Love beneath the canopy of the worldRomantic and classical music is the fare at the Bloedel summer concerts.

"Vocalists whose name means plant life music may seem particularly well-suited to the Bloedel Reserve venue. The acres of exquisite plantings form the backdrop to the Brahms, Schubert and Schumann sung by Flora Musica - named for the interests of founding members Gerry Hyatt Bergstrom and Sydney Keegan, a fascination that helped bring them together.They met while both were members of the Washington Native Plant Society, and Bergstrom conducted the Port Townsend Community Chorus in the late 1980s while Keegan sang with the group.Both were accomplished musicians. "

  • Wednesday, July 25, 2001 9:00am
  • News

“Vocalists whose name means plant life music may seem particularly well-suited to the Bloedel Reserve venue. The acres of exquisite plantings form the backdrop to the Brahms, Schubert and Schumann sung by Flora Musica – named for the interests of founding members Gerry Hyatt Bergstrom and Sydney Keegan, a fascination that helped bring them together.They met while both were members of the Washington Native Plant Society, and Bergstrom conducted the Port Townsend Community Chorus in the late 1980s while Keegan sang with the group.Both were accomplished musicians. A music education graduate of the University of Tulsa, soprano Bergstrom had soloed with the Turtle Bluff II recital series and the Sunday concerts at Port Ludlow. She had sung starring roles in Gilbert and Sullivan productions for the Port Angeles Symphony and the Port Townsend Orchestra.Mezzo-soprano Keegan had helped found the Victorian Chamber Singers and been a soloist with the Port Townsend Community Chorus and the Port Angeles Symphony. The women began to sing together – as a duo, or with guest artists – first appearing at the Bloedel Reserve in 1989, when the reserve had just opened.A year after that concert, Keegan entered the University of Washington School of Music at the age of 48, where she would earn, over seven years, an undergraduate degree in vocal performance and a master’s in music history.By 1995, Keegan was research assistant to professor George Bozarth, a noted Brahms scholar and executive director of the American Brahms Society. In 1997, for the 100th anniversary of Brahms’ death, Flora Musica returned to Bloedel with a program of Romantic music they dubbed Brahms and His Friends.The material the vocalists sang for their Bloedel recital was filled with references to the natural world reflected in the nature reserve. The parallel to the Bloedel setting was not lost on the performers, or the environment.While they sang of love, a pair of eagles took off, circling overhead, Bergstrom says. A pair of Canadian geese next took flight. Resident swans circled a nearby pond.In the Romantic German lyrics for the upcoming July 29 performance, Brahms and His Friends II, images of nature also abound, as the vocalists sing of woods, waterways and nymphs with nut-brown hair.Brahms’ Zigeunerlieder (Gypsy Songs), based on Hungarian love poems translated to German, Keegan describes as lively and passionate. The friends of Brahms and His Friends II includes George Henschel, Franz Schubert and both Clara and Robert Schumann. We really wanted to sing Clara Schumann, too. Bergstrom said. She is under-recognized – she was a prolific composer in her own right. She wrote songs to celebrate birthdays and other family occasions. She made her living as a concert pianist.Clara Schumann’s songs are set to poems featuring a violet’s fanciful musings on a shepherdess and a bewitched forest.Joined for the concert by tenor Adam Burdick, bass Skip Satterwhite and pianist Beth Kirchhoff, Flora Musica will sing from the mansion’s porch, which serves as an ad hoc stage.The audience watches us from under the great awning set on the east lawn while we stand on the porch and look at Puget Sound for inspiration, Bergstrom said.I can’t think of a better setting to listen to art songs about nature or to sing about love. “

More in News

.
BI schools better off with COVID than others in Kitsap

Bainbridge Island School District superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen said Thursday that 95% of… Continue reading

File photo
WSF cuts BI, Kingston to 1 boat each due to staff shortages

Beginning Oct. 16, Washington State Ferries will temporarily operate reduced schedules on… Continue reading

.
Youth still slammed by COVID

Youth continue to be slammed by the COVID-19 epidemic. While the case… Continue reading

.
Neighbors make peace over access road

Since we’re neighbors let’s be friends. What started out like the Hatfields… Continue reading

Sgt. Ziemba
BI briefs

Sakai Trail The Sakai Connector Trail is nearly done. The contractor delivered… Continue reading

Ray Williamson Pool. Courtesy Photo
BI pool needs extreme makeover

Ray Williamson Pool at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center is showing its… Continue reading

2 face off for BI fire commission post

BAINBRIDGE FIRE COMMISSION POSITION 5 Tim Carey Education, work and political experience… Continue reading

Nov. 2 election to decide Bainbridge fire spot

BAINBRIDGE FIRE COMMISSION POSITION 3 Andrea Chymiy Education, work and political experience… Continue reading

Most Read