Monday, June 7, 2010

Pacifica Chapter of the Viola da Gamba Society of America

Several days ago I attended the end of year annual "bash" of the Pacifica Viola da Gamba Society Chapter (a chapter of the Viola da Gamba Society of America or VdGSA). This consisted of a pitch-in lunch and an informal concert of many of the members, most of whom were amateur players of many playing levels. Everyone had a great time visiting and making music. There were fifteen different groups that performed for this 2 1/2 plus hour concert. But it was fun, since we could relax with food and drink during this casual program. It was a wonderful and supportive environment to enjoy music and friendship.
My dear friend, Julie Jeffrey founded this chapter, along with Lee McRae, who was also enthusiastically playing in the concert. They were carpooling to a workshop, when Julie asked, “why isn’t there a chapter in San Francisco with all the viol players there already?” Lee responded, “let’s make one happen.” This was in 1988. There are currently close to 100 members in the Pacifica chapter. Incidentally, there are sixteen chapters of the Viola da Gamba Society of America (
The benefits of a chapter are the community and the organization which enables members to do projects, scholarships from the national society, scholarships to members for projects and continued education, and monthly workshops. Julie said that the structure of a chapter makes it easier to get support from the national vdgsa and the community and easier to communicate within and to the larger community. The real challenge is how best to serve all members of many abilities: from the young to old and from the beginner to the amateur and the professional.
The Pacifica chapter offers its members:
1)monthly meetings for members free-of-charge with playing opportunities and led by professional viol players/coaches.
2)a monthly newsletter
3)viol rentals
For more information on the Pacifica chapter, see

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