This weekend has been a tale of two activities – recorder playing and photography. The Society of Recorder Players holds a national festival every spring, moving to a different location around the country each year. This year we’ve had the pleasure of being at Ushaw College, near Durham. I’ve conducted a couple of ensemble sessions during the weekend, but my main task has been as official photographer. The organisers gave me a list of the events they wanted covered, so my first plan of action was to write myself a timetable, to ensure nothing got missed!
Usually the main focus of these festivals is the recorder playing, often in quite large ensembles. This weekend was no different, although there were lots of other events too. I crept discreetly in and out of the playing rooms, trying to capture the playing activity, all the while looking for interesting or dramatic gestures from the participants.
A new addition to the festival this year was a fringe event, with lots of concerts popping up here and there around the College. These provided plenty of interesting photo opportunities and it’s always an enjoyable challenge to catch on camera that split second which tells a story of the performance.
Elsewhere we had masterclasses and a competition for new compositions for recorder quartet and it was a privilege to be able to sneak into these sessions and see what was going on.
The climax of the weekend was the massed playing session in the setting of the Pugin designed Refectory. Conducted by Joris Van Goethem, around 250 players gathered to perform a new composition by Rosemary Robinson and I was delighted to catch a photo of Rosemary amid the ensemble, evidently enjoying the moment very much.
14 April 2019