Music Committee Annual Report
(though there is currently no music committee)
1- People leading music on Sundays-
For the past 9 months, Norma Jean Haynes has been a regular presence in church, helping Penny lead the music.
Stephen has been sending out an email to all the “Sunday musicians” asking who has what to offer. This system has been working well. Nerissa is often away; Jack is often “on call”; Jim seems to be MIA right now; whenever any one of them plans on being at church, they get a slot if they want one. Penny and Norma (when she was here) checked in with each other weekly and usually planned something together.
2- Acoustics in the Sanctuary-
Over the past year we have gradually made improvements (with Richard Loomis’s support), focusing on dampening the sibilance or high frequency sounds that bounce off the walls, making it hard to understand speech and hard to hear song lyrics.
Jim Nelson took it upon himself to make 4 corner panels, which greatly moderated the sibilants while still keeping the general acoustics in the hall lively and gratifying for singers. Toni Lake and others chose runners for the aisles, which helped muffle the sound of people walking, and also lessened the echoing. Finally Keith Tibbetts and Buzz Pixley made sound absorbing panels (wood frames supporting rugs used for protecting items being moved) that we stationed along the back wall. We started with 4 panels on each side of the opening (which all agreed made the room dead) and are now down to 2 panels on either side. We are continuing to experiment.
3- Rebuilding the Knabe piano-
Penny (again with Richard Loomis’s help) researched what it would take to transform our Knabe (gifted to us after the fire by the Bowman’s from Worthington) into an instrument that would sound sweet rather than harsh when played for services, and would have sufficient responsiveness in the action that it could be played for concerts. It was decided that Sean Mallori would rebuild the action for $4,000(installing new whippens and new hammers) which would both improve the sound of the instrument and make it more playable. He plans to have the work completed in a month, which means we will have essentially a new instrument in mid April!
The new instrument will have a positive affect on some of the acoustic issues (such as harsh piano sound) in the sanctuary. Therefore we plan to wait until it is installed and we’ve had a chance to hear what it is like before we make any other decisions on sound remediation.
(1) We are still figuring out how to charge for using the space. Village Harmony pays a percentage. Norma Jean paid nothing (“she is family”). For some others, we have asked a contribution for $50-100, to cover heat, wear-and-tear, and cleaning.
(2) We might want to encourage more people getting involved in producing them. Penny is not ’The Concert Producer”. She IS willing to produce concerts that she has a vested interest in (such as Village Harmony) Perhaps here is where “a music committee” is needed….actually an “event/concert committee”.
(3) We need signs at either end of Church Hill Road, indicating that the concert is up the road and parking is not. Nancy Cole said she was willing to make them (!!!) Penny will follow up.
Rachael Leitman– She produced this herself.
Honey and the Sting (Sam Long’s Wesleyan College thesis: songs about the Connecticut River) Penny prpoduced this, with help from Sam Long
Starry Mountain- Penny produced this.
Village Harmony– Penny produces these
Village Harmony youngsters- August
Village Harmony Alumna Concert- June
Morning Star, Moonlight, Ben Kohn, etc: Gospel Music.
Val Kohn produced this.
The Nields- July 12 – Penny produced these, with help from The Nileds
Norma Jean Haynes’s “Farewell Concert” with an Alice and Amy supper in the Parish House, to raise money for Norma’s stay in Bosnia.
5- Other Sanctuary “rentals”:
Lysander Jaffee recorded a CD on a Saturday. Stephen turned on the heat in the morning, but the space was still cold when the musicians showed up at noon-ish (hard of Lysander playing violin). Lysander later sent a voluntary contribution (which didn’t really cover the heat that the group used).
Ashfield author Mariel Kinsey’s reading from her book “Where Does this Music Come From? Reflections from a Failed Hermit.” Penny produced this, with help from Mariel.
5- Music Committee-
It would be good to have one, if only to get Penny some help in producing concerts. Penny is not clear what a Music Committee would do, other than that.
6- Our Ad Hoc “CHOIR”- so far it’s working to invite anyone interested to join Penny before church to learn special music. We have continued to call in singers for Christmas and for Easter. I can’t remember if we did on any other occasions in ’15.
7- The Supplement – a new edition.
It is needed. Penny continues to accumulate music to go into it, and to make notes of the songs that need spelling corrections and other edits. Finding the time to actually DO this is the issue. It’s Penny’s work to do. When she sees some clear time ahead to do it, she intends to ask for help.
~ PENNY SCHULTZ ~