|The BRC: A Brief History
The Boulder Renaissance Consort was formed in 1980 by several former University of Colorado students who had been in the music department's Collegium Musicum. Original members were Shirley Carnahan, Melody English, Anne Fjestad, Jim Gray, Kate Luby, and Steve Winograd. Our first public performances were busking on the Pearl Street Mall and playing at the Colorado Renaissance Fair, where we had to compete with the birds of prey demonstration.
Steve Kator, who was briefly a member from 1981-82, was especially good at Renaissance ornamentation and got us all started ornamenting as well.
After Kate moved away, we were in need of a new lead singer. We met Linda Sherman in Laramie at the University of Wyoming's Renaissance Fair, where she was performing with Jim Gray's other group, Musica Antiqua. She joined in 1983.
Jim left the BRC to make more money as a professional trombone player, but several of us continued to sub with Musica Antiqua, and Shirley was a regular member for several years. The departures of Jim, Steve Kator, and Steve Winograd made the BRC an all-girl band for a few years.
Shirley, Melody, and Anne were hired by director Lee Potts as on-stage musicians for the 1982 production of As You Like It at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, costumed as males. The music from that production formed the basis of our first set book. In 1984, Shirley arranged the music for the CSF's production of Twelfth Night, with Anne, Linda, Melody, and Jon Erickson appearing in the performances. For this play the women got to wear dresses.
By 1984 we decided we were ready to give our first formal concert, performed December 9. It was new member Claire Seger's first appearance with us. Dan Seger, who joined in 1985, and Claire had both been Anne's students in an ensemble of professional musicians who were honing their recorder skills.
The BRC has had several bass singers through the years, including Doug Burger, David Olson, David Vickers, and Fabian Heitsch. John Bullock was discovered by Linda at an apres-ski party in the parking lot at Winter Park during which the conversation turned to singing. He joined in 2003.
By the late 90s we decided it was time to become recording artists and discovered that performing and recording require two different skill sets, one of which we had yet to acquire. We were shepherded through the process by Mark Derryberry of Derryberry Audio and ultimately emerged with two CDs, From Cathedral to Castle in 1998 and A Rose in Winter in 2005.
Josh McGirk made his debut with us in 2008 for the performance of Isaac's "Tota pulchra," a motet that requires two tenors. He permanently took over the tenor duties (and sometimes alto, since he is a countertenor) the following year when the Segers retired.
After Linda retired in 2016, Lara Province took over the lead singer position for two years until the demands of college, work, and single parenthood became too great. Katherine DeVane was our guest vocalist for the 2019 Christmas concert and was planning to return for our 40th anniversary concert in the spring of 2020, but the season became another casualty of Covid.
During the summer of 2020, we were joined by Martin Wachter and Madeline Zanetti for outdoor, socially-distanced rehearsals on Anne's front porch or back patio, recording two sets of Adson's Courtly Masquing Ayres to post on the web.
Several friends have augmented our ranks over the years when we needed extra players, including Carolyn Patterson, Dody Taylor Kois, Sheri VandeRiet, Anne Sandoe, Sam Sandoe, and Valerie Hess and her Trinity Consort: Sue Crittenden, Gina Schwarzmaier, Ann Sprague, and Trudy Wayne.
Past and present members of the BRC wish to thank our ever-patient families and our loyal friends and patrons for 40 years of support.
Anne Fjestad Peterson
Boulder Renaissance Consort 1982 |
- 40th anniversary year Christmas Concert!
The Boulder Renaissance will be performing our 40th anniversary Christmas Concert on December 5, 2021 at 4pm at Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder.
Watch this space for more information.