First, I want to thank the 21 OCRS Members who came to the OCRS Recorder Workshop on February 22nd who along with members from SCRS, SDCRS, CCRS, and OLLI -Long Beach totaled 31 participants. A workshop is a chance to stop, and with the direction of our leaders this year- Greta Hryciw and Miyo Aoki, delve a little deeper into improving one’s playing ability and style. What impressed me the most and has led me to reflect was the notion that the written notes are not all that is necessary to play music with expression and beauty.
In Greta’s Intermediate Technique Session, she had us work on an early 15th century piece that was not only “barless” but also the notes only indicated the pitch i.e. not the note duration as in modern notation (i.e. ¼, ½, etc. notes). By speaking and singing the Latin words to this piece we had to determine cadence, note length, and emphasis and then play the piece with feeling. This brought me back to a wonderful book on this topic that I have mentioned before- The Notation Is Not The Music-Reflections on Early Music Practice and Performance by Barthold Kuijken, Indiana University Press, ISBN 9788-0-253-01060-5 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-253-01068-1 (ebook).
The book is written by a leading authority and artist of the historical transverse flute, The Notation Is Not the Music offers invaluable insight into the issues of historically informed performance and the parameters—and limitations—of notation-dependent performance. As Barthold Kuijken illustrates, performers of historical music should consider what is written on the page as a mere steppingstone for performance. Only by continual examination and reexamination of the sources to discover original intent can an early music practitioner come close to authentic performance.
“The Early Music movement owes much to a group of Dutch and Belgian musicians, notable among whom is flautist Barthold Kuijken. His book is an eminently readable compendium of information invaluable to anyone interested in knowing how Mr. Kuijken and other skilled, historically-informed interpreters of Baroque music arrive at their conclusions. His inspiring, carefully-researched work is at once insightful—a comprehensive exploration of source material—and provocative, challenging tradition and posing questions for readers to answer for themselves.”
— Stanley Ritchie, Professor of Violin, Early Music Institute, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
We have had this emphasized by a number of our monthly conductors, and more recently at February’s meeting with Ricardo Beron with Lully’s piece Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs where he stressed playing notes inégales (French pronunciation: [nɔt ineɡal]; lit. unequal notes) refers to a performance practice, mainly from the Baroque and Classical music eras, in which some notes with equal written time values are performed with unequal durations, usually as alternating long and short. The practice was especially prevalent in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, with appearances in other European countries at the same time; and it reappeared as the standard performance practice in the 20th century in jazz.
It will be interesting how Alexa Haynes-Pilon, our conductor for the March 13th meeting, has us play Lully’s Bourgeois Gentihomme Overture and Chaconne that she has selected.
Hope to see you there.
President’s Message-February 2020
February is always a busy month for OCRS. This month we Ricardo Beron on the 14th leading the monthly meeting with his usual wonderful selection of music and the OCRS Annual Recorder Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, February 22nd. This year we have two excellent teachers and performers to lead us. Greta Hryciw, who was here in 2014, is from The Bay Area and many of us know her from the San Francisco Early Music Society’s Recorder Workshops at St Albert’s Priory in Oakland. Miyo Aoki who is from Seattle, she was here in 2017, and many of us know from the Port Townsend Early Music Festival as well as St. Albert’s where she will again be this July 12-18. There is still time to register and take advantage of the Early Bird special of $55 by February 15th.
Anne Timberlake, who was the co-leader of our 2017 recorder workshop with Miyo has several thoughts on why to attend a one-day workshop-
“The five things I wish every one-day workshop student knew
I enjoy one-day workshops. They’re an interesting middle ground between a chapter meeting and a full-on weeklong recorder extravaganza. You don’t usually get the breadth and depth a weeklong workshop offers, but you do get the chance to devote yourself wholly to playing and learning for a full day.
So here are the five things I wish I could make sure every student knew before signing up:
1) We’re here to help!: Your clinician is not here to judge you, your playing, or your chapter’s playing. We’re here because we love helping people make music in community, and we want to grow your skills and deepen your enjoyment. We genuinely love what we do, and we’re excited to introduce you to some of the music we love!
2) You’ll feel overwhelmed- or underwhelmed. Or both: Of the one day workshops at which I’ve taught, the majority feature only one clinician. This means that players of many differing levels are together in one big group. It is therefore impossible for your clinician to select music at the perfect level for all members of the group (though we do have some tricks up our sleeves to help balance levels). Some of the music will be too hard for some of you. Concentrate on doing the best you can do in the moment, and remember that every person is at a different place on his or her musical journey, and that is 100% OK! Conversely, some of the music may feel too easy for some of you. Spoiler alert: No music is ever too easy for anyone. There is always something you can learn while playing. If a piece feels too easy, give yourself an extra assignment, like mentally tracking the alto part, or concentrating on producing your most beautiful sound.
