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Vol. XXIX No. 6
April-May 2005
~ Is this the Court of the Exchequer? ~

Sunday, April 17, 2-5 pm

In This Issue:

NEGASS Business

Meeting News

Member News

Performances and auditions
in NE and elsewhere











Last-Minute Light Opera PINAFORE
March 20, 2 PM

How to get there: The Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington, MA)

girl catching judgeOn Sunday, April 17th, we will gather at 2 pm for a sing-through of TRIAL BY JURY. It will be cast on the spot, not in advance. This will be followed by readings of Bab Ballads and spontaneous singing, so bring your scores and Ballads! David Goldhirsch is the pianist.

The building is once again the Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington, but in a different room from the Last Minute Light Opera. This will be in the Chapel, through the same entrance. Although we don’t have the use of the kitchen with this room, snacks and drinks are permitted. Carol Mahoney will leave paper goods, a coffee cake, and several beverages/juice for us in the kitchen before proceeding to other duties.

Judge and jury dancing

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Last-Minute Light Opera: HMS PINAFORE

Sir Joseph Porter

Tony Parkes


Capt. Corcoran

Peter Cameron

Ralph Rackstraw

Ed Fell

Dick Deadeye

Dave Leigh

Bill Bobstay

Carl Weggel

Bob Becket

Tom Dawkins


Cecelia Beyer


April Grant

Little Buttercup

Deb Sager

On March 20, the Last Minute Light Opera’s HMS PINAFORE drew a large crowd to Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington. [I counted 50, not including the orchestra – tsw] "The audience is invited to sing along in all the choruses," announced the program. The audience arrived eager to sing choruses in public, and many had brought their own scores. The show used the Broude Brothers’ new orchestral score and band parts. Dave Leigh, NEGASS’s Program Chair, passed out copies to the audience. I sang from one, and it looked good, set in a legible font, not too small. There were some surprises: alternate lyrics, extra lines, and a choice of Act II finales—one of which ended with "Rule Britannia". Conductor David C. Larrick chose to use the original ending, which is the same for the singers as the most commonly used one, but has a longer orchestral finale.

As 2:00 p.m. approached, the organizers dashed about, setting up more chairs, welcoming newcomers and old friends, and trying to find someone to play Celerity. At showtime, Mr. Larrick welcomed singers and musicians, spoke briefly about the new score, invited chorus singers to go onstage if they wished, and turned to conduct the overture.

The LMLO was graced with a large volunteer orchestra, including Eric Myrvagnes and Phil Trackman on flute, Ian Cohen on oboe, Steve Anderson and Gary Seligson on clarinets, John Chon on bassoon, Dave Douglas and Bob Spindler on trumpets (though listed in the program as "cornets", it was revealed by my mysterious masked informant that they were, in fact, playing trumpets), John Bourne and Jim Whipple on horns, and Jim Battell and David Schwartz on trombones. Tom Dawkins was listed in the program as playing piano, but as there was an unexpectedly large turnout for the strings section, he joined them on viola. Later, he sang the part of the Carpenter’s Mate from his place in the orchestra. The rest of the strings section was composed of Elizabeth Burns, Katerina Latypova and Dawn Perlner on violin, and Charlie Ellis on cello.

stir it and stump it!The lack of a percussionist seemed to be an insurmountable difficulty, as both the overture and the first number open with drum solos. However, this was solved by some percussive bowing from Mr. Dawkins. Later percussion was provided by the Program Chair stamping his feet, playing imaginary kettledrums, and going "Boom, chh!" under his breath.

"We sail the ocean blue" sounded remarkably fine-there were a lot of men in the chorus, and some women joined in (I know I did). Most of the chorus stayed seated, but a hardy few went onstage with Dick Deadeye (Dave Leigh, singing some of the scariest bass solos since Darrell Fancourt) and the Boatswain (Carl Weggel, NEGASS’s secretary, filling in as Lord High Substitute at the last minute). The Pinafore’s crew was completed by Ed Fell as Ralph Rackstraw and Peter Cameron as Captain Corcoran.

Deb Sager as Little Buttercup had a great voice. At the end of the first number, the orchestra hit a snag—only to be expected when you’re playing from a new edition of the score and there’s an awkward page-turn--and the music turned to chaos just as Buttercup came onstage. To my surprise, "Hail! Man-o’-war’s men, safeguards of your nation!" sang Ms. Sager, as brightly as if nothing was wrong. She did the recitative like a champ, while the orchestra got back on track. It was all straightened out by "I’m called Little Buttercup", and Ms. Sager danced about the stage offering the sailors goodies from a totebag. I think everyone in the room was struck by her confidence.

