Jul 21 2008

Bluegrass Weekend

Just back from the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, New York (just north of the Catskill Mountains). It was hot, it was rainy, it was crowded, and there was a lot of hiking up and down the hill to the stage area, but there was lots of music and fun, and a good time was had by all.

It was a little disorienting setting up camp (4,000 campers camp on-site) on a level surface, after three years (for me) camping on a hillside at the former Grey Fox location. Having a flat surface to sleep on where your air mattress and you won’t slide into a crumpled heap during the night allows you to sleep through even the most determined all-night jam session.

View of part of the camping area from the side of the stage. Click for larger picture.

Grey Fox is a four-day event for people of all ages. There were infants, there were people in their 80s and there was everyone in between. They share a love of bluegrass, and most of them also play, some taking out their instruments as soon as they set up camp and fiddling all night long. The official performances start Thursday on the main stage. The bands play all kinds of bluegrass music: traditional, country, jazzy, improvisational, progressive, alternative, newgrass, gospel, you-name-it, to an vast audience who have arranged their folding chairs on the hillside.

Another view of the audience and stage.

Meanwhile, other performers entertain in the dance tent and the masters tent, my favorite tent, where the crowds are smaller and the performers talk about their music and answer questions, as well as share their music. There is a tent for those who want to learn to play and to play with others, and there is a family tent for the kids, which circus-style entertainment and other activities during the day, and movies at night. There is also a four-day Bluegrass Academy for Kids where this year 100 kids participated in classes in singing and playing various instruments, led by Brian Wicklund and taught by many fine bluegrass players/teachers.

I bring instruments to the Bluegrass Academy from Johnson String Instruments of Cape Cod: violins, violas, cellos, to give the kids an opportunity to try different instruments during an “instrument petting zoo.” It seems a little like taking coals to Newcastle, in they most people who attend bring one or more instruments. Jam sessions are a big part of the festival.

But there are banjo players who want to try the cello, and guitar players who want to try the fiddle, and people curious about the viola, so the instrument petting zoo is usually pretty busy, and I enjoy giving kids (and often their parents) a chance to play a new instrument. This year, we had a very fine young cellist come to try out our cello; he skillfully played Bach as well as bluegrass and improvisational jazz, and it was a joy to listen.

The Bluegrass Academy kids perform on Sunday afternoon, after most people have left. Usually I leave Sunday morning too. (It was a six-hour drive for me this year, though MapQuest claimed I could do it in four hours and 15 minutes, they did not take into account the heavy traffic, and my need to stop occasionally). This year, though, I arrived at Grey Fox late, about 7:30 Friday night, missing almost two days of music, so I decided to stay through Sunday to hear more.

Sunday turned out to be a great day. First, I joined the Town Hall meeting, where campers talked about ways to improve the festival, particularly relating to the new site. People were thoughtful and creative, a great group. Then, I trudged up the hill to the main stage to watch a group called Kindling Stone, who did a little bluegrass, a little religious music, and a couple of Shape Note (Sacred Harp) songs, which were perfect on a Sunday morning in the mountains.

They were followed by Missy Raines, who sings and plays the upright string bass, and her band, the New Hip, who played great improvisational jazzy bluegrass.

Missy Raines

The best was yet to come, though: the kids from the Bluegrass Academy. Their parents were hootin’ and hollerin’ of course, but so were people like me, who appreciated what these kids (elementary school to junior high school age, generally) had learned in only a couple of days and how well they played together. I was delighted to see four cellists in the group, and like others in the audience, happy to see the tradition of this vibrant music continuing on through another generation.

The senior Bluegrass Academy players.

All 100 players and their teachers on stage.

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Jun 26 2008

Young @ Heart

Young @ Heart is a chorus in Northampton, Massachusetts, as well as a movie about the chorus, its challenges and successes. Two things make this chorus different from any other: the average age of the participants is 80, and they sing songs you wouldn’t expect them to want to listen to, let alone sing, with enthusiasm and good spirits, songs like “Fix You” by Cold Play, “Schizophrenia” by Sonic Youth, the Clash, “I Want to Be Sedated,” by the Ramones, and more.

When the movie starts, many of the senior singers express a preference for classical music and opera. You have to wonder whether they are being forced to sing crazy rock music so people will laugh at them. In many of the early rehearsals, directed by the chorus leader, Bob Cilman, singers are expressing their dismay at music like “Schizophrenia,” and you start to feel a little uncomfortable about the whole thing. Maybe if they could sing opera and songs from the 30s and 40s, they would be happier. They would be just another old folks chorus (not that there are that many of them), though; they wouldn’t be going on world tours or be the subject of a movie.