3) Try a little technique: As a clinician, I always try to work a little bit of technique into my one day workshops, either formally or informally. And I highly recommend that students be on the alert for these technical nuggets. You can always play through music on your own, but technical expertise is part of what you pay a professional for.
4) Go in with a goal: When I recommend a one-day workshop to one of my private students, I will often either give them, or ask them to develop, a goal. This could be as simple as playing the last note of every piece, or trying out tenor on one piece. Talk to someone from another chapter (one day workshops often draw regionally) or sit next to someone you’ve never played beside before. Your goals are only limited by your imagination! But you’ll get more out of a workshop if you go in with one.
5) You’ll get tired: Most one-day workshops feature at least four 1.25 hour playing sessions, with maybe some technique mixed in. That is a lot more playing than most people do on most days, so by the end of the day, it is more than likely that you’ll be both physically and mentally tired. Hopefully in a good way! But prepare for the fatigue, and cut yourself some slack as the day wears on. By 4:00 PM, you likely won’t be as fresh or as sharp as you were at 9:00 AM, and that’s OK. Making sure you have plenty of water (or, ahem, free coffee) to drink can help, as can reminding yourself to play in a relaxed way. And don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need them: Your clinician understands, and will not be offended.”
We need to talk about the membership numbers in OCRS and the impact on the viability of OCRS. OCRS has a long and successful history having been an active chapter for 45 years now. A decade ago in 2009-2010 we had 71 members and at this point for 2019-2020 we have 46. This downward trend is not unique to our chapter in that it is reflected in chapters across the county as aging members no longer are able to play or travel, and younger potential members’ lives are too busy to make a commitment. Clearly this has a dramatic effect on the finances of OCRS being self- supporting and being able to bring first class conductors to lead us at our monthly meeting. We need your help in bringing in friends and playing partners. We have always had the opportunity that if one signs up as a new member after January, we offer a one-half fee membership which would now be $25. In addition, Susan Mason and I have pledged over the last several years that we would personally cover one-half of the membership fee in an effort to encourage new members- that is $12.50 for the balance of the season- what a bargain! Additionally, OCRS is an all-volunteer organization, and we need members to stand up and volunteer for Board Member positions, a number of us have served for many years and it is time for new blood, thoughts, and leadership.
Hope to see you the 14th, and the 22nd.
– Win Aldrich
President’s Message-January 2020
As we start a new decade, I want to wish each of you a Happy, Prosperous, and Productive New Year. Like so many of us I, too, made a list of resolutions for the new year. Among them was to enjoy (and practice more) making beautiful music. But before I started, I had to procrastinate some by going to my two favorite sources of inspiration to get me started. These are The Charlton Method for the Recorder – A Manual for the Advanced Recorder Player by Andrew Charlton (available from Honeysuckle Music –http://www.honeysucklemusic.com) , and Opening Measures – A Compendium of Practice Techniques by Frances Blaker (available from ARS – https://americanrecorder.org).
The first is a wonderful collection of exercises, studies, etudes, and musical selections for C and F, as well as Bass recorders. The second is a comprehensive collection of inspiring articles over the years from American Recorder Magazine which covers a broad range of topics including technique, practicing, articulation and intonation, airflow, speed and fingers, counting, big recorders, fancy stuff, groups and performance, and improvement.
From Frances’ book on a “Basic Practice Plan” pages 20/21:
“First, you must know that most people learn best and make the most improvement if they do not spend too much time on any one specific thing. As soon as you notice your mind wander or your focus waver; as soon as you notice the first hint of new mistakes cropping up; as soon as you feel the minutest foreshadowing of frustration: you must move on to something else, or at the very least, take a new tack on what you have been practicing.
Don’t just drive a piece of music into the dust. Come at it from many angles, focusing now on technique, now on phrasing, now on tone, now on speed, and so on—or move on to the next piece.
No matter how much or how little time you have, divide your practice session into three sections: Technique; Music; and Anything Goes.
Technique includes exercises you do for very specific skills, both as a warm-up and to improve your abilities. Include at least one exercise each for blowing/breathing, for finger action, and for articulation (tonguing). This section can also include études and studies—pieces of music specially written to develop certain techniques.
The Music section covers all the music you are currently working on: assignments from your teacher, for example to master the notes of an Allegro; to work up your speed in a difficult batch of 16ths; to figure out where to breathe in an Adagio; to come up with your own ornamentation, and so on. During this part of practice, you will generally focus your efforts on mastering or improving some aspect of a piece of music. You may also want to play a whole piece through to see how well you do, and then focus on weak areas.
Anything Goes includes sight-reading, playing just for fun, noodling around, picking out tunes by ear, improvising, and anything one is normally “not supposed to waste time on” in the traditional idea of practice. It’s just as important as the other sections and is vital to maintaining your sense of joy and imagination in your playing.
None of these sections should be left out. Each one will help you learn more about your instrument and improve your playing—even the last section, which is a very important aid in keeping your music-making fresh and in counterbalancing any sense of drudgery you may feel in practicing.”
