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Ancient Flute Sounds / Report of our Event / Report of our Event on Oct15th, 2017

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If a tree falls in the forest will anyone hear it? If a tree falls in the forest and the tree becomes hollow and wind blows through it at 50 mph, will we hear a note and if so will we hear any overtones? And at what wind speed will the note spontaneously, through the acoustical magic of physics, jump up EXACTLY one octave? And which overtone has triple the frequency of the fundamental?

Engineering was a big theme in Sunday's Open Mic Classical, a theme which announced itself to me even before stepping foot into the wonderful sanctuary of the UU church where we are so blessed to perform, a theme which announced itself to me in the form of my co-founding partner Bob Marcus' intriguing sculpture in the side gardens of the UU. (Come see it!) Engineering instruments, engineering keys, engineering scales, engineering bronze into languid feminine shapes.

Our featured performer, LeeAnn McKenna, not only played exquisitely, but educated profoundly. Segueing beautifully from our “Mini Lecture” series, brought now by beloved regular Gabrielle Ramsauer about composer Johann Joachim Quantz, LeeAnn showed us her wonderful wooden baroque flute and explained how Quantz himself actually engineered and designed flutes. Ah, such mathematical ins and outs of the music world: the orchestras of old that tuned to A438, the new European ones often tuning to 444, the flutists of yore traveling church to church having to reconfigure the components of their flutes to match pitch with varying church organs.

After she gave us insight into behind-the-scenes engineering LeeAnn McKenna unveiled, like a beautiful flower, the product of all that clever human engineering in the form of breath-taking tones emerging from her lips by way of her multiple flutes: some lines by Quantz, Mozart, very modern sounding Kent Kennan and otherworldly impressionism by Debussy, and Jules Jules Mouquet.


In addition to our feature LeeAnn, Monika Woods performed a solo piece on clarinet (which, when played, emits a compression wave with about 3% greater air pressure than the surrounding air)...


...8 years old Zsoka Woods played on violin, and on

piano (the latter of which is comprised of about 12,000 parts)...


...singer Donna Pihl did a marvelous rendering of the song “Old Man River”, music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. (...did you know there are 86 billion neurons in the human brain... )


...and local composer Eli Woods inspired perhaps by her daughter’s violin practice, or by the big classical composer W.A. Mozart, played a piano improv on the melody of Twinkle Twinkle (In 1877, at the age of 22, Mozart composed a set of twelve variations on the theme “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman”, better known to us as the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”)


Much thanks to our wonderful piano accompanist Lucy Banner who artfully read some very challenging pieces.

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