Newsletter No 5

As always, thank you for being on the distribution list for these occasional emails about Playing Days and Courses run by Ann and Steve Marshall, under the banner of ASRE (Ann & Steve’s Recorder Events). Our newsletters are to let you know about significant updates of the ASRE website… and to encourage you to visit the site for details.

Updates of ASRE events are…

We were delighted with the Biggleswade Recorder Orchestra Weekend, which took place on 23-25 October. Seventy people signed up for the weekend, so even when there were two orchestras playing in the same time slot, the groups made a full orchestral sound. And the massed playing sessions were even better! Feedback from players was excellent. The accommodation was less than sparkling, however, so we have moved quickly to find a better venue, and that is High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon (not far from Hertford), which has much better bedrooms. A name change was required, so the weekend is now rechristened the Autumn Recorder Orchestra Weekend. That weekend will take place 25-27 November 2016. The tutors are again Helen Hooker, Ruth Burbidge, Ann Marshall and Steve Marshall, and we are pleased to say that Rosemary Robinson and her trusty spinet will again be with us. Other preliminary information is on the website here…

The 2016 U3A Recorder Course will take place from Monday 13 June until Thursday 16 June. This is a day longer than the 2015 version, because of demand by the players. Ann and Steve Marshall are the tutors on this one, both keen conductors and supporters of U3A ensembles. Ann works tirelessly as musical director of Monmouth U3A, and is well-known for her excellent U3A-friendly arrangements. The relevant ASRE page is not yet live, but will be soon, so please keep checking the ASRE website.

For the avoidance of doubt, we call our course ‘U3A Recorder Course’ to emphasise its suitability for average-to-good U3A players. It has no links at all with the recorder sessions that take place at the U3A Summer Schools.

The Rural Recorder Course continues to be fun and musically interesting, and so another (the fifth) is planned for 2016. This course has also been extended by a day, and will run from Wednesday 13 July until Sunday 17 July. Once more the tutors will be Helen Hooker, Ann Marshall and Steve Marshall. The relevant ASRE page is not yet live for this one either but, again it will be soon, so please keep checking the website.

 Please note that the U3A Recorder Course and the Rural Recorder Course are both held at Llanerchindda Farm, which is a small venue, and so it is particularly important that we have a good balance of instrument sizes and reasonably similar playing standards. Therefore, if you would like to come, please let Ann know (on 01452-831654 or We can’t emphasise enough that these particular events are not first-come-first-served, because we need to see who is interested first, so that we can then decide which combination of players would work well together.

 Later in the year, we intend to run a third May Hill Double-Header, conducted by Ann and Steve Marshall (Easier Saturday) and Helen Hooker (Moderate Sunday). This event will take place on 24/25 September 2016 at May Hill, not far from Gloucester. We have yet to decide the themes for these days, although Ann and Steve are tempted to revisit the huge success of 2015, when we conducted an easy eight-foot day.

There will also be a third Eight-Foot Course, again at Llanerchindda, and again conducted by Pam Smith. The date for that is Friday 14 October to Monday 17 October. Once again, on this small and specialised course it is important to ensure suitable instrumentation and playing abilities, so please let Ann know if you are interested in attending. More details will be available in the new year.

And finally…this is not an ASRE event as such, but it is an exciting venture that was inspired by the Eight-Foot Orchestra session at Biggleswade in October. Helen Hooker is setting up the first-ever regularly-rehearsing eight-foot recorder orchestra. Named the Mellow Tones Recorder Orchestra (METRO for short), it will meet for a whole day four times a year, probably somewhere in Hertfordshire. Helen has set up a METRO website, here… It is relevant to Ann and Steve’s activities for two particular reasons: (1) the picture on the METRO site is of Ann conducting the Biggleswade Eight-Foot Orchestra and (2) sure as anything we will be playing in it!