. She
was an enthusiastic member of the West Gallery Quire — I may have
first noticed her when she turned out to know how to pronounce
Welsh. She and her husband George were the first people who
started bringing food to share at the breaks, which is now an
established custom. There was a Shape Note Singing that would
normally have been small, but robust, but for some reason the day
I showed up there was only me, Bonnie, Victoria and George for
quite a while at the
beginning. This meant that I had to sing the lead without any
assistance, and they were all quite helpful about finding songs
that were suitable for that.

When I set up the bonnienews mailing list, Victoria subscribed
even though I don’t think she knew Bonnie any better than she knew
me. At one point she sent me a very supportive email:

I wish I could say how my heart goes out to you as you keep your
steadfast watch by Bonnie’s side. You are wise and strong, and Bonnie
could not be more blessed. I’m not sure what to do about visiting
Bonnie, as she does not know George or me well and might find our
presence unsettling. But I have a card I picked out for her recently,
so I’ll send that, and keep sending cards as I find them.

And I’ll think of her, and hold her in my heart, and be grateful for
the time I’ve known her, and send her love. I guess that’s the best
anyone who’s not close can do. Love is all we have.

That mail was sent on March 12, 2008, and the correspondence it
led to ended up with Victoria organizing a group of shape note
singers to go to Bonnie in the hospice and sing in her room for
over an hour. Unfortunately this didn’t happen until early May,
which was about two weeks before she died. A week or two earlier
she would have been able to show more signs of appreciation.

After that, there was a correspondence about what kind of
support she could give me with all the work I would have to do
about arranging the funeral. She was so sympathetic I complained
about all the phone calls that were involved, and she offered to
just do some for me. This is what I told her I appreciated most
when I saw her after she got sick, and what I told George I
remembered most fondly about her at the Memorial Service
yesterday. Everybody who wants to be sympathetic says, “Let me
know if there’s anything I can do,” but Victoria did enough
sympathetic listening to actually come up with a good plan for
something she could do that was helpful. Here’s how some of that
email went:

Victoria: Peace and strength to you,

Laura Thanks. So far, the strength has mainly been
necessary for yelling at Pioneer Investments customer support people, who don’t seem to know
anything about what they’re supposed to do with a Power of Attorney,
and they change their story if you yell at them hard enough. But I
will need strength to deal with undertakers, funerals, and real estate
agents in the future.

Victoria: I will be happy to do anything to help you deal with “undertakers,
funerals and real estate agents” when the time comes. Because I will
not have been subjected to the constant stress you’ve been handling it
might be a bit easier for me to take one some of that stuff. It’s up
to you; just remember that if you ask me, I’ll say yes. The one thing
you need to bear in mind is that I don’t drive, so anything that
requires getting someplace by car can become a problem. But a lot of
what you mention can be done via phone.

I had a close friend of Bonnie’s who was a member of the church
Bonnie wanted her funeral at helping me with those arrangements,
and undertakers turn out to be pretty good at not making
unreasonable demands on the recently bereaved. But Victoria did a
lot of research for me into how to go about donating Bonnie’s car
to WGBH, she ordered the floral arrangement for the funeral, and
found a name of a real estate agent.

I was glad to hear the remembrances of people who’d known her
in other contexts at the funeral. I’m sorry I didn’t get to hear
her Cemetery Tours of the Wyoming Cemetery in Malden where her
ashes are buried, or know more about the writing group she was a
founding member of. The biggest laugh of the afternoon (no, big
laughs aren’t what most people who give remembrances at Memorial
Services go for) was from someone she’d worked with at the
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. He said, “I was
Victoria’s boss — what a silly idea.” I was sitting where I
could see George, and he was laughing even harder than a lot of
other people.

People complained when I arranged Bonnie’s funeral that there
were seven hymns. They hadn’t been to a Sacred Harp Memorial Lesson,
which is what Victoria had. From the Interment of Ashes at 11:30 AM
until 4 PM, we were singing at least half the time, and we must
have sung 40 or so hymns. I headed this posting “RIP”, but the
Sacred Harp, “And I’ll sing ‘Hallelujah’, when I arrive at home,”
with which we ended the service,
seems more appropriate to how I imagine Victoria arriving in Heaven.

Songs for October meeting

We will be having special guest leaders for our meeting on
Sunday, October 11. They have sent 6 songs in advance, and it
would be helpful if people could print them in advance, the way we
did for the August workshop with Francis Roads.

Here’s the PDF

Bruce writes about the leaders:

Edwin and Sheila Macadam, from Oxford, England, are the co-editorial revisers of Praise & Glory, pub. 2000, and have been members of the West Gallery Music Association since 1990.

Edwin founded Sussex Harmony, the Lewes-based West Gallery quire, in 1992 and together with Sheila, founded Warwick’s Immanuel’s Ground quire in 2001.

Between them they run five West Gallery and American shapenote singing events each year in the UK, as well as workshops at both the Sidmouth and Warwick Folk Festivals, and in collaboration with the Royal School of Church Music will be leading SingBirmingham 2009 in November, following the success of SingBirmingham in 2007.

Edwin specialises in the psalmody and anthems of composers from the Midlands and South of England, whilst Sheila is interested in the transmission of New England psalmody to England in the 19th century.

Don’t miss this opportunity to sing West Gallery music with two of the
leaders of its revival!

Flyer for West Gallery Workshop on August 11

[2003 workshop]

The West Gallery
is sponsoring a special workshop in West Gallery
Music led by Francis Roads on Tuesday, August 11,2009, at
7:30 PM at St Mary’s Episcopal Church,
258 Concord Avenue, Newton Lower Falls,
Massachusetts .

Come and explore the sacred music of the English rural villages
with an acknowledged authority in this field. This workshop is suitable for all types of voices and most melodic instruments; music will be
provided. Admission is free; a collection will be taken to cover the expenses. For more information,
please contact:
Bruce Randall, 218 Broadway, Haverhill, MA 01832, (978) 373-5852,

If you want to look at the music in advance, he has it all on this web site:
If you know any clarinet players or others who want transposed parts,
it’s possible to accommodate them. Let Bruce know.

Francis Roads studied music at Pembroke College, Oxford and at the Royal College of Music,
London. He took early retirement in 1994 from a 30 year teaching career, and is devoting his retirement
to researching and performing West Gallery church music; he has led West Gallery workshops
throughout Britain and is an active member of the West Gallery Music Association. He has also
devoted himself to editing and publishing West Gallery music, both in hard copy and on the internet.

In 1997 he founded the London Gallery Quire, which rehearses in St. James Garlickhythe, a Christopher
Wren church in the City of London. In 2002, he was awarded a PhD from the University of Liverpool
for a thesis on the Colby MSS, a set of West Gallery part books from the Isle of Man.

Please tell as many people as possible, and post flyers if you

MP3 from Wednesday’s West Gallery Quire concert

I said yesterday that I didn’t have a recording I could let you
hear. That is no longer true. Here’s a short MP3 from the

The piece is Arise and Hail the Joyful Day,
which is one of the Christmas tunes from this repertoire. We did
it as the opening number, and then did two verses as an encore.
This is the version from the encore.

You can see the contrast between the serpent, which plays the
bass line throughout, and the sackbut, which is on the tenor line
for the last verse.