Watching the rehearsals is a little painful. Singers are not in tune, or in time, and some are asleep. They do not learn quickly. You want Bob to give their solo to someone else who can handle it. You want them to sing something easier. You want them to drop this facade and sing the songs they know and love.

But as the move continues, you realize that singing and being in this group of singers, is vitally important to each and every singer. While they may plug their ears with cotton when loud rock music is played, they seem genuinely interested in broadening their musical horizons and giving their own expression to classic and contemporary rock music. Yes, it is still funny to see and hear old people sing “I Feel Good!,” but you are also convinced that they do feel good, and that music is why they feel so good. As one chorus member says, “music does a lot for your whole body. All the chorus members share a love of music with their good friends in the chorus, and they enjoy the thrill of making their audiences feel good too.

As the movie progresses, you get to know some of the individual singers, and some turn out to be very good singers. You mourn the loss of two members along with them, members who die while the group is preparing for a big concert. Members are united in their feeling that if (or when) they were to die, they would want the others to continue. The show must go on, and it does.

The movie contains several excerpts from Young@Heart performances, as well as three very well-done music videos. It is all lots of fun to watch, and the concert and video singing is very impressive. The members do finally remember their words, and they come in when they are supposed to, even though they couldn’t do it the day before.

Bob Cilman, who has led this group for 25 years, can be a stern taskmaster, though he is also quite sensitive to the frailty of his singers. He has witnessed deaths of many chorus members over the years, and, thanks to him, the show does go on, and it is a great inspiration.

Young@Heart is currently playing at the Regal Nickelodeon 5, 742 Nathan Ellis Highway (Route 151), in North Falmouth.

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Jun 17 2008

Growing an Orchestra

A small group of musicians at a recent gathering of the Falmouth Chamber Players, left to right, Hilde Maingay (violin), Laura Tutino (violin), Joyce Gindra (oboe), Fritz Sonnichsen (violin), Grant Mallett (violin), and behind him: Kate Housman (French horn), Jonathan Neufeld (viola). In front are Wendy Gabriel, Mary Sholkovitz (her arm only), and me (out of camera range) all on cello.

Ever since I took up the cello nine years ago, I have joined in discussions about what fun it would be to have an amateur orchestra in Falmouth, and those discussions no doubt precede my awareness of them. I was a member, for a semester, of a string ensemble at the Cape Cod Conservatory in West Barnstable. That was fun, but it was a long trip, and work tended to interfere with my attendance at rehearsals. And the end-of-semester concert was in Chatham. I also played flute in Falmouth Town Band for nine years, an energetic group of 100 or more musicians of all ages, under the direction of Lin Whitehead. I enjoyed that too, but I began to worry that my hearing was being compromised by sitting directly in front of a dozen trumpets every week.

Besides, I couldn’t play cello in Town Band. Clearly, we needed an orchestra. It seemed like a lot of work, to get an orchestra going, despite the plenitude of instrumentalists in and around town. There didn’t seem to be an available rehearsal space, a conductor, or available sheet music. Then, one day, pianist-oboist-singer Joyce Gindra and her neighbor Carol Knox, cellist-organist, got together for some piano/cello duets. In the course of their practicing, they thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have more people, an ensemble, or maybe an orchestra?”

They both knew several musicians, and those musicians knew other musicians, and, in no time at all, there were about three dozen people (about nine of whom are cellists) interested in playing in the orchestra. Hilde Maingay found a place for the group to practice at Alchemy Farm in Hatchville, others located sheet music, and Joyce talked to John Yankee (who leads the Falmouth Chorale and the Greater Falmouth Mostly All-Male Chorus) about conducting the group.

The group, which calls itself the Falmouth Chamber Players, will meet three times in July (the last three Mondays of the month) to try out music and get to know each other better, before starting the season in the fall. Members value the group not only for the opportunity to play together in a chamber orchestra, but also for the chance to meet up with musicians with similar interests to play together on a continuing basis or for special occasions.

We met recently at Hilde’s house and played through some string quartets and quintets, doubling and tripling parts, as necessary. We had a wonderful time, and I was impressed by how good the individual players are and how musical they sound as a group. I am looking forward to the July sessions.

Amateur or professional musicians, young and old, who are interested in playing with the group should contact Joyce Gindra at jgindra at att dot net.

