Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Fourth (and still counting) Annual March Concert of Music Written by Women

John David Moore and I will be playing yet another program of music written by women (sponsored by the Eastern Illinois University Women's Studies Program) in celebration of Women's History Awareness Month. This year violinist Sharilyn Spicknall will be joining us for a program of music by Amy Beach (her Violin Sonata), Marion Bauer (her Viola Sonata), Rebecca Clarke (her Dumka for Violin, Viola, and Piano), Luise Adolpha Le Beau (her Three Pieces for Viola and Piano), and Me (my Skye Boat Fantasie).

The concert will take place on Friday evening, March 23 at 7:30 in the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center in Charleston, Illinois. Admission is free, and parking is ample.

What's in a name? Marion Bauer was an American composer who, despite her German-sounding name, came from French stock, and Le Beau, despite her French-sounding name, was German.

My name, you ask? Who knows!!!

During the first decade of the 20th century, my paternal great grandfather and his family left a shtetl outside of Kiev, and they sailed for America from a German port. The story I was told was that the ship sank (it must have happened near the port, because eventually my family did arrive in America) and everybody's papers were destroyed.

My (totally unfounded and unproven) theory is that when my Yiddish-speaking ancestors arrived in America without papers they may have been asked the question "who are you?" Perhaps the answer my great grandfather gave was an answer to the question he might have thought he heard, "how are you?" His answer (in English, of course)? "Fine." It is just a hunch, but it does account for the English spelling of the word, particularly when you take into account that the passenger had arrived by way of a German port.

1 comment:

Susan Scheid said...

Your "Fine" story reminds me of a story my college friend Jerry told. His family arrived at New York City, he, at the time, with the name Xerxes. His parents told the immigration officer that they wanted a real "American" name for their boy. The officer recommended "Jerome." Had he landed in my home state of Illinois (and your state, too, right?), the answer would, I think, have been quite different!