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FRANCES DWIGHT INTERVIEW (October 1996) by Linda Lunbeck

FD: In 1939, I was somewhat at loose ends, having received a degree from Smith College, and one from
Radcliffe, but I didn’t have any job. So, I opened a card and lending library in West Orange, where my
family lived. Fortunately, a woman named Elizabeth Parker, who taught at the City and Country School
in New York City, had parents who lived there, and she dropped in on me and immediately seized me
up as a “recorder possibility.” She taught the recorder, she had written two charming beginning books
on the alto or soprano recorder. So, first, she insisted that I accompany her to a meeting at the American
Recorder Society’s house: Suzanne Bloch, who was a very famous lute player, in Greenwich Village,
which we went to. And there, I heard recorders for the first time, but especially bass recorders, which
are incredibly beautiful. And Elizabethan music, which absolutely blew me away. I had to have a
recorder! I rushed to G. Schirmer. There was a man named Koch in new Hampshire who made
recorders: local maple or cocobolo. So I bought two cocobolo recorders, an alto and a soprano. And
then, I found Erich Katz teaching at a little college in New York City, which I managed to go to for
some lessons. And there I also met handsome, debonair LaNoue Davenport (whose son Mark we now
know, getting his PhD at the University of Colorado). LaNoue had a more advanced class which I
finally got into, but I couldn’t get into the most advanced one that he taught: he said, “My dear, you’re
not ready.” So I had to face this. I took one private lesson with him on my alto recorder, which really
fascinated me, because he told me to try to drop my fingers over the holes without blowing, just to find
out if the hole resonated, and this was quite interesting and also made you more conscious of where the
notes should be on your recorder.
Well, about then I got married, and my husband decided he should be a farmer, and we moved to
Blairstown, New Jersey. Now, I was still able to sneak into New York City on Monday nights, where
abandoned theatres gave rise to more amateur groups performing, which in this case turned out to be
LaNoue Davenport and Martha Bixler doing alto recorder duets. Absolutely fascinating! They were
both very tall and handsome and they played beautifully, and they played Telemann Canonic Sonatas
which, as anyone who plays the recorder will tell you, is no cinch! And they were very well-attended,
and it was a great experience for me.
But, pretty soon, children arrived. So I had to curtail some of my trips to the City, and I played
as much of the recorder as I could. But between milking cows, feeding chickens, taking care of
children, washing diapers when you had only a pump - no electricity in your kitchen, and during the war
you really couldn’t get it - the recorder took a back seat. So, it wasn’t until one of my children needed a
special school -which we discovered in New England, and which my husband and I each got jobs
teaching at. I was 49 years old at the time, I was a good skier, a good skater, I played touch football
with the students, and I also taught English. But, this school was filled with psychiatrists every
weekend, and the headmaster was very envious of the fact that I had a very ardent following of students.
And he decided that I was interfering with their Oedipal relationships, and I was asked to leave. In fact,
I was asked not to show up on the campus, because he could determine a wave of “whatever” when I
was present, that disturbed him. So, much to my sorrow, I almost had a nervous breakdown. Maybe
there was a little Oedipal stuff mixed up in this, but it certainly depressed me.
Fortunately, however, I had a job at another little school in Peterborough, New Hampshire. And
one of the women whose children attended there played the recorder, and she had a friend from England
who also played the recorder, and somebody else played a harpsichord and a violin, and they gave the
Christmas concert for that little school. And there again, I was enraptured, and remembered that I had a
recorder but I hadn’t really played it for ten years. So she said, “Well, Frances, if you will bring your
alto recorder to my house once a week, I wil accompany you on my clavichord and give you lunch.”
This she did. And this really turned my depression into delight. I was so happy to be getting into the
recorder again, and I forgot all about those kids that I had been deprived of. And so it went.
And then my husband decided that we were going to have to buy a farm, so we would go to
various places - like Deposit, New York, like Pennsylvania Dutch country - and he would interview
farmers, and I would sit in the car and play my alto recorder. And I was getting pretty good at it. And I
never got out, I never paid any attention to what he was doing. In fact, we lived in Cambridge,
Massachusetts one summer, and we had friends who invited us to dinner, and I would say, “You know,
if dinner isn’t quite ready, would you mind if I went to your guest room and worked a little bit on this
sonata I’m trying to finish up?” Well, of course, they minded very mind much but they didn’t say so,
and I would do this (to their ridicule later), but it made me feel much better.
Well, after the children got old enough to leave my recorders alone, and were about their own
their own business, I started a Girl Scout troop in New Jersey. We finally bought a farm in Blairstown,
New Jersey - a very delightful place near the Delaware Water Gap - it’s a very pretty area. And there
was to be an enormous Scout conference somewhere near Newton, New Jersey on all the countries of
Europe, and each troop was supposed to represent one. Well! I was quite thrilled to be able to pick
Germany, and the Pied Piper of Hamelin [hahm-lin], as Robert Browning called it, to which I wrote and
discovered it’s called Hameln (h-a-m-e-l-n). And it is very proud of its Pied Piper connection; in fact, it
rehearses every Sunday. They dramatize the exodus of a group of children - which happened in the
1200’s - led by a charming man playing something (for me, it was to be an alto recorder!), to help
colonize a distant area in Europe. And they succeeded in doing this, and Hameln has never forgotten it,
and puts it on for tourists every Sunday: it reenacts the Pied Piper and his children. So, they sent me
pictures, the coat of arms to the city, all kinds of emoluments to my interest. So, my Pied Piper was the
tallest and most talented girl, and we played a piece from Erich Katz’s book called Let us Go Where the
Bagpipes Play, and it’s the final chorus of The Peasants Cantata [J. S. Bach], and it’s very, very
effective. And the rest of the troop were dressed as rats: their mothers made them beautiful, shiny black
costumes and long tails. And we were a great success.
Another extremely fortuitous event occurred when Erich Katz and Winnie Jaeger (his devoted
friend, who played the recorder very well) moved to Santa Barbara, California; and a few months later
my husband decided, as a juvenile diabetic, he needed to find out more about Dr. Sansom’s clinic which
had been established in Santa Barbara and which was the first place that insulin was administered in the
world. (They have a little plaque on a rock in Santa Barbara memorializing this). So, it broke my heart
a little bit, because my kids were just at the age where I knew that sex and drugs were going to make
their unpleasant round into our lives, as indeed they did. And I did not - for their sake - want to go there.
But for my sake, playing the recorder, it was paradise, because Erich gave an adult ed. class. And he not
only insisted that I take his class (which, of course, I would have anyway), but he said, “Frances, why
don’t you open a shop? You have all this music...”, (I had lots of music from having been playing
before), “...and why don’t you import a few recorders from Los Angeles?” A man named Art Stilwell
had a recorder shop in Los Angeles, but unless somebody from Santa Barbara was going to Los Angeles
and would agree to stop at Art Stilwell’s shop - and hope to find whatever whoever wanted in the way of
instruments or music - it was not as easy as it might have been. And so, I was so “gone” on the whole
thing that I agreed that it might not be a bad idea. In fact, it turned out to be a very nice idea. I spent 18
delightful years running this little shop called The Renaissance Music Shop Under the Greenwood Tree.
I never could decide what name for it I liked. I read through lists of names of pieces performed at that
period, and one of them’s called, My Lute Speaks, but I had a feeling that “lute” spelled differently: (l-o-
o-t) might possibly be associated with my shop. And as a matter of fact, there was no loot, believe me!
I had a very hard time making ends meet, because all my friends expected discounts, and most of them
got them. And at that time you could get a 50% profit, because you dealt directly with the makers, until
Magnamusic took over and they were the middlemen. They bought from Moeck and Otto Steinkopf and
people who made these fascinating instruments: not just recorders, but crumhorns and rauschpfeifs and
other interesting things. So they got the big discount and then we had to pay them, so it was not quite as
profitable, but it was fun. It was more fun because people would come in (and I’d be there with my alto
recorder, of course) and they’d say, “Oh, yeah!”, and they’d play the two parts of the Brandenburg
Concertos either II or IV [J. S. Bach], and so I finally had to learn to play those, too, so I could not be
outdone by my customers. And then I gave quite a few lessons, which were fun.

LL: Frances, what years were your store open?

FD: My store ended in ‘82 and it went for 18 years.

LL: Huh. You know what...’83 was the only that I’ve ever been in Santa Barbara, and I had heard of
your shop and thought, “We’ve got to stop...”

FD: Ohhhh!

LL: ...and it was a beautiful little location, just very, very pretty.

FD: Yes, it was. But it wasn’t there, was it?

LL: No, it wasn’t. It was empty. The sign was still on the door, or a sign was still there. And I thought,

“Oh, no! They’re gone!”

FD: I have a picture of it...

