2021-2022 Season Update

The NYRG Board and Music Director, Deborah Booth hoped to announce the return to in-person playing starting this September, but the unfortunate rise in Covid-19 Delta variant cases has made such an announcement impossible.

NYRG will postpone all playing sessions (in-person and Zoom) until January 2022. In the New Year, the Board will reassess the state of the pandemic and formulate a plan for the best way to move forward. Finding a new meeting venue will be part of that reassessment.

In the meantime, we hope that members continue to play using the virtual opportunities available through the American Recorder SocietyAmherst Early Music, and our sister guilds Westchester Recorder Guild and the Recorder Society of Long Island.

Check back from time to time for updates. Stay safe and we'll see you in the New Year.

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NYRG Members Join Amherst Early Music Festival in Person Sessions in NYC

What a joy to make music together in person again! NYRG Members played together in person over the weekend of July 24 and 25 along with members from other local chapters for the first time in over a year. It was a great day of music and celebration. Sessions were led by Valerie Horst and Deborah Booth.

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Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474) - Sacred & Secular 15th Century Jazz

Deborah Booth lead NYRG
Season Finale on Thursday June 17th

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Jody Miller Conducted NYRG on May 20th

Jody was welcomed and introduced by Music Director, Deborah Booth, and President, Natalie Lebert

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MEMBERSHIP DUES Yearly dues: $40
MEETING FEES: Members: $15 per meeting; Non-members: $20 per meeting
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT (payable at season beginning) is $140 includes dues and a full season of meetings (save $5 per meeting!)


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Zelle is NYRG's Preferred Method of Receiving Payment
Click here to pay using Zelle to NYRG treasurer Judith Wink jwink@nyc.rr.com.

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Membership Meeting Fee: $15.74; Non-member Meeting Fee: $20.88; Early Bird (at season beginning): $144.36
Click here to pay using Pay Pal

If you are paying for individual meetings (not using "Early Bird Discount"),
you must pay electronically through Zelle or PayPal, not by check.

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                                             Greetings from Music Director Deborah Booth

Deborah BoothI hope that you are all in good health and reasonably positive spirits. These are indeed difficult times for everyone, especially New Yorkers. I'm thinking of each one of you, and wishing the best luck for you and your families. Music is a great solace at times like this, and I think we could all say that we feel very lucky to be musicians. It provides us inspiration and distraction from the harsh realities of the daily News.

Please allow me to recommend that you consider playing your instruments and practicing as much as you have energy to do. It really does help raise the spirits. This may be a good time to explore and organize your sheet music files. Who knows what you may find! I'm always surprised when I delve into the backs of filing cabinet drawers. Often many surprises! You could also do some exploring online for available music - through the ARS site or Imslp or CPDL or many others. There is a wealth of material out there.

Another thought for being productive in these isolated times would be to carefully oil all of your recorders. As this is a time of seasonal weather change, it's a perfect time to moisturize the wooden instruments. You will make them happy and they will sound better and last longer. I'm sure the thing that we miss the most is being able to play together in groups. Let's join together in hoping that we will be able to be together soon and share our music!!!

Very Best Musical Thoughts!

View Deborah Booth's bio and professional background on our Board page. Visit our Events page for photo of Deborah's GEMS Concert with her ensemble BREVE on April 29th.

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AEM ONLINE Saturdays and Sundays: classes scheduled each weekend

Visit the AEM website for more information and to register: www.amherstearlymusic.org

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Join a Virtual Recorder Class with the American Recorder Society

For schedule and information, visit their website at: americanrecorder.org

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For more information on other workshops, visit our Workshops page for dates and registration information.

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Special New York Music Concerts and Events

(additional events and concert series are listed on our Events page: check websites for schedules and changes for the upcoming season)

GemsGOTHAM EARLY MUSIC SCENE (GEMS) is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of early music in New York City and serves professional and amateur performers and ensembles, church organizations, audiences and enthusiasts.

Fall Season2020-2021 Season: Watch live Thursdays at 1:15 pm on Facebook or YouTube. Midtown Concerts is pleased to present a full schedule of concerts for the 2020-2021 season. The opening concerts will be live-streamed until it is safe for audiences to gather once again. As safety allows, they will reintroduce in-person events. Get on their mailing list and receive On the Scene which features current New York performances of early music. Call: 212-866-0468 or E-mail info@gemsny.org. For more information and concert links, visit their website: https://gemsny.org/midtown-concerts

