Singers, quartet to perform Thursday in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Moonflower, an a cappella singing ensemble, and the quartet Pleasures of the Court will come together for a Candlelight Concert on Thursday at the United Methodist Church uptown at 609 Taylor St.

Admission to the 7 p.m. performance is a suggested donation of $10 to support Port Townsend charitable groups and the church’s Victorian restoration programs.

Moonflower’s name comes from the Moonflower Farm on Marrowstone Island, where the group formed in 2002.

After a day of labor, four of the farmworkers found relaxation in singing, so they would gather around the farm’s piano.

The group dissolved a couple of years later as various members left the farm, but in 2006, two of the original members recruited six other singers to reconvene as an octet.

Reformed

Today’s Moonflower is co-founder Beverly Schaaf, Laurel Solana, Karen Barr­ows, Richard McGuffin, Chris Hawley, Rick Kirkwood, Pat Vaughan and Mike Wallace.

“Our original commitment was to share among ourselves the beauty of early music and to hone our a cappella skills without the additional pressure of performance preparation,” Schaaf has said.

Yet it soon became obvious that the prospect of performing helped inspire Moonflower’s members to improve, so the group sang a few times at members’ church services.

They discovered that ensemble singing without a conductor was difficult, so they enlisted Leslie Lewis and Hazel Johnson, both experienced conductors, to give them feedback.

Public performance

Now, Moonflower’s singers are looking forward to their first public performance, an evening of early music with the 30-year-old Pleasures of the Court ensemble.

The group features founding members Louise Huntingford and Dahti Blanchard playing recorders, Marcy Stewart on the viola and Barbara Sterritt adding a third recorder.

The four women have played in other music groups, raised children and have busy careers as teachers or administrators — while their passion for Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music has kept them together as Pleasures of the Court.

Refreshments will be served after the concert Thursday, and more details are available at 360-774-1644.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at [email protected]

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