LL: It was a beautiful, pretty place.

FD: I have a picture of me standing in the doorway, leaning on it...I should show you the picture. A
retired music teacher from the University of California at Santa Barbara bought it. And he had a very
wealthy wife, but she discouraged him from buying my music, and I had a lot of music! He just bought
a little of it. And then he went to sales of music wholesalers in L.A. and bought more stuff. But he
never really got the nitty-gritty which I had, having been a great friend of Erich Katz’s. I mean, I knew
what to have and what not to bother with. So, he didn’t do very well. So finally, he moved his business
to his garage, which was in Hope Ranch, a very ritzy area of Santa Barbara, and I don’t think he did ... I
think he finally gave up. He really didn’t have to do it, anyway. But it was sort of a ...kind of a petering
out...kind of a “with a whimper”.

LL: Not a bang.

FD: [laugh] Not a bang! And I felt.... And meanwhile, two girls... and they still have it: Folk Mote,
like the mote in your eye...the Folk Mote Music opened up in Santa Barbara quite near where I had
been, and they have been doing very well, and they feature recorders. And, in fact, one of my good
friends, Howell Hughes - a cripple, who had helped me in my shop, and who spent a fortune on all
kinds of instruments, not just recorders, but he was in the recorder class: that was his major interest - he
bumped himself off. He was getting cancer of the prostate and he just decided he didn’t want to go on.
So, but...he left a vast collection of stuff because he was a collector and he kept journals: when he
bought something from Switzerland, it was in Swiss francs, from Ireland it was in Irish pounds. I mean,
he was meticulous. He left word that I should be the one to help his three daughters settle his estate, and
I was a little bit dumbfounded. So, I rushed over to the Folk Mote girls and told them, and they had just
moved to a much more roomy shop which was being remodeled for them. And I said, “How would you
like to acquire this estate stuff, which I’m sure you will do very well with?”, and they said they would
love to, if I would stay and help them appraising it, since I knew.... so, I was very pleased to do that.
That wasn’t too much and I was with people. Mainly, they focused on guitars and ...what else? Did
they have lutes? Well, they played hammered dulcimers. They were very talented women. And a lot of
the harp...oh, harps! That’s what they had... They had these huge boxes that harps come in, and they
saved them all in case they had to send them off anywhere, and so they needed a lot of room, believe
me! It was very noble of them to undertake to do Howell Hughes’ stuff. Anyway, so that kept me busy
until I decided... I took up the viola da gamba.

LL: And what led you to that, after your love affair with recorder?

FD: Well, I still had the love...I mean, I was head of the Santa Barbara Recorder Society, I taught at the
adult ed. scene, we played for umty-nine weddings - we always got tons of champagne - and that was
our whole social life. In these beautiful outdoor weddings which, of course, they really couldn’t hear the
recorder very well outdoors, but they never found that out till...

LL: Well, that still happens, but...

FD: I suppose.

LL: It’s nice atmosphere...

FD: The atmosphere is lovely.

LL: And the performers get to enjoy it.

FD: Oh, yeah.

LL: And whoever wanders close.

FD: [laugh] Well, everybody was taking up the viol. There was a Catholic retreat house in Santa
Barbara, somebody’s vast estate which the nuns took over, and they were a very musical group. They
had a place in West Los Angeles which they, I think...anyway, we used to go to workshops there, which
would be mostly on the viol. And then they had this wonderful place, which all summer they gave
retreats on. And they gave a viola da gamba retreat. And since I had a shop, I could...and one place in
Germany began making viols, but they were student models; but that was all right, that was all I could
afford to have, anyway. But I didn’t really learn to play it myself. I imported them for a few people
who did. And then I bought one from (oh, I can’t remember his name) a man and his wife who moved
there, and he made viols. What was his last name? His wife’s name was Mary, and she graduated from
Radcliffe the same time I did, but she was awfully snooty. I didn’t think she liked me at all. Anyway,
he had played the ‘cello, so he was a very good bass viol player. Hoover! Mary and...well, everyone
called him “Bump”. He was the same as the head man of the CBI...the Secret Service, or...

LL: Oh. The CIA?


LL: FBI, something like that?

FD: Somebody who...

LL: Oh! I know who you mean. I can’t think of the name.

FD: Well, he had the same name as that Hoover, but they called him Bump. He was fun, and I bought a
charming tenor viol that he made, [indignantly] which is now illicitly owned by Mark Davenport, to
whom I loaned it, hoping he would play with me, which 1) he never has done; 2) he has never has seen
fit to say, “What do you want me to do with this tenor recorder [sic]?”. What I want him to do is write it
off as a discount I can take on my income tax. But anyway, he’s a good friend, so I have to forgive him
that because I knew his father and mother quite well. His mother now lives in Santa Barbara. The
father is married to a charming woman, a singer.
So, I happened to be very fond of my doctor, Bill Ure (u-r-e). He is of Swedish extraction, he’s a
wonderful carpenter, and although he’s a good doctor, too, he makes all kinds of things - including viols
and bass lutes and stuff like that. And he got together with a group of good viola da gamba players and
they would go to each other’s houses in San Diego or Riverside, or they would come to his big house in
Santa Barbara (or Dan Brozier’s [?] house in Ventura), and they would play. All weekend they would
play viols. But don’t think I was invited to join them! Because Bill...he tested me with an overhead
microphone, a local microphone, every possible way. He said, “Frances, I hate to tell you, you just
don’t hear accurately, and I just could not allow you to be part of our weekend groups playing seven
part Jenkins pieces, and if you made a single mistake and six more people had to go back or start over or
repeat or find out where you were, I would be in disgrace.”

LL: That must have been disappointing.

FD: I was really mad! So I said, “Well, I feel that what you say is true, although I’m having a lot of
experience in trying to keep time and conducting music and teaching music. But, you know, I have
friends in Boulder. I’ve been to two workshops in Boulder, both viola da gamba workshops.” Gordon
Sandford of the CU faculty is a very good viol player and so is his wife Martha, so they promoted the
national Viola da Gamba Society to meet there in ‘85 and...I think ‘91 or something. Anyway, I had
friends here and I knew that they were more or less just beginners and I knew that they would accept my
playing. I mean, there are plenty of very talented people here, too, and I didn’t have to worry about
them. So I...oh, and I forgot to mention I also had a daughter who lived here.

LL: I was going to ask if there were other factors that brought you to Boulder.

FD: Yes, most indeed there were. I had visited her many a time. In fact, she got very mad that I didn’t
visit more. I mean, she used to live in Toronto, and I used to have to make a special trip to Toronto to
assuage her “abused daughter” sensation. My husband, who had been a juvenile diabetic and a really
[sic] problem because he had so many insulin reactions. She said, “You spent more time taking care of
Dad than you did doing things with us,” And that was a very caustic remark, which I think...because
she’s one of the modern women who thinks all women need more attention, I think that’s the basis of
her complaint. Because my husband was really a sick man and I felt very sorry for him.
So, I moved to Boulder, and here I am, and I’ve been very happy, and I’ve been thrilled that I got
a job teaching this [reading from brochure] ”delightful digital dispenser of dulcet ditties” at the East
Boulder Senior Center, which I still do. “Come and join in.” So, that’s all I have to say.

LL: That’s a great alliteration!

FD: [laugh] Isn’t that wonderful?

LL: Well. You’ve probably seen more...

FD: Oh! A very important thing I forgot to tell you. During my shop tenure, I found several people
moving to Reno for divorces, and they would come in and buy a recorder. And they were going to use
the recorder to assuage whatever problems they had.

LL: Their consolation.

FD: Their consolation. And then, I thought of myself getting over being kicked out of the Hampshire
Country School because of so many supposed Oedipal conflicts, and I decided the recorder maybe does
have a therapeutic value. I’m sure it does. I’m sure it has a lot more than just the pleasure of making
harmony, which there have been things written recently on how soothing harmony is for restless
children in cribs. People...I mean, then when you think of people like Schoenberg and Stravinsky and
all those people, they don’t go in for the exact same kind of harmony as we think...

LL: Well, that’s true. They had points to make.

FD: But they had points to make, and they made ‘em, all right! So... but anyway, I think it does have a
psychological, very important psychological factor, and I’m wondering why I don’t want to teach it in
mental hospitals. I hadn’t thought of that.

LL: Hmm. Kind of a music therapy approach.

FD: Um-hm.

LL: That’s a field that I was going to go into, and - just as a little parenthetical thing - it was
interesting...One summer when I was in college (I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware)...

FD: Oh, you did?!

LL: Right, and we talked at one point about your...

FD: Did we talk about Clem Hoopes?

LL: About what?

FD: Clem Hoopes. He was my great friend.

LL: No, I don’t think so.

FD: He would have been much older.

LL: But I remember hearing about New Year’s Day with the Carpenters and duPonts...

