New Honorary Members.  In November, the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to grant honorary membership to Stevie White and Marguerite Dilley.  Both have been long-term members of MPRO, and both have served as officers. Stevie acted as President and Hospitality Chair, and Marguerite as Publicity Chair.  Both will continue to receive the newsletter and announcements of concerts and workshops.  Congratulations, and thanks to both of you for your service!

Workshop Registration. Registration is now open for MPRO’s January 27, 2018 workshop with Rotem Gilbert, at a new location in Belmont.  A copy of the workshop flyer, with a registration form, is included in this issue of Upbeat.  The flyer, and a map of the workshop location, can also be printed from MPRO’s webpage,  See Frederic Palmer’s “Conductor’s Corner” column for more information.

Treasurer’s Duties.  Mary Ashley and Chantal Moser are now sharing the office of

Treasurer.  Mary will be in charge of payments and bookkeeping, (and will also continue to serve as MPRO’s graphic artist). Chantal will be handling donations, including correspondence with the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS).  If you plan to make a year-end donation to MPRO, and want to itemize tax deductions next year, checks for donations should be made payable to SFEMS. Checks should be given or mailed to Chantal, who will send them to SFEMS with instructions to credit them to MPRO.     Thanks to Mary and Chantal for volunteering for this very important office!

-Judith Unsicker.



Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Here are some of the highlights for the second half of the orchestra's 2017-2018 season:  MPRO’s spring concert has been tentatively set for the first weekend in May.  The exact date and location will be announced in January.  On Saturday, January 27, Rotem Gilbert will be directing a workshop for MPRO.  You will find details about the workshop in this issue of Upbeat.  Rotem Gilbert is well known in the Bay Area as an early music performer and teacher, and as a workshop director she brings an original and imaginative approach to the topic and repertoire she covers.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to work with such a highly creative musician and teacher.

 Music for the second half of the orchestra’s 2017-2018 season will include a Sonatina by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer as well as all five movements of the Handel Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 1.  We will also be playing the following music from the first half of the current season:  Fata la parte and ¿Si abrá en este beldrés by Encina, Vidit Jacob scalam by Crecquillon and Waltz for Debby by Bill Evans.  I am also pleased to announce that Greta Haug-Hryciw will continue as the orchestra’s Assistant Director and that Irene Beardsley will be playing keyboard with the orchestra at its upcoming spring concert.

        Listed below is the music for the orchestra's first three meetings of the New Year.  Please note that we will be working on all five movements of the Handel Concerto Grosso and that great bass and contrabass recorders will be needed at all three meetings and sopranino recorder, krummhorns and bassoon will be needed on January 10 and February 14.


January 10

Schmelzer:  Sonatina

Encina:  Fata la parte, ¿Si abrá en este beldrés

Handel:  Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 1

January 24

Schmelzer:  Sonatina

Handel:  Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 1

Crecquillon:  Vidit Jacob scalam

Evans:  Waltz for Debby

February 14

Schmelzer:  Sonatina

Encina:  Fata la parte, ¿Si abrá en este beldrés

Handel:  Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 1

        I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings and working on this music with you.  Please let any of your friends who play early instruments know about the orchestra's varied activities and invite them to attend an MPRO meeting, workshop or concert.


Fred Palmer


This is a recording of Handel’s entire Concerto Grosso Op 6 No. 1. Click on "Show More" below the video screen for links to individual movements. The orchestra will be rehearsing all five movements for the 2018 Spring Concert:

Schmelzer wrote a number of Sonatinas.  I think that this is the one that we are rehearsing; if not, enjoy it anyway:

As an extra (and a shameless plug for the January MPRO workshop), this is a video of Rotem Gilbert performing Schmelzer’s Cucu Sonata at the 2013 SFEMS Recorder Workshop faculty concert:

-Judith Unsicker


In the 1730s,  Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata or motet, O Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht (BWV 118) that specified the use of an instrument called the lituus.  No one today knows exactly what instrument he meant.  The Latin word “lituus” originally referred to a curved ritual wand, similar to a bishop’s crozier, used in the ancient Roman religion, or to a J-shaped Etruscan war trumpet.  Changes in the use of the word over time for different musical instruments are summarized in this Wikipedia article: In the Renaissance, especially in Germany, “lituus” was used for various types of bent wooden horns, including the krummhorn.  In 1555, a Swiss naturalist used the phrase “lituus alpinus” in a description of the 11-foot alphorn or alpenhorn.  Michael Praetorius used “lituus” interchangeably for the shawm or krummhorn.  

The Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (SCB) in Basel, Switzerland asked computer software researchers at the University of Edinburgh to create a design for the reconstruction of Bach’s lituus. The research group had previously developed software to optimize the design of modern brass instruments, including the trombone.

The SCB provided information on its concepts of how Bach’s lituus should sound (in terms of notes and tonal quality, and how it should be played. The resulting computer design was used to build two long (2.5 meters), straight horns made of pine with cow horn mouthpieces.  This article describes the reconstruction:  The article includes a video narrated by members of the software research group, with photographs of the lituus and excerpts from the SCB’s 2009 experimental performance of the Bach cantata.-Judith Unsicker

Happy Holidays!!!

The Board: President: Judith Unsicker; Treasurer: Chantal Moser and Mary Ashley; Recording Secretary: vacant; Membership: Chris Flake; Publicity: vacant; Graphics: Mary Ashley; Newsletter Editor: vacant; Workshop Coordinator: vacant; Hospitality: vacant; Music Sales: Laura Gonsalves; Historian: vacant; Webmaster: Dan Chernikoff;  Music Director: Fred Palmer; Assistant Music Director: Greta Haug-Hryciw.  MPRO website:      

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