About the Weekend


This weekend run by Recorders at Plymouth, offers you the opportunity to play in a recorder orchestra in a relaxed, friendly and supportive environment.


Orchestras are an increasingly popular type of recorder ensemble and it’s not hard to see why.  Large scale orchestration gives recorder players the opportunity to be part of exciting textures and colours that quartets and quintets simply can’t achieve in ensembles.


You should be able to sight read and be competent at holding your part.  The recorder orchestra will consist of eleven sections: Sopranino, Descant 1 and 2, Treble 1 and 2, Tenor 1 and 2, Bass 1 and 2, Great Bass and Contra Bass. Priority will be given to applicants who attended the weekend in 2023 until 25th September 2023. Next will be members of Recorders at Plymouth, any remaining places will be offered on a first come basis. Consideration will also be given to the instruments you play, as we need a good balance for the orchestra to work. This may mean you don't get your first choice of instrument. We need more of the larger instruments, from tenor downwards and just one person playing each of the sopranino and descant parts.


Players indicate which instruments they would prefer to play in the orchestra on their enrolment form. You will also need to list the instruments you will be bringing to the course. During the weekend players remain within their elected orchestral section for all the orchestral playing sessions with Helen Hooker.  Many players particularly enjoy this aspect of the weekend as it allows them to grow in confidence within their section. In Steve Marshall's sessions players are free to choose to play different recorders.


The closing date for enrolments is 1st December 2023. Further details about the weekend including a map to find the venue and confirmation of the orchestral section in which you will be playing, will be sent shortly before the course starts.  All music will be provided for the weekend but you do need to bring a music stand and pencil in addition to your recorders. You are advised to take out your own insurance in case of illness. We have insurance if the course needs to be cancelled because of snow, so you will get a refund if this should occur. The course has been running for many years and only once has it been cancelled because of snow.

About the Conductors


Both Helen  and Steve are well-known to recorder players throughout the UK, and beyond.  They each have a special interest in recorder orchestras, regularly conducting orchestras of all sizes and playing standard.


Helen Hooker

Helen Hooker studied the recorder at Trinity College of Music under Philip Thorby, graduating in 1993 with a first-class degree and the Post-Graduate Certificate in performance with distinction. She now enjoys a varied career, including a mixture of performing, conducting, teaching, arranging, writing and photography Helen is an inspirational conductor and well known to recorder players, she is a visiting Conductor and Musical Advisor to the Society of Recorder Players, Helen is regularly booked for playing days and pastoral visits to SRP branches across the country.  She also runs her own recorder orchestra weekend in the Autumn and is also a Director of the Recorder Summer School that takes place in August. Helen is Musical Director of the Thames Valley Recorder Orchestra and mellow tones an 8' orchestra.


Steve Marshall

Steve is not only one of the foremost contemporary composers for recorder but is also one of the most innovative tutors in the recorder world.  This may be in part to Steve's rather unusual background in jazz, blues and rock (well, unusual for a recorder player, anyway!).  From Minimalist Technique Classes to his majestic 41-part Spam in Atrium, Steve's tuition is always accessible whilst remaining thoroughly out of the ordinary.  


Steve has pioneered the idea of “Easy” Recorder Orchestras which explore music which is exciting and satisfying to play but technically less demanding.  Steve conducts The Orchestra on the Hill, the only permanent “Easy” Recorder Orchestra.


Your fee for the weekend will depend on the package you choose:


Residential for the weekend (includes tuition, music, all meals and accommodation):


Single occupancy with en-suite: £367 for the weekend


Single occupancy no en-suite: £337 for the weekend


Sharing with en-suite: £337 each for the weekend


Sharing no en-suite: £312 each for the weekend.


Non-residential for the weekend includes all meals except breakfast  £243 for the weekend.



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