The recorder, a historical predecessor to the flute and other wind instruments, lives on thanks to groups dedicated to its soft sounds. That includes the local chapter of the American Recorder Society, which held its annual concert Sunday at the Sparks Heritage Museum.
Accompanying the adult players were students from Rollan Melton Elementary School’s honor recorder group. Teacher Kay Judson said she formed the group to teach interested students about ensemble performing and to appreciate the various forms of the recorder beyond the required learning.
“In a class with 28 sopranos it gets hard on the ears sometimes,” she said.
The students hone their skills by playing together and are able to create a more pleasing sound by learning to combine the soprano with tenor, bass and alto recorders. They also get to learn about history by playing an instrument that was the hit of the 1600s.
“They were the instrument of the time,” Judson said.
Kathy Bohrer, president of the local chapter of the American Recorder Society, said the group meets monthly and practices a range of pieces, from compositions hundreds of years old to folks songs, ragtime and barbershop.
“I got back into it because my sons were throwing their recorders out,” Bohrer said of her reintroduction to the instrument about four years ago.
Maya Voegeli, a native of Switzerland who joined the local group after retiring to northern Nevada, said the recorder is a much more serious instrument in Europe. Some well-known recorder players there still sell out large concerts and their CDs are widely purchased, she said.
In America, however, there is far less interest. Judson said she hopes her efforts will spur some young students to pursue the recorder and that they’ll have an outlet at least for a few years where they might enhance the madrigal performance held each year at McQueen High School.
“It’s not a band instrument,” Judson said, “it’s an instrument on its own.”
For information about the Sierra Music Society, contact Bohrer at email@example.com or visit www.americanrecorders.org and click on “Chapters & Consorts.”