News of the week of April 28, 2020

Meeting report

Sign for the Mermaid, Easton - - 1360524

We played:


We’re meeting with only “family” until this situation loosens
up a little. As soon as gatherings of fewer than 10 people are
allowed again, we will resume meeting for all who will on Tuesdays
at 7:45 pm.

Round singing remote meeting

Pieter Bruegel II - Peasant Wedding Dance - Walters 37364

Several people expressed interest in meeting remotely for
singing rounds, so we’ll start off our normal Tuesday meeting this
week (April 28) with that.

I suppose we’ve all spent enough time learning zoom that even
if we knew of something better, it wouldn’t make sense to use it,
so we’ll use zoom.

We’ll start with some of the less harmonically “interesting”
rounds in the Drinking
songs book
Depending on time, we may do some learning rounds by ear.

Let me know if you want an invitation to the meeting.

News of the week of April 21, 2020

Meeting report

We played:


We’re meeting with only “family” until this situation loosens
up a little. As soon as gatherings of fewer than 10 people are
allowed again, we will resume meeting for all who will on Tuesdays
at 7:45 pm.

Possible Round Meeting

Johann Friedrich Engel - Ruderboot mit Bauern

At the Zoom Easter Brunch I attended, I made everyone sing
“Row, row, row your boat” just to see whether it was as bad to
sing music together as everyone assures me it is. It wasn’t. I’m
not saying it was a recording-quality performance, but it was the
kind of fun that singing Row, row, row your boat is.

I mentioned this at my sixteenth century music theory class,
and Sarah Mead said that rounds are probably the right thing to
do, since they have limited harmonic velocity, so latency
shouldn’t be as much of a problem as it is for other kinds of

So if there’s interest, we can have a virtual round-singing
meeting some time. Let me know if you’d like to participate. We
might concentrate on the ones in the Drinking
book. Or we could just sing the ones everybody’s known
for decades.

News of the week of April 14, 2020

Meeting Report

We played:


We are currently meeting with only the people who spend enough
time here to count as family. When the plague recedes, we will
resume meeting every Tuesday with anyone who wants to come.

Online study opportunities

[Tina Chancey]

Amherst Early
continues their series of Weekend

Tina Chancey is
teaching an Improv
starting Friday, April 17. I’m sorry for the facebook
link — it’s all I can find. I hope it’s useful. She
demonstrates her qualifications for teaching the class
In the facebook discussion of this performance, someone
said, “Gee, you do have a music degree and all that too…” Tina
replied, “A few, and a fat lot of good they do you.”

News of the week of April 7, 2020

Meeting report

We played:

Oude vrouw in gebed, objectnr SA 7369


We’ve been meeting with some of the people who consider
themselves family, and have been having enough contact over the
last few weeks that playing music together doesn’t increase our
risk of getting a virus by much if any. If you want to be
considered family (with all the rights and responsibilities that
entails), you’re welcome to come, too.

In any case, whenever this is over, we will resume meeting for
anyone who wants to come on
Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. I will not
predict when that will happen, but all the places I know to go for
music workshops in the summer have cancelled this summer.

Remote learning and studying opportunities

The UMass department of Music and Dance is presenting a
sumposium on the musical legacy of 16th-century Italian poet
Torquato Tasso. Full information is available at

Amherst Early Music
is having a series of online classes on weekends. This weekend’s
are described here.
I’d probably take Liza’s Renaissance Wind Pedagogy if it weren’t
starting in the middle of my sister’s Zoom Easter brunch.

News of the week of March 31, 2020

Meeting Report

A Woman Drinking with Two Men

We played:


The three of us who are sort of family have been getting
together on Tuesday nights. If you’d be violating a stay-at-home
directive (or whatever they call what we have now), you probably
don’t want to come. But some day the directive will be lifted,
and we will get back to welcoming anyone who wants to come on
Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

Armageddon, version 2

Nuclear fallout shelter in Kose

I remembered and dug up the source of the quote in yesterday’s

It’s from Farnham’s Freehold by Robert
A. Heinlein.

The bomb has just hit, and the family in the fallout shelter
is evaluating damage. The patriarch says, ” “We seem to be
in fair shape, except for water. There are some
plastic jugs of water but we need to salvage the tank water; we may
have to drink it. With
Halazone tablets. Joe, we need utensils of any sort, and everybody
bail. Keep it as clean
as you can.” He added, “When Joe can spare you, Karen, scrounge some
breakfast. We’ve
got to eat, even if this is Armageddon.”

And the daughter replies, “And Armageddon sick of it.”


Armageddon (N.Roerich)

I keep thinking of a joke from some book I read as a teenager,
or maybe even before that.

There’s a minor crisis, and one character says, “This is
Armageddon,”, and another character replies, “And Armageddon tired
of it.”

I have a vague idea it might have been a Young Adult novel, or
a nursing novel or something, and the second character was the
life-of-the-party type.

Rescued the tennis court

Last Monday, the City of Cambridge issued a number of
including this about parks:

The City of Cambridge’s playgrounds (areas with play
structures of any kind) are closed, effective March 16, until
further notice. Parks, fields, and courts, with the exception of
playground areas, will remain open for passive use. No
congregating, group activities or game playing is allowed. Please
maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people while enjoying
these spaces.

[locked tennis court]
I was surprised the next day when I went to the park across the
and found that the tennis court was locked. I kept
muttering to myself about this — there is a playground in that
park. I had seen a family on Sunday where the mother was freaking
out because the 10-year-old son wanted to play on the swings
without putting his gloves on. I suspect that family will be
pretty crabby for a while whatever restrictions are or aren’t
imposed, but I could see a reason for the playground

But the tennis court doesn’t have any equipment that users
would normally touch. There is a rule in tennis that if you touch
the net, you lose the point. There are tennis nets with a crank
for adjusting the height, but this one would need a wrench.

So on Wednessday I wrote an email to the Department of Public Works:

I’m writing to protest the closing of the tennis court at Green-Rose
Park. The policy
states: Parks, fields, and courts, with the exception of playground
areas, will remain open for passive use.

I’m not sure what “passive use” means in this context, but I don’t see
that tennis players are usually in violation of current social
distancing guidelines. The net on that court is not adjustable
without bringing equipment, so I don’t see that it’s more of a public
health concern than a basketball net would be.

I think whoever locked the gates misunderstood the stated policy of
your department, and the mistake should be corrected.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

On Friday morning, I got a reply:

The tennis courts were mistakenly locked. We will get someone out to
unlock them as soon as we can. We have limited crews available right
now, but they have been instructed to unlock when they are able to get

And on Friday afternoon, there were people playing tennis.

This may not seem like much, but I felt the world was a little
bit better of a place because of something I did.