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Retreat No. 2 ~ by Aniela Eddy

Already halfway through our first quaranteam retreat, we started formulating ideas for our second retreat, which took place in Kalamazoo in the middle of September. Because the September quaranteam was scheduled in the midst of our online classes, we had to juggle a new type of schedule and therefore planned our days accordingly. We had found than the lovely home from the first retreat, an alternate place to stay, and managed to squeeze all four quartet members into a small condo furnished with two beds and a couch! However, it was all manageable, and we spent the majority of our days rehearsing in the same beautiful church in downtown Kalamazoo as the last time. Once again, our days incorporated a morning exercise routine, long hours of rehearsals and even more recording sessions than the last time. We generally arrived at the church by 9AM, (usually after a quick stop at Water Street, our favorite café), and left the church building between 9PM and midnight. Occasionally, we did have time to enjoy a post-rehearsal/recording drink on the beautiful outdoor grounds of Bell’s Brewery.

For our second retreat, we focused on new repertoire which culminated in a crisp autumn outdoor performance of Beethoven String Quartet in G Major Op. 18, No 2., Pleyel String Quartet in G minor Op. 2, No. 3 and String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 3 No. 1 by Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen. The incredible family that hosted our quaranteam retreat in July attended this concert, and we had the wonderful opportunity to finally meet them in person. A few other highlights of our second quaranteam included reading through the complete set of Op. 18 string quartets by Beethoven and even venturing into new territory with works by Schubert. Towards the end of our time together, we completed a very adventurous project of recording the first movement of Haydn’s “Sunrise” string quartet during the sunset over Lake Michigan.

As a quartet, we can agree that the last few months have been invaluable in terms of what we have gained from working with each other. We have been gifted with having the time to rehearse together and our appreciation of what it means to collaborate with each other has grown deeper. We are so thankful that, despite our world pandemic, we have found a way to safely play music together. Stay tuned for more – the best is yet to come!

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