Mad Songs and Crazy Good Collaborators

A couple weeks ago I was in Chicago to sing concerts with the award-winning chamber group Wayward Sisters. I was friends with a couple of the “Sisters” — violinist Beth Wenstrom and lutenist John Lenti — and they asked me to join them as a guest artist. After a few days of great music-making, eating, and laughing together, I’d say all four of the Wayward Sisters are my friends now, and I can’t wait to collaborate with them again.

We rehearsed — in our socks, of course — in a beautiful apartment right on Lake Michigan, where recorder player Anne Timberlake and I also got to stay while we were there,

Sisters1

went to see cellist Anna Steinhoff in her other gig that weekend, playing with the excellent period orchestra Baroque Band,

Sisters2

consumed good food and hot drinks to stay warm,

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and gave two wonderful concerts of “Music Gone Mad,” including Handel’s fabulously wild early cantata Agrippina Condotta a Morire, mad songs by Henry Purcell and his brother Daniel, and Merula’s “Folle è ben,” which really isn’t that mad except for the word “folle” in its title, but as John says, is such a beautiful song that it just must be performed as often as possible.

Sisters5

John, Anne, Anna and Beth are such skilled, sensitive and knowledgeable musicians, and plain old good people, that it was a joy to spend four days making music with them.

Oh, it snowed, of course.

Chicago snow

So I was grateful for my trusty down parka and amazingly warm Keen boots. And I’ll don them again anytime if I get to sing with Wayward Sisters.

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