Regional Coordinator Nancy Gallagher welcomed attendees.

Former Regional Coordinator Susan Ridgeway with one of the displays she created for the meeting.

Ridgeway’s display on the Company of Janeites

Robert Winter shared his knowledge of music from Austen’s time and how filmmakers use music to evoke emotion.

Ashley Knight and Robert Winter

Winter 2009

A Library, a Drawing Room and a Ball: Jane Austen’s World of Music

December 5, 2009

Los Angeles Athletic Club


Robert Winter — Jane Austen’s World of Music
Philippa Besant — Wayfarer’s Walking Tours
Annie Laskey — Regency Dance


Welcome to the “The World of Jane Austen’s Music,” the theme for JASNA-Southwest’s Winter 2009 meeting. For the more than 100 people who attended, it was a chance to be transported to the drawing room of a 19th century English manor house, and to be surrounded by the beauty and civility of that time. The voice of soprano and UCLA graduate student Ashley Knight filled the air, her singing enriched by the piano accompaniment of Robert Winter, musicologist and UCLA professor.

Winter based his lively presentation — which was half lecture, half performance — on music in Jane Austen’s personal collection, her references to music in her novels and the film adaptations of her work. He explained how the sensuous power of an augmented sixth chord was used to great effect in the Romantic Period and he pulled back the curtain on musical accuracies and inaccuracies depicted in three cinematic versions of Pride and Prejudice as well as Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. Knight sang eight selections, including Mozart’s “Voi Che Sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro, the song of desire that Elizabeth Bennet sang during her second visit to Pemberley in the 1995 mini-series.

After a three-course lunch of roasted herbed pork loin, chicken wrapped in feuille de brik or spinach and cheese tortellini, time travel back to the 1800s continued. Annie Laskey, who “calls” English country dances in the Los Angeles area, lectured on the origins of English country dances and demonstrated the basic dance steps that underpin hundreds of dances from the period. Participants then found partners and formed lines to dance two favorites of the era, “Knole Park” and “The Duke of Kent’s Waltz,” accompanied by the live music of violinist Mary Ann Sereth and pianist Guinevere Saenger.

Philippa Besant of Wayfarers Tours, an English walking tour-guide company, described a new walking tour of Jane Austen’s beloved Hampshire countryside, which is debuting in summer 2010.

Carla Washburn and Jan Bickel, vice presidents in charge of programs for JASNA-Southwest, organized the event.

Philippa Besant described her walking tour of Austen’s Hampshire.

Annie Laskey (shown here with Mary Ann Sereth and Guinevere Saenger) spoke about the English country dance and then led attendees in practicing the steps.

A dancing demonstration enhanced Annie Laskey’s lecture.

Annie Laskey followed up her lecture with an English country dance lesson for all attendees.