Excited by the new season of the Pittsburgh Recorder Society

Today was the first meeting of the new season (September-May) of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Recorder Society (and on Facebook). I was excited to be back, since the last time I actually played recorder at all was a month and a half ago at a potluck/recital; I’ve been focused recently on playing Baroque flute and modern flute, with a tiny bit of restarting piano.

We have a new plan this season!

A new plan for this season

Our director, Fred, told us of a new plan for this season, geared toward working toward pieces that we will actually perform in a concert as a complete ensemble. Last season we didn’t end up having a concert, for example. This year, his plan is to include work on music that has two choirs of voices, to make it easier for more people to be involved and also in order to make performance possible even if someone for some reason is not available.

The music we worked on today

Today we started working on the meditative “Kyrie de la Missa Papae Marcelli” by Palestrina (1562), and the joyful “Jubilate Deo” by Lodovico Viadana (1600s?).

The Palestrina is gorgeous music and I am excited about our working toward play it beautifully as a unified ensemble:

We also started work on “Jubilate Deo”, which is divided into two choirs:

Stuff someone donated to us

Someone donated a whole bunch of music to us and even some instruments. Here are the scores I picked up (there were plenty left over that others did not pick up, but I resisted the temptation to take more than I was ever going to work on):

Selection of recorder music someone donated to the Pittsburgh Recorder Society

Baroque stuff, Handel, Telemann, sopranino “bird” tunes, old English airs and dances, a three volume set of Van Eyck!

Music or chess?

Until today, I was not entirely sure whether I was going to make it to the recorder society meeting! Today happened to also be the first round of the new season of the Pittsburgh Chess League, and recently I committed to being an alternate player for a team playing in it. My understanding was that, being an alternate player, I would not often be depended on by our team to always be available to play, but because our top two boards were not going to play today, and I did not plan to play, we had to go as far down the list as our third and final alternate player. This meant that if something went wrong, we would have a forfeit. So I told the team captain that in case of emergency, I could play.

All things being equal, I prioritize music in my life over chess, but I would have gone to play for the team to avoid a forfeit if that had been required today. But it turned out that because of the odd number of teams in our division, our team got a bye today, so that was perfect timing: I went to the recorder society meeting knowing that there was no conflict.

Trying to recruiting someone from chess into music

By coincidence, yesterday when I was at the chess club and ended up playing blitz, I ran into a fellow chess player I hadn’t talked with in years, and we were talking about the Pittsburgh Chess League and I mentioned that I didn’t intend to play chess today because I was going to play music instead. In the course of conversation, it turned out that he had just bought himself a recorder and was just starting to play it!

I told him he should join the Pittsburgh Recorder Society, and that there were great beginner lessons before the general playing begins: over a year ago I had gone to these lessons by Fred and learned quite a lot.

Unfortunately, he ended up not showing up today; it turned out that instead playing chess as an alternate for a team. I’ve reminded him that there are no more conflicts with chess in the upcoming months, so I hope to see him playing recorder in October! I will personally remind him again when the next meeting grows near. (Peter, if you’re reading this, please consider joining us!)


It’s good to be playing recorder in an ensemble again. And I hope to bring in more people to the Pittsburgh Recorder Society, including beginners.

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