July 26: 25th – 2018, Handel, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened

Jon CurtisSeason of the Day, SOTD - July

In this first video from our 25th season we have an example of one of the amazing orchestras we’ve been supported by, playing G. F. Handel, “Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened.”

Persons of the Day: the Consort Orchestra

Consort’s first performance with an orchestra was Opus 5 in 1998.  We were still performing in Stewart Chapel so space was very limited.  Yet in 2001 we squeezed a ten member orchestra into the chapel.  In recent years we have had larger orchestras, the largest in 2017 with 13 members.

Since moving to the First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo in 2003, we have averaged eight members in the orchestra each season along with piano and two organs, which were both played for Louise Vierne’s “Messe Solennelle” by Fay Manes and Stephen McKersie in 2004. This work was featured on June 8th.

When we consider the people who have accompanied our concerts over the years, one might think that Fay Manes, who played with us for 14 seasons, would be our longest running instrumentalist.  However, you will see below, that Wieslaw has her beat by one year.

Many of our most frequent orchestral members came as surprise guests to our Zoom Party last weekend:
  • Wieslaw Pogorzelski joined us from Warsaw, Poland at 4:20am his time!  He performed with us for 15 seasons, from our first orchestra in 1998 until his move to Poland after our concert in 2015.  He has most commonly played Viola, but also Violin, and was our first Orchestra Contractor in 2010.
  • Kelly Maulbetsch has also served as our Orchestra Contractor for several years.  She plays Cello and has performed with us for ten seasons.
  • Violinist Michelle Maruyama comes next with seven seasons.
  • She is followed by violinist Darren Sagawa for six seasons.
  • Percussionist Tim Dent and Violinist Caitlin McSherry have each played for three seasons.
  • And we were also joined by Drew Ford, Cello, who has joined us for two seasons.
He was not at the party, but Bass player Richard Worn has the longest tenure with Consort.  He has played for eight seasons, beginning in 1998 through last year, 2019.

As they said at the party, they all very much enjoy and look forward to playing with Consort each year.  We have been very fortunate to have such a talented and professional group of instrumentalists to support us.  In our 26 seasons we’ve had 87 accompanying musicians, 32 of which have played two years or more.

The Yin to his exact contemporary J.S. Bach’s Yang, Johann Frideric Handel was a German composer, hired to the court of the Hanover elector (a kind of prince), who sent him to Italy to study in 1707-10. Upon his return, Handel visited London and decided to settle there, to the great displeasure of his prince, who then, by an improbable turn of events, became England’s King George I (he was 51st in line for the throne, but the first non-Catholic). Fortunately, the King appreciated Handel and gave him money and eventually the citizenship. Handel is mostly known for his vocal works (operas, oratorios, anthems) though he saw himself primarily as an instrumental music composer.

Let thy hand be strengthened and thy right hand be exalted.
Let justice
 and judgment be the preparation of thy seat!
Let mercy and truth go 
before thy face.
Let justice, judgment, mercy, and truth go before thy face. Alleluia.