Local musicians adjusting to 'new normal'

Shareen Strauss
Local musicians sit on a porch in McCloud and rehearse.

Local musical artists have not been detoured by the pandemic and are instead adjusting to new social norms by rehearsing and performing outside.

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach wafts up one of the alleys in McCloud as long-time musicians Sherry Ackerman and Marianne Locke sit on the back porch of Liz Wolff’s house and play music on their recorders.

Sounding more like a sinfonietta on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, people sit outside their homes or boldly walk over to watch the trio and listen to the soprano, tenor and alto recorders that create the range of rhythms and harmonies suited to their wooden instruments that one doesn’t get playing on a flute.

The three ladies took up playing the recorders in addition to performing on from their usual instruments of the flute, clarinet and harp in COS ensembles and other Siskiyou County venues. Now they get together weekly as Ackerman says, “for something enjoyable to do during this shut-in time.” They take turns playing the melody, rhythm and pickup on the wooden baroque instruments that some people think of as plastic toy versions for children.

Recorders were developed in the 1600s and were commonly used to play traditional and classical European music of those times. In addition to Bach, Purcell, Corelli and other classical masters, these ladies also played more popular songs as well. Switching from an early Welch song, “The Ash Grove,” that was adapted for campfire girls to skip to, they also played “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

“It’s a serious instrument with many different styles from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras from the 15th to the 18th centuries,” said Ackerman. “You learn the history as you are learning and playing the music.”

“You gotta love live music,” said Locke. She added that she is going to a private backyard concert in her neighborhood at the end of this month to listen to the Lauren and Joshua Duo play and sing songs of the 80s era.

In July, Jazz pianist Jerry Moore will be in Siskiyou County Bay Area to host a private garden concert including jazz standards and his most recent composition, “The Isolation Blues” and “Retrospection.”

Following state and local guidelines for safe gatherings, Locke, along with other local musicians, are hoping to have outdoor concerts over the summer and early fall to bring back the music culture that is so familiar and appreciated in the south Siskiyou County area.

For more information call (415) 302-0506 or email mlocke2yi@gmail.com. Due to social distancing regulations, reservations will be needed to limit seating when these outdoor concerts become available.

“I am looking forward to sharing the sound of live music to help bring back a variety of musical events in our Siskiyou County communities,” said Locke.