Weekly Newsletter 

 September 14, 2020 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week!

In a week where the sun rose but none of us were able to see it, it was surreal for me to head out on Friday deep into the Central Valley in Merced to play in my first concert in over six months. It was bizarre to pack and load up my harpsichord, summoning muscle memory unused for a half year. Similarly, the drive to Merced required a now-unaccustomed amount of concentration, and I wondered whether I had made a mistake in signing up for this gig. Did I have it left in me to perform?

But once I arrived in Merced, my anticipation took over. Despite the pastoral smells wafting about, the air quality was oddly better than it was in the smoke-infused Bay Area, which was a big plus. I relished the chance to see friends and colleagues in person, catching up on news quotidian to life-changing. And the various additional procedures put in place to keep viral transmission to a minimum—outdoor rehearsal; disinfecting chairs and stands; keeping the indoor performance sets, sans in-person audience, to no more than 20 minutes—were much appreciated. Ultimately, the chance to connect with other people through music-making, as our President Joyce Johnson Hamilton reminded me, was an intoxicating privilege I was delighted to enjoy again, albeit briefly.

That said, I left with more questions than answers. Though it was a delight to perform, how much of that carried over to our virtual audience? Certainly, it was impossible for their energy to shape our performance. While I was grateful for the work, how many concerts could groups put on with just philanthropic and government support? And it was humbling to see the amount of technological support that was necessary to put together a video to meet the production values we have come to take for granted.

The journey towards performing concerts regularly again will be a long and winding one. 

In contemplation,

Derek Tam, Executive Director

Thank You to All Who Attended the Annual Meeting!

SFEMS held its annual members’ meeting online this past Sunday, September 13, with over 40 members in attendance!

Highlights included a performance by Calextone, our newest affiliate, and a celebration of Jonathan Harris, our beloved communications director who retired in February after three decades of exemplary service.

Thank you for attending and helping to shape the future of SFEMS!

Local Choirs Serve up Early Music Virtually in Lockdown

The Bay Area is brimming with community choirs large and small, with everything from chamber groups to ensembles with several hundred voices.

With choirs unable to meet in person, many have kept their members engaged and vocally fit by gathering online to rehearse as well as develop recording and editing skills despite the logistical difficulties.

Learn more about some early-music-specific offerings from local community choirs this fall, with an invitation to join!

We're Getting Close!
Fall Virtual Sessions
Coming Soon

More Virtual Sessions Coming Soon
Fall will soon be upon us!

Building from our wonderful workshop sessions in the summer, we'll be opening registrations for new early music adventures.

Stay tuned...but in the meantime, enjoy this lovely, socially-distanced video produced by SFEMS workshop participants Bryan Bingham and Olivier Uyttebrouck!
Bryan Bingham and Olivier Uyttebrouck perform "Ales regres" by Hayne van Ghizeghem (fl. 1445-1475), published in 1501 in the Odhecaton A.

If You're Looking to Renew Your Membership, Watch This Video

If your membership renewal is due in the next several months but you are encountering financial difficulties, please contact administrator Stacey Helley at No membership will lapse during the current crisis if we are informed that you would like to continue being a SFEMS member.

To find out your membership status online, log in on our membership page. (N.B. If you use a different login email address than previously on record, please note that it will create a new, separate profile for you that will not have any membership data.)

You will then be prompted to update your contact information. If there is no change, please click "save and continue."

On the next screen, you will be able to see your membership level and expiration date if you are a current member. You may renew a membership within 30 days prior to the expiration date.

Still not sure? Watch this handy video!
Excited about becoming a member or renewing your membership? SFEMS Marketing Communications Manager Lorena Zapata will guide you step-by-step through the process online!

UPDATE—Early Music Freelancers' Relief Fund: Sixth Round Now Open

Relief fund grant recipients may apply for a sixth grant one month after the date they turned in their fifth grant applications. If you have continuing need, please resubmit your application with documentation demonstrating your continuing need.

First-, second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-time grant applicants will receive priority. (You may file for a continuing grants one month after the day you turned in your previous application).

As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks an unprecedented financial toll on the world economy, our local early music freelancers have been particularly hit hard. Months of work have dried up in days, leaving many musicians on the brink of financial ruin.

In an effort to help our musicians, the SFEMS board has taken the lead in setting up a short-term relief fund for local early music freelancers. Since then, we have received over $50,000 in donations. This fund will provide one-time, first-come, first-served $250 grants to musicians in need, and will do so until funds run out.

SPONSORED: "Live From London" (and Support SFEMS)

Join London-based VOCES8 as they present an online festival featuring some of the world's leading vocal ensembles!

Filmed in 4K and broadcast in HD from the intimate setting of the VOCES8 Centre, this new online festival features some of the world's finest vocal ensembles. The line-up includes VOCES8I Fagiolini, The SwinglesStile AnticoThe Sixteen (from Kings Place), The Gesualdo SixApollo5Chanticleer (from San Francisco), and a special guest appearance by The Academy of Ancient Music.

Festival broadcasts began on August 1, and will be broadcast online every Saturday for ten weeks. However, you can still catch up with past concerts on-demand by buying a season ticket for $100 (a 33% discount compared to the single ticket price of $15). If you purchase from the link below, SFEMS will receive a portion of the proceeds from your subscription!

Early Music Corner:
"Solutions for Change"

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
"Creating this new space for people of color in early music will also help support other vulnerable members like gender-diverse, low-income, and disabled people in the community, creating a truly diverse and equitable world of early music."

Read Vijay Chalasani's article on anti-racism in early music, published online by Early Music America.

Facebook Post of the Week

Joseph Boulogne FB Post
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Thank You to Our New Facebook Followers!

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This Week's Events

Want your early music event featured on the SFEMS Weekly Calendar? Contact us here and online at

For events, email SFEMS's Marketing Communications Manager, Lorena Zapata at Please submit listings no later than the Thursday before the Monday publication.
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