The Scottish Recorder Orchestra

Residential weekend, December 2004

The first Residential weekend of the Scottish Recorder Orchestra was held in December 2004 at Gartmore House near Aberfoyle in Stirlingshire. It was a perfect venue within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The Adam house is set in 75 acres of beautiful grounds with views of the surrounding hills.

Some thirty-five members of the orchestra were able to attend from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, St Andrews and Middlesbrough and were well rewarded by the experience under the direction of our conductor EileenĀ Silcocks.

The posh people had the accommodation in the Big Hoose and the lesser mortals were housed in the mews cottages. Both I must say were of excellent standard and the staff were exceptional.

As well as rehearsing our existing repertoire we were treated to a packed two and a half days of technical exercises, techniques in orchestral performance and intense study of our set pieces and a few really interesting and varied surprises.

We studied all periods from Walter Rein?s Variations on a "Lothringisches Liebeslied" to Palestrina "Viri Galilei", Warlock?s "Capriol Suite" and a Sussex Carol, arranged by David Silk. We also played Guus Haverkate?s "Sound Crime". This last is a kind of tone poem of big city life with sleazy night clubs and an exciting criminal chase that had our fingers flying as fast as the miscreant-or almost.

The Private Study period was loosely interpreted as going for a snooze or walking to the village to see the sights. Nobody was tempted by the commando course in the grounds - maybe next time!

After the early evening sessions we relaxed in the drawing room complete with log fire and Christmas decorations. There was a great deal of chat, musical or otherwise, some extemporized singing and Trivia games where I am sure some cheating went on, and much hilarity.

There were eight work sessions and I mean WORK. In fact Eileen worked so hard and energetically that she lost her voice. Sandra Foxall kindly stepped in for a session and the remainder were completed by Eileen issuing hand signals and writing instructions on a white board. It certainly concentrated our attention.

It was such a successful occasion that we have already booked for next year and I can recommend the experience to everyone who wishes tolearn more about group playing.

Jean Macdonald

Residential weekends - Rehearsal dates