What a delight to see us captured in a painting while we were playing on 23rd October 2010 in Connecticut! We documented our travels of Autumn in New England in a five part-blog starting here. In part 5, we remembered our concert at Mark and Beverly’s home. What fond memories we have!! Thank you, Ms Rosebrooks! Hope to meet you in person one day — and see your painting!
Tag Archives: Connecticut
The practice of exchanging business cards is translated into the exchange of CDs when musicians meet.
A CD says more about your music than your business card.
The first CD we received on our 5-week USA tour in 2010 was the solo guitar compositions played by Frank Wallace, the composer himself. The second was Duo Live Oak, the duo with his wife Nancy Knowles whom we’ve yet to meet. Frank organised our second concert in Boston, in the home of Karen Parsons in Newton, Massachusetts. That CD marked the beginning of our journey in discovering remarkable individuals who took time from their passionate pursuit of music making to help us with ours.
In fact, our first three concerts were organised by musicians: Peter Terry of JP Concerts in Boston, Frank Wallace, and Mark and Beverly Davis of Hampton, Connecticut. We listened to the CDs of Frank Wallace and “Ayres and Dances” CD of the guitar duo of Mark and Beverly during our drive through Massachusetts and Connecticut: autumn in New England.
In Durham, North Carolina, we exchanged CDs with Elaine Funaro, master harpischordist and executive director of the Aliénor Harpsichord Competition. The Aliénor Sampler is a demo CD of live recordings of selected pieces from the competition, recorded in 2008 and 2009. Elaine also gave us “Incantations & Inspirations Duo d’amore” a nicely wrapped CD of new music for baroque oboe and harpsichord.
By the time we ended our mainland USA tour and arrived in Maui, we had exchanged many CDs with our “Summer CD” — our first album. Only then, after we had found a place to live and produce the next 3 albums, did we have time to listen to the CDs that we collected. Only then did we put the music to the names and faces of those musicians we met on tour.
The friend, who told me about skype as early as its beta version release, has also given me great advice about other things. Little did I know how essential this “typing in the sky” has become, especially nowadays on the portable iphone.
Skype is one of those must-haves if you’re traveling a lot. It’s a free application that is more versatile and powerful than MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and other online chats (including Facebook chat). It’s also possible to see each other via a Webcam and also talk to each other via microphone and headphones.
Our first concert on this tour was confirmed on skype. The producer of the North Meadow House Concert Series in Connecticut showed me his 18th century farm house on webcam. It was that concert booking of 23 October 2010 confirmed in mid-August 2010 that determined our first destination for the America Tour. We booked our first plane ticket about a month later for Boston.
Skype was also instrumental in finet-uning and concluding our travel arrangements for our trip to Taiwan in April 2010. Once again, we chatted with someone we’ve not yet met but who was to become a very important part of our musical journey.
This morning, as I multi-tasked in eating my daily breakfast of freshly cut tropical fruit and checking e-mails while resisting the urge to jump into the Pacific Ocean (because the view from the balcony is so tempting), I decided to send off holiday greetings to my friends on skype.
I’m starting a new blog called MauiTips to tempt my friends to come visit.
North Meadow House Concert in Connecticut
I don’t want this autumn in New England to end, but it has. It’s time to rejuvenate in New York and prepare for our trip to North Carolina.
Yet fond memories remain engraved in my mind along with farewell wishes of “when you come back again.”
Saturday 23 October 2010 Hampton, Connecticut
We rented a mid-size Ford car to drive from Newton, Massachusetts to Hampton, Connecticut.
This was the first concert booked for this tour which was sold out within a week one month before the event. It became the third concert when the previous evenings got booked later. Once again, for the third consecutive time, we did not know the concert producers. What a surprise to find that they loved music and food and company as much as we did.
Everything was set up when we arrived. Here was a concert series that produced sold-out concerts and a peace of mind for the performers from out of town. What are the key success factors for a successful house concert for art music? I interviewed the producers of the North Meadow Concert Series the next morning.
That evening, after all the guests had left except for the local guitar builder whose new guitar Robert Bekkers had “premiered” in the second half of the concert, we witnessed a most extraordinary occasion. “Guitar heaven” is the subject of another blog post.
Secret to a successful house concert: the iced capuchino brownies ran out before the second half commenced.
Massachusetts and Connecticut
There is something magical about waking up in a warm bed to discover a breathtaking view of autumn colours.
It’s nearly 23 degrees Celsius in the shade in Western Massachusetts, in what’s known as Pioneer Valley. Robert is running and enjoying the warm weather, while I am trying to upload videos to share. In a couple of hours, we will drive to Shelburne Falls to give a house concert. [Concert will be dedicated to a fallen soldier buried in Maastricht.]
All along the drive from Massachusetts to Connecticut and back, we took in the different shades of yellow, orange, red, and green. This autumn in New England is completely different from the autumns in the Netherlands. It’s dry, crisp, warm, colourful, and three-dimensional.
In the rental car, we listened to new CDs given by the musicians who helped to realise our USA concert tour. The solo guitar music of composer, guitarist, festival-extraordinaire Frank Wallace is mesmerizing.