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Jun 07 2008

It’s Drawing Day

June 7 is international Drawing Day, so pick up a pencil and draw! There is a website to coordinate the Internet aspect of this event at DrawingDay. According to the site, Drawing Day is “a worldwide drawing event encouraging everyone to drop everything and draw for the sake of art.” The goal is to “create 1 million drawings online this day and boost online art communities.” The site provides links to online drawing communities and instructions for how to get your art online.

Whether you draw on the back of an envelope, online, or with traditional drawing media, it’s a great idea to express your creativity with a drawing, today, or any day.

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Jun 03 2008

Bluegrass on the Bogs


I‘m heading off-Cape this weekend to go to the Bluegrass on the Bogs festival about 30 miles away in South Carver. There will be a lot of local and regional bluegrass bands playing over the 2-day event: No Spare Parts, Lisa Bastoni and Chris Boucher, Bluegrass Invitation Review, Bradford Bog People, Crossfire, James Delnero & Lost Mountain, Falmouth Fiddlers, Harvest, Hickory Strings, Dawn Kenney Band, Matt Miklus, Oomph, Patmos Brothers Revival, Pine Hill Ramblers, Mike and Mary.

It promises to be a fun event; bluegrass music is energetic and exciting, without being overpowering. Most bluegrass bands have guitars, mandolins, violins, banjos, and a string bass, in one combination or another, plus singers. A couple of big-name bluegrass bands have cellos, notably Crooked Still and Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet, both of whom I enjoy. They are kind of alternative bluegrass/folk rock bands, both with female lead singers with delicate voices, more ethereal than hard-driving, and the cello adds a nice touch, supporting, rhythmic and deep. I have seen both bands perform at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in upstate New York.

There won’t be any cellists at Bluegrass on the Bogs, though, so far as I know. Except me. I will be playing cello with the Falmouth Fiddlers. Nothing fancy; I’m an amateur player, like most of the other members of the group, and I started the cello fairly late in life. Mostly I will just try to keep up with the others. We (the Falmouth Fiddlers) will play old-time fiddle tunes, which aren’t as high-energy as standard bluegrass music, but are still quite fast-paced, and it is challenging to play these tunes quickly on a cello.

It’s fun though, even exhilarating, to play with other musicians, and to listen to the other bands. I enjoy it immensely, and I highly recommend it.

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May 23 2008

Nature Drawing

About a dozen years ago, I found myself with a few hours of free time in Washington DC, following a business meeting, before I had to catch a plane for home. I decided to go to the Smithsonian Institute, where I stumbled upon a wonderful exhibit of biological illustrations. Included in the exhibit was a small room with numerous microscopes set up where you look at biological specimens. Next to the microscopes were paper and pencils, so you could try your own hand at drawing those specimens.

I selected a small bug and set to work drawing it. It was a totally engrossing and enjoyable task. The hours passed quickly and I barely made my flight home. Subsequently, I took an afternoon nature drawing workshop in Duxbury (where I was living at the time), but I have not really found time since then, to set aside a few hours for nature drawing and to recapture that magic of the first session at the Smithsonian.

Recently, though, I attended a class in Nature Drawing in Woods Hole, taught by professional biological illustrator Julie Child. There, the magic is all around. People who have never had any formal art instruction, people who have been told they couldn’t draw, people who believed they couldn’t draw, are drawing, accurately and expressively, and they are doing it with confidence and ease. Students genuinely enjoy the time spent drawing; there is no tension or fear of creating a bad drawing (as one sometimes sees in art classes).

Left to right, students of Julie Child’s class include: Dorothy Aspinwall, Fran Weiffenbach, Sally Casper (in back, by window), Frank Child, and, in front, Julie Child.

My story about the art class appears in Friday’s Enterprise. Here I want to include a few photographs that didn’t fit in the newspaper.

This bumblebee was drawn close to actual size by Helen Wilson, using colored pencils. The small size made the drawing more challenging. Helen has taken Julie’s class for several years and showed me her portfolio. It was inspiring to see her drawings of varied natural specimens, as well as teacup with an intricate pattern in blue. To portray the blue pattern accurately, she had to use many different shades of blue and very carefully outline the patterns.

Ann Newbury was working on a pen and ink drawing of a hawk, and I am sorry that this photo does not do it justice. She was using various colors of ink, and shading in each feather with lines, going over each feather five to seven time to produce the effect she wanted. She was not finished with it when I took this photo; there are more feathers to detail, and she will add a background, some rocks for the hawk to perch on.

