Monthly Archives: March 2017

Alisdair Fraser & Natalie Haas at Caltech Saturday, April 1

Alasdair Fraser, one of the premier Scottish fiddlers today will be performing with Natalie Haas, cellist extraordinaire on Saturday, April 1 at 8:00 PM in Beckman Institute Auditorium (Little Beckman.)  

Alasdair Fraser, now living in Northern California, has long been an ambassador for Scottish fiddling and his credits include over 100 television and radio shows in the UK, and nationally-broadcast programs in the US, including  A Prairie Home Companion, and The Thistle & Shamrock.   Alasdair has made guest appearances with groups as diverse as Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Waterboys and The Chieftains, and as featured soloist along with Itzhak Perlman at New York’s Lincoln Center. His film credits include solo performances on the soundtracks of several major films, including The Last of the Mohicans and Titanic.  He has performed in interesting and very fruitful combinations, including with pianist, Paul Machlis, guitarists, Tony McManus & Jody Stecher, and in a group setting as Skydance, which also included flute and bagpipes.  He directs the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in California and an annual week-long fiddling course on the Isle of Skye.   

     Natalie Haas attended Valley of the Moon when she was 11 years old and quickly become enthralled with Celtic music.  With Alasdair’s encouragement, she continued to pursue the cello and they began performing together a few years later.  Now, after 15 years and 4 recordings, later, they are beginning a West Coast tour in April, which will be followed by a trip to the eastern U.S. and then Scotland and England in May, to promote their brand new CD, Ports of Call.   Natalie attended the Julliard School in New York and has joined the staff of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she now lives.  Besides performing with Alasdair, she has begun performing with her husband, guitarist/singer Yann Falquet with outstanding results.  She has toured with Mark O’Connor in his Appalachia Waltz Trio, and she has played with Nataie MacMaster, Irish groups, Altan, Solas among many other performers.   She also has an instructional DVD on Celtic cello on Homespun Music Instruction.   

Alasdair and Natalie play wonderfully together, and once you hear them, you won’t want to miss this show.  Listen to Grand Etang / Hull’s Reel,live on BBC Radio Scotland and also The Pitnacree Ferryman.  Tickets for the show are $20 for adults, $5 for children, and they can be obtained by calling the Caltech Ticket Office at (626-395-4652 Monday- Friday between 9AM and 4:00PM.  You can also buy tickets in person at the Ticket Office in Winnett Student Center, near the intersection of San Pasqual Street and Holliston Avenue, with no service charge.  Be aware that the Ticket Office will soon be moving to a building at California Blvd. and Wilson Avenue.  The date is uncertain, and it will probably be after this show, but be sure to give them a call if you are planning to visit and the staff can tell you exactly where they are located.  We will let you know when the change is official.  You can buy tickets online here until the end of Thursday, March 30.   As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, tickets are selling very well.  We will keep you posted by email about ticket availability, but if you plan to buy tickets at the door, monitor the situation carefully.  We don’t want to have to turn you away!  

Pasadena Folk Music Society concert tickets:  As a general note, online tickets are convenient, because you can use your credit card at any time of the day or night, but there is a significant service charge per order of $6.00 plus a variable charge per ticket that ranges from $1.50 to $5.00, so this can add up.  It is generally cheaper to buy tickets by phone during the Ticket Office’s regular hours, because the charge is $6.00 per order (no additional fees) and that can include tickets for multiple shows.  The best deal is to buy tickets in person at the Ticket Office (no fees) or at the door on the night of the show, but be careful with this if a show is close to selling out.  We try to keep you posted on that in these emails.

We have had a couple of recent bookings that are not yet mentioned on our web site.  Coming up next are  Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald (Scottish border pipes & Cape Breton fiddle) who will be making their debut at Caltch on Saturday, May 13, and then Brocelïande will return with their Medieval and Renaissance music of the European courts and countrysides, as well as Celtic music from the British Isles.

Saturday, April 1, the day of our own show, is going to be a busy day.  From 9 AM to noon, the League of Women Voters will present their 6th annual Climate Change Forum, at the United Methodist Church in Pasadena at 500 East Colorado Blvd. with 3 knowledgeable speakers.  Then, at 1:00 PM, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum will host the Re-Pete Celebration:  Pete Seeger, His Songs & Spirit, The Rising of the Women at 1:00 PM, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290.  These are all fine events, and it is theoretically possible to attend all 3, but we really think that you should be sure to come hear Alasdair and Natalie at Caltech!

Next Sundy on the radio, FolkScene will feature a recent interview/performance with Dave and Phil Alvin at 6:00 PM on KPFK, 90.7 FM.  If you can’t listen then, you can hear it on KPFK’s Audio Archives after the show by clicking on the 6-8PM, April 2 time slot.

Have you ever wanted to see the inside of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on the Pasadena/La Canada Flintridge border?  The annual 2 day Open House at JPL will not be until May 20 and 21, but you can order free tickets now.  They will run out, so you might want to reserve tickets as early as possible.  See Explore JPL.  

Finally, as you can probably tell, Spring wildflowers are about to bloom in the desert, mountains, and along the coastline!  Find out what is happening where and when from the Theodore Payne Foundation weekly Wildflower Hotline reports, either on their web site, or on the newly re-established telephone hotline at  818 768-1802, ext. 7.   And here’s a hot tip:  Viewed locally this past weekend, Encelia californica (common name: Coast Sunflower or California bush sunflower) at Eaton Canyon (1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena) are making a fantastic display north of the parking lot, as you walk along the creek.  And though they are not wild, the tulips at Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge) are back and there is a fantastic display with lots of variety.  The are at their peak right now.