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2012-13 The Westchester Recorder Guild was established in 1985 as a chapter of the American Recorder Society. It attracts adult recorder enthusiasts from the tri-state area. Monthly playing sessions are held in Pleasantville, where professional teachers and performers coach players from low intermediate to advanced levels. Beginner classes are also offered.


Happy Summer

Fall schedule to be posted soon.

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Upcoming Workshops

Play recorder this summer. A full schedule of Workshops are coming up for the Summer and Fall Season.

Visit our Calendar and Workshop pages for information and links to websites for concerts and upcoming Workshops and playing sessions with other ARS Chapters which you just don't want to miss. Of special note are the workshops of Amherst Early Music as well as regular playing meetings in Connecticut and Bergen County.

Swing Music at WRG

7:00 PM sharp, preceeding the regular WRG Chapter Playing Session

This very popular WRG music-making activity gets into action with a great collection of four-part arrangements of old jazz/swing standards, fun tunes, interesting rhythms and harmonies. The half hour session is open to all willing players and led by Susan Moravek. Everyone is invited to give it a try. For more information contact Susan Moravek smoravek@comcast.net


Monthly Playing Meetings are held on the last Monday of the month, from 8-9:30 PM, September to May, except December. Socializing and refreshments follow playing sessions.

Meeting Location: Emanuel Lutheran Church, 197 Manville Road, Pleasantville, NY. For travel information: Directions
Non-members are invited to attend a meeting on a trial basis for a small charge.


WRG Celebrates Play the Recorder Month with Emmanuel

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, WRG members gathered to celebrate the Liturgy with our very gracious host, the Congregation and Clergy of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. It was a joyful celebration with familiar and appropriate music chosen and led by our Music Director, Karen Snowberg. We played during the early service, accompanied by the Choir, the organ, and the congregation.

Group at Emmanuel


New York Recorder Guild Revival

After a hiatus of several years, the New York Recorder Guild came back to sparkling life. On Thursday evening, June 29th, several WRG members joined NYC recorder players and teachers, recorder players from Metro area sister chapters, and friends for a lively playing session conducted by WRG Coach, Deborah Booth. There was much excitement, socializing, greeting of old friends, and, of course, wonderful music making. All WRG members are invited to attend NYRG playing sessions in NYC. For dates, more information, and photos of the opening event, visit the website at nyrg.org.


Recorder Myths??

Joy Awaits You
Here Are The Facts by Judith Wink

The recorder has been around since the Middle Ages.  You’d think something that venerable would get some respect.  But no.  Too many people out there think it’s just a folk instrument, or a starter instrument for school kids, or a pocket-sized pipe with a shrill, obnoxious sound.  Even Anthony Baines, who wrote or edited dozens of articles and books about music and instruments, dismissed the recorder as “easy to play and cheap to buy,” perfect for the musician who is both lazy and tight-fisted. It’s time to set the record straight.

In some cultures recorder-type instruments are used for folk music — Israel, for instance, which produced those abysmal Gill recorders that were made of balsa wood and left splinters in your mouth.  But in Western Europe, throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods (and that’s a long time, let me tell you), the recorder was used for art music.  Recorder consorts entertained Henry VIII.  Bach wrote some of the solo parts in the Brandenburg concertos with recorders in mind.  In the Baroque period, the recorder was one of the premiere solo instruments, right up there with the violin.  There’s a ton of serious music just from this era. Telemann alone will keep you busy for decades with his sonatas and duets.

Sure, the recorder is a great starter instruments for kids.  You don’t have to struggle to get a sound out of it, as you do with the flute; you don’t have to futz with reeds, as you do with the clarinet and the saxophone and the oboe; and the finger holes on the soprano are easy for small hands to reach.  But don’t stop there!  The instrument may be easy to learn, but you can spend a lifetime mastering it, as any professional player will tell you.  And once you start exploring articulation and alternate fingerings, you will find that the recorder is as sophisticated as any orchestral instrument.  It may not have the range or the dynamics, but boy, is it expressive!  And no matter how good you get, there will always be another piece that’s just beyond your technique.  Like any other instrument worth playing, the recorder is inexhaustible.

As to the shrill and obnoxious sound people complain of, that’s the soprano you’re talking about, and a badly-played one at that.  The soprano has a lot of big brothers, down to the F contrabass.  Six feet tall, this monster has bottom notes that sound like the QEII setting sail.  Now and then an instrument maker with time on his hands and trees at his disposal will make something bigger. Victor Mahillon, onetime director of the Brussels Museum of Musical Instruments, copied a Renaissance extended great bass in C.  This thing is about eight feet long and virtually unplayable, but what serious musician doesn’t love a challenge?  A low consort — tenor, bass, great bass and contrabass — has the richness and sonority of an organ, and a lot more flexibility.

Is the recorder useless except for old music?  Absolutely not.  In Philadelphia jazz clubs, customers would laugh when Joel Levine got up to play his soprano recorder.  They stopped laughing after the first few licks.  Go on You Tube to hear a recorder quintet play “Purple Haze,” the Jimi Hendrix classic.  Go to Europe and hear conservatory-trained musicians play new works for the recorder.  Adventurous composers have discovered that there’s more to this instrument than a sweet sound and nimble articulation, and they’re making the most of it.

For most amateurs, though, the recorder means the Handel sonatas and Josquin motets.  And that’s fine.  Just work on style and technique, and buy some big instruments.  Joy awaits you.

Judith Wink started playing the recorder in college and hasn’t stopped since. For more than forty years she’s been taking classes and going to workshops. After a varied career as a teacher, technical writer, editor and concert manager, Judith is now retired, giving her more time to play early music. She currently serves on the Board of the New York Recorder Guild as treasurer.


Have you played the recorder before and want to get back to it?

Have you ever played a different instrument and would now like to try out the recorder and participate in the early music scene?

Enjoy making music with others?

If you thought the recorder is only for kids because it is easy to learn, you should know that the recorder has been a popular instrument for both amateur and professional ensembles for over 400 years!

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Membership Benefits

Monthly playing sessions coached by professionals
Monthly calendar of early music concerts and events
Opportunity to meet and play wonderful music with other recorder players Chapter Music Library
Chapter Website with calendar of Early Music concerts and events in the area, as well as links to useful information.


ars logo The Westchester Recorder Guild is a Chapter of the American Recorder Society