Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter



Dear MPRO Members,

Since this is the first message from the President since the holidays, I am going to begin this message by letting you know how much of a pleasure it was to see so many in attendance for the first meeting in January, 2006.

One of the problems still around in the new year is "clogging". The website of Collins and Williams Historic Woodwinds, under their section Recorder FAQ, had some information that you may find helpful if you have a significant problem with clogging.

Collins suggests the following: A wooden recorder should be proper voiced. If the recorder has never been voiced or if it has been a while since voicing, that should be done first. Both plastic and wooden recorders can be helped by using a weak detergent solution which helps moisture in the windway to stream rather than form beads. The detergent solution should be used as follows: cover the beak end (the end you put in your mouth) of the head joint with tape or your finger; with beak end down, instill the detergent solution into the windway until it is full; let it sit and soak for about five minutes; remove the tape or your finger and let the head piece drain. Wipe any excess away from the outside of head joint, but do not shake or blowout the windway. Allow the head joint to dry overnight. The objective is have a coating remain in the windway. The treatment may last for a month or more, but treatment can repeated as needed.

The simplest way to clear the airway is a quick quiet suck on the mouthpiece. This is helpful and used by many recorder players during a rest or pause, but may not be entirely effective. The best way to clear the windway of anything is to remove the head, cover the open joint end with the flat of the hand; cover the window with your open mouth and blow with a quick, sharp puff. Collins states that almost anything will be blown out of the beak end using that method. Putting your finger on the labium to prevent a shriek while you make a vigorous puff into the beak end of the windway IS NOT a good idea, at least with wooden recorder. Over a period time, the warm moist labium can get pressed down and retain a permanently warped shape which cannot be repaired, resulting in ruined tone and response .

Playing habits can also contribute to frequent clogging. The article points out that the only part of your mouth that should touch the recorder is the outside part of your lips - not the tongue, not the inner parts of lips and not your teeth. The recorder should rest on the lower lip, which covers the teeth; the upper lip holds the recorder in place, and it also covers the upper teeth. The basic tonguing technique should have the tip of tongue touching the roof the mouth in the back of the top teeth.

Collins concludes the article by pointing out that more experienced players have fewer problems than beginners and the clogging problem will probably lessen the longer you play. Finally he notes that most dentists believe a mouth with more saliva is healthier than a dry mouth. So drool and be happy!

Thanks for listening.

Tony Jackson, President


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Listed below is the music for the orchestra's next two meetings. Please note that great bass and contrabass recorders will be needed at both. There will also be new part assignments for Tentalora which will be sent by e-mail prior to February 15

February 15 MPRO Rehearsal
Machaut: Donnez, signeurs
Schmelzer: Sonata a otto
Gabrieli: Chiar’ Angioletta
March 1 MPRO Rehearsal
Shostakovitch: Fugue No. 1
Sha, Shtil
Rumshinsky: A Bis’l Libe, un a Bisele Glik
Brahms: Dein Herzlein mild
Brahms: Der Falke

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.

Fred Palmer

Mary Hoover

Mary Wolfe Hoover, a former member of MPRO, died peacefully on 24 October, 2005 at Valle Verde Retirement Community in Santa Barbara, CA. She was 97 years old. In the 1970’s MPRO had a great variety of ability among its members. So Angela Owen, MPRO Music Director at the time, and Mary split the group into advanced and less advanced. Each group would play in a separate room with different music according to their ability.

Mary was a fine teacher and player. Her mind remained sharp to the end, playing a three-dimensional variety of Scrabble the day before she died.


On Saturday, March 4, 2006, the East Bay Recorder Society presents “The Borrowers: Imitation in Renaissance Music” (or, “One Man’s Motif is Another Man’s Motet”). The workshop will be led by Adam Gilbert, an accomplished recorder player who has performed concerts in the United States, Israel and Belgium. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at USC where he teaches courses in Renaissance Music.

This workshop will focus on how composers of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries imitated their masters and colleagues in acts of musical homage, and how they borrowed songs, either through allusion or in cantus firmus technique, to create structures of musical allegory and symbolism.

The workshop will be held at the Zion Lutheran Church, 5201 Park Blvd., Oakland, from 9 am to 4 pm. Cost is $35 before Feb. 22, $40 after. Drinks and snacks will be supplied; please bring a bag lunch. For further information and registration, contact Susan Richardson, 510-526-7861, susanvrichardson@yahoo.com.

SFEMS Medieval Renaissance Workshop to hold Collegium

On Saturday, February 25, 2006, the SFEMS Medieval Renaissance Workshop will hold a special collegium from 2-5pm in the choir room at St Johns Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave (at Garber) in Berkeley. Workshop directors Hanneke van Proosdij, and Louise Carslake will conduct madrigals and chansons for instruments and voices from England, France and Italy by Crecquillon, Josquin, Monteverdi and more.

We invite singers, recorder players, gambists, violinists, cellists, lutenists, renaissance reed and brass players to join us for a fun afternoon of music making.

All proceeds will benefit scholarships to the Medieval Renaissance 2006 Workshop. We are asking for a donation of $40 to attend the collegium - this includes music.

To register please send a check for $40 payable to SFEMS to: Louise Carslake, 3931 Linwood Ave, Oakland, CA 94602 For more information: (510) 530-3202 or jdrnbrg@concentric.net

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft, and I'll show you A flat minor.

Early Music Concert Series

Las Positas College presents the first Early Music Concert in a series of three concerts on Saturday, February 4, pre-concert talk at 7:30 and concert at 8:00. Louise Carslake, baroque flute; John Dornenburg, viola da gamba; and Yuko Tanaka, harpsichord will perform works Telemann, Handel, Couperin, Marais, and Leclair.

Future concerts are on March 4 and April 1.

Las Positas College Library, 3033 Collier Canyon Road, Livermore, CA

Suggested Donation at the door: LPC students, faculty and staff $10.00, General Admission $15.00. Contact Marilyn Marquis. 925.424.1209, mmarquis@laspositascollege.edu.