On Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 3:00 PM, the Highland Park Recorder Society (HPRS), represented by its performing group Musica Dolce and friends had presented a dynamic concert in collaboration with Zorzal Music Ensemble. The concert had taken place at the United Methodist Church on George Street at Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. In addition, Zorzal Music Ensemble presented a concert with HPRS friends on Saturday, April 21, 2007 at 8:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, Perth Amboy.
Both of these concerts were performed in memory of Eugene Roan, who was Professor Emeritus of Organ and former chair of the organ, harpsichord and piano department at Wesminster Choir College, the School of Music of Rider University, where he taught since 1956, and who was an esteemed friend and advisor to the Highland Park Recorder Society.
Zorzal Music Ensemble have performed 12th through 17th century Spanish and Latin American music with a multicultural flair, particularly pieces that use African, Native American and Sephardic rhythms and scales. They featured a vocal quartet, recorders, guitar, harpsichord, viola da gamba, and Latin American, Arab, and African percussion. Musica Dolce, an instrumental group consisting of recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord, performed Spanish instrumental music of the period.
The April 21, 2007 concert in Perth Amboy featured the New Jersey premiere of a new composition by Dr. Lynn Gumert, Artistic Director of Zorzal Music Ensemble. On April 22, the ensembles had joined forces to perform the world premiere of a composition by Dr. Lynn Gumert. The piece was inspired by the poetry of the earliest known Spanish woman poet, Florencia del Pinar, who was active in the court of Ferdinand and Isabela (1479-1516).
According to Artistic Director Lynn Gumert, "In these concerts we will make a musical journey from the 12th century court of Alfonso the Wise, where the three cultures of Spain - Spanish, Jewish, and Arab - worked together to lay the foundation for modern Spanish culture to the court of Ferdinand and Isabela, which marked the beginning of Spain's cultural "Golden Age" under a unified crown - but also marked the expulsion of the Jews and Arabs and the colonization of the new world."
"Traveling across the Atlantic to 17th century New Spain (Mexico) and the Viceroyalty of Peru (South America), we explored how Spanish vocal styles were combined with African and Native American rhythms to create vibrant new sounds."
The Highland Park Recorder Society had celebrated its 20th anniversary this past year. It is an educational, not-for-profit organization that meets regularly to make music and engages in a number of outreach activities that benefit under-served populations such as disabled children and adults, senior citizens, inner-city children, disabled New Jersey Veterans, and residents of nursing homes. Their purpose is to cultivate an appreciation of the art,history, literature, and uses of the recorder and to raise the level of proficiency in its performance.
This program had been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant provided by the Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission/Board of Chosen Freeholders.