Frank Child, Julie’s husband, has recently joined the class, and he produced this colorful beetle. He worked hard on the blending of the colors to get the realistic look of the beetle, including the reflection of light on its back.

Nancy Stafford was drawn to the io moth, a relative of the luna moth, once plentiful on the Cape, and now rare. She was using many different shades of yellow and brown to capture the essence of this colorful moth.

Sally Casper used a magnifying glass to see the detail in the multi-hued scallop shell she was drawing. She admitted she didn’t keep her pencils in order by color, as did some of the other artists, but she always knew which color to use the the way to apply the colors. “You would think,” she said, “that you should put down lighter colors first, then go over them with darker colors, but ofter the better method is just the opposite, to put down the darker colors first and go over them with the lighter colors.”

Fran Weiffenbach was working on a watermelon wedge, made more difficult by the fact that she had to replace her watermelon “model” every week, as it lost its freshness. If you look closely, you will see her drawing has black seeds, though her current watermelon piece has white seeds. Nevertheless, she has captured its watermelon essence.

These detailed iridescent shells are the work of Dorothy Aspinwall. Like most of the other students, she used colored pencils to achieve a painterly effect. After finishing these shells, she began a complicated drawing of another iridescent shell, a chambered nautilus.

Joan Kanwisher has been drawing for years, and her skill is evident. She has been working on a series of drawings of bird’s nest. This one contains three eggs and is set in a flowery tree.

Here is a close-up, showing the intricate detail of her work:

The nature drawings of 22 students of Julie Child will be on display from June 7 to October 11 at the Woods Hole Historical Museum in Woods Hole. The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, June 7, from 4 to 6 PM and to a gallery talk on Saturday, July 12, from 4 to 6 PM. In addition to viewing (and being inspired by) the artwork, visitors may buy notecards featuring images from the exhibit.

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May 20 2008

Candidates on the Arts

Checking the official websites of the candidates to see what their positions were on the Arts, I found that:

John McCain has no stated positions relating to the arts.

Hillary Clinton says she is a strong supporter of the arts and our nation’s cultural and historic sites and appreciates the role that arts and humanities play in American communities. She would increase funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, support the arts as part of the core curriculum in schools, encourage international cultural exchange, and support the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She recognizes the economic value of the arts, and would promote economic development grants to create affordable live/work spaces for artists.

Barack Obama believes in the arts as a means of nourishing creative skills. Like Hillary, he supports increased funding of the National Endowment for the Arts and would promote cultural diplomacy and attract foreign artists to the U.S. He would support arts education in the schools and create an “Artists Corps” of young artists to work in low-income schools and community schools to improve test scores. He supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allows artists to deduct the fair market value of their work when they make charitable deductions. And he recognizes that artists, as generally self-employed people, would benefit from a national health insurance plan.

Though I do like the idea of an Artist Corps, this could probably be done through existing programs, like Americorps.

I am not keen on the “arts makes you smarter” or “Mozart Effect” argument that “music increases math scores” in favor of arts in the schools. For one thing, it devalues the arts, and for another, it is not true. The Mozart Effect (here’s an interesting student paper on the Mozart Effect) was based on one 1993 study involving having college students listen to 10 minutes of either Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K. 448), a relaxation tape, or silence, before they took a test on spatial reasoning (as an indicator of intelligence). The students who had listened to Mozart scored significantly higher on the intelligence test. There was a huge popular response to the study, and many CDs of classical music provided for babies as a result, even though attempts to reproduce the test results largely failed. (I wonder if anyone did a study on the effects of the dispersal of all those classical music CDs by states such as Georgia and Tennessee.)

I am all in favor of arts and music in the schools (and also in favor of Obama), but let’s not tie the value of the arts to test scores in other subjects. It should be sufficient to argue that arts enrich the lives of those who participate in them, as spectators or as participants, as amateurs, professionals, or dabblers in the arts, and as children or adults. There is such joy, challenge, satisfaction, and inspiration in creativity, whether it be making music or ceramic pottery.

And test scores are not even always a reliable measure of learning, but that is a whole other topic.


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May 15 2008

The Gong Show

I was listening to FCTV, local cable access tv for Falmouth, the other day, listening, not watching, because, in my home office, my desk is arranged so that I have my back to the tv and because my little tv is on its last legs, and has a very dark, sometimes indecipherable picture. I like FCTV; I used to produce a tv show there myself, and I understand how much work goes into these shows.