The acting was funny, and a little improvised staging went over well. Occasional slip-ups or traffic jams onstage just got indulgent laughs from principals and audience alike--nobody minded, we were all in this together. It was a wonderful feeling.

Cecelia Beyer as Josephine sang like an angel, raising goosebumps on my spine during "Sorry her lot". She was a good actress, and her sailor-suit dress was a cute touch. She had come up from New York for the day, just to sing with the LMLO, and we were very lucky to have her.

A pretty "Barcarolle" and "Gaily tripping" introduced the women’s chorus and brought Sir Joseph (Tony Parkes, NEGASS vice-president) and Cousin Hebe (April Grant) onstage.

Mr. Parkes’s Sir Joseph was very funny, with a special condescending smile and a way of looking down his nose at his inferiors (i.e. everybody) that words can but faintly describe. His diction was great, and after "When I was a lad" he even danced a few hornpipe steps, admired by Cousin Hebe. [Note from tsw: As Ms. Grant is doing this write-up, she has naturally not reviewed herself, so We will do so: she was outstanding, with a good voice and very funny acting—not to mention complete period costume!]

Ed Fell as Ralph Rackstraw won my heart on his first entrance: he staggered around crashing into the furniture, as a true Youth with Faltering Feet. Later, he had a nice air of innocence in the notorious "I am poor in the essence of happiness…" speech. He and Ms. Beyer sang a gorgeous duet. As Josephine rejected Ralph Rackstraw, I realized that there wasn’t a gun for him to menace his own life with. However, Mr. Leigh and Mr. Weggel were equal to the emergency. They went prop-hunting, and when Ralph reached "My friends, my leave of life I’m taking…", Dick Deadeye handed him a snickersnee, upon which Ralph threatened to fall.

--I do not wish to pain my more sensitive readers by keeping them in suspense any longer: Josephine rushed in at the last moment and told Ralph she loved him, thus rendering the snickersnee superfluous. Universal rejoicing! Well, almost universal. Dick Deadeye remained cynical, but nobody took no ‘eed of ‘im. And so the act closed in a blaze of rapture.

During intermission, Carol Mahoney and David Sheldon served refreshments. Janice Dallas brought Dancing Deer cookies, Linda Silverstein provided brownies, and I—that is, "your correspondent"—brought Sally Lunn cakes. [Which were delicious, and We begged her for the recipe. It is printed later in this issue –tsw] The organizers raffled off several G&S recordings, accompanied by a striking countertenor rendition of "Oh Fortune, to my aching heart be kind!" from two nearby gentlemen.

Ms. Beyer’s rendition of "The hours creep on apace" was a highlight of the second act. The scene between the Captain, Sir Joseph and Cousin Hebe had some interesting restored dialogue. Hebe’s lines were almost all cut from the original production before opening night, but the LMLO put them back, letting Hebe happily domineer and interrupt Sir Joseph. [This scene was extremely funny! –tsw]

The famous "Damme" scene was a lot of fun for all concerned, though no one had volunteered to play Celerity. Fortunately, NEGASS Membership Officer Janice Dallas agreed to sing the part at the last minute.

And so to a rousing finale—gosh, I love the part where everybody gets to do a little bit of their song from earlier! Sir Joseph led the cast in a stately bow, the audience clapped for the principals, the principals applauded the chorus, everybody applauded the orchestra and the conductor. Then people talked, laughed, finished off the refreshments, folded and stacked the chairs, and went out into the twilight with a sense of satisfaction.


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Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2004 - 2005

April 17 G&S Potpourri - TRIAL / Bab Ballads/ G without S
June 5 Elections/Fantasy meeting
August 28? Picnic meeting

Next Bray Copy Deadline: May 15, 2005

sticking close to a desk

NOTE from tsw: We put this in each Bray because YOU, the Members, are Our Writers! You are all encouraged to send in reviews, articles, cartoons, parodies, and other G&S material! Pseudonyms are permitted.

Next Bray Stuffing: May 22, 2005, 3 pm, at the home of Janice & Ron Dallas, 63 Everett St in Arlington, MA. Email for directions:


Welcome, Welcome We! new member Ann Ferentz of Arlington, MA, who writes:

I was first captivated by Gilbert & Sullivan at age 10 when I came across my dad's record of Trial by Jury. I made my G&S stage debut at the age of 12 as a heavy dragoon in Patience and was a bridesmaid in Trial by Jury some years later. After a 20-year performance lapse during which I pursued such things as a scientific career and extensive choral singing, I was delighted to join the chorus of the Sudbury Savoyards for this year's production of the Mikado.


