Two cheering events coming up in the Peninsula/South Bay next week:
1. I don't know what happened to the last mid-Peninsula chamber orchestra - their website has gone dark - but there's a new one starting up. It's called The New Millennium Chamber Orchestra (perhaps an attempt to one-up the New Century Chamber Orchestra) and its first concert is next Friday, a week from tomorrow, at the Trinity Presbyterian Church at Alameda and Brittan in San Carlos - a venue I've been to before, a tiny church with hard benches but decent acoustics, certainly far better than the church the other orchestra used to play in.
Rather than a program of big heavyweights, it's playing a series of shorter pieces, but serious ones, the kind I like: a Brandenburg Concerto, the Egmont Overture, the Haydn Variations - those representing the Three B's - plus Ravel's Pavane, some of Respighi's luscious Renaissance arrangements, and the "Simple Gifts" part of Copland's Appalachian Spring.
I confess that I heard about this when they sent me a publicity e-mail, but it's an enticing program and I'd go anyway. We'll find out how they are. Volunteer and amateur groups run the gamut.
2. KDFC, slowly crawling back from the depths of self-degradation of its late commercial period, was playing Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" Quartet as I drove home a couple evenings ago, something they'd never have done in their squalor, and it was such a good performance (it turned out to be the Takacs) that I turned on the webcast to continue listening when I got home.
At which point I discovered from the website that they've finally gotten a South Bay signal. 104.9 it is, and it goes live on Saturday the 16th. A bigger surprise came when I went to set it up in my car radio the next morning. There was already classical music broadcasting, but not the KDFC signal. Listening to it off and on since, it appears to be a placeholder in the form of an endlessly looping tape, 3 hours or so in length, of famous light-classics, interleaved with various KDFC announcers telling you to watch this space until the switch gets pulled.
Anyway, I've now heard this placeholder between Palo Alto and Fremont on 237, and it sounds fine. The existing KDFC signal is particularly poor in Fremont, not that it's great on the Peninsula either, so this too is good news.