FD: [enthusiastically] Oh, God!! ...and Libby Holman!

LL: ...and the visiting...

FD: Libby Holman. She was a famous blues singer.

LL: The name sounds....rings a bell.

FD: Oh, yeah! Oh yeah, she sang in Broadway things. Very soulful. “My man, I love him so...
I forget...Cole Porter song. And she sat on top of the piano in this little, informal hunt club where we
had a New Year’s Eve party. And then I met her much later at one of my disturbed son’s private schools
in Lake Placid...from which I hate to tell you he got kicked out. But that’s because a homosexual youth
from this disturbed school where I got kicked out, came to see him and the faculty were worried. And
my son had a strong leadership quality, but always against authority, and they didn’t want that to
happen. So...but anyway, she came there, much later (this was at least 20 years later) and gave a
performance in which she had a black man doing music...piano or harpsichord. And she dramatized
them, and she did the Three Marys, you know? And when she was one Mary, she was jazzing around;
and when it was one Mary who got hung, she hung her head over...she leaned...she kneeled on a chair
and hung her head over the back, as like the gallows. “And Mary Carmichael and me...”, I know that’s
how the song went...ended. And I was so thrilled to see her after all these years. And she..

LL: So, she came there to perform?

FD: Yes, she came there to perform. And she had had a child...by a Reynolds. She married a Reynolds.
And he had gone backpacking in the Alps and he was lost, he was killed. And I had taught one of
Thomas Edison’s grandsons, I had tutored him in English. And they lived in West Orange where we
lived, and he, too, was lost, mountain climbing. I always felt pretty bad about that.
Well, anyway. I think I...[pause to think]. I think that’s about all I have to say. I did get in a lot
of trouble with Suzanne Bloch. Suzanne Bloch was the daughter of Ernst Bloch, who started the
Recorder Society. She was the daughter of Ernst Bloch, a well-known Jewish composer - beautiful
music! - and she was married to a mathematician at Columbia. And my daughter...when we lived on our
farm in Blairstown, my daughter had a great friend in New Jersy, and they, her family...Bebe Graves...
and her family wanted me to let Mary stay with them for the Ninth Grade at the Farbrook [?] School, a
very good little Short Hills private school, so that was great with me. So, one day when I was down
there, I noticed a lute, a beautiful unstrung lute lying on their table in West Orange, and I said,”Where
did this come from?” Her husband said, “Oh, my mother used to study with Arnold Dolmetsch in
Cambridge, Mass. years ago when he was there, and she bought this lute from him.” And I said,”Well,
you know, it’s just a shame it’s just sitting there doing nothing.” And I said, “I’m going to hear
Arnold....Carl Dolmetsch perform in New York at...”, oh, that famous place, whatever it is.

LL: Carnegie Hall?

FD: Carnegie Hall. And I would love to take that lute along and show it to him. And I just think he’d
be interested in knowing that one of his father’s things... So, they said, “Well, feel free”, so I did. And
when Suzanne Bloch - who was at the concert and was also back giving acclaim to Carl Dolmetsch - she
saw the lute, she said, “Oh”, she said, as a lute player herself, “Do you know, my husband would love
to....he’d play Bach on that lute, that’s a very sturdy instrument and Bach would sound great on it. Do
you think I could borrow it for a little while?” I said, “Oh, I’m sure you could.” So she borrowed it.
And meanwhile, we moved to California, and I’d forgotten all about the lute. But when I remembered
it, I wrote to Cordelia Graves - “Cordelia du Maine” [?], whose father had bought the Boston & Maine
Railroad one day: he went off and came home with it in his pocket, and her husband used to complain
that her income tax was greater than what he made...

LL: Another tragedy!

FD: Yeah. So, anyway, I wrote and I said, “You know, I’m really sorry, but I did leave your lute with a
very dear friend in New York City who is a wonderful musician”, and I thought she’d know all about
Suzanne Bloch, but of course, she didn’t. She was furious! She wrote back and said, “I want that lute
back right away, and how could you have done such an absolutely....horrible thing?” And, well, since I
probably would never see her again anyway - she’d been at Smith College with me, though; she was a
class below me but a good friend, but no more - and so, I said, “Don’t worry”, I wrote her back, I said,
“I will get Trygve Bjornsen [?], your daughter’s and my daughter’s piano teacher, who lives in East
Orange, he’ll go into New York and he’ll be only too glad to have an excuse to meet Suzanne Bloch,
and he’ll get the lute back for you.” Which happened. And so, she got it back. Well, she didn’t thank
me or anything. I mean, I didn’t expect her to. So anyway, that was a rather painful... but it was typical
of me, too. I mean, you know, total disregard of properties, somebody else’s property. But I thought
she’d be thrilled to think that Carl Dolmetsch saw it, and that Suzanne Bloch would be consorting with
it, but no! She didn’t play the recorder, she didn’t keep up with those things.

LL: Well, that was her problem, obviously.

FD: [laugh] Obviously!

LL: Well, let’s see...there are a couple...a lot of these things that I thought it might be good to cover, you
already have. Like how did you first get involved, and about your shop. Umm, let’s see... What do you
find, if any, to be the regional differences - having lived in several areas of the country - as far as what’s
going on in early music, and things like that?

FD: Well, at University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB), it had a very talented man from
Colombia named Alejandro Planchart.

LL: Oh, yeah! I know him.

FD: Well, he’s an incredibly fine performer of vocal music - especially vocal - but he does everything
else, too.

LL: He’s quite a musicologist, too. He’s got an incredible memory.

FD: Really?

LL: Yeah. He can remember the finest details from anything he’s ever seen. It’s just amazing.

FD: Is that right!

LL: And he’s happy to share all of them with you. He’s something.

FD: Well, he came to my shop a few times, and he had a daughter, a very plain daughter he brought to
the shop one day - and of course he’s also famous for liking the ladies and flirting with all his students
as much as possible - but he has made some wonderful singers whom we first met at the University of
California. And I should remember their names ‘cause they’re nationally famous now, and when I see
their names I recognize that they were his students. I mean, one of them was in the wonderful Carl
Orff...what is the famous Carl Orff...

LL: Carmina Burana?

FD: Carmina Burana. And she sang that...Judith, Judith somebody-or-other. That was years ago.

LL: Judith Nelson?

FD: Nelson...I think it was Judith Nelson. And then a younger, a later one who’s now....Well, anyway,
they all star in summer workshops. And I did go to Amherst one summer, which has a wonderful
mixture of recorders and viols and singing and lutes and harps and you name it! Everything happens
within two weeks there, including that wonderful woman from Germany.

LL: Andrea von Ramm?

FD: Andrea von Ramm. Ohhh....she had had her jewelry stolen when I met her one time, so I gave her
some that I bought when I had my shop. A Mexican woman had come in with a perfectly beautiful
necklace of dangling turquoises and pearls, and she said, “I want to give this to you.” I said, “Why?”
She said, “Well, I’m not using it, and my father got it in one of his raids”. And so, apparently it was
booty. And so, I had two pieces removed for earrings and then I gave the rest of it to Andrea von
Ramm. So we had a correspondence for a while, and we had a great friend named Peter Harsh [?].
Peter Harsh and his mother had lived in Santa Barbara, and Peter Harsh liked me a lot because I played
the recorder...and I liked to folk dance, and he did, too. And his mother couldn’t understand why he was
seeing this older woman all the time. She just didn’t understand that it was a community of interests.
He was a fine musician. He visited us a lot, and he stayed with us a lot, and he had two wives. I mean,
he had one wife, from whom he got divorced, and I think he took up with another one. He was a great
friend of ......and he lived in Germany a lot. He knew Andrea von Ramm quite well. But he committed
suicide. And I think Peter told me that she had tried to, too.

LL: His wife?

FD: No, Andrea von Ramm.

LL: Really! Huh.

FD: And... that was a great loss. I was very sad about that, ‘cause we were very close to him. His father
committed suicide, too, though, so maybe it ran in the family. They were a very interesting family, very
interesting. And he was an only child. His father had been sort of a playboy in the East, and Peter had
some of the makings of that, but mostly he was interested in... mostly it was just music. Mostly it was
the recorder.

LL: Hmm.

FD: I must say, the music world has brought me many, many interesting contacts.

LL: Friends, businesses, all sorts of things...