Again. Best Wishes for the New Year, and I hope to see you at our next meeting on Friday, January 10th when we will be introducing a new for us leader Ramon Negron Perez- a talented, skilled, and enthusiastic Baroque musician. Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for our annual recorder workshop on Saturday, February 22nd with Greta Hyrciw and Miyo Aoki – it should be great!
Presidents’ Message (December, 2019)
Our next meeting is Friday the 13th but fortunately we are lucky- we will have Sally Price back with a wonderful collection of pieces to play for the Holidays. Plus, Musica Ficta with Sally Price, Barbara Senn, Jane Smith, and Helen Wirtz will be playing the Prelude at 7:15, so plan to be there early to hear this amazing group.
This year’s OCRS Recorder Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, February 22nd and we are fortunate to again have two excellent leaders – Greta Haug-Hryciw and Miyo Aoki. The theme of the workshop is Celestial Harmonies: Music for the Universe and the informational/registration flyer for the workshop has been mailed out. Here it is: OCRS Workshop2020form. This promises to be an interesting, unusual, and positive learning experience/program. What a wonderful gift this would be to a friend or you for the Holidays.
As the year and decade draws to a close, it is worth stopping and gratefully acknowledging the joy that playing music offers us all and I extend to each of you
Best Wishes for the Holiday Season.
– Win Aldrich
President’s Message (November, 2019)
This month we have Tom Axworthy leading us, and he has a series of pieces from the Latin Mass. In that it has been 60 years since I have studied Latin, and not being of the Catholic, Episcopalian, or Anglican tradition, I was curious what the parts actually signified and what their history was. Well, this is what I found thanks to Wikipedia.
“In music the word mass is used for a piece of music, to be sung by a choir. The Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches use this. There are two very broad kinds of masses: Those using the Ordinary are not linked to the Church calendar, they use the same pieces (and words) throughout the year. The Proper covers the parts of the mass that vary through the year. At the start, masses were sung in Latin or Greek. Examples of masses not in English include the Deutsche Messe by Franz Schubert or A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms.
The usual words that are set to music are known as the Ordinary. These are the words of the service which are the same every day. The Ordinary consists of five parts: Kyrie (Lord have mercy upon us….), Gloria (Glory be to thee….), Credo (I believe in God the Father….), Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy….) and Agnus Dei (O Lamb of God…).
The words of the mass that are not from the Ordinary are called the Proper. These are words that may change in the service from day to day. The Proper consists of the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Offertory and Communion. There are also some words which are special for particular feast days.
In the Renaissance period church composers set the words of the Ordinary mass to music. This music was normally polyphonic: the different sections of the choir (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) all had musical lines which shared the melody and were of equal importance. The words of the Proper were not composed to special music. They were sung to plainchant.
During the last two centuries many composers have written masses which were not meant to be sung in a church service: they are written as concert pieces. Some of them are quite long and fill a whole concert program. Some of the most famous masses are those by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Dvořák, Verdi, Bruckner, Fauré and Vaughan Williams.”
So now I and you know. Hope to see you Friday November 8th.
Time to Pay Your Dues!
If you have not already paid your 2019-2020 dues, please do so by mailing a completed membership application and your check to the OCRS Treasurer at the address shown on the application. The application is available at the OCRS website.
President’s Message (October, 2019)
This month is OCRS’s 45th Anniversary (October 14, 1974 specifically) and I hope that you will all join us for a brief celebration with some special treats, the presentation of a certificate from ARS and playing under the leadership of Brenda Bittner.
Having started learning to read music and playing the recorder just a few years ago, I find the music and the notation used and the history of the recorder interesting. Four books that I have found that are particularly informative, and easy to read and that I can highly recommend are:
1. Early Music: A Very Short Introduction,
by Thomas Forrest Kelly, Oxford University
Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-973076-6
From Gregorian chant to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods is both beautiful and intriguing, expanding our horizons as it nourishes our souls. In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly provides not only a compact overview of the music itself, but also a lively look at the many attempts over the last two centuries to revive it. Kelly shows that the early-music revival has long been grounded in the idea of spontaneity, of excitement, and of recapturing experiences otherwise lost to us–either the rediscovery of little-known repertories or the recovery of lost performing styles, with the conviction that, with the right performance, the music will come to life anew. Blending musical and social history, he shows how the Early Music movement in the 1960s took on political overtones, fueled by a rebellion against received wisdom and enforced conformity. Kelly also discusses ongoing debates about authenticity, the desirability of period instruments, and the relationship of mainstream opera companies and symphony orchestras to music that they often ignore, or play in modern fashion.
2. Capturing Music: The Story of Notation,
by Thomas Forrest Kelly, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2015, ISBN: 978-0-393-06496-4
Kelly reveals the technological advances that led us to the system of notation we use today, placing each step of its evolution in its cultural and intellectual context. Companion recordings by the renowned Blue Heron ensemble are paired with vibrant illuminated manuscripts, bringing the art to life and allowing readers to experience something of the marvel that medieval writers must have felt when they figured out how to capture music for all time.
