Category Archives: Officers’ messages


We want to thank Susan Mason for the beverages, Matt Ross for the wonderful gooey Persian treats and Susan Marquez for the delicious home-baked pear pastry for the refreshments at the January meeting. We would also like to thank the Lieblang family and Jayanthi (Jay) Wijekoon for always helping with the clean-up after the break.

Sally Price, Hava Blasberg, and Joe Whiting will supply the refreshments for the upcoming February meeting.

Please contact Jim Forrest:, to sign up for a turn to treat the group, or catch him at the next meeting to sign up.

Jim Forrest

New OCRS Web Site

We hope you’ve gotten in the habit of checking our new web site here.  A new web became necessary after all the problems we had with the old site last year again being corrupted. The new web site address/url is: It is similar to the old address but there is now an “s” on “recorders”. We will be taking down the old site soon, so be sure to update your address.

Carol Jacoby

President’s Message

A New Year is upon us and I wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and productive 2018.

I want to thank Sally Price and Musica Ficta for a wonderful meeting last month. There may not have been many in attendance, but Sally selected/arranged some beautiful music for us to play and I do not think that we have ever sounded better as a group. The Prelude featured several pieces especially arranged for us by Sally and played with style and finese. She and the group put a lot of time and effort into preparing for us and it showed through in beauty.

This month we have Adam Bregman, who is new to us, but well known in Early Music World both here in the United States and Europe leading us. Adam, who specializes in sackbut, is currently studying at the USC Thornton School of MusicEarly Music Program after recently studying in Belgium and he plays with Piffaro—the Renaissance Band, Ciaramella Ensemble for the Music of the 15th Century. Please plan to attend and welcome him to OCRS.

As Sally Price mentioned again last month she has put together for us a session on learning and improving to play alto up. She passed around a sign-up sheet and 3 people indicated that they were interested. We need more than that to make this happen, so if you are interested in expanding your playing/reading ability, please let me know at It would be ideal if we could get something like 8-10 people so that we can go ahead and make plans and arrangements. This would be supported by OCRS and would be a several hours long mini-workshop with at most a modest donation expected.

Registration sign-ups for the OCRS Recorder Workshop on February 17th have started coming in. We are looking forward to a good turnout again this year, but do not wait to sign-up until the last minute.

See you the 12th,

—Win Aldrich


We want to thank Gloria Martin, March del Clements, Carlos Marques, Susan Gawthrop, and Win Aldrich for the refreshments at the December meeting. We would also like to thank the Lieblang family and Jayanthi (Jay) Wijekoon for always helping with the clean-up after the break.

The refreshments for the upcoming January meeting will be supplied by Susan Mason and Matt Ross

Please contact Jim Forrest:, or 626-333-3443 to sign up for a turn to treat the group, or catch him at the next meeting to sign up.

President’s Message for December

Welcome to the 4th issue of the OCRS Early Music Newsletter for December. I hope that you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving filled with gratitude for friends, family, and the opportunities that fill our lives.

First thank you to Tom Axworthy for leading us in November with a wonderful selection from Marais’ Alcione that challenged us with several tempo changes to make beautiful music. This month we are again fortunate to have Sally Price leading us with some of her favorite seasonal pieces as we celebrate our annual Christmas meeting. Musica Ficta with four outstanding musicians will be playing for us at the Prelude starting at 7:15 so please plan to be there early to enjoy these 4 beautiful selections.

The plans for this season’s Recorder Workshop on Saturday, February 17th are moving ahead, and registration is now open—please see the registration flyer OCRS Workshop2018. This year we will have two excellent musicians, educators, and performers leading us in what will be an outstanding program entitled “Make a Joyful Noise” as they explore the importance of breath, articulation, and phrasing which lie at the heart of recorder playing. The last few years, OCRS participants have been joined by members of SCRS, SDCRS, and CCRS among others, which has provided a fun time to see and play with old friends and new. These days, most of us no longer need more “things” to clutter up our homes and lives as we realize that it is the “experiences” that have lasting importance. So as you start to make your Christmas list, this would be a unique gift to provide a friend or receive yourself.

I want to thank those of you that made contributions to OCRS. Contributions this year will go far in helping us meet our operating budget for the year, since membership dues only cover approximately 75% of our budget. Please, there is still time for you to make a tax-deductible donation this tax year in any amount that you are comfortable with and you will receive sincere thanks and satisfaction for your support of OCRS. And if you have not paid your membership dues this season, please plan to send or bring a check to Susan Mason.

In these times of turmoil, I wish each of you a peaceful Holiday Season, and I hope to see you at our meeting on Friday, December 9th.

—Win Aldrich


We want to thank Hans and Sylvia Huygen, Carlos and Alva Marques, and Judy Seki for the refreshments at the October meeting. We would also like to thank the Lieblang family and Jayanthi (Jay) Wijekoon for always helping with the clean-up after the break.