FD: Yeah, and of course, my shop. I probably should not have given up the shop, but I just got tired of
all those taxes you had to do at the end of every month, or three months. I guess it was three months.
You had to add up all your surplus taxes and send it to the government. And I needed help, but I had a
wonderful help named Hyla Hardin Fetler. She was the daughter of Garrett Hardin, a well-known
geologist or botanist or...scientist, who had polio and had to have a big hot swimming pool - a big
swimming pool which had a hot tub at one end. And when I broke something - I guess it was my right
arm (before I broke my left arm; I broke my left arm out here) - I had to spend some time in a hot pool
and Garrett Hardin invited me to come over any time and swim in his pool. It was just enclosed with
plastic. But they were a charming family...and Hyla married Timothy Fetler, a German ... Austrian
philosopher. And the marriage produced a charming daughter who is now married and lives in
Cambridge, Mass. But they didn’t stay together very long. But she took care of him all his life. And he
used to spend the afternoons sitting in my shop, and started meeting interesting people. And she worked
in my shop. She worked in the mornings ‘cause I couldn’t get there in the mornings ‘cause my diabetic
husband required me to see that he ate his lunch, or he would be in a terrible insulin reaction by
afternoon. So I stayed home and fed him his lunch, and then Hyla would be there. But on weekends, I
got other people to help me, including Howell Hughes, who did die and left me his vast collection... or
left his collection to be appraised by me, not to me. And I would find notes on the door: “It says that
you open at 11, and here it is 12 and you’re not open yet. Why don’t you do what you say you’re going
to do?”. Insulting remarks!
I don’t blame them, I would have felt the same way. But Hyla had been a great help, and other people
who had helped on the weekend were helpful, too.
But anyway, it was mostly also an excuse to get away from my very shy, very fussy husband,
who did not enjoy...well, he said, “I finally got used to that recorder that you play, and I finally decided
that it was fun listening to you. But then you took up that scratchy, horrible stringed instrument.” And
when Father Hopkins - this absolutely charming Redemptorist priest who had a job persuading parents
to get their sons to go to Catholic schools and become priests - he would be sent to Santa Barbara quite
often to carry this out, and he would always look all us recorder players and viol players up and we
would have a meeting with him. And he was just like - if Chaucer were alive, Father Hopkins would be
just like him, who enjoyed his drink, his cigar (I don’t know about the cigar). Anyway, he was a man of
the world. And he gave me gave me viol lessons in our tiny little house ( it was one of the houses we
finally rented before we ended up buying one, yeah, a place and fifteen acres). And we had to lock
ourselves up in my bedroom so my husband wouldn’t have to hear the noise. And Father Hopkins said,
“Well, it’s one of my new experiences being closeted in a bedroom with a lady!” [laughter] We had
more fun over that.

LL: So, this interest in early music was entirely yours, and something that you pursued on your own...

FD: [emphatically} And how!

LL: ...it was not supported by your husband.

FD: I should say not! He had a fit that my expenses - which in the beginning were quite considerable...

LL: Oh, sure!

FD: ... but I would just go to the Bank of America. I had an aunt who had left me some Eastman Kodak
stock. And I would say to the Bank, “I have two shares of Eastman Kodak. Can I borrow $2000 from
you?” And they would say, “Sure.” They were delighted. And they were practically next door. My
friends had a fit. They would say, [appalled tone]”Bank of America! Do you know what they do in
Africa?!”. I mean, they would mention all the horrible things that the Bank of America did throughout
the world. And how come I would be ... I had been a great peace activist, too. But that was after the
shop. (The shop was in Santa Barbara, yes [chuckling]). I was a peace activist in Santa Barbara, too.
And I got an award consisting of a glass paperweight, with my name spelled with “IS”, much to my

LL: Oops! [both laugh]

FD: But my husband enjoyed taking all my losses off his income tax...

LL: Aha, to reduce the household income...

FD: Yes. So, he did benefit. And you know, when I taught at City College - I taught at Santa Barbara
City College, also the University of Santa Barbara, for three years. I taught for three years at the
University of Santa Barbara, then they went on the...trimester or something, and they dropped, they
changed the whole staff. They said, “If it matters much to you, we’ll keep you on”, but I decided my
shop was taking up enough time. But he wouldn’t let me ask for a full-time job at City College, I had to
be on the after-hours at night or .... but I probably had more classes than most full-time people, because
every...I was wanted in almost every... I was a very strict grammarian and speller, and believe me! And
I taught “bonehead English”, among other things. So, boy, they had to learn the ropes. And I still go
crazy reading the mixture of the mistakes now of “lay” and “lie”.

LL: Oh, yes. There are all kinds of strange things happening linguistically.
FD: Run-on sentences. Well, I don’t much mind the run-on sentences now anymore. But “lay and
lie”...I don’t know why “lay and lie”upsets...[indignantly] even my good doctor friend, even all my
doctor friends seem to misuse “lay and lie”. I can’t believe why they...I mean... I guess it’s because I
taught grammar, and I had to read the...

LL: Well, yeah, you’re more aware of it.

FD: I was much more aware of it than most people are. I remember at Smith College we had people
like Mary Ellen Chase, and they were more enthusiastic than they were grammarians, but still........
I did get very much interested in Central America. I got these depressing letters from Nicaragua, all the
rich people are back from Florida and Cuba. And another...people I know in Santa Barbara who’ve
been to Cuba, and they can’t get over how beautiful and peaceful and well-run Cuba is.

LL: Hmm. I don’t know anything about it recently, but I remember my father used to go there before -
long before I came along - and he used to rave about the beauty there. And I guess he’d bring back
cigars for his friends.

FD: [laughing] Oh yes!

LL: Things like that...before they cut themselves off from the rest of the world.

FD: I found...yeah. Well, they were mostly known for their cigars and prostitution.

LL: That’s what I’ve heard! I don’t think he had much to do with the latter.

FD: No, I don’t imagine. But I found a lovely cigar box (where did I find it?) ...oh... I was looking for
boxes in a liquor store, ‘cause liquor boxes are wonderful...

LL: They’re very sturdy.

FD: Very sturdy, yeah. And there was a darling little cigar box, with a little brass hinge in the back.

LL: I always liked the Dutch Masters, the way they all looked in their ruffs and their hats, so elegant

LL: Let’s see....I was wondering, since you’ve got, probably, a longer-term view of early music than
anybody else, what do you think are the most significant changes that have taken place during the course
of the last sixty years or so?

FD: Well, most of my knowledge of modern usage of recorder, a lot of it is based on the recorder
magazine [American Recorder published by the American Recorder Society] , and Pete Rose’s columns.

LL: Right.

FD: Because I haven’t been to any big recorder...I haven’t ever been to the Berkeley Festival or
the...what is it?
LL: Boston?

FD: Boston. Or the Boston.

LL: They alternate years now, I think.

FD: Yes. But I read about them with great interest, in this book. And then, of course, the Japanese, not
only on the recorder but the viola da gamba. They’re outstanding.

LL: They really have taken to those instruments, and to the music as well...

FD: And to the music.

LL: Which is interesting, because it’s so completely disparate from their own musical culture and

FD: Right!

LL: But, I guess it says more for the beauty of both the instruments and the music...

FD: Um-hm, um-hm.

LL: ...that something so unfamiliar could be adopted so wholeheartedly.

FD: That’s right. [chuckles] It’s curious that Japan is also one of the big money-makers in the world,
as we are - as are we, too, and sort of indifferent to people. Well, I don’t know if Japan is indifferent to
the poor. I don’t know that it is, probably isn’t.

LL: I don’t know.

FD: But it’s interesting that they this... that they have such a strong sense of art. They have always had
that, though, I guess.

LL: Yeah, I think so. There’s just a really strong aesthetic sense.

FD: Because I remember when I was young, people...older women were taking classes in Japanese
flower arranging.

LL: Oh, yeah. It’s beautiful stuff.

FD: And origami paper things...

LL: So, a lot of what you’ve seen, then, has been the involvement of contemporary music and foreign

FD: [emphatically] Yes! And I don’t know if you’ve read this issue...
LL: I’ve read some of it.

FD: ...but it’s all about blues.

LL: Yeah.

FD: Oh, I think that’s fascinating! “Good morning, blues. Blues, how do you do?”

LL: Mm-hm.

FD: [thumbing through American Recorder] I haven’t read that one...oh, yeah, I guess I read some of
it. But I haven’t looked at the little....they’ve given samples of tunes. I haven’t looked at those. But I
remember we had that meeting in Colorado Springs, with that husband and wife who are into... they’re
into folk music as well as classical music. Oh, you know who they are…….Oh, God….Scott Reiss.

LL: Oh, Scott? Yes! He’s one of my former teachers.

FD: [laugh]

LL: He’s a sweetie.

FD: Yes, he is.

LL: Scott and Tina.

FD: Yeah, well...(now, what got me started on that?)

LL: Was it the folk influence? Other types of music?

FD: Well, of course, they were combining these grassroots type of folk music along with the classical.
Considering that a lot of what we think of as Renaissance music probably was folk tunes of that era...in
their exalted state now, they seem to be more than that. But there was something about that...

LL: These are really tasty little morsels!

