Frequently Asked Questions
Well, no, these aren't asked all that frequently, but we thought you'd want to know, anyway.
Are you thinking of joining us or taking a class?
Are you interested in booking us?
Is there any place for beginners?
I started out as a beginner. My last experience with reading music was in junior high in the 1960s (yes, I'm that old), where I attempted to play the clarinet. I had dabbled with a few instruments in the intervening years, but never to the point of actually playing music. When I started out with the Cucamonga Renaissance Band, I was concerned that I was in way over my head. But beginners are truly welcome, to the extent that we have even shooed away some experienced musicians who were disparaging to beginners. If we had a motto, it would be "Everyone plays."
Not that we don't welcome experienced musicians. If your desire is only to show people how good you are, the Cucamonga Renaissance Band might not be for you. But if you are committed to good consort playing and tolerant of people with differing abilities, we'd like to have you join us.
Do I have to buy an instrument?
You'll probably want to. Fortunately, a plastic soprano recorder can be had for as little as five dollars, and altos and tenors for $25-$85. These aren't toys, they are serious instruments. They are inexpensive because they are mass-produced for use in schools. If you are willing to spend more, good wooden recorders, crumhorns, and cornettos are all available for under $500, but it's best to listen to, and perhaps try out, instruments belonging to the other members before you make a decision.
Of course, if you are interested in vocal music, you already have an instrument.
What do I have to do to play at the concerts?
You have to be a member of the Ensemble, and you have to show up. If you are just starting out, you won't be asked to do any solos, but there are jobs for everybody. We want to sound good, and that's why we pick parts to suit everyone's individual talents.
Am I required to play at the concerts and wear a costume?
Certainly not. The concerts are voluntary, and a number of members in the past have chosen not to attend. We won't pressure you, but we will ask you.
When the Cucamonga Renaissance Band has played alone, costumes have not been necessary. We have used both Renaissance attire and formal wear in concert with the Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble, but again, this is totally voluntary.
What is the connection with the Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble?
Jim Stehn, former director and instructor of the Cucamonga Renaissance Band, is also director of the Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble, a group of amateur and professional musicians (instrumental and vocal). Members of the former have been invited to play with the latter. The Jouyssance Ensemble is currently inactive.
What is the connection with the Internet Renaissance Band?
I created the Internet Renaissance Band as a way of distributing the midi files that I made for practicing pieces for the Cucamonga Renaissance Band. The Internet Renaissance Band has taken on a "life of its own", with around 3,000 visitors a month, but most of the music we play in the Cucamonga Renaissance Band (and much of the music from Jouyssance) finds its way there. If you join the Cucamonga Renaissance Band, and have a computer with a sound card, you'll be able to use these midi files in your own practice sessions.