I’ll pop in briefly here before even more time slips away without a post.

First of all, Spring really does seem to be coming now, and fast. The snow is nearly gone and the birds and bugs are already making an appearance. There are tiny buds on some of the trees, and the croaking of frogs can be heard as an accompaniment to the roar of the river, engorged with snow-melt.

The first hints of Spring arrived last week, but I kept my hopes to a minimum because we all know that March can be a capricious month with weather extremes. Even now I remind myself that snow is still very possible before Spring arrives for good.

Yet my spirits are buoying optimistically in spite of themselves and I do feel an increase of energy with the sunshine and rising temperatures, so I am going to hold positive thoughts that Winter is pretty much done here!

(Ah, one of the good aspects of living in California…)

James and I have been busy with the recorder group; we rehearsed for the second time on Wednesday, down in Nevada City. Then we had another rehearsal at a junior high school in town early this morning.

All week, we had prepared the assigned pieces and were then thrown a curve-ball with several new selections at Wednesday’s rehearsal, so we were sight-reading all over again! (Everyone else had played the music.)

Although no-one seemed to mind that we weren’t quite on top of things, WE didn’t like being put on the spot in such a way, and prevented from putting our best foot forward. Especially since we’re brand-new to the group.

Today’s one rehearsal with the kids — who are doing a few Renaissance dances at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City on March 6th — went fairly well, even with a few miscommunications in our group about repeats in the music. (We call it the “road map”. Repeats and “da capo” etc. can be confusing.)

We played on stage at the auditorium which doubles as the cafeteria. There were seven of us, chairs arranged in a semi-circle, and our audience consisted of about a hundred seventh-graders.

There I was, giving a demonstration on the tenor recorder, playing a two-octave C scale on an instrument that I’m not acquainted with all that well yet!

I made the mistake of thinking about this while I was playing. I brashly sight-read the tenor part to the piece of music that we had just performed (I had played alto, which is in a different key and has different fingerings) and I ended up skipping a line on the page of music. Pretty lame! But the kids applauded anyway.

James was smarter to play just a few notes and talk briefly about the alto recorder.

It feels good to be volunteers-of-sorts in the community. This is an excellent way for both of us to contribute to the musical life of the area. It is also nice to be able to play with other recorder enthusiasts, and stimulating to play in public.

Other news: tomorrow we are going to San Francisco to hear the Symphony, followed by a late dinner at a rather “fancy” restaurant near the concert hall. We are sharing this special occasion with L. & D. from Nevada City, and my violinist friend R.A. from Lafayette.

James and I are driving to Lafayette, then going with R.A. on BART (public transportation) into the City to meet the others shortly before the concert.

After dinner, we’ll take BART back to R.A.’s house and will stay overnight.

Then on Sunday we head over to Sacramento to join my brother and family for a special brunch at the family home; one of my sister-in-law’s sisters is visiting from the East coast and a cousin of hers from San Francisco is also coming with his family. Quite a gathering!

We’re looking forward to this unusual change-of-scene and social interaction with these various people, but you can rest assured that we’ll be even more glad to get back home to our shack in the Woods.