Members of Piffaro-Erik Schmalz, Gary Herreid, Priscilla Herreid, Greg Ingles. (Photo: Credit/Anthony Dean)

The local Philadelphia community theater, Teatro Esperanza, will hold a special performance of Renaissance music played by some unique and special performers who call themselves Piffaro.

Piffaro is a Renaissance Band. Renaissance music was created and played during the period between 1450-1650. That was, obviously, a long time ago.  Fortunately, Piffaro has made it their mission to share this type of music and educate on how Renaissance music reflected the culture of those periods, and how it connects to music of our day.

Piffaro is based in Philadelphia and consists of core members, Priscilla Herreid, Grant Herreid, Greg Ingles, and Erik Schmalz. On May 12th, at Teatro Esperanza, musicians and singers Nell Snaidas and Jonatan Alvarado will also be joining them onstage along with young students from AMLA (Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos).  This is a fitting collaboration because AMLA encourages young students to learn about Latin music and culture.

Part of what Piffaro and company will be playing is music from a codex that was recently discovered in South America, specifically in Peru.  You may be wondering what a codex is.  Simply put, a codex is a book that was assembled by folks from long, long ago which contained writings, pictures, and sometimes, music.  They used a group of leaves to form the pages of a manuscript.

Grant and Priscilla Herreid. (Photo: Credit/Bill DiCecca)
Pifarro-Priscilla & Gary Herreid, Erik Schmalz, Greg Ingles. (Photo: Credit/Anthony Dean)

We spoke with Piffaro’s Artistic Director and musician, Priscilla Herreid about the May 12th performance at Teatro Esperanza.  She provided a little more insight into what the significance is of the music they’ll be playing from this newly discovered codex.

“Piffaro tries to create a beautiful show that brings people back into a time long ago”


As Priscilla explains, this codex, or ancient manuscript, was found by a Spanish monk who was working in Peru, and he brought back all his findings to Spain.  Among these findings were several songs written in this codex which reflect a fusion of Western European and indigenous South American musical elements.  Priscilla shared that this discovery is fascinating because people from ancient times did not tend to write things down like songs and notes.  Those were typically passed down by word of mouth.  So, discovering this codex is likened to finding treasure in a treasure hunt.  Piffaro will be playing and interpreting part of what is in that newly found codex.

Artistic Director, Priscilla, had been playing for Piffaro for 15 years before being appointed its Artistic Director.  Some of the wind instruments she plays are renaissance oboes, and recorder.

Grant and Priscilla Herreid and accompanying musician. (Photo: Credit/Bill DiCecca)

The musical performance by Piffaro and guests promises to be an exciting evening and should draw all who love to learn about and be part of something musical that connects the past with the present, and that also connects the community with its Latino roots.  Our ancestors cared enough to preserve a part of musical history that our Latino community can partake of and appreciate.  Go and experience it for yourselves at Teatro Esperanza on May 12 at 7:30 PM.

Information about the May 12th performance at Teatro:

Information about Piffaro:


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