The refreshments for the upcoming November meeting will be supplied by Mike Nicholes and David Thomforde

Please contact Jim Forrest: to sign up for a turn to treat the group, or catch him at the next meeting to sign up.

President’s Message for October

The Orange County Recorder Society exists for three reasons:

1. People who are interested and enjoy playing recorders together

2. People willing to volunteer their time to organize OCRS

3. Members who pay their dues to support the excellent conductors that we have.

To date approximately half those who attend our monthly meetings have actually paid their dues. Please find attached a copy of the 2017-2018 Membership Application and bring or send yours in to Susan Mason along with a check payable to Orange County Recorder Society.

The Los Angeles Recorder Orchestra performed its Fall concert the last 2 weekends and I hope that many of you were there to enjoy their suburb playing. OCRS is fortunate to have over 10 members of LARO playing with us and congratulations are well deserved as LARO starts its 13th season.

This month we are fortunate to have Alex Opsahl leading us again. She has had a very busy year traveling nationally and internationally and recently her Tesserae Baroque Ensemble of Los Angeles was featured at the June Corona del Mar Baroque Music Festival with a Festival Finale: A Quire of Choirs including cornettos, sackbuts, strings and vocalists performing majestic works of Gabrieli and Monteverdi. It was incredible, and those of you who have never been to this Baroque Festival, you should plan to attend — this year they are celebrating their 38th year.

Once a year early in the season, I like to gently remind us of the basic etiquette of playing at a large monthly meeting. Observance of the following practices will help the meeting to run smoothly, with the least disruption from participants and with the most time spent playing music. Above all, please remember that unnecessary talking during the meeting is discourteous to the conductor and distracting to the other players who are trying to hear the conductor.

1. When the President stands to start the meeting, all talking among members should stop. Likewise, when the conductor is at the podium, there should be no talking among members.

2. No noodling on your instrument. If you wish to practice your part, finger the notes without blowing into your instrument.

3. Pay attention to the conductor when he or she is speaking. That way you’ll know what the conductor is asking of the players (for example, where in the music the group is to begin playing).

4. Direct your questions to the conductor, not to the person seated next to you. If you have a question or comment, raise your hand and wait for the conductor to acknowledge you. Please keep any comments to a minimum.

5. If you must say something to your neighbor, please do so in a whisper with your hand cupped next to your mouth.

6. Keep your music bags, personal belongings, and unused instruments under your chair, if possible, or immediately beside your chair. This will allow members to easily walk to and from their seats, and will avoid damage to instruments from their being accidentally stepped on.

When informed that the break is over, please promptly return to your seat and stop talking when the conductor returns to the podium. Thank you.

I like to put something in each month on playing the recorder better, and this month I have included another bit of advice from Anne Timberlake who will be co-leading us at our February 17th Recorder Workshop with Miyo Aoki:

“Flexibility is an important life skill. It’s also an essential part of playing the recorder. We frequently move between fingering systems, switching from C instruments to F instruments, G and D and beyond. And we toggle between clefs- treble and bass to start, and often more.

It’s a great mental workout, but it can also be frustrating. You pick up an alto but your fingers are still playing a tenor. Or you’re trying to read bass clef and your mind slips back into treble.

“How do I deal with switching instruments?” is a question I’m asked frequently at workshops.

There’s no easy answer, but there is an answer: strategic practice combined with a simple technique for orienting yourself to new instruments and clefs.

Get Comfortable

It might seem obvious, but the first step is to get as comfortable as possible in each mode (clef or fingering system) in which you play. If you’re not comfortable in bass clef, for example, spend a little time each day reading in that clef. There’s no “trick” to clef reading, but it does get easier with practice!


Rather than picking up a new instrument and plunging right in, take a moment to breathe and go through a three-part checklist:

1. Ground yourself physically by placing all seven fingers and your thumb on the instrument, as if you were playing its lowest note. This will help accustom your body and mind to the new stretch.

2. Say the name of the lowest note in your mind.

3. See the line or space to which the lowest note corresponds. Imagine yourself playing that note.

Taking the time to orient yourself, both physically and mentally, will pay dividends when you start to play.

Switch it up

We get better at what we practice, so why not explicitly practice switching? One exercise I often give students is to take a multi-part piece and, working either up or down, play each of the parts in turn. It’s a great way to practice, deliberately, the flexibility you’ll want during workshops and performances.”

See you the 13th.

—Win Aldrich



We want to thank Sean Lieblang, Susan Mason, Sandy Thompson, and Russ Wilson for the refreshments at the September meeting. We would also like to thank the Lieblang family and Jayanthi (Jay) Wijekoon for always helping with the clean-up after the break.

The refreshments for the upcoming October meeting will be supplied by Hans Huygen, Carlos Marquez and Judy Seki,.

Please contact Jim Forrest:, to sign up for a turn to treat the group, or catch him at the next meeting to sign up.