Welcome, Ann! Tell us, tell us all about it!

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The Sudbury Savoyards had their annual dinner meeting on March 5, 2005 in Hawes Hall, Sudbury United Methodist Church. It was held between performances of MIKADO so the Cast, Orchestra, and Crew could be fed quickly.geisha

The Church's catering crew produced large amounts of Lasagna and Ziti in various forms: Meat, no Meat, no Dairy, no Gluten, as well as different types of salad, dressed and undressed, hot and cold beverages, and an incredible desserts table with many different forms of chocolate, plus a Birthday cake for David Owen who has just turned 50!

New honorees for the "Yeomen of Regard" award were Dick Sewell, Roy Paro and Bev Paro.

Three new Trustees were elected to replace those going off the Board. Of the six Candidates, Ed Fell (incumbent), Laurel Martin (incumbent) and Andrea Roessler were elected to the Board for two year terms.

Recognition was given to all those who participated in this year's show, also the current Board/Staff. All got beautiful Certificates, and those who were in positions of greater responsibility got a lovely pair of chop sticks. The Directors, Kathy Lague (stage) and Steve Malionek (Music) were presented with small handmade dolls wearing costumes identical to the show's Katisha and Mikado. Other gifts for special endeavors went to Ed Fell, School Liaison, and Laurel Martin, Children’s' Matinee Organizer, and Mariah Howland, Technical Director.

Next summer's show, "The Matchmaker" was introduced. Auditions are April 7, 9, and 10 at Hawes Hall in the Sudbury United Methodist Church. Performances are July 15-17, 22-24, 29-30, 2005. More info will be posted to the website as show time gets nearer.


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Adapted from a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 13th edition, by Marion Cunningham.

"They say that Sally Lunn lived in Bath, England, and sold this kind of tender, semi-sweet tea cake--almost weightless with a light yellow crumb, they can also be made as one large cake." -- Marion Cunningham

Makes about 24 small cakes.

glutton with mutton

1 cup hot milk
¼ pound butter, cut in small chunks
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
4 to 4 ½ cups white flour
3 eggs

Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Allow to stand a few minutes, then mix it in and stir in 1 cup of the flour. Cover and put in warm place until it is bubbly ("sponge").

Mix the hot milk, butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl and let cool to lukewarm. Crack eggs into small bowl, mix, pour into milk mixture and stir vigorously. Add sponge, then gradually stir in at least 3 more cups of flour until mixture forms a sticky, glutinous batter. Cover with damp cloth and allow to rise until about double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spoon batter into buttered muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they turn golden and a fork comes out clean. Turn out of pan and cool on rack. Eat with jam of choice.

[They are also perfectly good without any jam at all, I discovered at the LMLO! –tsw]


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Looking for the reviews in this issue? Visit our review page.

Looking for the Calendar section, featuring local auditions and performances? Visit our Calendar page

INDEX TO RECENT ON-LINE BRAYS There are no links yet to the out-of-date calendar pages - but the articles are now available. Enjoy! - mlc

Note: Very old issues of The Trumpet Bray are still available in The G & S Archives.

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IN-PROGRESS PDF BRAY ARCHIVE We've been posting PDF versions of recent Brays on the web. What does this mean? It means that if you have a (free and easily accessible) copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can print out a copy of the issue you want, looking pretty much the same as the copy you received in the mail - in case you lost your old copy, or want to give a copy to someone else. Ultimately, We hope to create a more nearly complete archive of old Brays in PDF format.



All contributions are welcome, of course - but, strictly speaking, only activities and articles relating to G&S ought to be published. (…although an occasional Yes We Know It's Not slips by when the subject relates to a promising activity presented by long-standing and active member of NEGASS.)

  1. E-mail is the best way to send things! - is the best path. (Actually, anything else will also get here, eventually...)
  2. The US Postal Service (aka "snail mail") is fine, too - send letters, preferably typed, or hand-written very clearly so that We can read and correctly reproduce names, dates, etc. - to NEGASS, PO Box 367, Arlington, MA 02476-0004.
  3. The Telephone is a very last choice: Editor T. Skyler Wrench can be reached at 617-924-5303. Note: spellings of names and specifics of dates are awfully hard to be sure of when delivered by Word of Mouth (Oricular or otherwise), and We rarely have time to phone people back to check details. Please use the phone only if you have no other choice!

 -- mlc   

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