"a gamba"

November 27, 2023

The Gift of Parthenia

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the increasing ubiquity of Mariah Carey’s notorious 1994 megahit can only mean one thing: Christmas is approaching fast, and, with it, the joy and/or agony of seasonal giving.

Some readers of this blog will have completed their holiday shopping in August; bravo to those of you in this category—you can skip the next few paragraphs (but don’t rub it in).

If you’re with the remaining 99% of us, you’re more than likely in semi-panic mode trying to think of memorable gifts that will be appreciated but won’t break the bank. Socks are insulting and the last thing anyone in 2023 needs is another gadget. You could sign your loved ones up for some painfully NOW ‘Slickback’ lessons, but, let’s be honest, by the time they have the basics mastered it will already be out of fashion. Remember planking?

No, rather than aim for something fleeting, it might be worth considering an approach favored by millennials—people born from approximately 1981 to 1996.

If you have heard mention of millennials before now it was probably in derogatory terms. According to the mass media millennials are:


Horrible communicators

Obsessed with social media to the detriment of their real lives

… and so on.

These are, of course, unfair stereotypes that have in some manner been applied to every generation since forever. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. But one trait associated with millennials deserves closer examination—they tend to eschew products in favor of experiences, and what greater experience is there than live music?

As luck would have it, Parthenia are about to kick off a very busy 2023-2024 season with two concerts commemorating the music of William Byrd (1543–1623) and Thomas Weelkes (1576–1623). The first concert is free and will take place on December 8 at Queens College. The second concert will be at The Church of Saint Luke In the Fields on December 10. Tickets are available on the 2023-2024 NYC Concert Series page. These will make for wonderful—and unique—stocking stuffers for anyone in your life (not just millennials!)

The Byrd/Weelkes concerts mark another wonderful collaboration for Parthenia, this time with The Queens College Vocal Ensemble, directed by James John. Upcoming social media and blog posts will explore this collaboration with a look at the rehearsal process.

For another example of collaboration, we are proud to present the latest installment of our Parthenia Conversations series below—this time with Frances Blaker, composer and member of the Farallon Recorder Quartet. Frances was kind enough to sit down with us earlier this year when she came to New York City for a performance of Antiquae / Novae – Early and New Works for Recorders and Viols. Both this video and the concert performance will serve as a great introduction for anyone you choose to give the gift of Parthenia to!

About Kieran Walsh
Kieran Walsh is an author, musician and filmmaker residing in New York City.