3. Well-Tempered Woodwinds, Friedrich von Huene and the Making of Early Music in a New World, by Geoffrey Burgess, Indiana University Press,2015, ISBN: 978-0-253-01641-6
Friedrich von Huene (1929–2016 ) is arguably the most important manufacturer of historical woodwinds in the 20th century. Since he began making recorders in 1958, von Huene has exerted a strong influence on the craft of building woodwind instruments and on the study of instrument–making, as he has helped to shape the emerging field of Early Music performance practice. Recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the American Musical Instrumental Society, the National Flute Association, and Early Music America, he has remained at the forefront of research and design of historical copies of recorders, flutes, and oboes. In a compelling narrative that combines biography, cultural history, and technical organological enquiry, Geoffrey Burgess explores von Huene’s impact on the craft of historical instrument–making and the role organology has played in the emergence of the Early Music movement in the post-war era.
4. Recorder Based on Historical Models- Fred Morgan Writings and Memories, compiled by Cisela Rothe, Conrad Mollenhauer GmbH, 2007ISBN: 978-3-00-021215-4
A brilliant kaleidoscope … This book is presented in homage to the Australian recorder maker Frederick G. Morgan (1940 1999) who profoundly influenced the development of the early music movement and the quality of recorder making. 54 authors from fifteen countries including many of the world’s best recorder players and instrument makers describe their interaction with him, giving astonishing insights into the relationship between the artist and the instrument in the search for expression through music. Fred Morgan s own essays about recorder making and original instruments, compliment these personal accounts and artistic reflections; his particularly clear and penetrating style make the fascinating story of the revival of the recorder accessible to all. For this book stunning new images of the Frans Brüggen Recorder Collection were made. These are precious, original instruments from the 18th century, whose value has been further enhanced by the accurate and legendary drawings of them made and previously published by Fred Morgan. They represent the historic inheritance of old recorders whose quality to this day is still the ideal. Thus, a brilliant kaleidoscope is provided a formidable text book and an illuminating picture book that transcends the appreciation of a single recorder maker: it shows in essence how intimately instrument making and musical practice are interwoven and traces the continuous conversation between builder and musician.
Look forward to seeing you all on Friday, October 11th.
– Win Aldrich
President’s Message (September, 2019)
I want to welcome you to the OCRS 2019-2020 Season- our 45th Anniversary since the founding in 1974. We have another outstanding year of conductors planned with several long-time returning conductors as well as several rising stars in the Early Music scene here in Southern California. For the Recorder Workshop scheduled for February 22nd we have Greta Hryciw and Miyo Aoki bringing their excellence in teaching and inspiring us again. More information will be coming on that shortly. It should be a good year. I hope that you all had a great summer as we continue to suffer through the heat. I was fortunate to get to the Port Townsend Early Music Workshop in Tacoma, Washington in July. On the faculty were Soren Seig from Germany on his first workshop in the US. He has composed a number of wonderful African Suites for recorders which we worked on. Here is a link to one of those- Consolation. African Suite No. 20, Third Movement (Boreas Quartett)- obviously not us playing this piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKaX4aheaQg . Also on the faculty were Clea Galhano, Alexa Haynes-Pilon, Miyo Aoki, Adam Gilbert, Vicki Boeckman- all familiar to us from past meetings at OCRS. It was great. For those looking for recorder activities coming up early this Fall, there are the LARO concerts on September 15th (in Fullerton) and 22nd( North Hollywood) http://larohome.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LA-Mosaic_1909.pdf; Seattle Recorder Society’s Fall Workshop on October 5th and 6th https://www.recorderworkshop.org with Frances Blaker, Laura Kuhlman, Tish Berlin, Miyo Aoki, and Vicki Boeckman; San Diego County’s workshop with Lisette Kielson on October 19th http://www.sandiegocountyrecordersociety.org; and SCRS’s Fall workshop with Hanneke van Proosdij on October 26th https://www.socalrecorders.com/hanekke-workshop-2019 I have sent flyers with more information on all of these, and you can click the links for details. For those of you looking to expand your horizons, I am donating an Aulos plastic Symphony Bass Recorder with both a direct blow head and a bocal head and tube. We also have a Yamaha Bent Neck Bass recorder. Both are available for loan to try these out. We start out the Season with Russ Wilson leading us through some wonderful selections he has made for our playing enjoyment. Please welcome him back. See you there! Win Aldrich
President’s Message (June 2019)
First, I wanted to point out that there was a “cut and paste” error in this seasons schedule- the June meeting is on Friday, June 14th not the 8th as listed in previous newsletters.