FD: They’re pretty good, aren’t they? They’re hard as rocks! A few of them are left over. Some of
them I just got out this morning, but some of them are left over from three weeks ago. Um...I can’t
remember...I remember there was fellow who did a lot of xeroxing of himself, and he gave a morning
talk with his microphone, which he’d talk into for a while, then he’d play something and then he’d talk
some more.

LL: This was at Colorado Springs?

FD: Yeah. He was not an official part of the workshop, but it was the, you know, whatever the
“commoner garden” people had to offer. It was quite interesting.
LL: Hmm.

FD: I did meet a charming man from St. Louis whose car wasn’t working very well. He wanted to
drive up to some beautiful place like Harmony - that wasn’t it, but it had a very poetic name - where one
of his high school friends was married to a teacher and lived in a log cabin, and he wanted to go visit
her. And I offered to drive him ‘cause he didn’t dare take his car - and they would drive him home - and
that was very interesting. I’d never been to that part of Colorado.

LL: Where is that?

FD: Well, I’d have to see a map to know what the name of it was. It had a very pretty name. Not like
Larkspur, where the Renaissance Fair takes place, it was not that. And she worked (he wasn’t there) but
they did live in a beautiful, large log cabin - I think it had a second floor. And she worked in Central
City, or she worked in some gambling town, not too far away. And got very well paid. But they had
goats, and they had wonderful tomatoes [to-MAH-toes] growing in sort of an improvised hothouse they
had invented.

LL: I guess if they’re at altitude, they need the extra warmth.

FD: Yeah. And on the way home, I gave a ride to a hitchhiker who had a very badly cut arm. And I was
shocked! He said it was a motorcycle accident, and he had to leave his motorcycle up there. But he had
to get back to Colorado Springs because there was too much going on there. He said, “You probably
don’t realize this, but Colorado Springs is one of the main criminal hangouts between California and
Chicago”, or something.

LL: I wasn’t aware of that.

FD: I wasn’t, either. And he said it was, and he said there’s all kinds of things going on here.

LL: Hmmm.... and he was headed back to be part of that?

FD: Well, or maybe he had to protect something or other. And I said, “Well, I hope you’re going to do
something about that arm, because if it gets infected, you’re going to be in trouble”. “Oh”, he said, ”I
don’t think it will”. You know, casual. That had been interesting to me.

LL: Well, let’s see, we’ve looked back a lot...

FD: Oh yeah, you want to know about what has changed in the recorder. Yeah, that...I keep getting off
the track. Well, I don’t think the Reisses did teach anything special - differences in performing - but,
boy, Pete Rose does! In fact, Pete Rose was there.

LL: He’s a real innovator.

FD: Yeah, he is. I think that’s where he was...he was at that same workshop. Or did I go to another

LL: There were a couple of them. There was one after Scott and Tina were there, and that might have
been the one that Pete was at. That’s the one that I couldn’t go to.

FD: And Karl and his lady friend, I mean...that crazy girl. Susan....

LL: Susan Iadone?

FD: Susan Iadone. [both laugh]

LL: She’s a character!

FD: She certainly is. Karl and Susan gave a concert of ...little viols - treble viols, which were more like
two violins, the way they did it. I mean, Susan is nuts about the violin, too. That had been interesting.
And a very nice woman who works here in Santa Barbara [sic]. She played the violin, she didn’t play
the treble...she didn’t play the viol, but she wanted to learn the viol. And she had three sons, and they
would be in the neighborhood. I can’t remember what her name was. I realized that she was here all the
time, and if I wanted to see her, I could have, but I think she was too busy commuting. I think she had
to commute from Denver to some job here.
Well, let me see....hmmm...Well, there was a time when everybody played soprano, and they
usually didn’t play very well, either. And the soprano is horrible unless it’s played well. And since it’s
the easiest, cheapest, smallest, sort of the one everybody falls into buying, it was unpleasant, and you
wished more people took up the alto. Now, eveybody I know plays the alto, nobody wants to play the
soprano anymore. So a good soprano - any soprano player - is worth hanging onto, or as far as my
classes are concerned. And I happen to have a very nice girl named Patricia. She finally showed up.
She disappeared for the summer, and she said she told us all she wouldn’t be here for the summer, but
she didn’t. She was in my advanced tennis...I mean, my adult senior center tennis class, and I was
playing there a week ago today, and she came up to me and said, “I want to reintroduce myself, ‘cause I
was in your recorder class”, and I said, “Well, you certainly were, and we have missed you terribly all
summer”, and she said, “Oh, I told everybody I wouldn’t be around all summer.” She certainly didn’t!
Everybody remembered her saying she would be around all summer. So now she is around.

LL: So, you’re doing the...oh, go ahead. Sorry.

FD: Then I have a very nice man who lives up on Sugarloaf Road, and he had a wife who took a pottery
class right next door to my recorder class. So they were a very nice couple. And whenever we had a
birthday party, he always brought champagne. And he was a great friend of Sandy Hale. He’s in her
social set. But she can’t know what we do because they’re not allowed to serve alcohol.

LL: Aha!

FD: So, it’s strictly against her orders. But I think she finds out about it later, being Robert Morrison’s
friend. Well anyway, Robert Morrison and his wife are leaving next week for Greece. They’ve hired a
yacht...I mean, they’ve joined a yacht of 37 people and they’re going to tour. And we’re trying to do
“Alla hornpipe” by Handel, you know. It’s a wonderful, wonderful piece, it’s so stirring. [sings] Da
-da-da dee-deedle-eedle-eedle-ee... That and the Purcell “Abdelazar”. They’re both stirring, introit
marches, or trumpet-playing marches.
LL: So, you’re teaching the adult recorders at the East Boulder Rec Center. What else are you involved
in as far as early music goes, at this point?

FD: Well, I’m trying desperately to write my memoirs! [ turns to desk nearby] . You see...
this...box...is just filled with journals! I mean, the bottom of it is, you know... they’re all...and every
damn page is filled from 1930, from right after ...well, a few are when I was a little kid and kept a diary,
but most of them are...and then I have a Smith College diary that I kept. [continuing to go through
boxes] Here’s my... these are all diaries!

LL: Oh, gosh, Frances! Well, you’ve been a prolific diarist, it looks likes.

FD: I just absolutely had to write! I just ...well, you know, now that I feel I have to talk. But this is a
Smith diary. But this was a real five-year diary, except that I notice I didn’t seem to do much in the last
two years. But each year is different handwriting. And so, I excerpted what I thought Smith College
would be interested in, and I made a very nice little document and sent it to them. And they wrote back
that they were very fascinated, and they were going to publish it, and they were going to pay me. And
then nothing happened. And nothing has happened, and I’m having a fit [slams drawer shut]. But I
think what I should do...see, they put in a new president...

LL: At Smith...

FD:...and she’s a black woman. And I think they want to make her feel much at home, and they want to
make her... have the college seem to amount to something to her, too. So, I think they think I shouldn’t
be rocking the boat too much. But you see, we have this Smith Alumni Quarterly - well, there’s the
Radcliffe Alumni Quarterly - comes out four times a year, and that was the group that was interested in
publishing my memoirs. And this was more than two years ago. And I don’t know why I haven’t
written them and told them how annoyed I am. [laughs] But...

LL: Well, that may be all it takes to get something rolling.

FD: Yeah...I think so, too. And I think all but...well, I didn’t name names, but, my goodness,
everybody names names now in their personal memoirs. And maybe they thought...they didn’t say
this...if descendents of some of the ones that I especially mentioned were alive, would they sue or

LL: Oh...well, that is a concern, I guess.

FD: Yeah, I guess so. But I don’t know... people like those Hollywood people talk about each other all
the time.

LL: Well, that’s true.

FD: I don’t know... I should talk to a lawyer, maybe. I could change the name of that... I don’t want to
change the name of this. The whole point - the fun of it - is knowing who you’re...who’s being talked
about, it seems to me. I mean, mainly one was a beau I sort of got bored with, and kept saying...all my
friends [chuckles]...he was tall and dark and he wore big horn-rimmed spectacles. My friend referred to
him as, “Something warm in glasses.”

LL: [laugh]

FD: And they’d call back, they’d say, “Frances, something warm is on the phone!” [both laugh]

LL: I hope he didn’t hear!

FD: No, he didn’t hear.

LL: That’s funny. Gosh. ....Well, what do you...

FD: And so, I realize I have not been able to be critical about the recorder. Except to say that Handel
sonatas, which were on every tree - I mean, you couldn’t move, in recorder circles, without hearing part
of a Handel...one of the famous four Handel sonatas - and I went to Idylwild in the early 60’s, right after
we moved to California, and everybody was playing Handel sonatas. Every bush had a Handel sonata
being performed in it. And then I heard.... (she was a well-known teacher)...um, not Shirley Marcus,
but Shirley somebody-else. Shirley Robbins. She played on a von Huene alto recorder, with Art
Stilwell, who played on a violin with a viola da gamba bow (that was supposed to make it sound like a
viola da gamba). And they did a Handel sonata, too.

