Coming soon: Settlement House “mini-tour”

Through a grant from the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, Community MusicWorks commissioned two new works for the Providence String Quartet to perform during the 08-09 season.


One piece, The Kompa Variations by Daniel Bernard Roumain, received it premiere at Providence's RISD Auditorium in October. The second piece, Earned by Anthony Green, will be performed for the first time at Providence's John Hope Settlement House on Friday evening, May 15. The performance will be repeated the following afternoon (May 16) at the United South End Settlements in Boston, MA.

Historically, settlement houses have fulfilled a dual role, providing
both a place of refuge for immigrants, and a haven for the arts in
chronically under-served neighborhoods. Most were located in crowded
immigrant neighborhoods of industrial cities, where settlement workers
provided services for neighbors and sought to remedy poverty. As it deals with the related themes of immigration and citizenship, we feel that it is most appropriate for Earned to receive its debut performances at two settlement houses.

Anthony was recently in Rochester, NY for the performance of another work, 3 Groups. Read about it here.

More information about the "mini-tour" will be shared next month…

-Heath Marlow, CMW staff

St. Pat’s 5K

The CMW Pavement Raiders were in fine form at Saturday's 5K, running for fun, exercise, and also raising $1,646 (to date) for CMW's pilot summer program.


It was a cold morning on the first day of Spring


Jessie was prepared to cut down any glare from the sun


Arlyn mid-race


Jessie heading to the finish line


Sara and Jason clad
in official race attire


Ladies of CMW in front of the State House


Monty, Rachel, and Arlyn posing with Richie, CMW's secret weapon


CMW Pavement Raiders, March 2009 edition

Wickford concert photos

On Sunday afternoon, the CMW Players and the Phase III Quartet journeyed south to picturesque Wickford, RI to perform music by Mozart, Shostakovich, and Samuel Barber.


Sebastian and Jessie warming up for Mozart


Sakiko backstage


The Phase III Quartet's pre-concert snack


The Phase III Quartet on stage


Heath and Sakiko


The CMW Fellows Quartet performing Barber

Excerpt from “10 Years…10 Stories”

From the CMW archive, here is an excerpt from one of the ten interviews conducted by Kirby and Chloe as part of our 10th season celebration. The ten interviews are still available in their entirety on our website.


KIRBY: Zeeny, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

ZEENY: My name is Zeeny, and I just turned ten years old. Can I tell you about my culture? I’m one-quarter Bahamian, one-quarter African, and one-half white.

KIRBY: How and when did you get involved in CMW?

ZEENY: I’m starting my third year. I think my mom just put me on the waiting list. I had played violin a little bit when I was four, so I kind of remembered it from long ago. But when I did violin then, I didn’t really want to play. It was that four-year-old stuff, “I don’t want to do it.” As I got older, I wished I had kept playing.

PATRICE: She even said to me, “I wish I’d never quit.” She was six or seven years old at the time. We had moved to this neighborhood in 2000, so we always used to walk by the office, and I saw the violins in the window. So one day we came in, and I put her on the list, and every so often, we’d get one of those postcards, saying, “You’re 72ndon the waiting list.” And I would ask Zeeny, “Are you still interested?” And she would always say yes. Finally, when she was seven and half, they called and said they had space. It was a summer day. We turned off supper and came right over!

KIRBY: Who do you have the most important relationship with in CMW?

ZEENY: Probably with my teacher, Jesse. He’s been the one that stayed with me longest. Also, I feed his cats when he’s away. In the summer, I feed his cats like every other week. He’s really funny: he cuts his hair short in the wintertime, and grows it long in the summertime!

PATRICE: Plus, he’s come over to our house and seen your whole menagerie, right? The cat, the snake, the bird, the lizard… There was even the night he came over and gave you a makeup lesson in your pajamas, remember? Jesse always goes above and beyond. We gave him a spaghetti dinner for that lesson. And every year he has a birthday breakfast with us.

KIRBY: What’s your funniest memory of CMW?

