PtRM 2015 Report

2015 Play the Recorder Month Reports
The 2015 celebration of  Play-the-Recorder Month (PtRM) took place, as always, in March.  Saturday, March 21, 2015, was designated Recorder Day!  Chapters from all over North America celebrated by holding events that showcased and promoted the recorder.  ARS held its annual PtRM Contest, judged by the Chapters, Consorts & Recorder Orchestras Committee.  All 3 of the winning entries included performances of “Excellentia” by Gary Gazay.  “Excellentia” was awarded honorable mention in the 2014 composition contest.
And the winner is:
For the fourth (!) year in a row, the Philadelphia Recorder Society won first prize, a gift certificate from Honeysuckle Music in St. Paul, MN.   Read further to see why PRS continues to place first in this competition.
Philadelphia Recorder Society's Play the Recorder Month 2015 (report compiled by Sarah West)
On Sunday, March 1, Christa Farnon played in a trio during the service at her church. The piece was J.S. Bach's chorale O Welt, ich muss dich lassen. She played the melody on soprano recorder, a friend played the harmony on flute and our organist played the bass line. This beautiful chorale has the same melody as the folk song Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen.
On March 7th, Bob Pollack and Liz Snowdon played recorders for the Germantown Country Dancers English dance, featuring Fish and Chips, a rehearsed open band. Led by Bob Pasquarello, the 11 players included piano, recorder, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, flute, concertina and French horn.
Hannah Kaufman and Judy Schermer and played on March 15 for friends at a gathering at the home of Sarah West. They played an Advent Chorale by Johann Crüger, 1657, and the Allegro from the first of Telemann's "Six Canonic Sonatas." In addition to recorder pieces, other guests sang folk music, told stories, and recited poems.
Jessica Friedman and Dan Franceski played recorders for the residents of the Heritage Senior Living facility in Milford, DE on March 7 and at the Country Rest Home in Greenwood, DE on March 8.
Outreach Activity Report from the Hillview Recorder Players
(Annabelle Jackson, soprano; Alice Miller, alto; Phyllis Patukas, tenor; Karen Meinersmann, bass; Wendy Walsh, percussion)
In January, we sent letters to local elementary school music teachers, offering to go to their schools in March to play a short recorder quartet program for their students who have begun recorder lessons. Many of the schools in our area include recorder lessons for all third-grade students. We were invited to three schools. We prepared a program of quartet arrangements of short, kid-friendly songs: If You’re Happy and You Know It, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Au Claire de la Lune, Hot Cross Buns, Merrily We Roll Along, Juba, Old MacDonald, Ode to Joy, This Old Man, Alouette, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, and two short early-music pieces. Ahead of time, we let the teachers know the songs we would be playing—and all of them approved our program. We also told the teachers that we welcomed the children to play any of these pieces along with us.
Monday, March 9:
We went to Unionville Elementary School where we played for three third-grade classes in their auditorium (66 students and some adults). Here the children played several pieces with us: Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Au Claire de la Lune, Hot Cross Buns, Merrily We Roll Along, and Juba. The children were excited to play with us, and they listened alertly to our other pieces. We also showed them our recorders and answered their questions.
Wednesday, March 11:
At Caln Elementary School, approximately 200 third- and fourth-graders sat on the floor in their gym to hear us play. A number of adults attended as well. We were amazed that the children were so fascinated and attentive! At this school, their teacher preferred not to have them play with us. Again, we showed them our recorders and answered their questions. Later, the teacher wrote to us, “Thank You!! Your group was awesome and the kids loved it!”
Thursday, March 12:
We played at Montgomery School for about 50 second- and third-graders (plus adults). There,
the third-graders played Hot Cross Buns and Old MacDonald with us. They all listened with rapt
attention to our other pieces. In a note afterwards, the teacher wrote, “Thank you very much for today! We had a blast!”
Sunday, March 29:
We played a program of pieces ranging from early music to traditional to popular tunes for about 50 adults in our community’s Clubhouse. A number of people remarked to us afterwards that they hadn’t been familiar with recorders before and hadn’t been aware of their capability. They were pleasantly surprised! This also happened in the schools above—at each school, several adults in the audience approached us to share this with us.
Another report, from Philadelphia Recorder Society's member Miriam Arbelo:
As part of the March celebration of Play the Recorder Month and Celebrate Music in Our Schools, fourteen fifth grade members of the Fountain Woods Elementary Recorder Sinfonia visited the B. Bernice Young lower elementary school on March 30, 2015. The purpose of the visit was to introduce the second grade students to the recorder as they will be playing the recorder as third graders next year when they transition to the upper elementary.
Led by Miriam Arbelo, Sinfonia students played a variety of songs ranging from Hot Cross Buns to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on soprano recorder and then a few alto recorder pieces followed by an SAT ensemble the students had learned for their participation in the recent Philadelphia Recorder Festival sponsored by Piffaro.  There was an opportunity for a round of questions from the second graders regarding the recorder and most of the questions were answered by the visiting students. To finish the presentation, the fifth grade students went out into the audience and picked a secondgrade partner to dance the reel Alabama Gal, a dance that all my students (at FW and BBY) had learned earlier in the year.
The second grade classes in attendance were Mrs. Ballard’s, Mrs. Gablein’s and Mrs. Sadusky’s classes. These students were an outstanding audience, asking very perceptive questions during the question and answer round and listening with a lot of attention and respect.
2nd Prize Winner:
Second prize (a gift certificate to Lazar's Early Music, Mtn.View, CA ) was awarded to the Rochester Chapter.  This chapter's publicity and new member outreach were excellent!  Here are this chapter's PtRM events, as related by Jessica Brennan.
