Before trombones or saxophones, and way before acoustic guitars and electric keyboards, people relied on voices as their main musical instrument.
Taking an estimated 175 audience members back to the 16th and 17th centuries, Musica Antigua de Albuquerque’s Saturday performance of “The Changing of the Guard” was a musical concert with more than one antique element.
Aside from singing songs from England’s Reinessance era, concert members played various instruments dating back 400 years. Judy Hiner, Quay County Council for Arts and Humanities director, believes the performance was unique for most of those in attendance.
“The ones who enjoyed the show really enjoyed it, and those who weren’t expecting something totally different from some of our previous musical concerts were a little surprised,” Hiner said.
“Changing of the Guard,” held at Tucumcari High School Auditorium, was designed to commemorate the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, and to begin the reign of her successor, James I. It featured vocal and dance music performed during James’ reign and secular songs by composers who worked during his or Queen Elizabeth’s court. Band members include Dennis Davies-Wilson, woodwind specialist, who has been with Música Antigua since 1988; Sheldon Kalberg, baritone, who holds a master’s degree in choral music from Arizona State University; Art Sheinberg, specializes in the playing of medieval andenaissance string instruments. He also performs on cello and double bass and was a member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for 15 years; Colleen Sheinberg, soprano and instrumentalist, who has been performing earlyusic since 1971 and MaryAnn Shore, woodwind specialist, who currently performs with the Albuquerque Baroque Players.
Don and his wife Abby Hofman of Tucumcari said they were intrigued by “Changing of the Guard.”
“It was different to say the least,” Don Hofman said. “I don’t think anyone in Tucumcari has ever heard that type of music before.”
Though the music wasn’t anything similar to the country music the Hofmans are used to, Abby said it was beautiful and she would attend the performance again.
“I just don’t know if we really know how to appreciate it, but that’s what the Arts and Humanities Council is for, to educate us about things we don’t normally have here,” she said.
Mauriel Latham-Pfeifer has heard Renaissance music before, and said the musicians at Saturday’s concert displayed the music in the finest form.
“‘Changing of the Guard’ was just a wonderful example of professionalism,” Latham-Pfeifer said. “It was a good way to learn about the different instruments and an opportunity to see them up close.”
Until Saturday, Frances Shay had only listened to Renaissance music on CDs, but what she heard wasn’t anything she’ll soon forget.
“I almost forgot to breathe the first half,” Shay said. “The instruments and sounds they made really transported you back in time. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ”
Shay wasn’t just amazed at the music, but said she was astonished at the versatility of each band member.
“They could all sing every part and each one specialized in playing a certain instrument, but could also play the other members’ instruments. They are definitely professional musicians dedicated to keeping the music of that time period alive,” Shay said.