ZEENY: Well, I have lessons with Andrew. We’ve always had lessons together. And sometimes in lessons Jesse says, “OK, who wants to play this one?” And I always step back, and then Jesse says, “Well, Andrew, it looks like you’ve been volunteered.” It’s really funny.

KIRBY: What’s your most embarrassing moment in CMW?

ZEENY: Usually when I mess up during a concert. Like this last performance party, I messed up a little on the Waltz, when I did those triplets, I didn’t do them fast enough. But then Andrew messed up a little almost at the end, so I’m like, “Okay, it’s fair now.”

KIRBY: Patrice, how has the CMW community been important in your life, and in Zeeny’s life?

PATRICE: You know, in the beginning I really didn’t understand the whole community part of it. We actually missed the first performance party in the fall, because I just didn’t know it was important. At the time, our lives had been really disrupted, because we had moved to the area in the summer of 2000, and then 9/11 came along, and because I’m in the Air Force, I got called up and I was gone for a year. When I got back, I had a hard time catching up with Zeeny, and CMW become something for me to get involved with her in an interesting way. And then at the end of the first year, at the Performance Party down at the Church of the Messiah, Sebastian got up and said something about “community is first in CMW for a reason.” And it was like a light going on! Also getting to know Jesse was instrumental in making us feel a part of the community. Finding out that he was our neighbor, and him being part of our lives beyond lessons. So the community has really enriched us.

KIRBY: How was CMW different from what you expected when you first came in here?

PATRICE: Well, it’s so much more than anything I could have ever dreamed of. I had this limited perception of lessons. For example, if you want swim lessons, you go to the YMCA. You come on Mondays and Wednesdays nights, the kids all get in the water, the parents wait until the hour’s up. And that’s swim lessons at the Y. So I thought it was going to be the kind of thing that the kid gets involved in, but that’s it. My expectations were very small. So really it far exceeded my expectations. Because the relationship we have with Jesse is so dear, I can’t imagine him not being my neighbor, or being in our life. That’s why Sebastian’s words, “community is first in our banner for a reason,” has really come home to me in so many ways.

Music Lab students click here!

Assignment for Jessie's Music Lab students:

Become familiar with all of the selections on this list. There will be several ways you can build your listening into your daily life between now and the exam on April 20:

1. There will be two listening stations available at the MET on Mondays—One CD player and one iPod dock. The iPod dock can accommodate more than one listener at a time, where as the CD player is a solo listening experience.

2. If you bring your iPod to class, you can plug in to my computer and download the Music Lab Listening Playlist, and have it handy at ALL TIMES!

3. There will be a copy of the Music Lab Listening CD’s at the office library on Westminster Street. If you are in the neighborhood, waiting for a meeting or at the office for any reason, you can take some time to listen in the library or you can check out the CD as reference and listen on one of the computers or CD players in the office.

Find out whatever information you can about the composers and the music you are listening to. Look up the artists online or in A BOOK or a LIBRARY, (ok, fine—you’ll probably stick to online references…), to find out biographical information, when they were popular, their musical style/influences. For composers like Mozart, Brahms, Britten, Shostakovich, Bernstein and Reich, you should be able to name their period-style, i.e. “classical”, “romantic” “modern”, etc. Bring the information you find to class, either printed out, or recite it out loud. I will collect what you bring and use it on the test. Please take note of the reference you used. 

I recommend…

When seeking out references, I encourage you to look up and listen to other music of an individual composer so that you might familiarize yourself with their musical style in general. YouTube is a good resource for this…

Ex) Music for 18 Musicians can be found in performance on YouTube. It’s incredible to watch people execute this music with such precision. It puts a different perspective on the listening experience

Please try your best with this list this year. If you do well, you WILL BE REWARDED!!—WITH HEIGHTENED MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE!!—ok, and also with an awesome material gift that you will, no doubt, hold at equal value to your new found brilliance…

Click here
to download this information and the Music Lab listening exam play list.

