Viola da Gamba Society-Pacifica
Site Updated 4/17/2016

About the Chapter

The Viola da Gamba Society-Pacifica, a chapter of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, is an association of viol enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area. We enjoy playing chamber music of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries (as well as some contemporary music) from England, France, Italy and Germany on treble, tenor and bass viols. Members include novice to advanced players, instrument makers, teachers and performers.

Membership Activities/Benefits

  • Monthly Saturday meetings for playing in ensembles with players of similar ability and coached by leading professional players.
  • Monthly Gamba News newsletter, September through June.
  • Viol rental program. For information on currently available instruments and rates, contact Lynn Lipetzky.
  • Referrals to local viol teachers.
  • Cost of a normal membership is $45 per year, a student membership is $15 per year, and a household membership is $55 per year, all of which includes attendance at the monthly consort meetings and the chapter's email announcements and monthly newsletter. A $15 non-playing membership includes the email announcements and monthly newsletter only.
  • To join or for more information, please fill out the membership form or email the Chapter.

Chapter Monthly Meetings, 2015-2016

September 12David MorrisI'm looking forward to spending the morning working on the four-part Suite in D minor by Matthew Locke (1621?-1677), an oft-overlooked composer active during those tumultuous decades in the middle of the 17th century.
October 10Marie SzutsWe will use some American hymn tunes to work on ensemble skills ("Africa" by Billings and the classic "Wondrous Love" from the sacred harp tradition); then we'll play a 5-part variation on Wondrous Love that is spectacular on viols!
November 14David MorrisVoices and Viols. By popular demand, the music for this event will be even more selections from the voices-and-viols-friendly PRB edition of L'amorosa Ero, a collection of 4-part madrigals by a slew of different Italian composers from the late 16th century.
December 12Frances BlakerWhat can be found on the internet? It is amazing how much music is available on the internet, both recordings and sheet music, much of it for free. We will focus on just two pieces from the vast number available: Thomas Weelke's Pavan no. 1 for five viols, also called "Mr. Weelkes his Lachrymae", and "Fortuna ad voces musicales", a 4-voice composition from the early 16th century by Ludwig Senfl. These two pieces are absolute gems, filled with beautiful melody and imaginative counterpoint.
January 9Shira KammenDance music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque, all music intended for dancing.
February 6Stanford Workshop directed by John Dornenburg with Julie Jeffrey, David Morris and Mary Springfels Classes Include:
Bow articulation: are you really using your fingers? (All levels and sizes) John
Matthew Locke: Suite from “The Little Consort.” (all levels Tr T B) Julie
Basso continuo clinic: all the how’s and why’s! (all levels B) David
The Northern Renaissance: music à 5 by Senfl, Finck, Isaac. (UI, all sizes) Mary
John Jenkins: Play his dramatic “Siege of Newark.” (UI-A, Tr Tr B B) John
Couperin’s G Major duet transposed to C! (all levels, T only) Julie
Struggling with the Dark Side: Horrible keys and how to handle them. (All levels and sizes) David
Purcell’s “Sonnatas of Three Parts,” adventurous and not well-known music trans. by G. Houle for viols. (UI-A, T B) Mary
Advanced Solo: Biber Toccata for viol and b.c. (B ) John
PRB’s new Michael East à 5 for low viols. (all levels, TT BBB –one 7-string) Julie
German Big Band: 5-part music by Hammerschmidt. (All levels and sizes) David
Treble technique: Fear of flying- shifts and stretches beyond the frets. (All levels) Mary
March 12Amy Brodo.
April 9Pat O'Scannell.
May 14Hallifax and Jeffrey.
June 4Pacifica Chapter Concert for Friends/Family .
July-August2016 VdGSA Conclave in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Chapter Monthly Meetings, 2012-2015

Chapter Officers and Board Members, 2015-2016 Season

President, Newsletter Editor, Play Day Consort CoordinatorDalton Cantey
Vice PresidentRicardo Hofer
Co-Secretary, VdGSA RepresentativeCarolyn Butler
Co-SecretaryBetsy St. Aubin
Treasurer, Membership List Manager, VdGSA RepresentativeEllen Fisher
Instrument Rental Program CoordinatorLynn Lipetzky
Viols West CoordinatorMelita Denny
Coaching Liaison & WebmasterAlexandra Saur
Past PresidentEllen Farwell
Member at LargePeter Ballinger
Member at LargeJohn Dornenburg
Member at LargeRobin Easterbrook
Member at LargeMary Elliott
Member at LargeStuart Elliott
Member at LargeJulie Jeffrey
Member at LargeElisabeth Reed
Member at LargeAdaiha MacAdam-Somer
Member at LargeCindi Kazarian
Member at LargeLynn Tetenbaum
Member at LargeAmy Warren

Chapter Classifieds

  • Large Jaye model tenor viol made by Lyn Elder in 1997. Curly maple with purfling around the front and back edges; dark rosewood fingerboard and pegs; open scroll. Excellent instrument with even sound throughout its range. Price with Kingham MTM hard case: $5000. See photo in section "About the Viol" on this website. Email

  • The Pacifica Chapter is pleased to announced the sale of two items from the collection of John Mark, one of the chapter's founding members. The proceeds from the sales will be used to purchase new viols for our successful rental program and for programs to encourage emerging players.

    7-String Colichon model Bass Viol made in 1989 by Judith Kraft in Paris
    4-piece spruce top; 2-piece maple back; maple ribs and neck; decorated lion's head pegbox, decorated hookbar; painted belly rose; ebony veneered fingerboard and tailpiece; mechanically geared tuning pegs (pegheads); 69.5 cm string length. All new strings and frets, with a new bridge made by Sarah Peck. Price is $11,000, and includes fiberglass case.
    Photos of Judith Kraft 7-string bass viol

    Bass Viol bow made by Ralph Ashmead
    Fluted octagonal snakewood (or possibly ironwood) stick with ivory frog and screw; 79 gms, 75.2 cm. Price is $1,500.
    Photos of Ralph Ashmead bass viol bow

    For more information, please contact .

Early Music Links

Viola da Gamba Society-Pacifica is an affiliate
of the San Francisco Early Music Society

For further information, contact our chapter president: Dalton Cantey.
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