A pearl dropped into my trough when i moved to my current home nineteen years ago, and it’s been rattling around unnoticed since then.  But yesterday Tiffany was lying in wait at the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market, telling passers by about Noe Valley Chamber Music. I was free and i particularly like chamber music, so i went to the concert today.

It was an educational experience, starting when i arrived at the venue, a little Episcopal church called Holy Innocents at 455 Fair Oaks.  I’ve lived within three miles of this church for 37 years but since Fair Oaks goes from nowhere to nowhere, had never seen the church.  I’d certainly remember if i had, as it has a fascinating front door treatment that fairly screams “Maybeck!” but is by a mentor of Maybeck’s named Ernest Coxhead.  It’s the oldest Episcopal church building in San Francisco, dates from 1890, and has some interesting shingling.

Ernest Coxhead

Nowadays it’s an uneasy feeling to enter a Christian house of worship, but i remind myself that the main body of the Episcopal Church, the leader in Christian tolerance, has been supportive of gays since the 1990’s and that this particular congregation has been gay friendly since, as they announce on their website, way back in 2003 (i’ll add that this was clearly after five years of being worn down by Will and Grace).  So you have to love ’em for nearly nine whole years of kindness since then, and besides, they permit use of their building for musical events, which i also applaud.

The concert was excellent.  Telemann’s Canonic Sonatas, Op. 5 for viola and clarinet; Hindemith’s Sonata for Viola, Op. 31;  Stockhausen’s Im Freundschaft for Solo Clarinet (1977); Intermission; and Mozart’s Trio K. 498 (Kegelstatt) for piano, clarinet, and viola.  Stockhausen is over my head, but the performer (Carey Bell, Principal Clarinet of the SF Symphony) provided an introductory explanation and played with such brio that for the first time in my life i got real close to actually liking Stockhausen.

But i just loved the Mozart trio.  However, i chatted with two people after the performance and shocked the first when i mentioned that although i was familiar with the Mozart trio, i had never heard it performed live.  His jaw dropped in disbelief.  When i mentioned to the second that i enjoyed the violist, something in the way i said it revealed that i was at the time unaware that she was Assistant Principal Violist at the SF Symphony, which cost me any points i might have accrued so i slunk away before more people could plumb the depths of my ignorance.

When i go to these performances in the next season, i plan to just applaud and smile pleasantly.

Oh, and i took a detour by the new children’s playground at Dolores Park on the way to the concert.  Kids of all sizes lined up to try the new 40 foot slide.

Dolores Park Playground

And for good reason

Dolores slide

This playground is a marvel, just one spectacular feature after another, not to mention a lot of attention to safety and comfort.  All the colored play surfaces like the gray around the slide above, are some kind of artificial, non-slip rubber on top of a layer of springy foam, which makes it a lot harder to get all skinned up and break things.  I’d have killed to get to play on some of the equipment here when i was young.

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