Weekly Newsletter 

 October 4, 2020 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week!

There was a whirlwind of activity here at SFEMS this past weekend as we launched our fall virtual season with not only a wonderful concert presentation by Agave Baroque and countertenor Reginald L. Mobley, but also five classes that built upon our summer workshop sessions.

As usual, our staff and artists worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the music going. More specifically, I want to thank tech engineer Zach Miley for the care he placed into curating a very enjoyable concert experience, and Agave Baroque for its compelling artistry and challenge for us to unceasingly explore lesser-known musical compositions, particularly works by composers of color and women.

 And of course, we would not be anywhere without our audience, who bravely took this technological leap with us to keep the music "playing in the pause". Even if you were not able to join us this weekend, we hope you will join us for more classes this weekend or consider viewing Agave Baroque's concert on demand through October 24.

Wishing you and yours health and safety,

Derek Tam, Executive Director

"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 first concert with Agave Baroque on October 3 is still available on demand (scroll below).

Our remaining presentations include:

October 24: Severall Friends presents Le Roman de Fauvel
November 21: Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel present Ohrwurm

Savor great music—period.

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Fall Virtual Classes Are Now in Session!

Violinist of elegance (and SFEMS faculty member) David Wilson welcomes musicians of all ages and levels to check out the 2020 fall virtual classes!
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.

You may choose just one or all five in a series.

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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Severall Friends presents
Le Roman de Fauvel on Oct. 24

Saturday, October 24 at 4:00 p.m. PT
High-definition Vimeo livestream with purchase.
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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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.

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!

NEW: Watch Agave Baroque On Demand Through Oct. 24!

A high-definition Vimeo stream of our Oct. 3 concert presentation, "American Originals", is available with $15 purchase.
It will be available on-demand through October 24.
Incomparable countertenor Reginald L. Mobley joins Agave Baroque to celebrate Black and Latino composers from North and South America, centering on the United States with stops in Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Among the many treasures of this repertoire are an unexpected and sentimental side of Scott Joplin, a song by Black American guitar virtuoso Justin Holland, two works by the earliest known Cuban classical composer, and a set of songs by the extraordinary Florence B. Price, who seamlessly blended Romantic art song and spirituals into a sound all her own.

recorded Saturday, October 3 at 4:00 p.m. PT

Early Music Corner: Chanticleer Sings Vicente Lusitano

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
Although the African-Portuguese musician Vicente Lusitano (died after 1561) is now recognized primarily as a theorist, his works are rarely performed despite an adventurous chromaticism that make them ahead of their time.

As a composer, he wrote a number of choral works, including motets and a madrigal. Baritone Matthew Knickman of Chanticleer used five part books to create this full edition of “Ave spes nostra," which likely has not been sung in this century!

Click the image above to enjoy a sample of the motet.

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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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