January 2014

Concert, Ticket, and Raffle Information
Beneficiary:  Czech and Slovak Association
Rehearsal Highlights

Laura G. Koniuto Memorial
Member Profile: Paul Bombardier

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Dear Friends,

It's nearly concert time! We hope you will join us for our performance on Saturday, February 8, of Dvorák's comic opera, "Šelma Sedlák" (Die Bauer ein Schelm - The Cunning Peasant). The baton drops at 7:30 p.m. at First Church, located at 66 Marlborough Street in Boston, but we invite you to arrive early for a special pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m.!

The lyrical music in this two-act work, written for a cast of nine and chorus, contains recurring themes that characterize specific aspects in the lives of nobility and folk characters, both lovers and plotters. We'll be bringing the story to you in a concert version, in German, along with some fun costuming and other visual elements! Tickets are $45 (premium seating), $35 (general admission), and $25 (seniors and students w/ ID). To purchase tickets in advance, visit our web site ( or call 617-759-2057. You can also buy your ticket at the door on the day of the performance, pending availability.

A portion of the proceeds from this performance will benefit the Czech and Slovak Association of Boston, which seeks to preserve Czech and Slovak heritage and to promote intercultural understanding. See later in this newsletter for more details about this great organization!

Place Your Bids!

As has become tradition, the February 8 concert will feature a raffle and a silent auction. Some of the great items up for bid include a pair of tickets to the Czech and Slovak Gala Ball at the Fairmont Copley Plaza; several hand-spun, hand-woven shawls; a deluxe silver jewelry box; massage gift certificates; a framed limited-series lithograph; and a 1-hour performance by Calliope's own Ensemble in Residence musicians. Proceeds from the auction and raffle not only help us defray basic operations costs, but also allow us to provide special opportunities like our scholarships, so please bid generously and often. We thank you in advance for your support!
Concert Beneficiary: Czech and Slovak Association, Inc.

Each February, Calliope partners with a local organization whose mission or focus is linked to the music we perform. This year, we are honored to be working with the Czech and Slovak Association, Inc.

The Association, an all-volunteer charity organization, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in March 2014. It was established in 2004 by founding members Estera Mlch, Renata Dutton, and Maria Grantham. The organization aims to preserve Czech and Slovak heritage and to promote intercultural understanding in the greater Boston area. They also provide a sense of community for their members, and encourage them to take greater social responsibility.
In keeping with the Association's mission, the last 10 years have yielded several events to celebrate their heritage. Harvest Fest and Culture Days are celebrations of traditions, ethnic meals, music, dance, costumes, and art. The Association has organized 16 concerts and performances by musicians and actors from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
For their youngest members, the Association has held a family day with games and sports activities in Hopkinton State Park, May Day (Majales), and a celebration of St. Nicolas Day. Children could participate in the first performance and a contest featuring traditional folk songs. The Association is considering reopening a Czech and Slovak language school in the future.
For more information about upcoming Czech and Slovak events, and to learn more about the organization or volunteer opportunities, please visit the Association's web site (
Left: Children singing at Harvest Fest. Right: Interview with the Czech band, Olympic, for the Czech & Slovak Community Show on Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN). (Images courtesy of the Czech & Slovak Association.)

Rehearsal Highlights

After a two-week break for the holidays, we resumed weekly rehearsals and have been preparing diligently as the concert date quickly approaches! We continue to rehearse in different combinations (orchestra and choir, orchestra and soloists, or the full ensemble) of the group, as well as focus on different sections of the piece, as we prepare to bring the entire ensemble together to play Dvořák's work as one cohesive group. In addition to musical preparation, the chorus and soloists are gathering items for their costumes. Be sure to read on below for a profile of baritone Paul Bombardier, who has handcrafted a special costume item for a lead character!

New Memorial Established

Calliope is proud to announce the establishment of the Laura G. Koniuto Memorial, which will support two Calliope members each year for whom financial hardship prohibits paying membership dues. For privacy reasons, recipients of this memorial will not be publicly acknowledged, but we are grateful to the donors for this generous and creative way of providing support in memory of their loved one.

Member Profile: Paul Bombardier

Baritone Paul Bombardier came to Calliope in the summer of 2013 on a whim, hoping to find a musical match that would present both a friendly and professional atmosphere. The result? “There is an esprit de corps [morale] that I like about this group,” he says.
As a Catholic priest (ordained in 1982), Paul likes to celebrate his profession through song. He explains, “Some people have told me that going to one of my Masses is almost like going to a Byzantine Liturgy, because of the amount of singing I do.” Since high school, Paul has enjoyed participating in many ensembles; in college, he was in five choirs at the same time. Paul has also dabbled in instrumental performance, volunteering his talent on the viol (also known as the viola da gamba) and recorder for the Five College Early Music Collegium from 1998-99. He began professional voice training in 2005, and was honored with a major debut solo as the Blessed Soul in Schutz’s Musikalische Exequien.
Paul’s enjoyment of early classical music (late 16th to early 18th century) motivated him to start his own quartet, and they went on to perform in multiple concerts and parish services. “Composers really discovered the wealth of the voice [in the 16th to 18th centuries] and started to make best of it,” he says. “Especially for us basses!”
In his spare time, Paul enjoys gardening, immense reading, and practicing fiber arts such as spinning, weaving, knotting, and crocheting. For a few years, he even had his own flock of Shetland sheep, from which he spun his own yarn to make the magnificent blanket that was auctioned off during Calliope’s September 2013 concert (Elgar’s The Kingdom). “I spun the yarn, did some plant dying, derived the pattern, and wove it,” he explains. “It’s an incredible amount of work, but I really enjoy it!” This season, Paul is lending his talents once again in the creation of the soloists’ costumes — a sample of which is displayed on the concert poster.
Paul is currently on sabbatical from the Catholic priesthood to pursue his education full-time at the Longy School of Music. Honored to be one of the older students on campus, he proudly holds seniority in his vocal arts program. “As is true in the fiber arts, it is true in the musical arts — no one really cares how old you are,” he says. “We are more concerned with what you do with your talent!”
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Calliope's Mission Statement
Calliope shares the joy of music through passionate collaboration between singers and instrumentalists. It is our mission that audiences benefit from collaboration between instrumentalists and singers, resulting in deeper understanding and performance of the music. We pursue this goal by:
  •  Providing excellent music to the community of Greater Boston via a new, more inclusive method of rehearsal and performance
  • Capitalizing on the power of music to contribute toward social improvement via one benefit concert each season for an organization whose mission is reflected in our programming for that performance
  • Cultivating artists and their supporters for the future through our mentoring scholarship program.
 Julia O'Toole, Artistic Director
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