– Our next guests take
old music to new heights as they practice
and perform pieces deriving from before
the 19th century. Early Music Michigan has been
around for over two decades. Let’s learn more. – You’re going to show
me what early music is and I’m gonna try
my voice at it. It’s dangerous, but
let’s go, let’s go. – We have a little canon, it was written by
Michael Praetorius. And it means long live music. And the words repeat each other, viva viva la musica. – Okay. – Viva viva la musica, viva la musica. So let me play it
through once here on the portatif organ. And this has my built-in bellows
here for the wind supply. And this is a copy of an
instrument that flourished between the 12th
and 16th centuries. And you find it in pictures
of very ancient manuscripts. And so it’s an early instrument. (melodic organ music) ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica – Very good, very good. – Eric, what is ancient
music, early music? – Well, it covers a wide,
wide chronological period. But everything from antiquity, say 500 to 1000, the
year 500 through 100. Up until musical from
the 1700s or even 1800 is considered early music. And over that wide area
you’ve got, of course, Medieval area, the Dark Ages, very ancient music. And then leading into
Renaissance music and Baroque music. So that’s the
principal time frame that we talk about when
we talk about early music. – And so when somebody
comes and sees your concert, what do you want them
to walk away with? What do you want
them to walk out either feeling or thinking? – I think to be inspired. I think, when I look
out as I’m singing, people seem
reflective, they seem, you know, could be
somewhat prayerful depending on the music. Introspective, engaged, excited. And just giving you that
heightened artistic experience. – Do you have
anything to add, Eric? – I would also say
that they walk away feeling that they
could do that as well. That their voice is something
that could be heard. Because we have so wide variety
of voices and vocal types that people say, hey
I could try my voice and I could sing more. And I think that would be
great if people sang more. (singing in foreign language) Why don’t we do it
in a two part round, or a canon, as it’s called. And so the two of you begin and then I’ll just
follow right up. ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica
♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica
♪ Viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica
♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica
♪ Viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica – (laughing) You’ve got to
sound good in church, right? Make a joyful noise. (laughing) (haunting melodic music) What’s the reaction of
people that are hearing this maybe for the first time? – In some ways
they are surprised how modern it might sound. Because it has an
exotic, sometimes an
exotic flavor to it. And they’re surprised
that it’s so accessible. That they may need
to know, or have this great knowledge base
from which to appreciate this, and that’s not the case at all. You can encounter it
for the first time and make your own decision
about what is moving you. When I play this, recently,
about three years ago, I acquired this portatif organ and it’s been surprising
the people who’ve, when we’ve done little
art hops or art walks and people just come by. The people are just so amazed, they say, I’ve never seen
anything like this in my life. And it’s quite astounding. So they’re really fascinated
by the instruments sometimes. – Yeah, I think when you have
that wide range of music, it probably, I’m
guessing, makes you even a better musician because
it feeds on each other, right, all of those different? – Right, right,
ultimately all music should move the listener. It should be meaningful,
to have some sort of an impact on the listener. If it doesn’t have that, it’s
kinda pointless, I think. So we find a lot of music
that hasn’t been heard or rarely heard. And people encounter
it like they’re hearing new music for the first time. So it’s not as if we’re, it’s like all ancient
music is something, oh, I’ve heard that already. No, it’s actually the opposite. It’s very often
something entirely new. So in many ways, our
ancient music performance is like performing
contemporary music. Try it in the three parts now. – Let’s do it. ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica
♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica
♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica
♪ Viva la musica ♪ Viva Viva la musica
♪ Viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica
♪ Viva viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica
♪ Viva la musica ♪ Viva viva la musica
♪ Viva la musica ♪ Viva la musica (laughing) – Beautiful. It was great. – Oh wow, this is way
harder than it looks. (all laughing) You perform in Kalamazoo,
and other places as well. But where is it predominantly? Is it in churches? Is it in halls? What? – Oh, in churches. This particular church
that we’re in here, we started rehearsing here. And now it’s rally
become home to us. But we have performed
in Holy Family Chapel, which is one of our other
favorites out at Nazareth. I mean, I think every church
we’ve performed in almost. I’m just in love with the space and I feel like I
can just for sure send my voice out there
and it’s gonna be there. – How many people are part
of Early Music Michigan and tell me a little bit
about some of the musicians. – Well, we have generally
16 up to maybe 24 singers at our largest. And we have a range of
people who love singing, who always sung in choirs. People who have
actually some training. And then we’ll have some
people who are section leaders who have actual
degrees in music too. So it’s a range of abilities. – We’ve had a number of singers who are associated with
the Medieval Institute here at Western Michigan University. So that’s really
wonderful to have people who are studying
Medieval academically. And we’ve had a relationship
with the Medieval Congress and that we’ve performed often
for the Medieval Congress, which is the largest gathering
of medievalists in the world, along with Leeds, England. Those two areas every
year, there’s a humongous, it’s a four-day congress of
medieval academics, essentially. – Eric Strand, Ann Marie Boyle
from Early Music Michigan, thank you so much for
talking with me here today. This was great.
– Thank you. (haunting melodic music) – [Announcer] Support
for Kalamazoo Lively Arts is provided by the Irving
S. Gilmore Foundation, helping to build and
enrich the cultural life of Greater Kalamazoo.