Later between Hampton and Dayville in Connecticut, we listened to the guitar duo of Mark and Beverly Davis. Beautiful! Simply beautiful music! On the way to Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, we listened to the CD “Ayres and Dances” again until I just had to play track 8 on the piano when we arrived.
Robert announced on his Facebook last Thursday: last guitar lesson in 2010.
I gave my last private piano lesson Monday, my last university class Tuesday.
Tomorrow (Friday 15th October) we give our last concert in the Netherlands in 2010.
I had my last rehearsal with French horn this afternoon — the last one in 2010 to prepare for the first concert in 2011.
“Can we meet for a drink before you go?”
“Do you have time for coffee?”
“Can we invite you for dinner?”
“Do we get to say good-bye?”
There is a last of everything in anticipation for the first of everything.
Next week, we will give our first public concert on mainland USA: Thursday 21st October in St John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston at 8:30 pm. It will be the second concert in a church in the USA (the first was in Makawao Union Church in Maui in 2007).
We will give our first house concert in New England – on Friday 22nd October in the home of a Suzuki piano teacher in Newton, Massachusetts.
We will meet the organisers of the first three concerts for the first time.
In a recent skype conversation with the London-based composer David Harvey, I observed that our concert bookings are speeding up. At first nothing seemed like happening. And now, every other e-mail is landing in good prospects.
David calls it the high school disco model. No one wants to be first on the dance floor. When it gets packed with dancers, everyone wants to squeeze into the little space that’s left.
Call it the herd mentality.
I call it the nonlinear process of concert bookings.
Who is going to arrange the first concert? The second?
At first, we did not know where to start. We obtained our visas in April 2010. We had to validate it by 21st October 2010. We had to pick a destination to book our flights.
Go where we’ve performed before? Houston and Maui.
Go where we’ve not visited before? That’s the rest of the USA.
And the rest of the USA is HUGE!
Start from the East Coast and work our way to the West and then back again?
Book our flights while they are on sale and then get the concerts?
Every time we started to book our flights, we got stopped. Where do we fly to? When do we leave? When do we come back?
Wait and get a concert booked? But where did we want to go?
Our friends in Houston wrote, “Tell us when you’re coming and we’ll get concerts for you.”
Our friends in Phoenix said the same thing.
Other friends in DC area, Florida, North Carolina, …. in fact everyone who knew we were planning a trip to the USA told us that they’d love to see us in concert if we’re in their area.
So I wrote a blog: house concerts for your friends and forwarded to a few friends.
One of them approached a community music school near her home.
Another wrote a personal email introducing us and sent to all his friends who in turn forwarded to their friends, who forwarded to theirs. Before long, one of the email recipients expressed interest in organising a concert for us in his home.
It took a few short e-mails and a short webcammed skype conversation with the host of the North Meadow Concert Series in mid-August to agree on a concert and a date 23rd October. That house concert in Connecticut was sold out within a week of its publicity.
A week later (still in August) a house concert was booked for 22nd October. As far as I know, there are still seats available in Newton, Massachusetts.
In early September, we were asked to confirm a concert in a big church in Boston. We couldn’t for the 14th of October, for we had a concert to give in Rotterdam on the 15th.
British Airways was having a sale. We could fly from Amsterdam to San Francisco and back for less than 500 euros. But we still could not book our flights until we had a peace of mind about the Monument House. [This will be another blog about how we managed to get a peace of mind.]
We have a week to go before we embark on this concert tour of the USA. We call it the scenic route from Boston to Maui.
We will experience Autumn in New England in a dry climate that is so different from windy (wet) Netherlands. [One Dutch postdoc researcher said that you really get to see the leaves change colour over a period of time rather than a sudden change as in the Netherlands.]
We will end our New England adventure in New York for a brief glimpse of the Big Apple before flying to North Carolina for a short visit. [New York deserves a separate, long visit.] At Duke University, we will be playing in the concert hall where I gave my senior recital. We will just miss our friends from Singapore who land in Raleigh/Durham Airport an hour after we take off for Phoenix.
In Phoenix, we will be playing at two community colleges and also a new Salon series. We will see a friend I’ve not seen since high school. We will miss the Grand Canyon on this first trip to Phoenix and fly to Houston for a private concert on the 6th of November.
Right now we’re arranging concerts for Houston & the vicinity and San Francisco & the vicinity. We’ll have to book our flights for Houston – SFO and get to Maui for Thanksgiving. We will see old friends and new friends we’ve not yet met.
It’s nonlinear. And it’s speeding up…. FAST!
Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo America Tour 2010 – 2011 http://www.pianoguitar.com/usa/
What sweet, sweet music to my ears to get a message that a concert has been sold out. All 32 seats in a house built in 1730 (?) – part of the North Meadow House Concert Series in Hampton, Connecticut — have been sold. The waiting list has started.
Sold out concerts with a waiting list removes the uncertainty of audience development.
It’s the best thing that can happen before a concert.
In this case, it’s a month before the concert even begins.
The story of how this concert got scheduled must be told. I have not met the host. But I feel I already know him
It’s the first concert that was booked for our America tour.