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Hello friends, readers and musicians. I have not forgotten you. It seems that the Christmas rush has gotten into yours truly.  I want to thank you for your continued support and readership, the CMF has become one of the influential force in the Celtic music scene.

After days of exhausting ways to get schedules right, Christmas cards and gifts have finally been mailed out. I think the greatest gift that we have this Christmas is having a slack in life after months of difficulties. I can say that no one can stay in one state for a long time. Things have to move and like the planetary motion we are all coming and going in circles.

The future can be scary because of its unpredictability. But always remember, what we are doing now determines the future. We are creating our own history, and that history will someday save us and heal us…and bring us all back together because of the meaning that binds us together. So my dear readers don’t ever loose hope. The future might be scary and unpredictable but it is also exciting. Let’s join hands to welcome it.

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On the news,

Musica Pacifica, a California chamber ensemble is gearing towards their upcoming performance. I got a copy of their CD on the mail and I love not only the wonderful music but also the packaging. For those who don’t have a copy of  “Dancing in the Isles” yet you better get one because it is a pleasure to listen to. Here’s something about the press release.

San Francisco, CA: Bay Area based early music ensemble Musica Pacifica (www.musicapacifica.org), now celebrating their 20th season, is pleased to present a varied and extensive “home season” of performances in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Petaluma, Davis, and Sacramento.

Described by the press as “some of the finest baroque musicians in America” (American Record Guide) and “among the best in the world” (Alte Musik Aktuell), Musica Pacifica performs 17th- and 18th-century music on varying combinations of recorder, violin, cello/gamba, harpsichord, and percussion. Their very recent Dancing in the Isles CD has continued to get rave reviews from music journals all over the world, including American Record Guide; the German magazine Concerto; Early Music Today from the UK, and the prestigious Gramophone from the UK, who called it “one of the zestiest recordings of recent vintage to present works that once had them dancing and listening with joy.” And the online journal, Musica dei Donum said: The playing is first-rate: full of bounce, stylish, and technically immaculate.”

Tickets for all events below (unless otherwise noted) are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, members of SF Early Music Society, Early Music America, and ARS; and $10 for students. Tickets are available through www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door.

PROGRAM ONE, entitled “La Bizzarria: Music of 17th century Italy,” features music by Turini, Frescobaldi, Falconieri, Cazzati, Marini, Castello, Vitali, and others. Performances will be held:

Friday, January 13th , 7:30pm at the Petaluma Historical Museum
20 4th Street  Petaluma, CA; www.petalumamuseum.com

Saturday, January 14th, 8pm at Trinity Chapel in Berkeley
2320 Dana St. (at Durant), Berkeley

Sunday January 15th , 3 pm at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
(in conjunction with the exhibit “Florence and the Baroque”)
216 O Street, Sacramento
Tickets are $6 for CAM Members, $12 for Nonmembers, $8 for Students
For tickets and more information, call 916.808.7000 or visit www.crockerartmuseum.org

Sunday, January 15th , 7:30 pm at the Davis Community Church, Davis
412 C St, Davis
No advance ticket sales. $10 suggested donation at the door.

PROGRAM TWO, entitled “Dancing in the Isles, The Sequel!” is a further selection of Baroque and traditional music from England, Scotland, and Ireland to complement the music from their original “Isles” CD. Performances will be held:

Thursday, February 16th , 7:30 pm at Ashkenaz, Berkeley
1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley
For tickets ($10 general admission) visit www.ashkenaz.com after January 15, 2012

Saturday, February 18th , 8pm at First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto
600 Homer Ave., Palo Alto

Sunday, February 19th , 4 pm at Noe Valley Chamber Music, San Francisco
Most Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, 455 Fair Oaks Street
(between 25th and 26th Streets), San Francisco
Tickets are $20 General Admission, $15 for seniors and students
For tickets and more information, visit www.nvcm.org

Members of Musica Pacifica (Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin; Charles Sherman, harpsichord; and Shirley Hunt, baroque ‘cello, viola da gamba) perform with Philharmonia Baroque and American Bach Soloists, and also appear with prominent early music ensembles nationally and abroad. They have performed on such prestigious concert series as The Frick Collection and Music Before 1800 (NY), the Getty Museum (LA), Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg), Cleveland Art Museum, and the Berkeley Early Music Festival (3 times), among others. They have performed at festivals in Germany and Austria and have been featured on German National radio as well as on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and “Harmonia.” Musica Pacifica’s eight CD releases on the Virgin Classics, Dorian, and Solimar labels have won national and international awards, including Chamber Music America/WQXR’s 2003 Record Award, being featured on Minnesota Public Radio, and being chosen as “CD of the Month” by the early music journal Alte Musik Aktuell (Regensburg). Full bios of all musicians are at www.musicapacifica.org.

PLEASE NOTE: Harpischordist Katherine Heater will perform in place of Charles Sherman at January’s concerts.

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Peter McDowell
Performing Arts Management Consulting
New York City | Chicago | San Francisco
+1 773 484 8811
twitter: pmcdowellarts
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Here are my top picks for the season:
Enya: And Winter Came
Like last year this album always finds its way into my player. O come O come Emmanuel still brings shiver to my spine. Nicky Ryan’s production adds the superb edge to Enya’s quirky chord arrangements, laid back  instrumentation and lush vocal layers. Roma Ryan has made a lyrical gem to Last Time by Moonlight. This album is timeless and must have for any seasons, winter or summer.
Loreena McKennitt: A Midwinter Night’s Dream
Loreena McKennitt’s voice continues to enchant and inspire. Here is the gift that should be given to those who love the beauty of old time carols.
Nightnoise: A Different Shore
Nightnoise might not really doing music for carols but the atmosphere gives off that feeling. Otherworldly with hints of jazz and folk.
Maureen McGovern: Christmas With…
Jazz meets traditional. I got this way back 1990. This is one of those albums that don’t show off but just grows on you upon several listens. Still has that shine after decades!
More to come soon.