LL: When was this?

FD: I think this was 1961 or ‘2. I can’t believe it was that early!

LL: So, still fairly early on.

FD: Very early. But I had heard, when I lived in New York City - or, I didn’t ever live in...we lived in
New Jersey and I went over to all those recorder...Friedrich von Huene would come down from Boston,
and then there was ......(oh dear, what is his name? A very good recorder player). And they gave a
record, one of the very first recorder records. It was marvelous!

LL: Bernard Krainis?

FD: Bernard Krainis...good for you! Bernard Krainis...and this record...Bernard Krainis is very much
on this record. And they also did a jazz piece, of which I still have the music - it’s kind of hard to read
‘cause it’s hand made - by Dorough (D_O_R_O_U_G_H) was the author’s name. And it was called
“Eons Ago Blues.”

LL: Yeah!

FD: And also, I heard in one of our meetings in New York City, a woman. She was not very tall, and
she played a bass recorder which was almost as large as she, and she played it standing up. And she
wrote a tribute to Erich Katz. I’ll think of her name in a minute. Every now and then I see her name
somewhere...Tui St. George Tucker. Tui spelled T-U-I, St. George Tucker. That was her real name.
And she and some others performed a four-part piece at one of the early Recorder Society meetings in
New York City, where Erich Katz presided, and Winnie Jaeger helped him. I thought Winnie Jaeger
was about 12 years old. She had this sort of Dutch-cut hair. She was an interesting person. She and
Mary Whittington - another woman that adored Erich - they moved to a suburb of Seattle, Washington.
She still plays...they still play the viol, but mostly the recorder. I’ve forgotten what the name of the
suburb is, and I haven’t kept up with them. I think Winnie held some hostility to me for...I think she
thought that I took advantage of Erich’s... of my friendship with Erich, and that I made fun of him
sometimes. And I did! [laughs] He got very mad at me because I reviewed...I was interested in writing
and I wanted to review concerts, and so I reviewed some of his concerts. And in one of them, Charles
Arregna [sp?? pronounced ah-ray-nyah], Charlie Arregna, a City College boy that I knew, who just
came from a humble Spanish Mexican family, he was very musical, and he took up... Several of these
students took up the recorder at my request. I said, “Why don’t you get off your butts and do something,
like learn to play the recorder?” and I taught them. And they were very good. They were all into jazz
music, so they knew how to play. And ...(oh damn, what the hell was the thought I was getting at?)...
Charlie Arregna had been in Erich’s concert. And I had read up on oboes and read up on early music
because I wanted to know something about the kind of music Erich was playing. He gave concerts in
Santa Barbara that were very, very, very well-liked, at the Art Museum, even at the little theatre. And
they were just very elite, very recherche. And so, I had read in a book on early wind instruments that
little boys were made to blow through straws into water, and if the water stopped bubbling, they were
switched on the back - they were beaten - to help them keep up [deep inhale and exhale] their air and
blowing, because that was the only way they would learn to play shawms or other instruments that took
a lot of hard blowing. So Erich...I mean Charlie Arregna had played... I think that he had played a
shawm in this concert. So I said, “History doesn’t relate that Erich Katz had to beat Charlie Arregna
into a bowl of water before he could play the shawm, but that’s what happened in the early days,” or
something to that... I think I said it more smoothly than that. [intensely] Erich had a fit! And he said,
“Frances, I would appreciate it if you would not mention my name in public ever again, and certainly
not my concerts.” And I was absolutely crushed! We had just started started a recorder society in Santa
Barbara, and I thought it was totally uncalled for and very abrupt. I mean, Erich didn’t have much sense
of humor, and he took things very seriously. And after all, he had been kicked out of Germany. He was
a - Mark Davenport has brought out - he was really a very pop...very well though of modern, very
modern musician. He and some others in Freiburg. And then Hitler came along and he had to go to
England. But I mean, before that, he was recognized as...for his ability and his modernity, the fact that
he believed in doing - he and Carl Orff - they all believed in new ways of doing things. So, we had just
strted the recorder society and I used to put out a little kind of brochure - a little bit of a letter - about our
next meetings and who was doing what. And it was called the “Katz Meow”. And I can see where that
might not appeal to him [both laugh]. But then I would put in choice aphorisms or choice remarks of
Erich that everybody who played the recorder should be aware of, and I think there was only one edition
of this paper. I wish I could find it, but I can’t. I don’t think I’ve ever...I think it was destroyed.
Anyway, so I can see how Winnie - a very proper young German woman (she’s not so young any more)
- she had been Erich’s pupil, and then she became his mistress. And he was married to a psychiatrist, a
very nice woman. He had three wives, I think. But, the daughter of one of them came to see me in the
shop. She was an architect and she had green toenails. This was in the early 60’s, and I thought she was
great. Erich thought she was very...a little far out, too far out. So...we patched up that row, but I can see
that Winnie thinks I am very free [?]. So, when I first moved out here, I helped Bill... (he used to play
the French horn, he was in the Music Department, and he’s been in the American, whatever that

LL: The Music Research Center?

FD: American Music Research, where they’re kind of helping immortalize some of the people - often
foreign - but who came to America and made a mark, and Erich Katz is one of them. So when I moved
here, I said, “Well, since I know a lot about Erich, I would love to help you annotate or go through all
the... see, Winnie gave them a whole flock of stuff of Erich’s, oh, lots of papers, letters, memorabilia
that Erich had left, when she and Mary moved to Washington state. So, I did this with this charming
man - he also plays tennis, I see him on the tennis court all the time. We’re very friendly. But at that
time...and he was very nice to me. In fact, I was so lonely for tennis, ‘cause I lived in Taft Towers and I
looked down on all those tennis courts, including that big glowworm that they cover it with plastic
every winter. But I couldn’t possibly afford to join, it’s very expensive. And so, I confessed this to him.
I said, “I don’t know, I’m just going to lose my mind”, and he said, “Well, you know, you can go, over
and play on the Baseline Middle School. It’s all brick and it has a macadam parking lot.” And he said,
“During the weekend, nobody’s there, and you can just use those brick walls to bat the ball with, and
it’ll bounce...”, and I did do that once. And then I finally lured him into,,, I said,”Would you consider
just playing singles with me sometime, I just want to play so bad!” So he did. That was very sweet of
him. And there’s a Nancy McCaffrey [sp?] , she’s a good violinist. She has a little quartet she teaches,
of violin people. One of my recorder students was in it - is in it - I think, too. Beers, Dorothy Beers.
Anyway, Nancy told me that Bill...Bill...

LL: It’s not Bill Kearns, is it?

FD: Yes!

LL: Oh! OK.

FD: Bill Kearns at one time had a group playing in the woods. They gave a ...I think they were all
dressed...I don’t know, but I know that Marlboro College, where my daughter Margaret went for a little
while, they had a group that played in the woods dressed in animal outfits. And then they ripped them
all off and rushed nude into a nearby pool to cool off. [laugh] But Bill Kearns’ group played in the
woods. I think they were dressed up in a mild animal fashion. But anyway, Nancy McCaffrey was a
student of his, I guess. I think he played French horn. He organized groups. But he is a really nice
person. He lives in Martin Acres [in Boulder] and he plays tennis there, too. But he also played at... we
used to play at the University Saturday mornings, but [sigh] no more! They don’t like roller-skating on
it (I don’t blame them), they don’t like graffiti, so they locked the whole damn place up except for just
the team. The tennis teams...the members of the tennis teams each have a key, and nobody else gets to
play there.

LL: So, where can you play?

FD: Oh, well, Williams Village has four courts...

LL: That’s right.

FD: East Boulder Rec Center has six courts. We play at the Centennial Junior High School, I mean,
that’s where the senior citizens have a group. But that’s six miles away. I don’t like to do that. And
now we play on the two lousy Baseline courts - junior high courts - Saturday mornings. And people
who like to play in the morning, believe me, they get there by 7:30.

LL: Wow! They really like the morning!

FD: They really like the morning, yeah. And Mondays at the Centennial courts, there are five people on
every court. They’re either playing five, or the fifth person is waiting for someone...the change of... the
next game, he gets to go in. So I’ve decided I’m not going to bother with that. I find it hard to get up
that early, and very annoying to have to drive that far. Especially when you can.... I have a beau who
lives here. He’s deaf as a post; this is unfortunate. He used to be a good tennis player, but now he gets
dizzy, and he can only play a little while. He’s very cagey, though: he does cut shots and dirty playing.

LL: [laugh] To keep you on your toes?