The Bylaws of OCRS state that at the June member meeting of each Operating Year, the members will set the OCRS membership dues that each class of membership must pay for the next Operating Year. Prior to the members’ voting on this matter, the Board must make a recommendation of the dues structure for the next year. Additionally, the members will elect the Board that is to serve during the next Operating Year. In that there were no volunteers in April for the Nominating Committee, all members of the current Board have agreed to stay on for another year. Accordingly, the slate of officers for the 2019-2020 Operating Year is as follows, but nominations are also accepted from the floor if the person being nominated has previously agreed to be considered.
President: Win Aldrich
Vice President, Membership Development: Open- need a volunteer
Vice President, Hospitality: Carlos Marques
Secretary/Newsletter: Sandy Thompson
Treasurer: Susan Mason
Win Aldrich, Coordinator
Publicist/Webmaster: Carol Jacoby
This month we will again have Ricardo Beron leading us with a wonderful selection of music for us to enjoy and learn from. The meeting will be preceded with a Prelude at 7:15 with the suite “Music to Dioclesian” by Henry Purcell, played by the Windsong Recorder Group led by Jim Forrest.
President’s Message (May 2019)
In June we will be holding elections for Board Members for the 2019-2020 Season. For OCRS to continue as an active organization, volunteers are needed to serve these important functions that provide the monthly meetings and popular annual workshop. So please stop and consider serving, a fresh perspective is always welcome. You can let any of the current Board Members know of your interest at our next meeting on Friday, May 10th with Brenda Bittner.
As the summer season for workshops approaches, I ran across an article by David Podeschi, President, ARS Board of Directors with some helpful thoughts to get the most out of this experience. These suggestions also apply to the monthly meetings as well.
Workshops are a wonderful way to meet and play with fellow recorder and early music enthusiasts and work with some of the finest recorder teachers around. The season is upon us so what better time to talk about making your workshop more successful. Here are a few suggestions from a perennial workshop participant of things we can all do to make the workshop experience worthwhile.
- Be on time for classes. So that everyone maximizes the allotted time with your instructor, have your recorders ready, your music stand up, and your music out a few minutes before the scheduled start time.
- Save your practicing for the practice room. Warming up in the few minutes leading up to the scheduled start time is a joyous and welcomed cacophony. However, once class begins the time is now the instructor’s. Pay attention to the advice being given to all parts, even if it is not yours–most likely, the advice being given will apply to you as well! If you need to practice a difficult section, run the fingerings without blowing into the recorder.
- Engage with the instructors. The instructors are why we are there and it is important to listen to what they have to say. They are imparting wisdom on technique, musicality, and how to bring out the best in our playing. Also, when they count off to start playing we need to be ready and not delay the entire class because our minds wandered off to that delicious cafeteria meal we just had.
- Forget mistakes and move forward. We all make mistakes. In the classroom setting, the best thing to do when you make one is to let it go and keep playing and not lose your place in the music. The other students aren’t looking for a break in the action because you made a mistake. You can selfidentify what went wrong and do your best to do it better the next time!
- Count rests! OK, this is more of a playing tip than advice. But rests don’t mean rest. It is an active silence. Count your rests silently and keep your place in the music.
- Count unobtrusively. Someone once asked Pablo Casals what was his secret to greatness. His answer: “you have to count!” As a listener it is natural to tap your foot to the beat, but as a player we should tap silently inside our shoes.
- Are you feeling lost? Workshops are pretty informal and the participants/instructors are relaxed. If you find yourself lost in the music, stop playing and:
- wait until a break and restart with everyone else at the place the instructor chooses;
- listen for other people playing your part and get back in when you are sure of the place;
- listen for the instructor to call out a measure number.
- How to handle when the instructor calls out a measure number. Sometimes the instructor will notice that some folks are lost and they’ll call out a measure number. In my experience they call it out on beat one of that measure. For example, she calls out “33” in a piece in 4/4. When that happens, immediately start counting “33-2-3-4, 34-2-3-4,” etc. When you are able to find that measure, you’ll know exactly where to start playing.
- Mixed level classes. Most workshops offer classes for players of different levels, and it is a good idea to try to choose your classes to match your ability. However, sometimes new players are thrown into the fray with more experienced players. When this happens, keep in mind that workshops are an individual learning process, not a competition. Do your best to keep up and challenge yourself.
President’s Message (Apil 2019)
OCRS is truly a volunteer organization whose existence depends on the shared responsibility of its members to operate and continue to coordinate and plan the monthly meetings, schedule that we have refreshments at each meeting, help find new members, maintain accurate financial records, prepare and send out our newsletter, provide a useful and informative web page and to coordinate and plan our annual recorder workshop. As we draw to a close of the 2018-2019 Season, there are several items that need to be attended to as per our by-laws. At the June meeting the members elect the Board that is to serve during the next Operating Year. And pursuant to that, the members elect a Nominating Committee, which consists of three members elected at the April meeting by the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast on the matter. The Nominating Committee works to select a slate of candidates and nominates the slate at the June meeting. So now is your opportunity to give back to OCRS and ensure that we have a strong, viable ARS Chapter providing shared enjoyment and learning to recorder players at all levels. Please consider how you can serve.
