By John A. Barry
Five Will Get You FivesUploaded: Aug 18, 2014
To paraphrase Rogers and Hammerstein, the local hills and valleys are alive with the sound of music: Danville Band, San Ramon Symphonic Band, Contra Costa Wind Symphony, Diablo Symphony, Livermore-Amador Symphony, Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. . . . Then there are rock bands, school bands, individual musicians, and small ensembles. In the latter category is Mistral, a woodwind quintet whose members are Lisa Maher, flute; Eva Langfeldt, oboe; Christy Diggins, clarinet; Michael Garvey, bassoon; and Jeff Dickey, horn.
Formed in 2000, the quintet plays an eclectic repertoire but specializes in upbeat, jazz-influenced works. "The interplay of the instruments in the woodwind quintet is well suited to jazz-influenced repertoire," says founding member Langfeldt.
That the group is a woodwind quintet gave birth to the name. Per Webster's, a mistral is "a strong, cold northwesterly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France into the Mediterranean, mainly in winter."
Mistral's members come from a variety of musical backgrounds and belong to various local community musical organizationsall are members of the Contra Costa Wind Symphony, in Walnut Creek. They also have a variety of day jobs: Maher is an elementary school teacher, Langfeldt has her own editing business, Diggins works for a construction company, Garvey is in information technology, and Dickey is a high school band director.
On August 24, they will be playing a free concert at Peace Lutheran Church, 3201 Camino Tassajara, in Danville. The five musicians will play "Mississippi Five," "Five Easy Dances" (as well as other pieces) at 5:00 P.M. Complementing the concert will be an exhibit of music-themed art. The group balked, however, at a suggestion that limericks be somehow incorporated into the program.
(Disclosure: my wife is a member of Mistral.)