Weekly Newsletter 

 November 2, 2020 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week! This week, hear from Administrator Stacey Helley.

Well, it feels like fall, but it also still feels like August. My usual markers for the passage of the seasons are not present. I imagine we are all having forms of pandemi-cephalitis, with mini-illusions (hallucinations?) as we keep calm and carry on.
The first ever fall classes have, at least, been a successful experiment in keeping our community together. I’m very proud of how our participants have gotten to be whizzes at Zoom, joining us from all over the country and Europe! The deep dives into the musical topics have led to a tall stack of books beside my bed. That stack will only get taller as we head into the second set with three more deep-dive series and two one-off classes.
In historical musicology, we are patient with not having concrete answers...a skill that may come in handy tomorrow and the next few weeks...

Take a look at some of the classes starting November 6th!
We hope to see you there!


Stacey Helley, Administrator

Register Now for Fall Classes Starting Nov. 6

Wanting more classes? Please join us for a second set of mini-series classes starting Friday, November 6!
Fridays at 5PM (November 6–December 11)
Rotem Gilbert – Polyphonic Settings in Italian Sources 1400-1600

Sundays at 1PM (November 8–December 13)
Daphna Mor – Ottoman-Turkish and Arabic Music from the 18th–20th century

Sundays at 3PM (November 8–December 13)
Adam Bregman – Musica practica: Seeing Renaissance Music through the Eyes of Renaissance Musicians

–––We are also offering two one-off classes–––

Saturday, November 14 at 3PM
Miyo Aoki – Mirth and Melancholy in Elizabethan England

Saturday, December 5 at 1PM
Nigel North – La Rhètorique des Dieux (lecture/performance)
Come enjoy SFEMS's patented mix of
playing, scholarship, and community! 

We're taking a deeper dive into the world of early music with our world-class faculty as we build upon our summer virtual sessions by presenting several mini-series, each consisting of of five classes, as well as some one-offs that follow up on the summer's topics.

Individual mini-series classes are $25 each. If you purchase all five classes for ONE mini-series, you will receive a $15 discount for that mini-series.
We will also offer time for casual gathering and community with our popular (and free) sherry hours from 4:15 to 4:45PM on Sundays.
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Dance With Us on Nov. 21 with Tabea Debus & Alon Sariel 

Here's Tabea performing the "Allegro" movement from J.S. Bach's Sonata in E major, BWV 1035!
Some melodies just jump off the page, sticking in the mind for days on end. Rising early music stars Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel join together for a scintillating program of Ohrwürmer (or as we say in the United States, earworms)!

This toe-tapping program features favorite tunes and dances from the Renaissance and Baroque. Enjoy works by J.S. Bach, Bertali, Carroubel, Dowland, Merula, Monteverdi, Moorcraft, Ortiz, Schop, Telemann, and of course, the ever-popular Anonymous.

Tabea Debus, recorder; Alon Sariel, lute

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1:00PM Pacific Time
Online livestream access provided with purchase. Concert will be available on demand after livestream through December 12.

$15 general admission per household
With your ticket purchase, you will receive a unique link to our high-definition livestream. Each presentation will feature pre-recorded and live material, as well as a special opportunity to interact with our artists through our live chat.

Another Chance to Watch Severall Friends!

Available On-Demand Through Nov. 14

Enjoy this deliguthful teaser!
A high-definition Vimeo stream of our Oct. 24 concert presentation, Le Roman de Fauvel, is available with $15 purchase.
It will be available on-demand through November 14.

How does a horse become the ruler of his master’s house? Delve into the strange and satirical world of Le Roman de Fauvel, a biting criticism of the intrigues of church and state in 14th-century France that resounds still today.

Join early music legend Mary Springfels and Severall Friends on a musical excursion into a poem that illuminates all-too-human foibles and vices.

Tracy Cowart, harp and voice; Shira Kammen, Medieval fiddle; Drew Minter, voice and harp; Mark Rimple, citole and gittern; Mary Springfels, citole and vielle; Spiff Wiegand, hurdy-gurdy and percussion
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Help the Musical Offering

The Musical Offering is a quintessentially Berkeley institution in search of “a miracle,” said the cafe’s general manager Jean Spencer. The nearly 40-year-old business—which was making money “hand over foot” serving up espressos long before there was a Starbucks on every corner—is now “hanging on by a thread,” according to Spencer.

For many years, this Berkeley institution has served as a nexus for early music gatherings through the late Joseph Spencer, who served as SFEMS president from 1995–1997 and was a co-founder of the Berkeley Early Music Festival. Now run by his wife Jean, The Musical Offering needs all the help it can get.

Read More about How You Can Make a Difference

Bay Area Performing Arts Groups Surviving Pandemic's Challenges

Read an article from the San Francisco Examiner about how local arts organizations like SFEMS are weathering the current crisis, including quotes from Executive Director Derek Tam.

Early Music Freelancers' Relief Fund—Seventh Round Now Open

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

First-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-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.

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!

"Pressing Play in the Pause"—Join Us for Our 2020–21 Virtual Season

In these extraordinary times, the power of music to transcend the vicissitudes of fortune has become more vital than ever. Though our lives remain on hold, music must move forward.

Join us for our 44th season of extraordinary music-making! Press play in the pause with us as we share an ongoing series of unique online concerts, starting with three presentations this fall.

With your household ticket purchase, you will receive a unique link to our high-definition livestream. Each presentation will feature pre-recorded and live material, as well as a special opportunity to interact with our artists through our live chat.

Concerts will also be available on demand for a limited time after the initial livestream. Our livestream with Severall Friends is available on demand through November 14 (see above).

November 21: Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel present Ohrwurm

Savor great music—period.

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Early Music Corner: Early Word Painting

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
Learn more about musical word painting in the late Renaissance and early Baroque from our friends at Early Music Sources!

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This Week's Events

No events this week!
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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