MPRO’s second online rehearsal using  Zoom will be held Wednesday, January 20.   See Fred Palmer’s “Conductor’s Corner”column in this issue for detailed information.

The Bay Area ensemble Voices of Music has a series of virtual lectures and seminars available at: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=vom.

The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has announced its 2021 season of virtual performances, including a cello/recorder program.  See: Santa Cruz Baroque Festival – Baroque Music Concerts & Community Works.

The Tibia Recorder Duo (Tish Berlin and Frances Blaker) is offering a “Practice Challenge” between January 18 and February 28.  The “challenge” is to make music practice a part of everyday life between these dates. The program includes two tiers. Tier 1 is free and includes the opportunity for email discussion. Tier 2 is fee based and includes the benefits of Tier 1 plus access to practice materials and play-along recordings.  For more information, see: https://sacrecorders.wordpress.com/category/workshops/

The American Recorder Society’s main web page includes an events calendar with announcements of classes and workshops throughout North America. One upcoming virtual event is the Atlanta Early Music Alliance’s Mid-Winter Workshop on January 22 and 23, for recorders and other early instruments. The link for details is: https://mms.americanrecorder.org/Calendar/moreinfo.php?eventid=61460



Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

        Ray White and I will be co-hosting a virtual MPRO meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, January 20, at 7:30 P.M.  Those attending will be admitted to the meeting starting at 7:15 P.M.  We will be working on the following music:

Corelli:  Sonata Op. 4, Sarabanda and Tempo di Gavotta

Bach:  Polonaise

Greig:  The Last Spring

Bach: Forlaine

 I will be sending PDF files of this music to all MPRO members in the event that some may not have copies.  Unlike the last virtual meeting, I will be conducting each of the selections scheduled.  This means that the music will not appear on the screen as it did before, and those attending will need to read from hard copies they have downloaded when playing along with the sound files.  I will also be including instructions on how to log into and participate in a Zoom meeting that the orchestra’s Assistant Director, Greta Haug-Hryciw, has generated for those taking part in the virtual meetings that she directs.  Finally, Ray White has sent out invitations to all MPRO members with a link to the virtual Zoom meeting and other information.  Please contact him at <rayhwhite@yahoo.com> if you did not receive an invitation.

Best wishes for the New Year and I look forward to seeing those that will be attending the meeting on January 20.


Fred Palmer


An earlier issue of Upbeat mentioned an ongoing university study of aerosol transmission by wind instrument players and singers.  The study, sponsored by a large group of performing arts organizations, evaluates the risk of COVID19 transmission and the efficiency of proposed mitigation measures. The following is a link to a press release on the third round of results:  Home Articles Third Round of Performing Arts Aerosol Study Produces More Scientific Data for Return to Activities,  While the release expresses optimism about resumption of school band rehearsals, a complex of mitigation measures would be necessary including well-fitted surgical masks, multilayered bell covers for instruments, social distancing, short rehearsal times, and outdoor rehearsals or indoor rehearsals with attention to air filters and air exchange time. Face shields or plexiglass partitions between performers are not recommended.


About half of people report getting chills when listening to their favorite music. A study in France used EEG (electroencephalogram) technology to measure “theta wave” activity in brain regions associated with different functions. The study found that chills were linked with anticipation of pleasure and the release of the “feel good” hormone dopamine.  The director of the study, Thibault Chabin, noted that music appears to have no biological benefit to us, but that the implications of dopamine and the brain’s reward system may have ancestral functions.  For more information, see: https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/why-music-gives-you-chills.


Until recently, only humans and a few kinds of parrots were thought to be capable of identifying and carrying a rhythmic beat.  Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz taught a California sea lion named Ronan to recognize and move with a beat, using a metronome, and then a musical recording, as shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yS6qU_w3JQ.  More recently, laboratory rats in Denmark were familiarized with the song “Happy Birthday” and then exposed to two variations. In one, the original notes were replaced with a single note but the rhythmic structure of the song was kept. In the other, the notes were kept but the rhythm changed. The rats recognized the version that kept the original rhythm. The link is: https://phys.org/news/2020-05-musical-rhythm-deep-evolutionary-roots.html.


“And now for something completely different… .”  A xylophone constructed on a forested slope in Kyushu, Japan plays Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata 147, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, when a wooden ball is rolled down it.  The instrument includes hundreds of pieces of wood and was constructed in 2012 for use in a commercial for a wood-encased cell phone. See and hear it at: https://youtu.be/C_CDLBTJD4M.

The Board: President: Judith Unsicker; Treasurers: Chantal Moser and Mary Ashley; Recording Secretary: vacant; Membership: Chris Flake and Tom Granvold; 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.  MPRO website: http://www.mpro-online.org      

Past Months' Issues: http://www.mpro-online.org/MPROArchives.htm