This month we will have Inga Funck back for another wonderful evening of music, and we have a rare treat with Jeff Holt and Matt Ross playing Concerto RV 442 by Antonio Vivaldi for the Prelude at 7:15 pm.
I look forward to seeing you all there next Friday the 12th.
President’s Message (March, 2019)
It was nice to see so many OCRS members at our workshop two weeks ago- there were 25 of you along with 15 more people from Southern California Recorder Society, San Diego County Recorder Society, Central Coast Recorder Society, Inland Recorder Society as well as several people from the Bay Area. The value of attending a workshop is multi-faceted – it provides an opportunity to play beautiful music in an extended, focused, and supportive environment; it provides the opportunity to play with others of varying ability giving one both a sense of confidence and where you are on the spectrum of skills, and it is just plain fun to gather with so many like-minded recorder players. Spring and Summer are traditionally the time for recorder workshops and The American Recorder Society’s Spring issue lists 37 such workshops around the country. (You are an ARS member aren’t you? As a new member for only $25 you can receive their quarterly magazine filled with interesting articles and information and a host of other benefits. https://americanrecorder.org/join_or renew_now.php )
On the more local level there are several workshops coming up that you may be interested in:
Our sister group SCRS is hosting Alex Opsahl on Sunday March 17th for a halfday workshop entitled “Stolen Goods” – “Learn how airflow and articulation can be used to mimic a variety of instruments whose repertoire the recorder often ‘steals’. From English viol music and Italian brass canzoni, to organ fugues and choral works, we will celebrate the wide variety of music a recorder ensemble can perform”. For information and registration go to: https://www.socalrecorders.com/scrsspring- workshop-2019
Also, the Central Coast Recorder Society is sponsoring a two day workshop on April 6-7 in Goleta with Tish Berlin and Frances Blaker entitled “Music in Nature,” the workshop will include classes in technique and celebrations of nature in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. For information and registration go to: centralcoastrecorders.org/workshop
May 17-19, the East Bay Recorder Society is hosting their “Marin Headlands Workshop for Recorders and Other Instruments” with Derek Tam, Frances Feldon, Phil and Gayle Neuman, Tish Berlin, Frances Blaker, and Tom Bickley as faculty. http://www.symbolicsolutions.com/ebrsweb2015/
And for weeklong workshops there are: Seattle Recorder Society’s Port Townsend Early Music Workshop July 7-13 featuring 14 outstanding faculty and a wide selection of classes in Tacoma, WA. http://www.seattlerecorder. org/workshop/
And last but not least is San Francisco Early Music Society’s Recorder Workshops: Week I, July 7-13 “Heaven and Earth” , and Week II July 14-20 “ Shadows and Light” both with outstanding international faculty at St Albert’s Priory in Oakland. http://sfems.org/?page_id=620
This month we are fortunate to have Alexa Haynes-Pilon leading us Friday, March 8th–hope to see you there.
For those who have been in the recorder world for awhile, we are sad to report Ken Sherman’s passing on January 31. He was a leader in the Southern California Recorder and Early Music world as well as the world of Jazz, Classical, and Renaissance music.
Biography of Ken Sherman
KEN SHERMAN has been playing jazz for well over 50 years on saxophones, clarinet and flutes. Presently, he is playing lead tenor sax and flute with the Johnny Kleker Big Band and plays Lead Alto sax and flute with the Liz Holmes Big Band. He also directs and plays Tenor sax with his own 17-piece BIG BAND EXPRESS.
Ken started playing music at the age of 5, and studied clarinet and sax at the Wurlitzer School in NYC. Later he studied with Sammy Musiker, who was the reed player in the original Steve Allen Tonight Show combo and also was with the Gene Krupa Orchestra. Through Sammy, Ken met and was inspired by Lee Konitz. While still in high school, Ken played at many Catskill Mountain resorts in New York (the “Borscht Belt”) behind many well-known singers and comedians performing there. More recently, he played in a big-band led by Llew Matthews behind Nancy Wilson, at a concert in Palm Springs. He has appeared at many big-name venues, and is in much demand on all the saxes and flutes, for studio and soundtrack work. A charter member of the National Flute Association, he performed in August 2007 with Holly Hoffman, Ali Ryerson, and others in a jazz concert at the NFA convention in Albuquerque. He was declared a 2011 winner in the NFA’s Jazz Big Band Competition and again performed with them in August 2011 in Charlotte, N.C. This amazing ensemble again performed at the Jazz Educators’ Network Conference in San Diego, CA on January 9th 2015. Again a competition winner in 2015, he performed with this ensemble again in August, 2015, in Washington D.C.
Ken is equally at home with Classical, Renaissance and Baroque music and has performed it on period instruments. He is a past President of the SCRS (Southern California Recorder Society), and co-founder of the Malibu Early Music Weekend Workshop, which he directed for 15 years. He was a co-director of the Pacific Broken Consort, an ensemble that performed Early Music at many university campuses, along with live concerts at the Doheny Mansion and the County Museum of Art, both in Los Angeles.
