Melegari musicians perform in “From Oregon, With Love” concert to benefit Mercy Corps’ Japan Relief Fund

April 4th, 2011

On Sunday, March 27, 2011, over 150 artists from Portland, Oregon came together for a very special event, “From Oregon, With Love: A Benefit for Mercy Corps Japan Relief Fund.”  Melegari’s founder, Paloma Griffin, and manager, Kirsten Hisatomi Norvell had the tremendous honor of performing with local ensembles Fear No Music and Pink Martini.  The event raised over $250,000 for the people of Japan! We are so proud and thankful to be a part of this region’s great community of artists and musicians.

See Oregonian article here:



Paloma with Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale and Sho Dozono

Kirsten chills backstage with 3 Leg Torso's Mike Murphy and Oregon Ballet Theater Principal Dancer, Anne Muelle


Melegari performs for Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s 3rd Inauguration

January 28th, 2011

On January 10, 2011, the Melegari Chamber Players String Quartet had the honor of being performing for Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s 3rd Inauguration!  The event was held in the House Chambers of the State Capitol in Salem.  The quartet played as members of the House, Senate, former Governors, and finally, Governor Kitzhaber himself processed.  Also performing was the Youth Choir of Central Oregon, who sang beautifully.

We would like to extend a warm “thank you” to the whole Kitzhaber team, especially Barbara Allen, and Linda Magee at Chamber Music Northwest for thinking of us for this amazing event.  We were beyond excited to be there and witness history.  And we love that Governor Kitz wore jeans!

Look closely at the picture below to see the Governor being sworn in.

MCP supports PHAME Academy of Fine Arts in Willamette Week’s Give! Guide 2010

November 10th, 2010

Last Summer, I was introduced by a friend to an amazing and beautiful non-profit, the PHAME Academy. Never have I been so inspired or fallen so in love with an organization and their mission. Through Arts and Music Education, PHAME strives to give kids and adults with developmental and physical disabilities a place to express themselves and learn in a safe and caring environment. It is currently the only non-profit of it’s kind on the entire West coast (possibly the nation).  You can check out PHAME Academy for yourself at

Today marks the beginning of the Season of Giving with a local weekly newspaper here in Portland, the Willamette Week. They just released their Give! Guide 2010. In this guide are 79 amazing local non-profits (out of 200+ applicants) who could use your charitable donations, with PHAME residing in the “Arts” category.

To open your pockets doesn’t require a lot – $5, $10, or $15 donations will make a huge difference for more students.

Go to: (click on donate) -or-

If you are so inclined, please share this with everyone you know, and get the word out there about PHAME and the Willamette Week’s Give! Guide.



Guinness, Bearer of Rings.

August 16th, 2010

Guinness sleeping soundly after a tough day on the job as the couple’s ring bearer.  That’s a good boy! xo

Outdoor events in the Pacific Northwest: do you have a ‘Plan B?”

August 11th, 2010

Above is a picture of one of our awesome cellists, Heather, at a beautiful outdoor wedding in the Columbia River Gorge, where the scenery is absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, the ambience of said wedding was totally ruined for all by fast winds and  100-degree heat.  The wind blew our music off the stands, in spite of all of the measures we took to secure it.  Several times, the stands almost blew over completely, and blew our bows off of our instruments, causing us to have to stop playing during the processional of the wedding party!  Eventually, Heather found some big rocks off to the side of where we were playing, which she hauled over, so we could secure everything further.  Still, a stressful situation all around.

While outdoor weddings in the summer are ubiquitous and usually lovely,  there are several factors that some coordinators, clients, and a frightening number of vendors do not consider, like the following:

Do you have a “Plan B” for inclement weather?

It is amazing to me how many outdoor events we have played in the late summer where clients do not have a backup plan if it rains (or is 100 degrees, with fierce winds).  Come on, people!  Its the Pacific Northwest – in August!  It could rain at any time, OR it could be ridiculously hot.   Do you really want your guests to sit and drown/burn in an uncovered area?  I doubt it.  But I have seen it time and time again, where guests and vendors alike are all crammed like sardines under a big tree, ducking out of rainstorms…or Aunt Edna and Uncle Fred have both fainted from having to sit in the intense, 100-degree sun.  Tell me, who is really concentrating on the wedding and the couple in these conditions?

At this wedding, there was no outlet for amplification, so with the wind blowing so hard, nobody could hear the officiant except for the couple.  This may have been ok, if there was not a lot of audience interaction planned into the ceremony, with readings, and the like.  The candle lighting was a total bust, but did (thank god) provide some comic relief for the wedding party and audience.  Most of the beautiful flower arrangements had their petals blown off, and some flowers on stands blew over.  As the officiant went on with whatever he was saying for nearly 30 minutes, the guests were all baking in the intense sun, or being blown about by the wind.  Not one of them looked like they were paying any attention.  I thought to myself, “all of this preparation, and for what?”  It was visually beautiful, but I could tell the bride and groom were also distracted.  Later, the bride told me she didn’t remember anything but worrying about her dress being blown off.  That’s so sad!

In the end, this couple sacrificed a few things for a spectacular view of the Gorge.   I have played at this venue every August for years and have come to expect this!  So I’ve decided that this will be the last year that I will agree to play outdoors there.  It is a shame, as it could all be prevented.  The moral of the story is: when planning your outdoor wedding in the great Northwest, it is important to have a ‘Plan B’ in case of severe weather!  Hopefully your venue has a space where you could move things indoors.  If not, consider having large enough canopies to fit everyone under, or at least put the guests in a shaded area.  If this is not a possibility,  provide parasols and umbrellas for people.  It is thoughtful and will help to keep everyone’s attention on the wedding, not on the weather.

