My husband (John) and I play regularly with another couple in a small ensemble called Baroque Ad Hoc. We take part in lunchtime recitals in and around Portsmouth and Fareham. The recitals are free to all and the audience is encouraged to bring their lunch and come and listen to music played and sung by local musicians.
When one of our local churches started to do lunchtime concerts here in Southampton, we were keen to get involved, and so we made contact and offered to do a lunchtime recital in May.
Although we play recorders in many different groups, we needed to form a new one of people who were local and available to play during the day.
Surprising quickly we got together three other friends who are experienced players and John put together a rehearsal schedule, meeting regularly up to the concert date. The name was John’s idea too – Consorte d’amici, the consort of friends.
I have spoken before about the time it takes to prepare for a concert and I have only claimed for the rehearsal time. John was the one who planned the programme and made sure there were sufficient copies of music for everyone. He also liaised with the church.
We met six times in all, rehearsing for a couple of hours each. The first rehearsal is always about just playing through the pieces, subsequent rehearsals focusing on specific areas as needed.
We were asked to provide an image for the church newsletter and Facebook posts and sent the above photo of all the sizes of recorder that would be played.
For many people here in the UK, the only knowledge of recorders they have is from playing descant recorders at school with 20-30 other children. Or as parents of aforementioned children listening to them practice at home, not always a positive experience! We are always keen to show the family of recorders and many people are very surprised to see (and hear) all the different sizes.
There were not many in the audience; the lunchtime recitals are still very new at this church, but those who were there were responsive and appreciative and there were more of them than us, which is always a bonus!
The church has a a very pleasant acoustic that really seemed to enhance the sound of the recorders. John’s preparations and rehearsals and the players commitment meant that we were well prepared and the concert went well.
I for one, thoroughly enjoyed playing in the space and hope we will be invited back. The recital was free with all donations going towards Christian Aid week.