Melanies Blog

I ♥ Brahms

our girls will also experience the power and depth of the music through a master interpreter

Driving around in the sunshine between errands last Sunday afternoon, we had the pleasure of hearing a recent recording from this summer’s BBC Proms concerts in London, featuring the Violin Concerto by Johannes Brahms. It’s a great work, and my husband Bill commented that as a young boy an uncle had given him an old RCA recording of the piece, and he had been so smitten and consumed by the music that he had begun humming it at school, to the consternation or amusement of his teachers.


Each spring, as our Chorus School year and concert season end, we have the opportunity to reflect on the fruit of all our collective labor 

We got the raised garden beds ready for planting at the Lake County house last weekend.  After last summer’s gopher fiasco, raised beds are the only way to go (provided there’s a wire mesh cover on top, to keep Bambi out as well). Gophers do love to munch those roots, almost indiscriminately. However, they don’t seem to make a dent on one weed/plant that must surely be the Northern California gardener’s nemesis – wild mustard.


Last week SFGC co-hosted the national Chorus America conference

Webster’s Dictionary (online version) variously defines the word community as:

- a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons

- a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community

- a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community

True Grit

Even publications and performers must adapt to changing audiences and expectations

The spring edition of our electronic newsletter, “Brava,” was emailed earlier this week.  If you haven’t yet read it, it provides an update on some noteworthy events taking place at SFGC this spring and summer, including our annual fundraising gala, the Chorus America conference we’ll host in June, and the exciting tour to Cuba our girls will take in July.  Our newsletter in this format often prompts a range of responses from readers who recall various incarnations of this type of SFGC publication over the past 32 years.

The Home Stretch

It also applies to groups of people working together for a common cause – like a chorus

Spring break is over at SFGC, and the girls returned to Chorus last week. Having completed our annual gala at the end of March, the administrative staff is now in the home stretch of the season, working away at projects and programs coming up in the next 3 months, before the end of this fiscal and school year.


What could be more heart-warming than 40 vibrant young voices singing joyfully together?

What a teaser this so-called spring weather has been! What with Saturday night’s gale force winds, (which took some sheets of tin off our barn roof) and the return of the rain on Tuesday, March seems to be roaring out like a mad, wet lion.

The Red Balloon

The unexpected arrival of the balloon suggested possibilities

I found a red balloon nestled in the sage bush in my front yard last week. It definitely seemed like some kind of omen, since the 1956 French film about a boy and his balloon companion have been an important icon for most of my life. (And then I read in SF Gate the next day that 10,000 red balloons had been released over the Bay as part of a promotion for a new video game…)

Forever February

February is also budget time at SFGC, which means many hours of planning, reflection, questioning…

It’s the shortest month of the year, but somehow it feels like the longest.  This seems to be a widely shared feeling, and maybe it’s not just about the weather, which, until the forecast for SNOW(?!) this week, has been rather mild.  The jazz violinist Regina Carter wrote a tune a few years ago, called “Forever February,” to try to capture that late winter restlessness so many of us feel. 

Time in a Bottle

SFGC was recently the proud recipient of a commissioning grant from the Alexander Wallace Gerbode and Hewlett Foundations. 

Last week I read about a time capsule from 1910, opened by the Cleveland Elementary School in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco.  It was an interesting glimpse of life in post-earthquake San Francisco, as the geographic boundaries and the population of the city were rapidly expanding.  Put together by the Excelsior Homestead District, the  capsule was intended to give future San Franciscans a glimpse of the city’s status and revitalization following the quake.  Evidently the Excelsior area was envisioned to one day comprise many “solid, fine mansion

Burns Night

Our board, staff and faculty will have an all day retreat this coming Saturday 

Today is the poet Robert Burns’s birthday, also known as the holiday Burns Night in Scotland. I’m not especially attuned to Scottish holidays, but it showed up on my European calendar this morning, and then there was a tiny paragraph about it in the New York Times.   The Times gave examples of a couple of American poets whose birthdays could be honored with special feasts (definitely without the haggis!), and that got me thinking about the broader landscape of cultural values in this country.

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