What I did on my summer vacation: Pt. 2

In honor of Labor Day, which seems to to mark the end of summer for most for us, here is part two of our two part post about what our musicians and singers have been up to this summer:

In June, violist Maria Caswell and her husband threw a wedding for her daughter, Ruth. “The music was beautiful,” she reports. “and I was very happy to have David Bowes there to play prelude music with me and friends.” In July and August, she played on the “G” Concert at the Point Reyes Dance Palace and “H” Concert at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma – both concerts featured music by composers whose last names begin with those letters! In between, she has been tending her vegetable garden, jamming and canning. “The most memorable summer event was when Nic McGegan and David Bowles stopped by on their way north to visit my daughter’s show pig, Bubba,” she says. “Nic was a great sport as Bubba nibbled at his pants, investigated his shoes, and then shook herself and sprayed us all with mud.”

“This summer has been action packed with the arrival of our first child, Matthew James,” says Brian Thorsett, a tenor in our Chorale (and you may remember him from November when he sang the roles of Sailor and Spirit in Dido and Aeneas). “He is already discriminating in his musical taste: he instantly calms to Monteverdi’s Torna Zefiro, Handel’s As Steals the Morn and Marini’s Zarabande –Philharmonia Baroque’s recording only though, I said he was discriminating.” Besides this joy (and stealing naps), Brian has been rehearsing roles in I Pagliacci and La Traviata, as well as singing solos in Verdi’s Requiem and with the San Francisco Opera Center Park Concerts. He’s also been facing the challenge of learning Aramaic to sing the Assyrian Prince Ninos in Michel Bosc’s Ninos and Shamiram.

Cellist Tanya Tomkins taught at the American Bach Soloist’s Summer Academy for two weeks and had a great time with the students and faculty. The first week of August, she “pulled the end pin out” and played some wonderful music at Music in the Vineyards. Currently, she is performing with Eric Zivian, Ian Swensen and Axel Strauss – all from the Bay Area – at the Maob Music Festival.

Alto Kathy McKee and her husband vacationed in the Northwest. They drove north through Ashland and Portland, catching baritone Thomas Quasthof and conductor Helmut Rilling in the Oregon Bach Festival’s performance of Elijah. They also stopped at Vashon Island and Vancouver Island, driving home along the Oregon coast.

Cellist Bill Skeen and his family spent some time in Carmel with violinist Alicia Yang and her family. While Bill and Alicia played in Carmel Bach Festival  and other local concerts, their children sang in the Festival’s “Bach to the Furture” concerts. When they returned, Bill’s spouse, violinist Ondine Young, performed Mozart’s Don Giovanni at John Hinkel Park in Berkeley.

Bass Chad Runyon is vocal directing his 11th production with Diablo Theatre Company, the Charles Strouse classic Annie. “It’s an amazing cast,” he says, “and even though every musician’s fist instinct at the mention of A-N-N-I-E is a long, slow roll of the eyes – it’s enormously happy music.  I can’t help but smile after every rehearsal.  On the heels of On the Town and Into the Woods, it’s welcome fluff!”