Please send alumni spot suggestions to Benjamin Brinner, email@example.com.
Alums Write for Web-journal
UCB music alumni who have not yet encountered San Francisco Classical Voice should take a look.SFCV, founded in 1998 by retired San Francisco Chronicle music critic Robert Commanday, MA '52, is a weekly web-journal covering classical-music performance in the greater Bay Area.Mainstream Bay Area media cover the San Francisco Symphony, the opera, and illustrious visiting recitalists, but not much else. SFCV reports on the whole of the Bay Area classicalmusic scene, with special emphasis on musicians who live and perform here, from faculty recitals at Oakland's Holy Names College to the many regional orchestras (Modesto, Marin, Santa Rosa, et alia) and the Bay Area's many new-music ensembles, including the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players. Since SFCV hires only writers who are practicing musicians, it has drawn heavily on the UCB Music Department. I began writing for SFCV soon after it began, and am now associate editor of the journal. Other Music Department student reviewers (past and present) include Kristi Brown-Montesano, Ching Chang, Kim Parke, John Prescott, Henry Spiller, Marvin Tartak, George Thomson, and Michael Zwiebach, as well as Kate van Orden and Mary Ann Smart from the music faculty. Anyone interested in contributing to SFCV should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Michelle Dulak MA '91 (from 2001 Alumni Newsletter, Department of Music, UC Berkeley)
In fall 2005, a man appeared in the department office and talked to our then-receptionist, Paul Young, about a specially-pressed 78 rpm recording he had located in our library. It was of a concert in which his father, Claude Blain, had performed the Mozart Bassoon Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra. He hoped to have it copied for his father. I had just returned from a meeting and Paul mentioned it to me, so I immediately chased after Larry Blain, who had just left the building. I managed to catch up with him and, indeed, our sound technician, Cuco Daglio, made a copy of it. Claude now has the CD and a copy of the program and other printed materials. Claude was THRILLED to receive the CD and materials and was amazed at the quality of the recording and remarked "I didn't know I played that well!" In the photos sent by son Larry you can see Claude enjoying the successful results of this search "conducting" his own performance while listening to it.
Claude Blain is one of thousands of students at Cal who benefited from studies and performance in our department in its more than 100 years of existence, and it is good to be in touch with him. Claude was born and raised in Oakland, CA. He played bassoon in the Oakland Symphony beginning in high school. He attended Cal for four years and graduated in 1939 with a music major and a math minor. He stayed on for one more year as a graduate student,during which time the recording was made. He was in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII, in New Guinea and Australia. After the war, he ended up-after a few short-term jobs-working in Oakland CA in data processing, a field which became his career for the next 45 years. Son Larry wrote: "When Claude returned to Oakland around 1950, he rejoined the Symphony and played bassoon there (I remember many Sunday afternoon rehearsals!) until we five (I have two younger sisters) moved to Seattle in 1959. In the Seattle area Claude played in various music groups such as the Thalia Orchestra into the 1970s."
- BCW (from 2006 Alumni Newsletter, Department of Music, UC Berkeley)
Lydia A. "Lee" Lecraw
In the "Teachers' Count" campaign, Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company, cited "Lee" Lecraw (nee Adrian) as his favorite teacher. Lecraw received her BA in Music here at UC Berkeley in 1938. The write-up on her is online at http://www.teacherscount.org/campaign/chenault-lecraw.shtml
Lydia recounted to Kathleen Karn that she was sickly as a child and played the piano. Her parents and relatives decided she should be a music teacher because it was perhaps a less strenuous job. She became a music student here at Cal and remembers having a good experience in the department. Lydia said that she always loved Cal and remembers the old bands who came to play at dances. She and her sister used to go to dances in the auditorium.
After graduation from Berkeley Lydia attended George Washington University where she met her husband, John Lecraw. They married in 1942 and moved to New York and earned her masters degree in Education at Adelphi University.
While teaching at the Waldorf School, she took two classes from the first through the eighth grades from 1949 to 1965. Ken Chenault was a student in her second class. She used music in teaching and has always stressed music with her students, of all grades and every year. Students played the recorder every day and got very good at it. One year she got violins for the class and many of her former students still play. All her classes were diverse, with people of many ethnic and racial groups. Her husband was very cooperative and supportive.
When she retired in 1979, she and her husband moved to Marlborough, New Hampshire, where they built a solar home facing Mount Monadnock. They both did volunteer work. Many former elementary school and graduate institute students often visit her, and some still call her for advice. She says "I did the best I could. Can't do any better than that."
(from 2007 Alumni Newsletter, Department of Music, UC Berkeley)