FD: Yes, he keeps you on your toes. He’s nice, He comes up and has a drink. He used to have a drink
of gin before dinner - which he kept in my fridge - but now he just keeps tonic water. [laugh] He’s had
some kind of a bleeding ulcer and he’s not supposed to use alcohol any more...or coffee. But when they
forget and don’t bring us decaf at the table - and bring coffee - he drinks it just the same, so I guess he’s
not worried too much.

LL: Well, what do you.... do you have any advice for people who might be interested in....you know,
they hear a recorder or they hear a viol, maybe people who would show up at the Fall Festival, never
having encountered early music before?

FD: What could induce them to want to do it?

LL: Yes, what do you suggest for folks who are just having their first encounter, who find it interesting?

FD: Well.......there isn’t any beginning class any more, ‘cause I never had more than one or two
students, and you have to have six.

LL: For the class to run at the [East Boulder Rec] Center?

FD: Yeah, and then they cancelled my advanced class, ‘cause I only had about eight, and they can use
the same room for a much larger modern art or some other subject that more people want to take. So
now I only have what’s called the ....Advanced Intermediate. I call them the Intermediates, I think it’s
called the Intermediates. Advanced Beginner.

LL: How many people are in your group?

FD: Well, I’m lucky if I get nine.

LL: And they’re playing mostly alto, or a mixture?

FD: Yeah, they’re mostly alto. I think, when they all come, I have three sopranos. But they are not as
experienced...they’re not quite as good as the altos. And then one of the advanced altos dropped back
and takes this class. She’s very obliging. But the others formed little groups of their own...which they
want me to join because they don’t have any basses. [chuckle] None of the so-called amateurs play

LL: It’s an investment!

FD: It is, yeah. I don’t blame them.

LL: Although you can get those Yamaha or Aulos basses for under $200, but still, that’s a good chunk
of change.

FD: That’s a lot. Well. I found my old Moeck bass, which I’ve had now for many, many years. I didn’t
want to play the viol in the Catholic choir the other day, because I’d run a knife into the end of my
finger, which has to play importantly.

LL: Ouch!

FD: So, I figured the bass recorder might sound nice. You always have to read everything up an octave
to play in the choir. Even the alto...it doesn’t carry. So I practiced this quite alot. First, I had trouble
getting my thumb to bend, ‘cause I...but you can mask the hole pretty well this way. But I like ....after a
while I did, and so I’ve taken it the last two Sundays, and they just love it! They think it....even my most
critical ...[annoyed] Sam Peck from Louisville. He’s the one who said about my beautiful von Huene
alto....no, it’s not, it’s a Rottenburgh....it was a very old and very beautiful pale pink, a beautiful pink
color. He said, “That recorder is flat. It’s not just flat, it’s very flat.” And so, I had to go and buy a
Yamaha, a plastic, which is much different. The holes are a little different, I mean the fingers.... this is
an arm I broke three, two years ago, and I never had much therapy on it, so it’s pretty stiff, but you
know, I keep on playing, and playing the viol, too, is a good exercise. Oh, and I have this one thing I’m
supposed to fiddle with all the time

LL: What is that?

FD: You get this from the Hand Center at Mapleton. They have a hand room, just for people doing
hand...working on their hands

LL: So it’s a muscle builder, something like that?

FD: This is quite a stiff one. The first one they gave me was much too easy. But you need one that you
really have to work, and what you’re supposed to do is make a doughnut, and then you push the
doughnut open. Well, anyway, I’m very happy that the bass recorder has come back into favor now,
‘cause I have...because it is so beautiful. Now, you see, you push it apart [manipulating hand-building

LL: OK, so it works the muscles different ways.

FD: Yeah, and then you’re supposed to sort of do all the muscles over this way. I should do it more
often. I usually do it while Harry is trying to tell me something, that I usually know anyway [chuckle].
Poor guy!

LL: Is this your deaf friend?

FD: Yeah. Deafness is a heavier cross than blindness. I read that, and I really agree.

LL: Well, it really cuts you off.

FD: It really cuts you off. I mean, blind people can consort with other people. Even if they can’t see
things, they can...they can be described to them, and they can kind of.. I have a viol...a blind person in
Santa Barbara, and he bought a place to live in, and he said it just smelled so wonderful, I mean, he
couldn’t see it but he loved the smell. But, I don’t know. Poor Harry.

FD: My father had something...we thought it was senile, but whatever it was, it was quite a long time,
quite a while into his age. I mean, before he was too old, my mother would scold him about forgetting
to do something about the furnace.

LL: That’s a real problem.

FD: Yeah, and his sister - who married Cecil de Mille - she was...she had it too, whatever it is.

LL: So your uncle was Cecil de Mille?

FD: Yes.

LL: No kidding!

FD: Oh, yes! That’s one of my episodes that...my friend who’s trying to help me go through my
journals, or...I have 45 years that are not journalled that I have to cover, and I think of episodes....Well,
visiting the de Milles in the summer of ‘32, that really should be in the journal era. I was in The Sign of
the Cross. He was running that movie with Charles Lawton (it was his first American movie, he was a
wonderful English actor); Alyssa Landie [sp?] was the Christian girl who makes the sign of the cross in
the dirt; Fredrick March the prefect of Rome; and Claudette Colbert, the mistress of the Emperor Nero,
but who is secretly in love with Fredrick March, who is secretly in love with the Christian girl he sees
making the sign of the cross in the square...

LL: [laugh] Very convoluted cast!

FD: Yes. Oh yeah, and they think maybe she’s a lesbian because she doesn’t succumb to his

LL: His advances? Oh, my!

FD: So, they have a wonderful scene, which Cecil was a little worried that the Dyes/Dice Committee
[political censorship body???], or whatever they were, would ban, in which she...It’s a Roman banquet,
and everybody is leaning on one elbow with bunches of grapes dangling in front of them, and she’s
lashed to a post in the middle of the room, and an exotic dancer dances around her, and they want to find
out if she responds to this female exotic dancer. Of course, she doesn’t. And guess who should come
onto the set that day?...[thinking aloud] (David goes to Baffinland [?], David...oh, God!) And oh, that
wonderful aviatrix who was lost over the...

LL: Oh...Amelia Earhart?

FD: Amelia Earhart and her husband David....um...god! They wrote a whole series of books for him. I
remember one was David Goes to Baffinland [chuckle]. But anyway, they were very Bostonian, they
wore flat-heeled shoes and kind of Burbee [?] raincoats. And Cecil had hoped there would not be any
visitors to the studio that day, and of course, there they were, watching...

LL: On that particular day, of course...

FD: On that particular day. [laugh] But I don’t think it got banned.

LL: Huh, well I’ll have to go take a look at it.

FD: Well, that was a lot...Well, I hate to tell you, but in the first scene when the crowd scatters, when
Fredrick March comes in and reins up his chariot, and Claudette Colbert peers at him from her balcony,
and he’s peering down into the square at the Christian lady trying to identify herself to two old men by
drawing the sign of the cross in the dirt ‘cause they couldn’t otherwise confess to it - Christianity. Um,
so I scattered up on a big column, you know, and it was about this high [gesturing], and I’m grabbing it
like this...

LL: Uh-huh...

FD: ...my arm. And I was just level with Fredrick March’s head. And so, when they did a still of him,
there I am, peering over his shoulder.

LL: No kidding!

FD: And that appeared in the October 1932 Photoplay, which came out in various places. And I was
teaching in Cambridge, Mass. I was teaching the 7th and 8th grade...no, the 6th and 7th grades
English. Sixth grade, we read The Iliad...The Odyssey...The Odyssey . And the seventh grade,
we read The Song of Roland.

LL: Wow!

FD: And that was...I love that Song of Roland! And so I could show my...I could say, “Well, you see,
your teacher was in an extravaganza in Hollywood, and there I am with Fredrick March.” As a Roman
slave, or in the Roman...I was a Roman...I was just a Roman peasant, and I carried a basket of onions,
and every now and then I ate one of the onions ‘cause I would be so bored. [both laugh] And Cecil
said, “Now, Frances, Cathay [???] News is going to be here. I want you to get on this stand with me,
because I...your parents might be at the movies, they might see you in it. I said, “I hate to tell you, my
parents never go to the cinema.” But anyway, I did it at his request, and as we got up there, I said, “I
hope you don’t mind, Cecil, I’ve been eating onions ‘cause I get so bored.” [clap, then in an appalled
tone] “Onions! Get right off the stand! I can’t stand the smell of onions!”

LL: Oh, no!

FD: And, evidently, I smelled of onions. So, I never got into the...[laugh] it didn’t matter. As I said,
my parents would never have gone to the movies, they never went to a movie. [laugh]

LL: That’s funny.