Anyway, the show on FCTV was an interview show, featuring a woman interviewing a man about his gongs. I wasn’t so much interested in the show as I was in the interviewer, who seemed not only bored, but skeptical of the man and his gongs. He was going on about the mystical powers of the soung of the gong, and saying things like, “You don’t play the gong, the gong plays you.”

Instead of letting that New Age-y sounding statement go, the interviewer asked for an explanation, and the man started talking about how you play a flute by pressing on various keys and blowing, but the gong was completely different. Playing a gong is fairly simply; you hit it with a mallet as you would a musical instrument, but the sound of the gong has an impact on your body as if you, yourself, were the instrument.

He demonstrated, playing what looked like (and I couldn’t really see) numerous gongs of different sizes and with different sound properties. The effect was amazing. I was drawn into the gong sound immediately, stopped working, sat up a little straighter and enjoyed the sound going right through me. The bored interviewer responded too; suddenly seeming more light-hearted and giggly. Maybe because she was sitting right next to the gongs, vibrating along with them.

Turns out there is a whole world of gong meditation and gong therapy using gongs to create a healing “sound bath.” Very soothing! I’m not going to rush out to buy an gong though, the sound of cello music affects me similarly. I’m going to go practice now and enjoy some of those mellow vibrations.

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May 08 2008

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu wowed the audience last weekend with his dazzling performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto. He and conductor Jung-ho Pak, and an inspired Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra filled the 1440-seat hall at the Barnstable Center for the Performing Arts with beautiful, electrifying music. A number of those attending on Saturday evening bought tickets for Sunday’s performance on their way out, so eager were they to hear it all again. Sunday’s performance was a sell-out, and people were turned away from this classical music concert featuring the works of Verdi, Beethoven and Brahams. Nakamatsu and Pak clearly enjoy making music together, and audiences clearly enjoyed what they heard.

Cape Cod is lucky to have Pak as conductor and artistic director of the Cape Cod Symphony, and we can look forward to hearing a lot more from Nakamatsu this summer, when he serves, along with clarinetist Jon Manasse, as artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (July 29 to August 17). (Both also served as artistic directors for the festival last year.)

We will have a chance to hear both musicians play together on May 25, at the Chamber Music Society’s Spring Concert in Wellfleet. Jon and Jon will play Brahms Sonata for Clarinet in F Minor, Opus 120 No. 1, which can be found on their newly released recording from Harmonia Mundi.

I talked to Jon Nakamatsu recently at the Music Festival office in Chatham. He won the prestigious Van Cliburn competition in 1997, which catapulted him to musical success, but his path to a musical career has not been easy. Unlike most professional musicians, he did not follow the conservatory route, but, rather, studied German and education in college and became a high school German teacher. He continued practicing and entered numerous competitions, but was told again and again that he didn’t have what it takes.

He persevered, despite a job which kept him from practicing as much as he would have liked. His job prevented him from entering more than one competition a year, and he was getting older and competitions were for young musicians. He was 28 when he won the Van Cliburn competition (others that year were 19 to 30), and almost ready to give up his dream of a profession in classical music. Since his win, he has performed all over the world, both as a soloist and as a chamber player, and is highly praised for his musicality. He is also very personable, passionate about music, and interested in his fellow musicians and the audience.

Nakamatsu said that he had made several changes to the Chamber Music Festival, including adding more woodwind chamber music and including tango and jazz violin ensembles. You can see the whole schedule at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Web site.

Here’s the complete program for May 25:

Sunday, May 25: “Piano & Friends,” First Congregational Church, Wellfleet, 8 PM, Jon Manasse, clarinet; Jon Nakamatsu, piano.


Saint-Saëns: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 167

Debussy: Premiere Rhapsody for Clarinet and Piano

Chopin: Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brilliante, Op. 22

Kovacs: Homage to J. S. Bach

Brahms: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F Minor, Op. 120, No. 1

The Nauset World Music Ensemble will perform at 7 PM.

Tags: chamber music,
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May 04 2008

Modeling for the Arts

Driving down to the Falmouth’s Artists Guild on Friday, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Encouraged by my friend Carol, I had agreed to pose for a figure drawing class. Carol is both an artist and a cellist and had recently posed for the group while playing her cello.

