Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter



Grace and Liz LOVE is sweeping the country. CHANGE is sweeping the shore. And all the sexes from Maine to Texas are VOTING like they?re never done before! But here in San Francisco?s Mid Peninsula we turn to matters far more insular ? the care and feeding of the wooden recorder as presented by our dolce dulcian player, Bill Lazar.

Grace and Liz (Co-Presidents)

Wood Recorder Care and Feeding
by Bill Lazar

(An article on the plastic recorder appeared in the March, 2007, issue of UpBeat.)

Before you start: Wood is a natural material and needs regular care. To avoid cracks you should never expose your recorder to direct sunlight, extreme cold or heat. Before fitting the instrument together for the first time, apply cork grease to the cork on the tenons. Turn slightly in one direction (the direction with the least resistance?cork has a grain) while assembling the instrument. Do not cant the joints when you put them together. However, if a crack should appear in the joint, it can normally be repaired without further complications. Grease corks only occasionally, as too frequent greasing will saturate the cork and loosen the glue holding the cork on the tenon. If you have to use grease every time you put the instrument together, the cork is too tight and should be carefully sanded down.

Hoarseness/Clogging: Condensation of beads of moisture in the windway (1) of the recorder causes clogging. You can minimize clogging by warming the head joint up to body temperature in your hands, under your arm, or in your pocket before playing. If water has accumulated in the windway, you can suck it out. You can also take off the head joint, put your hand over the bore (5) and blow into the window (3). Never touch the labium (2) of a wooden instrument with your fingers because it will easily warp when damp, and you might spoil the instrument.

Principally, there exist two types of hoarseness. One is caused by drops of moisture that build up in the windway, normally disappearing after 5-10 minutes of playing. The second type of hoarseness results from swelling of the cedar block. This problem, indicated by a small, rolling sound, does not disappear with extended playing. should this occur, the instrument must be revoiced. For players who use their instrument for extended practicing, I recommend buying several instruments (or a plastic instrument), since wooden recorders can only sustain a certain amount of breath moisture without suffering damage. Recorders are exposed to great strain through moisture condensed from the breath.

Preventing clogging: For wooden instruments, do not follow the procedure used for plastic instruments. Running water through the windway will cause severe damage to the recorder. Instead, allow the instrument to dry thoroughly overnight. Then put a few drops of Duponol into the windway from the window end, covering the surface of the cedar block. Let the excess liquid drain, blow out as above and let dry before playing.

After Playing/Storing the instrument: After each playing session, take the instrument apart, and wipe the bore out using a rod and cloth. Do not use a mop--it can leave fuzz in the bore.

Use caution when wiping out the head joint. Should damage to the labium occur, a repair of the head joint is either very expensive or not possible. Allow your instrument to air dry thoroughly by storing it in an open case, if possible. Store instruments in their cases to protect them from damage. Keys and the labium are especially fragile.

Maintenance: Protect your instrument against sudden changes of temperature or direct sunlight, and never leave it in a warm car or near a source of heat. Always store the instrument in pieces to avoid cracks in the joints. The instrument should be oiled (if the wood is not wax-impregnated) 3 to 4 times a year, depending on the amount of use it gets and the environmental conditions the instrument is exposed to. Use almond oil with a drop of vitamin E (to prevent rancidity). Varnished or lacquered surfaces should not be oiled.


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Listed below is the music for the next two meetings of the orchestra. Glen Shannon will be the guest director for the meeting on March 5 and will be presenting a program of renaissance Flemish and French baroque music as well a two of his compositions. I encourage all MPRO members to attend the March 5 meeting and take advantage of this opportunity to work with one of the Bay Area?s outstanding composers for the recorder. Please note that krummhorns as well as great bass and contrabass recorders will be needed at both meetings and that dulcien and bass viola da gamba will be needed at the meeting on February 27.

Wednesday, February 27 MPRO Rehearsal
Schmelzer: Sonata con arie
Tchaikovsky: The Crown of Roses
Dos Pintele Yid
Padilla: Missa Ego flos campi, Gloria and Kyrie
Wednesday, March 5 MPRO Rehearsal
Glen Shannon, guest director

Renaissance Flemish and French baroque music as well as
original compositions by Glen Shannon

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.

Fred Palmer

O?Malley Workshop a Success!

Forty recorder players attended the Patrick O?Malley ?Tour de France? workshop on January 12th. The workshop was very interesting and fairly informative. Patrick, who obviously has a vast knowledge of the material, demonstrated his ability to conduct music in the French baroque style. We particularly enjoyed the French ornamentation techniques and willing applied them to various pieces of the music that was presented. What was surprisingly interesting, and not that difficult, was doing the transposition exercise, which perhaps could be expanded in a future workshop. Many positive comments were offered, and Patrick should definitely be considered as a workshop director for us in the future.

Comment on MPRO?s Holiday Concert

Sid Simon?s friend, Johanna, an accomplished clarinetist, wrote: ?It was such a treat to hear your group play yesterday...I loved being transported back to the 15 and 1600's with such a sweet and gentle lyrical sound. The ensemble was so precise and the repertoire interesting and lovely. It was a pleasure and a welcome change for me from the usual orchestral pieces I play in. I'm looking forward already to the May concert.? (Note: DVDs of this December, 2007, concert are still available. Contact Mary Ashley at 650-494-1829.)

Flauti Dolci & Amici In Concert

An afternoon of early music with performances by early music ensembles Peralta Consort, Quartetto Paradiso, Recorder Journey, The Linsenbergermeisters, Divertimenti, Consort Semibreve, and The Belmont Consort on period instruments featuring works by various composers which include Almaine, Boismortier, Byrd, des Pres, Galliard, Handel, Holborne, Loiellet, Pepusch, Telemann, and Vivaldi.

Date: Sunday, February 17, 2008. Time: 3:00 PM. Location: Foothill Presbyterian Church, 5301 McKee Road, San Jose, 95127. Suggested Donation $10. For more information, contact Jay Jordana at (408) 258-8133x105.


The San Francisco Chapter of the American Recorder Society, a SFEMS Affiliate, and The Music Department of City College of San Francisco present ?THE NORTHERN ISLES?. Music from England, Scotland, Ireland and Beyond. Sacred and secular repertoire from chapel, court and countryside spanning five centuries. Directors: Eileen Hadidian and Louise Carslake. A Recorder Workshop for Low Intermediate to Advanced Players.

The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, February 23, 2008, 9 am to 3:30 pm, at the City College of San Francisco Creative Arts Building. For more information and a registration form, go to arssanfrancisco.org.


Listen up, friendly recorder players of the South Bay: another opportunity is coming up to hear a fabulous AROW concert on Sunday, March 9th at 3:00 PM at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Los Gatos. The program is an ALL-AMERICAN repertoire, featuring Shaker folks songs, Geisler's arrangements of well-known evergreens, Glen Shannon's award-winning composition "Fipple Dance", a Gershwin Medley and Hryciw's settings for Longfellow's poetry and Chief Seattle's speech and still more crowd-pleasing arrangements. AROW musicians will astonish you with their unique rendition of American composers.

Any questions or comments, contact Anne-Marie Wiggers at Mom@thewiggers.com or Lois Orio at (408)365-1286.