His (classical) CD, SUMMER MUSIC, is available, as well as DIRECTIONS, a jazz CD of the Ken Sherman Trio and Quartet, released in 2012. Also released in May, 2014, is a CD of the Claude Bolling Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, plus other jazz selections.
Meet the Conductors for our Workshop
The conductors for our 2019 Spring Workshop on February 16 were Jennifer Carpenter and Mark Davenport. Learn more about them.
President’s Message (February 2019)
Why is so difficult for me to practice? And yet, when I do, I find it rewarding and fun, it provides an escape from everyday concerns, and I feel that I have accomplished something. Does anyone else have this problem?
So how do I motivate myself? It certainly helps that I have a recorder and music out on a music stand ready to play, but I need something more to motivate me. I need a goal, and I need more than just scales and intervals to play- as important as they are for improvement. Beautiful music helps in that regard. Two collections that I keep coming back to are:
The Baroque Solo Book, by Bernard Thomas, and The Charlton Method for the Recorder, by Andrew Charlton. Both are available at Honeysuckle Music: http://www.honeysucklemusic.com. Another book that is extremely helpful is Frances Blaker’s Opening Measures- A Compendium of Practice Techniques available from the American Recorder Society: https://americanrecorder.org/opening_measures_by_frances_bl.php
The Baroque Solo Book is a collection of beautiful music from the first half of the 18thcentury for the alto that provides a basic technical and musical foundation, and many pieces provide a number of increasingly more difficult variations. The Charlton Method for the Recorderincludes basic exercises, interval studies, arpeggio studies, a number of solo and duo works from Bach and others, but is unique in providing studies for both “C” and “F” fingering instruments as well as studies for the bass recorder.
Opening Measures is a collection of the 42 extremely helpful and informative articles that Frances wrote for the American Recorder magazine over 20 years under the column Opening Measures.
“It is a gathering of topics, some about techniques specific to the recorder, others concerning various musical skills that are pertinent to musicians of all sorts. My goal with these articles is to help recorder players of all levels to move forward in their own playing.” – Frances Blaker
The other motivation is attending a workshop where skilled players/teachers lead one through a concentrated day, days, or a week of learning and playing in a supportive environment. Of course, this leads me to our OCRS Recorder Workshop with Jennifer Carpenter and Mark Davenport on Saturday, February 16th. Have you signed up yet? There is still time.
This month we are again fortunate to have Rotem Gilbert who with Adam have been so instrumental (pun intended) in expanding Early Music in Southern California, and well beyond, lead us. Hope to see you there.
President’s Message (January, 2019)
As we start 2019, I first want to wish you all a Happy New Year with Best Wishes for productive, safe, and positive year in these times of turmoil. Jennifer Carpenter who along with Mark Davenport will be leading our Recorder Workshop on February 16th recently wrote a piece for the American Recorder Society’s ARS Nova e-Mag entitled “Transforming the Music-Rethinking our Approach to Practicing” – https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Transforming-the-Music–Rethinking- Practicing.html?soid=1102285871582&aid=iwIOl30pvRU
In this article she emphasizes the following points as one progresses in their learning to play well- a message we have heard frequently at our monthly meetings from a number of our conductors: “The Power of the Pulse Zander zeros in on one important aspect of keeping our audiences listening and keeping us as performers engaged: pulse . Think about your journey in learning to read and play music on the recorder. Perhaps it looks something like this:
• Stage 1: Pulse/emphasis on every note in a phrase. Perhaps uneven in presentation, not very musical, but you’ve accomplished learning the notes!
• Stage 2: Pulse/emphasis on every other note in a phrase. You’re getting more comfortable with the music; you’re not deathly afraid of playing a wrong note; you’re beginning to relax.
• Stage 3: Pulse/emphasis on every 4 notes in a phrase. A continuation of the journey from stage 2. You’re getting closer! •
Stage 4: Pulse/emphasis on every 8 notes in a phrase. Now you’re beginning to understand how the phrasing works and where the notes are leading.
• Stage 5: Pulse/emphasis on 1 note in the phrase. You understand where the phrase is leading and the relationship between the notes in the phrase. You’re making music! When we reach stage 5, we are now armed with the tools to keep ourselves and our listeners engaged throughout the piece. How do we get there? By understanding that every note either comes from somewhere or goes somewhere. We find the pulse, the note worth emphasizing. Having some familiarity with the fundamentals of music theory is important. Your teacher may help you with this, or perhaps enrolling in one of several free online theory courses can spur your journey (look into MOOCs*). Listen often to music and performers you love. Start to think about their phrasing. Listen to where they are leading the phrases and in turn, you. Start to analyze your pieces: mark phrases, cadences, musical gestures. Determine if they fall on strong or weak beats in the measure. Think about the ways our particular instrument can emphasize the pulse.”
