American lute song duo Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart specialize in thoughtful programming illuminating the vibrant mingling of renaissance music and poetry. Mignarda captures the intricacy of 16th century music for voice and lute with warmth and style. "The lute is actually pretty well considered to be derived from the Arabic oud," Andrico explains. Though its origins aren't certain, it was popular for hundreds of years in European history. "A lutist was a very intimate sort of part of the royal household.
James Noyes is a native of Iowa City and a skilled "doubler" perform on saxophone. At the age of ten, Noyes chose to play alto saxophone in the elementary school band. Early in his career, Noyes was drawn to performing on many woodwinds, and became known as a skilled "doubler" on saxophones, clarinets, and flute. In this capacity, he landed his first professional job as a member of Disney's All-American College Orchestra. Since that time, Noyes has become a saxophone specialist, having appeared with the Long Island Philharmonic, Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia and many more. Formerly on the faculty at the Penn State School of Music in State College, PA, Dr. Noyes currently resides in the Inwood section of New York City and serves on the faculties of William Paterson University, Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (former Theory Department Chair), and as Artistic Director of the MOSA (Music at Our Saviour's Atonement) Concert Series in Washington Heights. Marc-Antonio Consoli wrote the second piece Noyes performs, one of the first pieces written for tenor saxophone and piano. Though written in 1965, the piece did not premiere until 2002, a common occurrence for classical composers' work, when pianist Scott Holden and Noyes played the entire work.
In any small town, it is commonly believed, everybody knows everybody else's business. This tendency may be snoopy or supportive, but at least it can serve to enliven the quiet surroundings. That may be an unfair stereotype -- city and country dwellers generally have the same number of close friends -- since small towns don't prove lacking for character and action when they turn up in fiction, and in that setting the news gets around. So in the fictional town of Fenston, PA (conjured somewhere between Binghamton and Scranton and bearing no relationship to the Broome County community with a similar name) we can find the ordinary and the unusual, the ephemeral and the enduring, tragedy and comedy and troubled characters who will all, at some point, find comfort and support from other people and from the natural setting. The Fenston Trilogy of Karen Blomain began in 2000 with "A Trick of Light", continued this year with "The Season of Lost Children" and is projected to conclude in 2013 with "Mechanics of Fire" (working title). Each of these volumes is set in distinct decades, starting in 1955 with the arrival in Fenston of Ben Darling, his marriage to a local girl, the arrival of their daughters and Ben taking a second wife and living as a bigamist before dying suddenly. Katia Darling's family moves from bucolic Fenston to Hartford, Connecticut and, at the age of eight, following her mother's death, Katia leaves to live with her uncle Piotr in Warsaw, Poland. "The Season of Lost Children" continues the story with a flashback to a night in 1955 when Father Edward Roderi, a Catholic priest, elopes with a nun. The life of Eddie and Eleanor parallels the seeking of Katia Darling. Katia has returned to America to attend college -- her determined detective work led her to choose a college close to Fenston so she could try to reconnect with her family. Eleanor still had moments of depression thinking about the child who was taken from her at birth, presumably to be raised in an orphanage, and before she and Eddie had met and raised a family of their own. They are all seeking to be made whole. Karen Blomain of Union Dale, PA is the author of several volumes of poetry and, with her husband Michael Downend, the play "An American Wife", as well as criticism and translation. She conducts writing workshops in many parts of the world, including at the Diplomatic Academy of Moscow and, during 2012, in County Cork, Ireland and Uppsala, Sweden. She joins Bill Jaker on OFF THE PAGE to tell about "The Season of Lost Children" and share tips on writing.