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U3A recorder players gather in Staffordshire  ON Saturday October 1st 2016 , 60 U3A recorder players from all over the East and West Midlands gathered at Hilderstone Village Hall in Staffordshire for a “playing day” led by Alyson Lewin and organised by Uttoxeter U3A’s recorder group. Anthony Barrett, of Barrett Recorders was also there to carry out running repairs and offer advice. He also had beautiful instruments and a selection of sheet music to sell. Alyson, too, had brought music for us to buy and enjoy later with our own groups. And of course she was on hand to advise which of her arrangements might be most suitable for different groups.  There was a warm welcome with a remarkable display of cake to go with tea and coffee.  The day started with arrangements by Alyson of two Tudor Anthems: (O Come Ye Servants of the Lord” by Tye, and “Let Thy Merciful Ears” by Mudd). These gave us an opportunity to get used to playing together and learn to make a tuneful and harmonious sound together. After coffee (and more cake), the late morning was devoted to Alyson’s arrangement of Josquin's 'El Grillo' (The Cricket), a piece from Renaissance France, and an organ piece, 'Diapason Movement' by William Walond, an English organist.  Refreshed after lunch, we excelled ourselves by playing a piece in 8 different parts, formed into two “Choirs” of four parts each – “Canzon duodecimi tono” - from Hans Leo Hassler and again, arranged by Alyson The sound was amazing, particularly for anybody who hadn’t taken part in such a performance before. This gave us a taste of the German Renaissance.  Then it was time for tea, (and more cake) before we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing with two of Alyson’s arrangements of Welsh folk tunes - “West of Severn”.

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