November 2019
A Message from Our President
WMC members and guests were treated to a most unusual - and educational - program at this month's meeting. Program Chair Laurie Shulman asked how many of us had ever heard of the "Chapman Stick," and not one hand was raised. Greg Howard, however, solved that problem by explaining and demonstrating what this guitar-like electronic instrument can do. He then proceeded to give a dazzling program (described in Laurie's report below) in which he collaborated with noted flutist and long time WMC member, Angela Kelly. There was also time for questions from a very interested audience.

At the outset of the meeting I announced with great joy that "one of our own" had won the first round of the MTNA Junior String Competition. As a 7th grader, young violinist Ari Han won one of WMC's music camp scholarships last year and attended the Heifetz Institute over the summer. At the VMTA's annual conference in Norfolk, he wowed the judges with his program, including the show stopper I heard him play at the VMTA Winners Recital - the "Carmen Fantasy" by Sarasate. Ari will now compete at the Southern Division with an online video submission, and if he wins THAT, he will compete in the finals in March at MTNA's National Conference in Chicago. His teacher is Wanchi, who will be performing for us next month.

The other wonderful news is that WMC Board members who took the November 1st hardhat tour of The Center at Belvedere were mightily impressed. VP Dana Patek gave a brief summary of her experience and stated that Pat Davis, who facilitated WMC's partnership with The Center, reported that the facility "exceeded her expectations." A reminder that the remainder of our programs this year will take place in the church sanctuary.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

---Corky Sablinsky, President

November Program Report

If you weren't at First Presbyterian Chapel on Wednesday, November 6th for our monthly meeting, you missed something unique and special. How often do we get the chance to get acquainted with a new instrument - in the hands of a master?

Our performers were Greg Howard, Chapman Stick (his internet 'handle' is 'Stickist', and does he ever deserve it) and Angela Kelly, flutist. Their program, "Alpha and Omega: Connecting Instruments through Time," was an informance in the best sense: a lecture-demonstration with a light touch. Greg invited us all into the world of the Chapman Stick and its versatility in tandem with one of the world's most venerable and ancient instruments: the flute.

Greg Howard - who studied English at UVA - was a marvelous musical guide, introducing us to the history of his 'axe.' The Chapman Stick is an innovative electric stringed instrument using a two-handed tapping method developed by Stick inventor and builder Emmett Chapman in the late 1960s. He explained and demonstrated his intimate connection to the instrument, which is held against the body in a long diagonal. It can be plucked or tapped in a combination of techniques. Each hand does everything independently. The instrument is fretted like a guitar, and fully chromatic, but has no visual references like the black and white keys on a piano. It is unusually tuned, with one set of strings like a backwards cello in fifths (including a low C like on a double bass), with a second set of strings in fourths, with a range of 5+ octaves.

Greg opened with a Renaissance lute medley of music by Adrian LeRoy and Vincenzo Galilei (the father of the great artist and inventor) to give us a sense of the instrument as a solo voice. Angela Kelly joined him for the 'Winter' Concerto slow movement theme from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons . Next up was a lovely arrangement of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" for flute and Chapman Stick.

Our artists then switched gears for a Brazilian tune - Luiz Bonf á's theme from the film Black Orpheus . Greg demonstrated his background as a jazz saxophonist with a splendid improvisation on the Stick.

Next he noted that, like many composers for new-ish instruments, he's written his own pieces for Chapman Stick (as well as making arrangements), since there's so little literature for Chapman Stick. His next selection, "A Charmed Life," included a filler-transition lick used by NPR. His original piece was a free riff with surprisingly complex textures.

Angela Kelly rejoined him for a medley of 'Greensleeves' and 'My Favorite Things' that morphed into a free improvisation on the Rodgers tune.

Howard's most impressive number (to this listener, anyway) was Guitarresque , written by a Polish guitarist who wrote for films in East Germany in the 1960s. This piece had an accompaniment (left hand) in 5/4 time and a melody in 4/4 time. I was gobsmacked: this guy is a real virtuoso, and a tremendously accomplished musician.

Angela Kelly rejoined Greg for the final numbers, based on traditional Christmas carols: "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Carol of the Bells." Their imaginative arrangements incorporated attractive elements of jazz. Extended and well-deserved applause greeted the pair at the conclusion. Quite a few WMC members made a beeline for the front, where Greg and Angela had several of their CDs available for purchase. "That was fabulous! " several people exclaimed to me. I couldn't agree more!

---Laurie Shulman, Program Chair
New Member Coffee Reminder
All new WMC members have received an invitation to a New Member Coffee at Linda Smith's home on Wednesday, November 20th. Please use this email link to RSVP to Linda by November 13th.
And Speaking of New Members, please help us welcome:
Craig Ames
Ayn Balija
Johanna Beaver
Don Brubaker
Beth Cantrell
Rosemary Cona
Christina Fleming
Sue Friedman
Delores Herring
Heather Hightower
Karen Kopf
Sarah Penn Lewis
Risa Lynch
Gretchen McKee
Cari Shipp
June Spaulding
Stephen Winchell
Mary Ann Wirth
Save the Date - Musical Interlude 2020
January 11, 2020
3:00-5:00 p.m.

Rotunda Room
Westminster Canterbury
$50 per person/$90 Couple
Tickets may be purchased SOON on the WMC Website or
click here to email Cecily Winchell
All proceeds to benefit WMC's Educational Outreach and Scholarships
Music Here! Seeking Volunteers
  • Coaches needed to work with 5th and 6th graders at Walker Upper Elementary School
  • Some experience playing an instrument (including piano) is useful, though it is not necessary to have played the instrument you coach
  • 5 time slots available M, W, and Th spanning 9:15-1:00
  • A weekly commitment to a fixed time is NOT required; you may create a coaching schedule that works for YOU
  • Sit in on a coaching session to find out if this is your cup of tea
  • Contact Nancy Bertram or Michele Carragan if interested
WMC December Meeting

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
10 - 11:30am
First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary

Europe Meets America
Wanchi, violin
Lori Piitz, piano
WMC 2020 Competition
Save the Dates
Competition Date & Time
January 25, 2020
(snow date: February 8) 9am - 5pm

Winner's Recital
March 1, 2020
Click Here for complete information

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