President’s Message

Well, the June meeting is the last meeting of the 2016–2017 season at OCRS and I want to thank a number of people who made this year a success. First, thank you to the conductors who brought us so much joy, beautiful music, and learning: Russ Wilson, Rotem Gilbert, Tom Axworthy, Sally Price, Janet Beazley, Inga Funck, Adam Gilbert, Alex Opsahl, and upcoming Ricardo Berón. Thank you to the officers who give freely of their time and efforts: Cathy Wilson and her work with OLLI bringing the world of recorders to a new class of students, Jim Forrest making sure that we have refreshments at each meeting, Lee & Bill Waggener for an outstanding newsletter, Susan Mason who has served as Treasurer extraordinaire and Historian for 7 years, Mary Van Cott-Hand and Miranda Manners for a very successful workshop and, Carol Jacoby who has tirelessly served as Webmaster for 10 years now. Thanks also to the generous members who brought refreshments to the meetings for all of us enjoy: Marcy Del Clements, Shirley Hager, Tom Hall, Mary Van Cott-Hand, Sylvia & Hans Huygen, Sean Lieblang, Susan Mason, Miranda Manners, Gloria Martin, Steve Meyers, Julith Neff, Gwen Rodman, Sandy Thompson, Cynthia Thornburg, Lee & Bill Waggener, and Joe Whiting. And a special thank you to this year’s donors who contributed a record amount to sustain OCRS as we move into our 44th year.

June is an important month for OCRS when we have our annual Members Meeting and the Treasurer presents the important financial report for the past season and we vote on the dues structure for the new season. Additionally, June is the time we vote on the Officers for the new 2017–2018 season. A number of the current Officers have agreed to serve another year, but there are 3 important positions that are still open in the slate: VP of Membership, Secretary/Newsletter, and Workshop Coordinator(s). All of these positions are important to the smooth operation of OCRS and the ability to continue to provide an active chapter. If you are interested in serving any of these positions please contact a member of the Nominating Committee: Sandy Thompson,, Gwen Rodman,, and Larry Dorn,

In closing, a recent blog article from Anne Timberlake, a wonderful teacher, musician and member of the ARS Board (

“What are you bad at?I’m not that great sight reading.

And actually that’s a point of pride, because I used to be terrible at sight reading, and to be “not that great” marks a giant leap forward. For the first several years of lessons, I essentially had to memorize a piece to be able to play it. Over the ensuing decades I’ve worked hard, and deliberately, to get better at reading, and I’ve radically improved. But I’ll never be the strongest reader in a room, and if someone in a group of professionals is going to make a reading mistake, it will probably be me. The rapid parsing of visual information just doesn’t come easily to me.

And it is undeniably true that some things come more easily to some people. This can be frustrating. When you see others breeze through tasks that are difficult for you, it can ding your confidence and make you feel discouraged.

And there are so many aspects of the recorder to find challenging! I have students who have difficulty covering the holes, students who have a hard time with rhythm, students who have trouble improvising, students who have trouble performing—the list goes on.

The thing is—“bad” is not a binary. It’s not even really the correct term. You are not bad at something; you are at a specific starting place on your journey to better playing. And I firmly believe that, no matter where we begin, each and every one of us can make progress in the areas that are difficult for us.

You are not bad. You are beginning.It’s a simple reframe, but it opens a clear way forward. If you are bad at something, you are content to rest on your limitations. If you are beginning, you are motivated to research, design, and execute a plan to make progress.

A teacher can help you do this. In fact, the transmutation of “bad” to “beginning” is one of our primary responsibilities. But you can also make this leap on your own. Start right now by taking a moment to answer to the question I posed at the top- what are you bad at? Write that down.

Now cross out the word “bad.” Write, instead, “beginning.”

Now you’re ready to take the first step on your journey forward. Your next task is to figure out, and write down, what you can do to improve.

The possibilities are as varied as the challenges. If you’re a beginning sight reader, you can commit to 10 minutes a day of sight reading -perhaps in cut time. If you’re looking to cover the holes, you could spend 5 minutes each day sitting with the recorder and feeling the appropriate finger reach. If you are beginning to read up the octave, you can commit to trying it at your next recorder meeting.

What’s important is that your plan be:

Concrete: A concrete plan tells you what, how, where, and when to take action.Targeted: The more specific the action you take, the faster you’ll see improvementFeasible: Will the action plan fit into your lifestyle and time availability? If not, it won’t do you much good.

Begin today.

Why not? You can only get better from here.” —Win Aldrich



We want to thank Susan Mason, Julith Neff, and Gwen Rodman for the refreshments at the May meeting. We would also like to thank the Lieblang family and Jayanthi (Jay) Wijekoon for always helping with the clean-up after the break.

The refreshments for the upcoming June meeting will be supplied by Win Aldrich, Marcyn Del Clements, Gloria Martin, and Gwen Rodman.

Please contact Jim Forrest: to sign up for a turn to treat the group, or catch him at the next meeting to sign up.