February 2021
A Message from Our President
The WMC has already been busy this winter! Read the whole newsletter for a complete update.

Our Virtual Competition is underway with judges viewing videos from nearly 60 contestants. Results will be posted on the WMC website on February 13. A Presentation of Winners video will be shared Sunday, March 7, through a special e-newsletter. WMC members will be notified by email one week prior if we are able to share this Presentation with a live audience. Thanks to the Competitions Committee for all their work on this project!

On Wednesday, March 24, you’ll receive another special WMC e-newsletter with the opportunity to hear a short interview and video performance from our three University Scholarship recipients. I hope you’ll connect in this way with these accomplished and hard-working university student musicians and that you’ll support future WMC Scholarship recipients by donating to this virtual Musical Interlude event.

One week ago, a very small WMC audience thoroughly enjoyed a unique musical program entitled "Bach, Banjos, and the Hero's Journey". You can enjoy it too by clicking either the Full Performance or Individual Compositions buttons below.

Wishing you all peace and good health,
---Dana Patek, President
February Program Report

Virtuoso banjo player John Bullard made his WMC debut on Wednesday, February 3, at The Center at Belvedere. Though The Center is officially closed until March because of Covid-19, they were kind enough to make an exception for our scheduled monthly meeting, provided we limited attendees to ten masked persons. A small but enthusiastic group thoroughly enjoyed Bullard’s program, “Bach, Banjos, and the Hero’s Journey.”

Beginning with a piece he composed when he was 15, Bullard narrated his story of redefining the banjo as an instrument for classical repertoire. He framed the ‘hero’s journey’ of his title as a metaphor for crucial human experience that leads to transformation: any seminal event that sets you on a certain path. The tale encompassed finding one’s purpose, meeting the mentor who would guide him to the next stage, finding moments of reflection through music, and emergence after struggle when one fears all is lost.

His musical selections were diverse, including some Earl Scruggs tunes, several Baroque pieces including his transcriptions of movements from the Bach Cello Suites and Violin Partitas, a more recent original composition, and 3 Preludes from a set of 24 Preludes (in the time-honored tradition of one in each major and minor key) written for him by Adam Larrabee (b.1974).

We learned about the history of the banjo in America, and how John’s discovery of the instrument’s possibilities led to finding his own voice as a musician and performer. Of special interest was the ‘cello banjo,’ which has a larger diameter and is open in back. It sounds an octave lower than the regular banjo and was invented at a time when the banjo was America’s favorite instrument. Its lower register makes the cello banjo well suited to Renaissance and Baroque music (originally for lute, theorbo or Baroque guitar).

John’s engaging manner and fancy fretwork kept his listeners rapt. He played entirely from memory – an impressive feat for those of us of a certain age! For this listener, the Larrabee Preludes best revealed the versatility of the banjo and its expressive range. But Bullard has assimilated iconic repertoire such as Bach and made it his own, simultaneously reintroducing it to listeners with a fresh perspective. 

---Laurie Shulman, Program Chair

Click here to access John Bullard's website for additional information about John and links to his newsletter and video performances. Click on the buttons below to access both the full performance and individual compositions. Our thanks to Graeme Rosner, Audio/Video Engineer
January 10th Young Musicians Virtual Recital

The Wednesday Music Club hosted a virtual-style Young Musicians Recital on January 10th with fourteen students performing on piano, violin, and flute. There were more than 30 Zoom squares including the participants and their families, music teachers, and even grandparents from other states!

Pictured below is Ferran Costa, Elizabeth Brightbill's flute student and Arabelle Elliott, Melody Day's piano student. Our thanks to Doris VanderMeulen for chairing this event. The next YMR will be held on Sunday, March 21.
A Piano Finds a New Home

In December, the WMC assisted with gifting a quality piano to a local family who will use it well. WMC member Toko Duvall recommended her student (pictured far right), whose electric keyboard was no match for her practice habits, to receive the gift. The family is especially grateful now that there are two children studying piano.

The piano came to the family through the Charlottesville Symphony Society's Play it Again! program, which gathers, repairs, and places gently used instruments with schools and families in need. If you have an instrument that you would like to donate, please contact CSS Director of Youth Education Elizabeth Roberts at education@cvillesymphony.org.

April Program

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
10 am - 11:30 am
The Center at Belvedere
(reservation information will be shared in March)

Adventures in a Sonic Wonderland
Judith Shatin, composer and piano

Community Announcements
Victory Hall Opera presents

Unsung: An Opera Film

Shot remotely during COVID, the moving & uplifting true story of 5 singers in uncertain times who decide the show must go on. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes documentary/opera film, much of which was filmed in Charlottesville, showcasing extraordinary music-making during the challenging months of the pandemic. Click here for links to tickets and additional information.

Online film premiere - February 27
On demand viewing - February 27-March 27
Unsung - The Official Trailer
(VHO co-founder Brenda Patterson is a WMC member.)

Early Music Access Project's
Baroque Dance for Musicians - Virtual Workshop

Sunday, February 21 4-5pm

Learn how dance can influence the choices we make in playing baroque music. Open to all ages and musical ability levels. Elena Mullins of Case Western Reserve leads along with WMC member David McCormick assisting on violin.

Click here for tickets and additional information
Click here to access The Center's website and complete calendar

The Wednesday Music Club promotes and expands quality musical and educational opportunities for its members, for teachers, for music lovers, and for the youth of Central Virginia through regular performances, competitions, shared group experiences, and financial support.

The Wednesday Music Club will foster and sustain a vibrant music climate throughout Central Virginia, especially among young people.
Visit the Wednesday Music Club Website to read more about membership, events, and programs

Newsletter Editor - Ann Etchison