1) Nine members participated in our local PBS station March pledge drive on Wednesday, March
4. We wore chapter t-shirts, placed some recorders around the telephone stations, and
answered phones during what proved to be a particularly busy night for the station! Our logo
and website were prominently displayed several times throughout the night and the pledge
hosts spoke briefly about our chapter. There has been some new interest in the chapter thanks
to viewers learning about us! We have been asked to return for future pledge drives throughout the year.
2) On Saturday, March 21, Roch-ARS hosted our Spring Workshop with Will Ayton. Twenty-one members from our chapter and others throughout the state enjoyed learning and playing beautiful pieces of music. The entire weekend was devoted to the recorder and viol, as Will held
several group sessions where members came to simply make music together on Friday and Sunday.
3) The chapter's performance ensemble, the Outreach Players (8-12 musicians), played a lovely assortment of music at a local assisted-living facility on Saturday, March 7. The repertoire included many international selections and a hefty amount of Celtic dances and airs in honor of Saint Patrick's Day. Several dozen residents of the facility greatly enjoyed the pieces and many sang along as we played “Annie Laurie” and “Danny Boy.”
4) The Outreach Players performed for a fitness club consisting of about 60 women on Wednesday, March 18. The ladies were thrilled with the music and some expressed interest in the chapter as a means to learn a new skill.
5) At our second March full-chapter meeting, on the 24th, the entire membership—including beginners—played “Excellentia” together. We filmed the performance and hope to upload it to our Facebook and website when it is edited and finalized.
3rd Prize Winner:
Third prize (a gift certificate to the Von Heune Workshop, Brookline, MA) was awarded to the Seattle Recorder Society.   Their activities are recounted by Laura Faber:
March was filled with opportunities for members of the Seattle Recorder Society to “Play-the-Recorder!”  In addition to not one but TWO regular chapter meetings, there were two special events.  Laura Faber hosted a playing session featuring “Excellentia” on March 21st and Nancy Gorbman coordinated a public performance at Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park on March 28.  SRS members and recorder players in the community were invited to participate in   both events.  Twelve players attended the session at Laura Faber's house, including 4 novices.  They enjoyed both “Excellentia" and 2013's Play-the-Recorder Month piece, “Porque Llorax.” 
The SRO’s hour-long event on March 28 was much more elaborate.  The program included a wide variety of folk songs from Turkish, Cuban, Brazilian, Argentinian, Mexican and Sephardic traditions performed by different combinations of recorders, percussion, guitar and two young singers.  The opening piece, a Turkish March called “Gafil ne bilir” was played on 21 recorders ranging in size from soprano to contrabass.  A trio of alto recorders by Johann Mattheson brought some Baroque sound to the afternoon.  The conclusion was the inaugural performance by the newly re-established Recorder Orchestra of Puget Sound under the leadership of Vicki Boeckman and Charles Coldwell.  The 19-member orchestra included two teens.  They played Handel's “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” and Dietrich Schnabel's “BEG Capriccio.”  More than 50 people attended the concert and enjoyed the table of children's activities; a raffle was held for a new soprano recorder.  Nancy Gorbman brought together nearly 30 performers and showcased the huge variety of music recorders can play and the wonderful fun that players can have together.
Greatest membership increase prize
Has been awarded to the Greater Knoxville Recorder Society.  They will receive a gift certificate from the Boulder Early Music Shop, Eugene, OR.
More PtRM activities:
Edmonton Recorder Society
Yes, we know that for most people it’s March that’s the big play-in month, but we here in the frozen North had to thaw out a bit, so our big Gala Concert was held on April 11th. We did, however, celebrate March 21st with a wonderful workshop. We’re lucky that Australian Racheal Cogan has recently settled in Alberta. Her workshop was on low recorders, so we spent the happy afternoon playing one of her compositions, Music from a Cavern. It began with a gentle whistle of wind and went on with lovely low sounds from T, B, GB and Contra-bass recorders. The Gala concert will feature a variety of solo and group pieces (including a short, original composition, Punky Air by member Jan Przysiezniak). The orchestra has been practicing the challenging opening and closing music by Bach and Vivaldi. Our leader and virtuoso soloist is Vince Kelly, and the arrangements, of Bach’s Concerto BWV 1056 and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Oboe and Strings in F major RV 455, are his own. The soprano solos require a really accomplished player; the orchestra is AATB and we have two players to each part (and all the parts are interesting), which seems to work quite well (but then we have Vince to lead us). The two arrangements are published by Vince’s own publishing house, Cheap Choice Brave and New, and should provide an interesting addition to the recorder society repertoire. 
Gainsville Recorder Consort  (as reported by JoLaine Jones-Pokorney)
We celebrated Play the Recorder Month by starting a Consort in Gainesville FL.  There used to be an active Chapter of ARS here, but it has been defunct for several years.  We hope to eventually revive the chapter.  We will complete the paperwork required to be a consort under ARS in the next few weeks.  We held our first meeting on March 18 and agreed that we would meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month.  We have both beginning and experienced recordists.  We begin with dexterity exercises and then some easy tunes and rounds, moving towards more complex pieces later in the evening.  A subset of the group is playing at a music festival on Saturday April 11.  We're performing four short pieces by Mozart arranged for recorder trio. Our facebook page is here:
The Montreal Recorder Society played Gazly's Excellentia at their monthly reading on March 19th and everyone enjoyed it immensely.  (Reported by Mary McCutcheon)
Compiled by Bonnie Kelly