Northwest Neighborhood House benefit at the Duck Ridge Farms Estate

August 10th, 2010

Last week, after a long string of beautiful weddings, we were thrilled to perform at a garden party benefiting the Northwest Neighborhood House. The event was held at the stunning Duck Ridge Farms Estate, a sprawling 85-acre estate gardens in the West Hills of Portland.  The Estate is listed in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archive of American Gardens!  I have not seen anything quite like it in Portland.   Donors and guests experienced a lovely evening of delicious food prepared by Chef David Barber of  Hillsdale’s Three Square Grill.

Vancouver Symphony Concertmaster (and MCP Violinist and Librarian!) Eva Richey and I played violin duets for a couple of hours. Everyone was so nice!  All the NH employees (special thanks to Tia!) doted on us and made sure we were comfortable and well taken care of!   We were enchanted by the gardens, and by the lovely donors who came by to tell us stories of their own musical upbringing and experience.  We got to meet a lot of really amazing people, have great conversation, and sample some incredible local food and wine.

But the Star of the night was the ever-amazing Neighborhood House! Their broad array of programs help families succeed by reducing hunger and homelessness.  NH supports more than 12,000 low-income and other vulnerable children, families, and seniors through innovative programs, such as Headstart and Early Headstart, Senior Centers, Rental/Energy Assistance, Parenting Programs, Mentoring program: SUN Schools, CASASTART, and transitional housing assistance.

Carlton Cellars Wine Dinner

July 6th, 2010

On a lovely summer evening, Ines and Paloma got to perform and attend a wine dinner in the middle of the vineyard at Carlton Cellars in the gorgeous Willamette Valley. The beautiful lights hanging from the trees were handmade by Lam, Kestrel at Hiih Handmade Lights in Portland. The event was organized by the amazing Leo and Anna Daedalus of Helsinqi.

Ines and Paloma, Carlton Cellars Wine Dinner

Combining musical genres for Kim’s and Colleen’s Commitment Ceremony

July 5th, 2010

This past weekend we were delighted to perform at the Commitment Ceremony of the lovely Kim and Colleen.  Saturday was the lone sunny, beautiful, mostly wind-less day all week – a perfect day for an outdoor wedding at the gorgeous Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Southeast Portland.

Kim and Colleen chose the “Wedding Ceremony Deluxe” package (see our packages here: The ensemble they chose to perform for their ceremony was string quartet, trumpet, and tenor.  As we worked with the couple on the musical details for their ceremony, we discovered that Kim’s musical style is more contemporary, and Colleen preferred more traditional music.   We suggested they use a mix of classical and contemporary music to be performed before, during, and after the ceremony.

The highlight was the recessional music:  a custom-made arrangement of “All You Need Is Love”  by the Beatles, performed as it was in the wedding scene from the movie “Love Actually.” Our amazing arranger, Evan Kuhlmann (who is a member of the Oregon Symphony, and holds composition and performance degrees from The Juilliard School), wrote a beautiful arrangement!  Micah Wilkinson (trumpet, Oregon Symphony) and the amazing tenor Stephen Marc Beaudoin played and sang their hearts out, accompanied by the MCP strings.  There was not a dry eye in the house!

As the owner of the Melegari Chamber Players, it is very important to me to work with the musicians of this very high caliber, who have passion for performing, and are the most seasoned, experienced, and professional musicians out there.

Kim’s and Colleen’s other musical selections included:

Schubert’s “Ave Maria” for string quartet – seating of the mothers

Handel’s “Hornpipe” from the Watermusik Suite for string quartet and trumpet – Wedding Party processional

The Beatles – “She Loves You” – Kim’s processional

Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” for string quartet and trumpet – Colleen’s processional

Queen – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” for string quartet – Ring Warming Ceremony (rings were passed around for each guest to hold and send their love through!”

The Beatles- “All You Need Is Love” for trumpet, string quartet, and tenor – Recessional

Selections performed during the prelude and postlude: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” The Police – “Every Breath You Take,”  The Beatles “Blackbird,” and “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This” by Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics. All of these are arrangements for string quartet.

Best wishes and many thanks to the beautiful brides! I hope someday the State of Oregon will wake up and recognize their commitment as well.

Rudy Lopez, Big Red Studios session

April 29th, 2010

Last week MCP had the pleasure of recording the string parts for a new album by Latin Pop singer, Rudy Lopez. It was so much fun to play at producer Billy Oskay’s beautiful space, Big Red Studios in Corbett, OR.

Our musicians for this session also play with the Oregon Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, and the Portland Opera Orchestra.

Pictured L to R: Nelly Kovalev, Keiko Araki, Shin Young Kwon, Marilyn De Oliveira, Dieter Ratzlaf, Julie Coleman, Paloma Griffin, Gregory Ewer, Rudy Lopez

Left: Violists Leah Ilem & Jen Arnold; Right: Violinist Shin-Young Kwon

A Wedding on Parrett Mountain, OR

March 31st, 2010

Couple: Angelique and Phillip

Ensemble: Melegari Chamber Players- String Quartet

Musicians:  Paloma Griffin, Gregory Ewer, violins, Justin Kagan, cello.  Not pictured: Matthew Faust, viola

Wedding Coordinator: Sorella Events,

Photography: Nataliya Sostin,

Photos: Nataliya Sostin,

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