Early Music groups showcase new collection

Maija Anstine

Students, faculty and community members interested in baroque music gathered Tuesday evening Oct. 26 for the Early Music at Lawrence event held in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
The Lawrence University Collective of Early Music, a new umbrella organization for Lawrence early music groups, organized the event.
Olivia Quintanilla described the event as an “instrument petting zoo,” where shawms, baroque oboes, crumhorns, recorders of many sizes and a baroque cello were displayed for view and for use.
Most of these instruments are a part of the new James Smith Randolph Collection of Early Winds, which Lawrence acquired Aug. 4. The collection includes 21 renaissance and baroque instruments as well as 250 pieces of early wind music and many other books on early music.
Lawrence Baroque co-founder Katelin Richter explained, “Lawrence was by no means the ‘most prestigious’ or biggest conservatory on the list of possible candidates for the collection. We were offered the collection because of the genuine student interest in early music at the Con. Tonight’s event is literally putting his collection in the hands of students!”
Though there are plans to construct a display case for the instruments, Dean of the Conservatory Brian Pertl stressed that “instruments that are merely used for display are no longer musical instruments,” and that he is excited to see “what sorts of music making this collection will inspire.”
The event also gave students an opportunity to learn more about the groups that LUCEM represents: the Lawrence University Musicology Association, Lawrence Baroque, Harmonia and Alta Capella. The latter three groups offer performance opportunities for interested students, either vocally or on period instruments.
“The idea is that students would not have to feel committed to just one ensemble, but rather, if they have diverse interests, feel free to work in several of the groups within the collective,” Richter said.
Richter also emphasized that the groups “do not offer just opportunities for performers, but also educators, arts managers, entrepreneurs, researchers and more.” She encouraged interested students to become fans of LUCEM or Lawrence Baroque on Facebook for updates.
For attendee Thomas Malm, the event “showed Lawrence’s commitment to starting early music at Lawrence,” and “made [students] want to participate” because of faculty involvement and the formal setting and catering.
“How they brought all of the different groups together into one venue was very effective,” continued Malm.
According to Richter, Lawrence Baroque hopes to put on more collaborative events this year, much in the vein of last spring’s “An Evening of Baroque Dance” event, which incorporated not only performance but also dance and history.
Richter explained the importance of the initiative. “There are really so many unique concert experiences that we could bring to the Lawrence and Fox Valley communities! This is really about collaboration to bring this music to an audience in a historically informed, relevant and engaging way.