Monday, May 4, 2009


Why hellllooooo. So sorry that we haven't paid attention to the blog in weeks. Spring gets busy, ya know? Wedding season is picking up a bit- I look forward to that. Elle returns from Spain in one month! Boy, have we missed our second violin.

It is always wonderful hearing back from couples we've played for in years past. Today my day was brightened by an email from our February 2009 bride- Bri.

hi there, mallory -

i hope all is well in your world! i thought i would send you a copy of a picture our photographer took of us at the wedding with you and the rest of the quartet 441 members. it's such a cute picture and kyle was so thrilled he got to hold one of the instruments! :) it's the small things that make us happy, right?! LOL.

i also just wanted to let you know how many wonderful compliments we received from our guests on quartet 441's music. you guys were amazingly easy to work and it was such a fabulous touch to our wedding day. thanks again very much and best wishes to you and the rest of the group!

take good care,

Thanks for the note, Bri. We hope your first months of marriage have been full of blessings!

-Quartet 441

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well, it couldn't get any worse, right?

My housemate likes to laugh. I like weddings. Together = we like to laugh at weddings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's in a name?

We get a lot of questions about the name of our group. There is in fact some thought behind it; it's not just a collaboration of awesome letters. One guess for the reason behind the 441 was "Four for one" (thank you Prof. Vanden Bosch!) while others just incorrectly refer to us as Quartet 411. We may be full of information (especially on weddings and Wendy's), however 411 is not our name.

The 441 actually comes from our tuning process. An "A" is 440 MHZ. When the quartet first started back in 2003, one of us had an impressive metronome that also allowed for tuning to different mega hertz. We took to tuning to a 441 A instead of 440 because the ear tends to like things slightly sharper. And also, obviously, because we're rather sharp women. We started to call ourselves 441 as a joke, but the joke stuck! We even once tried to adopt a different name, but alas all efforts failed. We have now embraced that we are, and always will be, Quartet 441: the sharpest quartet in town.

Just for are the meanings of the rest of our names:

CHRISTINA : From Christiana, the Latin feminine form of Christian. This was the name of an early, possibly legendary, saint who was tormented by her pagan father. It was also borne by a 17th-century Swedish queen and patron the arts who gave up her crown in order to become a Roman Catholic.

MALLORY : From an English surname which meant "unfortunate" in Norman French. It first became common in the 1980s due to the television comedy 'Family Ties', which featured a character by this name.

GABRIELLE (as close to Elle's spelling as I could find!) : French feminine form of Gabriel. This was the real name of French fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883-1971).

Elisabeth : From Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), the Greek form of the Hebrew name ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist. Among Christians, this name was originally more common in Eastern Europe. It was borne in the 12th century by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of King Andrew II who became a Franciscan nun and lived in poverty

Let us summarize. Ctina is a legendary but tormented saint, Mallory is unfortunate and starred on Family Ties, Elle is (kind of?) named after CoCo Chanel, and I am either John the Baptist's mother or destined to be an impoverished nun. I think Elle faired a little better than the rest of us on this one.

But we have hope! Enid means "soul" or "life", Dorothy means "gift of God", Greta is derived from "Pearl", and Lois means "more desirable" or "better". We are much better name choosers than our parents.

I wonder about Herkimer, Holga, Oatmeal, and Shamé?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wedding Numero Dos

Another successful wedding!

A stunning bride and an adoring husband, a win-win situation. I am always amazed at how much I take away from any given wedding we perform for. For this wedding, I was reminded of the place of silence (no matter how long it may be!), the ebullient love two people can share in just one glance, and mischievous little tikes.
I am the cellist, so when I get the special-constantly-reoccurring-pleasure of playing Pachebel's Canon in D, I get to sit back and watch the show. I have these 8 notes programmed into my muscular system allowing me to call the timing shots when the bride gets to the front of the church. My particular pleasure is that I get to play these 8 notes, and watch the faces of the bride and the groom as they meet each other's gaze and let me tell you. This groom was soooo excited! Thank you Calvin Seminary Newlyweds for letting me and m'ladies be part of your wedding day.

In other news--Herkimer (yes, this is my cello's name AND yes, we all have names for our instruments. I mean, when you spend so much time with an inanimate object you have to make it seem like a legitimate relationship!) needs to go to the doctor. His sound post has shifted, but good thing I have Guarneri house (Stringed Instrument Doctor) on speed dial.

Later on this same evening, we went to Wendy's as usual and sat in the dining room there with our habitual favorites, and were greeted by some extremely interesting out-of-towners. They sang to us, chatted with us, performed magic tricks, and even guessed our nationalities. They were crazy and we had hoped that our missing link and second violinist Elle "the spaniard" Talsma was there to translate their rantings in some sort of psuedo spanish. Thanks for the memories.

It was a great evening, eventful, moving, and as always when I get together with these girls, blast!

Until next time,

Herkimer the cello
Oatmeal the 1st violin
Holga the Viola
Shame' (SHA-mey) the second violin

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 21, 2009: BriAnne and Kyle

Ahh yes, wedding season has begun! My experience in this quartet has changed my life (for the better). Never will I love three girls more. I cannot think of a better thing than a string quartet (and a viola choir).

I LOVE when wedding season begins. This could be because the warm weather is close or because I get to eat Wendy's once a week. Good things. The season also brings rehearsals, new music, "beautiful people" bridal parties, the exploration of new venues, and happy you can tell, it is an exciting event for us to be a part of (the food ain't so bad, either).

This wedding brought us to yet another new place- "La Scala" in the back of the restaurant, Tre Cugini. Bri and Kyle did a great job of fancying up the place. The light snow falling outside really added to the experience, as well!

In the past, we haven't documented our weddings well. This is a terribly sad thing considering we've been to about 80 or 90 of them. Seriously, Quartet 441- what were we thinking? With that in mind, our New Years Resolution was to keep a better record of our gigs: pictures, programs, business cards, etc. Not only is it fun to remember, but it turns out to be quite helpful when talking with other brides!

As you can tell, I play viola for a reason. My photography skills are lacking. Maybe someone else should take pictures from now on? And Lis, stop trying to be taller than you are. Fact: 1st violinists are short.

It was fantastic working with you, Bri and Kyle. We pray that your marriage is full of many blessings!

-Quartet 441

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And it begins...

We're into our sixth year now as a quartet and we have been saying for who knows how long, "We need to write a book or something!" So here we are with a blog, sharing the adventures of quartet441 with the world. Four very different women, connected by a passion for music, wit, Wendy's, hilarity, pronation, and a bond far deeper than merely "co-musicians". We'll post about our weddings and events, but also most likely about each other (we miss you Elle!) and anything else we feel so motivated to share (as long as it's not too dissonant of course). So here we go, enjoy!