Spinet Music Club hears Native American flutes, harp, and flute and tenor duo on recent shows – Redlands Daily Facts


The Spinet Music Club has heard music for tenor, flute, Native American flutes, and harp at two recent meetings.

The husband-and-wife team of tenor Julio Batta and flautist Victoria Batta presented the program at Spinet’s March 20 reunion at Keyur and Sweta Shodhan’s home in Redlands. They were accompanied by pianist Ed Yarnelle.

On the February 20 program at David and Nancy Jacobson’s home in Redlands, Natasha Thomas of Loma Linda presented a harp music program and Henry Vasquez of Colton played and presented a variety of Native American flutes.

march program

Victoria and Julio Batta met at the University of Redlands where they both received their music degrees.

Victoria, regular flautist of the Redlands Symphony Orchestra, opens the Spinet program with Benjamin Godard’s “Three-Piece Suite” then joins Julio in “Four Poems by Rabindranath Tagore”, set to music by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov.

Victoria studied flute with Sara Andon at U of R. While at the university, she performed four times in the President’s Annual Honor Recital, and in 2015 she won the university concerto.

She is an elementary conductor in the Beaumont Unified School District and teaches the flute and piano privately.

From left to right, tenor Julio Batta, pianist Ed Yarnelle and flautist Victoria Batta performed at the Spinet meeting on March 20 in Redlands. (Courtesy photo)

Julio Batta received his Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Redlands and has performed in numerous concerts and recitals and in stage operas. He has played the trumpet in numerous harmony orchestras and jazz ensembles, and has obtained his BA in guitar.

He works as an administrator at the First Congregational Church of Redlands where he is also the principal tenor of the Sanctuary Choir and plays the French horn with the whole church. He was recently accepted into Fuller Theological Seminary where he will begin working on a Masters of Divinity this fall to fulfill the initial conditions for ordination.

Julio Batta, with Ed Yarnelle on piano, performed the entire 16 sections of Robert Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” (“Love of a Poet”) song cycle in German before singing the latest Tagore poems in Russian.

Yarnelle, a longtime solo pianist, professional accompanist and organist, has offered numerous programs at Spinet over the past 10 years and is the founder of a community orchestra at Crafton Hills College. He has also performed for the Redlands Opera Theater and in the annual Lenten Organ Recital Series of the First Congregational Church.

Julio and Victoria Batta will perform a rehearsal of their Spinet program at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, as part of the musical series at the First Congregational Church of Redlands, 2. W. Olive Ave.

Spinet President Liz Zeller presented the program and Pauline Gruenler coordinated the hosts for the reception. The assistants were Corazon Coo, Cecilia Cruz, Alcera Albers, Jeanne Stellar and Jan Fowler.

February program

On the February 20 program, harpist Natasha Thomas performed Mikhail Glinka’s “Nocturne”; a “Sérénade” by Franz Schubert, arranged by Felix Godefroid, plus “Stella” by Godefroid marking the bicentenary of the birth of this composer; and “Le Rossignol” (“Le Rossignol”) by Franz Liszt.

Natasha, a junior at Loma Linda Academy, started studying piano at age 5, then harp with Celia Chan Valerio at age 9.

Also on the program for February 20 was Henry Vasquez, playing the Native American flute. Vasquez taught elementary school for 32 years in Los Angeles and is an officer of the Native American Community Council of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

  • Natasha Thomas covered her harp for travel after her performance at the Spinet reunion on February 20 in Redlands. (Courtesy photo)

  • Henry Vasquez exhibits his Native American flutes at the February 20 Spinet program in Redlands. (Courtesy photo)

He said he first became interested in the Native American flute at a 1980s powwow. He spoke about several types of Native American songs from the Pueblo, Plains and California to the woods of the East (with sounds of lakes and water, wind and loons) and southern style of tribal songs.

Vasquez spoke of the ribbon-wrapped fetishes sliding over each flute to center the wind blown into the instruments, in which six holes produce melodies contrasting with the Western diatonic scale. He also demonstrated a double flute, producing drone accompaniment from the single hole on one side of the instrument.

Owner Nancy Jacobson treated the members of Spinet to a buffet of Middle Eastern specialties and Kristen Cameron coordinated the host committee, which included Nancy Doss, Cheryl Flynn and Sally Rehfeldt.

The public is invited to the Spinet meeting on April 17 where Michele Tacchia will conduct Symphonie Jeunesse, a youth orchestra based in San Bernardino. The program is at 7:30 p.m. at the Redlands United Church of Christ, 168 Bellevue Ave.

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