I offered to play flute, but I was a little nervous about the whole thing and wondered what the finished paintings would look like. As an occasional artist myself, I have drawn both flute and cello, and I like exploring ways of making the flute look shiny and the cello look rich and resonant. So I appreciated that it might be fun for artists to draw instruments, as well as the people holding them.

I have noticed that musical instruments are often depicted incorrectly in art, and even in photos. People are shown playing instruments in impossible playing positions; instruments are sometimes shown with key elements missing. I’m all for artistic license, but I like a little accuracy in instrument art. Thus, I thought I would do my part to show how people hold the flute when they play it. (Flutes tend to be shown backwards, or with the hands too close to the face.)

What was also interesting about this 2.5 hour figure drawing session was that I was going to actually play the flute, not simply hold it. I was also a little worried about what my flute playing would sound like, but figured it would be a good way to get some practicing in!

I was a little nervous, but the artists in the figure drawing class were all friendly and kind-and talented, and we got underway. Drawing sessions were 10 minutes long, followed by a break of a few minutes, during which I could stretch, drink some water, and run around photographing the artwork.

I was quite pleased with the artwork. I said to one of the artists, “these are on the whole quite flattering.” And she said,”Well, we have all been models.”

I also enjoyed playing the flute for my captive audience. I started with the first flute part to selections from Haydn’s London Trios, which seemed to work fine, despite the missing second flute and cello. Then I played Marcello’s Sonata in F for flute (getting some applause for the first movement!), and then I turned to a book on slow airs from Ireland. I have not played much from this book, but it has a wonderful assortment of tunes, slower, lower, and more meditative than the classical music. There are some tricky rhythms, but this is not really a problem with slow airs, as it is entirely appropriate to take liberties with tempo markings and note durations when playing solo.

The artists were arranged in a semi-circle around me, and thus had different views of me. They also had different perceptions and used different techniques, and it was interesting to see the diversity of artwork they produced. Some even left out the flute. Most of these photos are of unfinished paintings, but they each have a unique viewpoint. Some of the paintings are shown below:

by Ruth Leech, an early version of her painting, but I like the way it looks.

by Nick Vardack (whose other work is on display at the Cape Galery Framer, on Main Street, Falmouth). This one looks the most like me.

by Marguerite Miller, who did a great job on a back view.

by Sigrid Hecker, who eliminated the flute entirely. I like the colors.

by Noreen Greetham, in watercolor. I like this one a lot and am happy to say that Noreen has promised to give me this painting when it is finished.

Ruth Leech told me that the class has been ongoing for at least four or five years, with many of the same people in attendance. If they do not have a model for a class, they take turns being the model and sometimes do group scenes with three or four people in the group, while the alternate group paints, giving them all an understanding of what it is like to model.

“Sometimes,” she said, “we have challenges such as doing contour drawing without looking at our work, just keeping our eye on the model. This is great fun! There is a great feeling of camaraderie and we are fortunate to have several men in regular attendance like today.”

Marguerite Miller is the class instructor, but she teaches in an informal way, giving aid to those who ask as well as to those without prior figure drawing experience. “She has brought many of us along,” according to Ruth. “We all have our part in this class. Some are timekeepers, Sigrid is the treasurer, and I usually find models and push the class along to get going on time!”

The class meets outside when it gets warm. In the past they have met on the Library lawn or the Falmouth Historical Society lawn. Ruth said, “They are delighted to have us there and it is a pleasant venue.” This summer/spring, the class may meet at both locations, as well as at Highfield Hall.

Friday Figure Group is a drop-in class, which means you don’t have to pre-register or pay in advance. Just show up on Friday at 9:30 AM with your easel and equipment and be prepared to draw or paint until noon. (Call first to make sure there is a class in session.) You don’t have to be a member of the Artists Guild, though, of course, regular attendees are encouraged to join. The fee is $10 per session, payable at the class.

If you are interested drawing/painting or in modeling (models are paid $30 per session), contact the Falmouth Artists Guild online or at 508-540-3304.

Here are the results of another class, when local musician Matt Beninghof posed last fall. Matt is an accomplished mandolin player and performs with his brother, John on guitar, and Charles Walton on drums as the Old Silver Band. Click on this photo to make it larger.

The Old Siver Band sounds great on their MySpace page, and you can hear them in person at the Courtyard in Bourne on Saturday, May 10.

In the photo are: L to R, Virginia Fantarella, David Kelley, Matt, Linda Peterson Pollen, MaryAnn Robb, and Bob Ryder.

Note: This photo and the first one were taken by Ruth Leech. Others were taken by me.

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