FD: But that was... those were among some of the...some of that summer, it was very... Yeah, I had
another cousin - she was actually my father’s half-sister, but she was only two years older than I - and
she was also a cousin: she was the daughter of a cousin whom my grandfather married after his first
wife, for whom she was named, died. And so, Nancy and I kind of grew up together. So, she was a
Roman patrician lady in a beautiful accordion-pleated chiffon tunic with gold buttons on the side,
followed by a huge black man carrying a parasol (a Nubian slave), and I was just a peasant [disgusted],
wandering around with no place to go, and...[enthusiastically] But I got next to Fredrick March in his
close-up, and Nancy...all Nancy’s scenes were shut out...were cut out.

LL: Oh, really?

FD: But now, when they show it - my head appearing over his shoulder - that part of the opening scene
with Fredrick March is not there. They just show Fredrick March reining in his horses. They don’t
have the extra little shots. But when we moved to California in 1960, I took my three children down to
Hollywood, and we...my aunt had just died, unfortunately...and - I don’t know where Cecil was, we
didn’t see Cecil - but, they had a cellar full of stills from all the pictures, still snapshots in big, fat, black
albums. And I found the one of The Sign of the Cross, and [delighted] I found that picture of me and
Fredrick March [laugh], so I was able to prove it to them.

LL: Do you have any prints of it?

FD: No...[disappointed]

LL: Oh, you should get one!

FD: I suppose there must be...I should. Yeah, I should. I should have kept a copy of Photoplay, I
mean, it was really impressive to see it there. I suppose the New York Public Library would have the
October ‘32 Photoplay.

LL: They seem to have everything there. [both laugh]

FD: Yes. But anyway, that was an interesting summer.

LL: Well, I should probably get rolling. Is there anything else that you want to include in this?

FD: Only that the people I know who have become involved with the recorder seem to be very happy
about it. It seems to fill some...part of their lives that... is extremely soothing and pleasant. I don’t
know. But, I can’t say that they...well, yes, some of them...yes, some of them...I don’t know...some of
them could probably stand more real practice, because when we try to play with...Eric Brissen [sp?] , for
instance - he was in my class but now we don’t have that class - and he’s got Anita...oh, she’s Austrian
and she and her husband play very good tennis, too - she’s in ti. Well, she has a little...she plays a tenor,
but every now and then she does flub a little bit. So, there are things like that that you they could...you
wish that they would ...that there was some standard that they would have to...

LL: Hm...would have to meet?

FD: I mean, in our adult ed. class in Santa Barbara, the other woman....I nobly took the beginners,
because that was much less interesting, and I let a good friend of mine take the advanced class, and she
got those exercise books, the soprano and alto - I think I have them...

LL: The Rooda? The little...

FD: Rooda! The Rooda. And she made her classes do one lesson every morning, and then they did
scales, and they had to do that.

LL: Well, that’s a good way to build your facility, for sure.

FD: Oh, absolutely. So she built really good...pretty good players, because, you know, they would be
among... We had a group called The Greenwood Players. We played for weddings - many weddings -
or opening new wineries. There were lots of wineries around Santa Barbara. So, that was a ... those
were frequent occurrences.
Now...the recorder....about the time I got involved with the Shah[???], I was also on the UCSB
PhD list. I wanted very much to get a PhD in English. But I was pretty old then, and so when the time
came for them to announce that I was on their list., they told me, they said, “We decided that, on account
of your age, we couldn’t just rope you in. But if you really are serious, take a class and get an “A” in it,
and we will reconsider you.” Well, I would have enjoyed doing that, but it would have been expensive.
And at this point, I realized that running a shop was going to be expensive, too.

LL: Inventory and taxes and rent, and all of that?

FD: Actually, the rent was only $75 a month. [laugh]

LL: That’s amazing!

FD: How they could have let that little place go so cheap....I wish I could think where that picture is.
Because it shows the shop. But, um...[looking through papers, books, etc.] (Oh, dear, I thought it was
right here. No...). Well, I’m just leaning against...and I’m wearing a shirt that I still wear in the house.
At least 20 years ago or more.

LL: I have some of those, too.

FD: But, I took the picture to my recorder class. I mean, to the adult...the Santa Bar...the Boulder
Recorder Society and passed it around, so they saw it. So, it’s come out of hiding. And I keep coming
across it when I’m not looking for it. Like, my daughter came up and sorted all my pictures out,
and...I’m sure it’s...[rummaging through more items]. No, this isn’t that picture, but this is a great
picture. [shows photo]
This is one of our workshops in Santa Barbara...recorder workshops.
LL: Oh, gosh! There’s Shirley Marcus.

FD: Right.

LL: Is that Lucy Cross?

FD: That’s Lucy Cross.

LL: Gosh, she looks so young!

FD: Yep. Carol Herman...

LL: That’s Carol?

FD: Yeah. And this is...oh, you know...

LL: Oh, Mary...

FD: Mary ...

BOTH: Springfels.

FD: And it’s in the lobby of a little Episcopal monastery up on the mountain.

LL: That’s a beautiful spot!

FD: Isn’t it? Yeah, it is a beautiful spot.

LL: And who is this?

FD: Now, she is just a friend who sang, I think. I guess she just wanted to be in the picture. I forget
what the use was.

LL: That’s really nice.

FD: Isn’t that a nice picture?

LL: Yeah. Did you take this?

FD: No. I don’t know who took it. I think...

LL: That’s very appealing.

FD: They must have had a professional photographer came and asked them to pose. Oh, it was so hot!
My God! It was way up on the top of this mountain, so it was hotter than ever up there.

LL: Gosh, that looks like around 1970 at the latest?

FD: Yeah. Uh...that’s just about when it was.

LL: That’s a great picture!

FD: It is a great picture.

LL: Frances, when did you move to Boulder?

FD: ‘92...New Year’s of ‘92.

LL: Uh-huh.

FD: [again looking for photograph] Now, this is ridiculous, ‘cause I keep falling over this damned
picture all the time. And now I can’t find it. This is my life...typical! And this is music. Ohhh....this is
music that’s got to be sorted. Everywhere I look...oh, you must have the same problem.

LL: Yeah, and we end up with piles…..Ohh!

FD: [laughs]

LL: I remember when I was at New England Conservatory in Boston….

FD: Oh, yeah. Two of my “bonehead English” people, Nancy... Nancy somebody - she was a flute
player - she went there. She married and went there, and he played the French horn. That was way back
in the late ‘60’s.

LL: It’s quite a place. And I remember they had...oh, Dan Pinkham was the Department Head of early
music at that point...

FD: [delighted] Ohhhh!

LL: In fact, I was there during the time that he left that position in order to spend more time composing,
which he does so well.

FD: Uh-huh...yeah,yeah...

LL: And...what a character, he’s so funny!

FD: Really?

LL: In fact...you’ll appreciate this...he was teaching a ...not a specialist early music class, but just a
general Baroque performance practice class for the musicians in general. And I was walking down the
hall, and he just grabbed me as I was going by, and he said, “Here, play this sonata. We’re talking about
ornamentation.” I said, “Uhh...OK.” So, I played it, and I didn’t know exactly what it was that he
wanted to illustrate, so I didn’t go crazy with ornaments. And I finished, and he said, “Well, that was a
rather Calvinistic interpretation!”. [both laugh]
FD: Oh, how wonderful! Calvinistic!

LL: I said, “Well, if I’d known what you wanted, then I would have put more in”, but...He’s such a
sweet, funny, debonair person. He’s just wonderful.

FD: I know some of his music is very nice. I think it was a folk song he did. Oh...yeah... what was that
famous folk song? All my students want to play it. Well, I think he did a version of it. Well, I’m sure
he’s done a million versions of other things, but I have to see the Katz book, because I know where it is.
It’s in the Katz book. I’m so sick of my students wanting to play it, and they always want to play it long
before they’re ready to count in three-half-notes. And...Now, where’s my Katz book? Oh, God....

LL: Is this it, with the cats on it?

FD: No, that’s Gibbons...those are gibbons! [both laugh]

LL: Let me get my stuff out of the way, here.

FD: Here it is, the old red-cover Katz.

LL: Oh, yes!

FD: [leafing through book] Oh, come on, where is it? It doesn’t have any....”The Wayfaring

LL: Oh, that’s so pretty.

FD: Anyway, I think Pinkham did a version of it, a vocal version that was very nice. And here’s “Let
us go where the bagpipes play” [singing] da-da-dum, da-da-dum, da-da-dum, da-da-dum.

LL: That’s a great tune.

FD: That’s a wonderful tune. Well, anyway, you know what it is. And...

LL: You know, I’d better shut this off! [tape recorder]

FD: [laugh]

LL: Yeah, well...actually, it shut itself off. [both laugh]

FD: Good! That’s good.


Copyright 2003 by Linda J. Lunbeck