-Jessie Mongtomery, PSQ

Saturday, March 21, 8:00pm, The Music Mansion, 88 Meeting Street on the East Side:  Jessie and Sebastian perform Mozart Sinfonia Concertante.

**Sunday, April 5, 3:00, the Lincoln School Auditorium, 301 Butler Ave, on the East Side: PSQ performs with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra—Jessie and Sebastian play Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, and Jesse and Sara play Brahms Double Concerto.

My morning with Barber(a Heyman)

This Spring, Community MusicWorks has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to have the Fellows Quartet present Samuel Barber’s String Quartet, Opus 11 in concert and school settings as an “American Masterpiece.” Heath asked me to be involved by writing up some program notes, be in touch with the Fellows about the project and put together a podcast on the Barber quartet for our website. 

I started off by heading down to our wonderful downtown library (a real resource for the amateur musicologist) to find some source-material on Barber. Sure, I had played the Barber violin concerto and played the “Adagio for Strings” a couple of times in orchestra concerts, but to be honest, I knew next to nothing about Samuel Barber

I found a couple of books on the shelf and one caught my eye in particular, “Samuel Barber, The Composer and his Music,” by Barbara Heyman. I started reading a couple days later and found myself engrossed as if I was reading the latest John Grisham book.  The book is exhaustively (and I mean exhaustively) researched, wonderfully written and really fun to read, and for a musicology book that is no short order. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “who is this Barbara Heyman?” 

A quick Google search produced a link to Brooklyn College, CUNY where she had been on the faculty. I thought, “Why, the quartet just so happens to be traveling to New York City in a couple of weeks for two concerts. Perhaps I could meet Dr. Heyman and talk Barber-shop and even invite her to one of the concerts?” I was able to rustle up a phone number and left her a message on voice mail. I felt like I was cold-calling a celebrity! Would she be annoyed, even angry with me for calling her? When I didn’t hear back from her for a few days, I was afraid my fears were confirmed. Why would a big-time music scholar bother to call back some violinist who calls her wanting to talk about Barber?  Oh well…at least I gave it a shot.

I was picking up my bows after getting them re-haired about a week later and I got a call on my cell phone. I checked the message an hour later and it was Barbara Heyman! She said that she would love to get together and even attend one of the concerts. I was so star struck; it felt like Oprah was calling me. We spoke on the phone a couple of times to work out logistics, but meanwhile the Providence Quartet’s Sunday afternoon performance in Manhattan was canceled. We were still looking around for another venue and I explained to Dr. Heyman that I was not sure when I would be free until our concert re-scheduling was resolved. “We could have the concert at your place,” I quipped, half-jokingly. “Sure, that sounds like a lot of fun,” was her response. It was that easy. I would meet Ms. Heyman in the morning to discuss Barber and then the PSQ would play a concert at her apartment in the afternoon.

I was nervous when I rang the bell of her apartment on East 86th Street in Manhattan, but she made me feel completely at ease. This was no stuffy musicologist. Barbara, as she asked me to call her, was warm and friendly and we became fast-friends. Her knowledge of Barber is astounding and she still bubbles with excitement about new projects and things to discover. We spent the next several hours talking about Barber, listening to music, talking about Community MusicWorks and just getting to know each other.

Listen to a portion of my conversation with Barbara Heyman here.

Then the rest of the quartet arrived for a short rehearsal before the guests arrived. Our friends Ljova and Inna (see earlier blog post) even showed up for an impromptu performance of some of Ljova’s music after we performed the Ravel String Quartet. It was a wonderful day. 


-Jesse Holstein, PSQ

Evensong to benefit CMW

On Sunday, March 15, the Evensong for the Feast of Saint Gregory at All
Saints' Memorial Church, our neighbor at 674 Westminster Street, will feature music by Tallis, Durufle, Dupre, and J.S. Bach performed by the All Saints' Memorial Church Choir led by Barry Turley, organist and choirmaster.


A freewill offering will taken to benefit Community MusicWorks. For more information about this event,
call (401) 751-1747.