Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society
  Vol. 38                                       ONLINE  ONLINE  ONLINE                                         August 2018     
Providing financial support   since 1999 for The Rockbridge Choral Society and The Rockbridge Youth Chorale

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August 2018   
Birthdays in Music

Madonna Louise Ciccone        8/16/1958

Juliette (Lili) Boulanger        8/21/1893
Alma Schindler (Mahler)        8/31/1879
Mark Your Calendars

Rehearsals Begin - Rockbridge Choral Society, September 10, 7:30 PM,
Lexington Presbyterian
Church Sanctuary

Holiday Concert - Rockbridge Choral Society and Rockbridge Youth Chorale, December 1, 2018, 7 PM Lexington
Presbyterian Church

A European Odyssey - Rockbridge Chamber Singers, February 3, 2019, 3 PM,
Presbyterian Church

A Handel Feast - Rockbridge Choral Society, with chamber orchestra and soloists, April 7, 2019, 7 PM, Lexington
Presbyterian Church

Volunteer Spotlight-Maia Browning
    Rehearsals for the holiday concert begin on September 10, and the soprano section will have a new leader this year.  Maia Browning is both a member of the RCS and the Rockbridge Chamber Singers and has volunteered to take over from Melissa Holland for the 2018/2019 season.  Maia has loved singing in choirs since elementary school and says she is 'often surprised to find myself facing the director, when, given the complexity and beauty of the music, I really feel I should be in the audience."  Maia sings in two church choirs, one of which specializes in Gregorian chant.  She is active in local volunteer organizations, drives a tractor and protects her house from invading cucumber vines on her farm.
    Look for Maia at the first rehearsal.  She will sign you up, make sure your contact information is up to date and collect your singing dues for this season.  Thanks Maia!
    If you are interested in volunteering for any of the jobs that our volunteers do, please check in with our executive director, Melanie Griffis-Hooper.  Send her an email at to learn how you can use your non-vocal talents to help, and thanks!  
The Forgotten Women of Classical Music
Elizabeth Maconchy
        Have you heard of Hildegard von Bingen or Francesca Caccini?  How about Florence Price or Elizabeth Maconchy?  No?  Most of us know that Clara Schumann was a star as a pianist before she married Robert Schumann, but let's face it the classical repertoire is the history of one great male genius after another.  Acclaimed Australian-born soprano Danielle de Niese thinks it's time to shed some light on the women who have contributed to classical music.  Her documentary, Unsung Heroines: The Lost World of Female Composers, aired this year on the BBC.  It profiled five female composers who were known during their lifetimes but fell into obscurity thereafter.  Hildegard von Bingen was a 12th century nun who revolutionized music with her sacred songs and laid the foundation for Western music.  Two French monks claimed credit for her work.  Francesca Caccini performed at the court of the Medicis in 17th century Florence and was a successful opera composer.  Her talents likely threatened her male counterparts; she was relegated to servant status at the Florentine court.  Florence Price was the first female African-American composer to have a symphony orchestra perform one of her works.  She worked as an organist at silent film screenings to make ends meet after her divorce.  Elizabeth Maconchy was a modernist British composer of string quartets.  She applied for the Royal College of Music's Mendelssohn Scholarship but was denied.  The college decided she would only marry and never write another note.  And, of course, there was Clara. 
     The documentary is not available currently but we are hoping PBS will pick it up.  Meantime, learn more about Danielle de Niese, the documentary, and these extraordinary women, their works and their times. 
Who Wrote That Song?
    Every member of the Beatles was a song writer, but the most prolific were Paul McCartney and John Lennon.  Over the years, writing credit for most of their compositions has been sorted out, but memories fade and become jumbled with the years, so there is still some doubt about a few songs.  One of those - "In My Life"- was the subject of a recent analysis by Mark Glickman, a Harvard University statistician and amateur musician.  Glickman and his colleagues built a statistical model to analyze melody lines and chord sequences which created a musical fingerprint for each musician.  It turns out that McCartney took more melodic liberties which often produced melody lines with 'jumps' between notes of more than an octave.  Lennon used more standard melodic motifs and more predictable chord progressions.  So who wrote "In My Life"?  The stats say it was Lennon all the way.  Hear the full story here.
Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society
Rockbridge Choral Society
P.O. Box 965
Lexington, VA 24450