Weekly Newsletter 

February 1, 2021 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week!

Since most of these notes tend towards seriousness, I thought it would be fun to bring a little levity this week! For those of you not familiar with TwoSet Violin, they are a pair of twenty-something Australian violinists who showcase their love of classical music through quirky but relatable videos. Though their videos have a studied "low-tech" quality to them, and they are woefully unaware of historically informed performance, their palpable enthusiasm and genuine skill have made them vital ambassadors for classical music, with over three million YouTube subscribers.

While TwoSet may not be your cup of tea, this enforced virtual era has brought home to roost how our field has been woefully (maybe even willfully) ill-equipped to adapt technologically. Even as we turn a corner in the pandemic, I encourage you to dwell upon how your consumption habits around music may have been forever altered. Will presenters and performers be able to meet those demands? Groups like TwoSet show that the way forward is possible, but perhaps in ways that we are not even dreaming of yet.

Derek Tam, Executive Director

Check Out This Weekend's Classes!

Our slate of exciting classes continues this Saturday with Rachelle Romero's Musical Evolution through the Hundred Years’ War, as well as the third installation of Shira Kammen's series.

Our winter and spring classes will be offered through March 27th, with lectures, demonstrations and play-along sessions.

Listen, practice, dance, ask questions, and interact directly with our faculty members—there's something for everyone!

Enroll at

Early Music Freelancers' Relief Fund—Tenth Round Now Open

Relief fund grant recipients may apply for a tenth grant one month after the date they turned in their ninth grant applications. If you have continuing need, please resubmit your application. However, there is no need to submit documentation of recently lost work, given the paucity of gigs.

First-time grant applicants, as well as repeat applicants who have received fewer than eight grants, 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 $60,000 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.

UPDATED January 12, 2021: Because of your generosity, SFEMS is more than equipped to continue providing grants for the foreseeable future! We are temporarily suspending the ability to donate to the relief fund, but hope you will considering support SFEMS’s programming.

Need a Tax Letter from SFEMS?

If you need a duplicate copy of your donation acknowledgment for your 2020 tax return, please contact SFEMS Administrator, Stacey Helley, at

You should have received both an email immediately after making your donation fro
m "", and a mailed letter the following month.

Learn How to Renew Your SFEMS Membership Step-By-Step

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!
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!

Early Music Corner: McIntosh County Shouters

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
Click on the image above to listen to The McIntosh County Shouters!
"The McIntosh County Shouters [are] a ten-member Gullah-Geechee group that began performing professionally in 1980. They have educated and entertained audiences around the United States with the 'ring shout,' a compelling fusion of counterclockwise dance-like movement, call-and-response singing, and percussion consisting of hand claps and a stick beating the rhythm on a wooden floor. African in its origins, the ring shout affirms oneness with the Spirit and ancestors as well as community cohesiveness."

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Thank You to Our New Facebook Followers!

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Stephen Payne
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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 Tuesday before the Monday publication.
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