Keep on playing and I hope to see you at our next meeting with Malachai Bandy on Friday, January 11th.
President’s Message (December 2018)
I hope that you will attend our meeting on the 14thwith Sally Price who always brings fun, a sense of humor, and beautiful music to play. She will again be accompanied by the other members of Music Ficta who will play the Prelude at 7:15 pm – always a treat, plus it sounds like we will have some delicious goodies again this year.
Work is moving along on the details of the OCRS Recorder Workshop on Saturday, February 16th. This year we are again fortunate to have two highly respected professionals in the recorder world – Jennifer Carpenter and Mark Davenport- both from Colorado.
Their detailed bios are now up on the OCRS web site at:<https://www.ocrecorders.org/ocrs-workshop-2019/>.
Jennifer and Mark have been discussing and planning the music for the workshop and the theme this season will be:
The Grand Tour
A regular feature of 17th- and 18th-century aristocratic education, “The Grand Tour” offered young noblemen and women an opportunity to travel throughout Europe, exposing them to their cultural legacies. Prepare your passports and travel with us to Germany, Spain, England, and the Low Countries where we will experience glimpses of our own musical heritage.
It will be a day filled with beautiful music, learning, and enjoyment in playing together. The informational/registration flyer should be in your hands shortly if you have not already received it. What a great Holiday gift to yourself or a recorder playing friend.
As December approaches, I want to wish you all a peaceful, relaxing, and safe Holiday Season filled with gratitude in these tumultuous and stressful times.
President’s Message (November, 2018)
The availability for Early Music performances in Southern California seems to be exploding the last few years. And it is interesting how many of the recent groups all have performer connections with the Early Music Program at USC led by Rotem and Adam Gilbert who have changed the face of Early Music. To name a few:
- Tesserae Baroque < https://tesseraebaroque.org>,
- Delirium Musicum < http://deliriummusicum.com>,
- Kontrapunctus < https://www.kontrapunktus.com>,
- Los Angeles Baroque < https://www.losangelesbaroque.org>,
- Colburn Baroque Ensemble <https://www.colburnschool.edu/calendar/>
- and L.A. Camerata < https://www.losangelescamerata.org>
These coupled with other more mature organizations such as:
- USC’s Early Music Program’s USC Collegium Workshop/USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia <https://music.usc.edu/events/>
- The Baroque Music Festival – Corona del Mar <http://www.bmf-cdm.org/welcome/default.php>
- Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra <https://www.musicaangelica.org>
- Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble <http://www.jouyssance.org>
- Los Angeles Master Chorale <http://www.lamasterchorale.org>
all provide an incredible selection of performances for the 2018-2019 Season. Check out the listings at Southern California Early Music Society’s Calendar at <https://www.earlymusicla.org/calendar> and consider joining and supporting SCEMS. Peace and enjoy the upcoming Holiday Season.
President’s Message (October, 2018)
It is perhaps worth reflecting how fortunate we are in OCRS to have so many wonderful, talented conductors to lead us for each of our monthly meetings. Most ARS Chapters around the country have the same music director each month. This Season we will have 8 long-time favorites and 2 new, young, exciting Early Music professionals to lead us. This is all possible only if we have sufficient dues-paying members to support us. If you have not already paid your dues, be sure to complete the Membership Application so that we can send you the newsletter and notification of the music availability for the monthly meetings. And if you know of someone who plays recorder, why not bring them to the next meeting to introduce them to the joys of playing beautiful music together. Also, remember to save the date for our Recorder Workshop on Saturday, February 16th with Mark Davenport and Jennifer Carpenter.
Welcome (September, 2018)
Welcome to the 2018-2019 season of the Orange County Recorder Society.
We have ten exciting meetings planned for you, with a different professional conductor at each one. We are also planning a workshop for the spring. This is always a popular full-day event, drawing players from all over Southern California. See below. We’ll keep you posted as plans firm up.
If you’re new, you may attend one meeting for free and then we hope you will join. Returning members, please remember to pay your dues. The application is here.
Time to pay your dues!
A membership application is included here. Please pay your dues before or at the September meeting. Please include a completed membership application with your dues payment in order to provide OCRS with your up-to-date contact information and your election whether to print your own sheet music. If you intend to pay your dues in cash at the meeting, please complete the membership application and place it in an envelope with your money, write your name on the outside of the envelope, and then seal the envelope before giving it to the Treasurer. If paying by check at the meeting, please paper-clip or staple your check to your completed application. Alternatively, you may mail your dues check and completed application to the Treasurer at the address shown on the application. —Susan Mason, Treasurer
Save The Date
OCRS Recorder Workshop Saturday, February 16, 2019
We are pleased to announce that the OCRS Recorder Workshop will be held Saturday, February 16, 2019 again at The Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 Canal Street, Orange, CA. We are fortunate to have two well-known and respected faculty – Jennifer Carpenter and Mark Davenport. Mark your calendars, more details and registration information will be coming shortly.