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Contact an instructor for an online lesson via Skype or other video software. Here is a partial list of teachers offering online lessons:


by Judith Wink

  • About 50 years ago the audio industry was thinking of standardizing the widths of magnetic tapes.  Remember cassettes and 8-tracks?  Those are the kinds of tapes they were talking about.  Somebody proposed 1/4 inch for cassettes and 3/8 inch for 8-tracks.  Battles ensued.  The problem wasn’t the widths themselves; it was the concept of standardization.  Some audio engineers saw “standard” as a synonym for “mediocre” — “standard,” that is, as opposed to “deluxe.”  I don’t know enough about magnetic tape to say why a different width would give better sound quality.  It probably doesn’t.  I don’t even know if that was the issue.  It might have simply been the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do spirit so typical of Americans.  In the end, the pro-standardizing side won, and our audio industry could address itself to more pressing concerns, like how to stop Panasonic from eating our lunch.  By now the technology is obsolete, so the question is moot, but the squabbling was fun while it lasted.

  • Fun, but looking back on it, a little silly.  The idea of standard measurements surely isn’t alien to anyone’s thinking.  Regardless of the shape, color or material of the measuring device, a tablespoon is a tablespoon, a yard is a yard, a quart is a quart, everywhere that those measurements are used.  Standard-gauge railroad tracks have been around since the Civil War.  Standard electric light sockets have been around since Herbert Hoover was secretary of commerce, about a hundred years ago.   Musical pitch —
  • Well, that’s a different story.  Concert pitch for a modern orchestra is A440.  Sure, the violins cheat and tune a little sharp for a brighter sound, but no contemporary orchestra tunes to A420 or 470.    Early music, though, is different.  Since the historical performance movement got going, Baroque groups play at A415 and an ensemble doing a historically-informed performance of Beethoven or Schubert will tune to A430.  By now you may be concluding that pitch crept up over the decades as the pace of life quickened and everybody’s nerves got a little tighter.  Actually, ego, not nerves, was driving this.  Every instrumentalist wanted a more brilliant sound than his rivals’, and strings started snapping as pitch started rising.

  • And what was that pitch, exactly?  It depended on where you were.  Standard pitch is a pretty new concept.  In the olden days, when what we call “early music” was just “music,’ every town in Europe had at least one church, every church had an organ, and every organ had to be tuned.  To what?  To the notions of the town’s organ-tuner.  And any instruments that were going to be played in church needed to play at that organ’s pitch.  Local wind-makers kept this in mind.  No problem, as long as music stayed local, but players of fixed-pitch instruments who traveled to the next town would be hopelessly out of tune with that town’s band unless they could transpose at sight.  And the trickier the music, the harder this was.

  • String players didn’t have this problem.  They could tune to anything.  If a Renaissance viol ensemble wasn’t playing with other instruments, it would tune to its treble.  The treble player would tighten his top string until it was just about to break.  An experienced player would know when that was.  An inexperienced player would soon find out.  The note that this string produced was the D du jour, and everybody else tuned to it.  Since atmospheric pressure changes from day to day, and since gut strings are sensitive to it, Wednesday’s D would be different from Tuesday’s, and both would be different from Monday’s. 
  • Nobody thought to standardize pitch until 1859.  The first to do it were those inveterate codifiers and systematizers, the French.  Pitch had been creeping up during the 19th century until singers started complaining that their throats were killing them.  The French passed a law setting the A above middle C at 435 Hz.  Twenty-five years earlier, the Stuttgart Conference had recommended A440, but the French pitch was included in the Treaty of Versailles, which gave the Germans yet another reason to repudiate the treaty.  In the end, of course, the German pitch won out.

  • There’s nothing sacred about A440, or for that matter A435 or A430 or A415 or A392.  How many of us can hear the difference, anyway?  All a recorder player cares about, when she sits down with a group, is that all the instruments will have been tuned to some agree-upon standard and not to the local church organ.  This doesn’t just make group playing more pleasant.  It makes it possible.

Judith's previous articles are archived on her special page. Click Here

In normal times the New York Recorder Guild meets at
Advent Lutheran Church

2504 Broadway (at 93rd Street)
Basement Fellowship Hall, side Entrance, corner of Broadway and 93rd Street


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Visit our Events page for photos of recent playing sessions and events and last year's City Recorder.

Consort Finder

The board and music director are pleased that you are attending New York Recorder Guild sessions to play with and meet other recorder players.  It is certainly a great place for this! You may also wish to enjoy playing recorders in a consort or smaller group setting, but it is often difficult to get the right players together for levels, geography, and temperaments.  

If you are interested in being matched with other players, contact our music director, Deborah Booth, at: deborah@flute-recorder-deborahbooth.com explaining your thoughts, wishes, level, location, and years of experience.  Coaching is also available if desired. Deborah will attempt to put you in touch with others who match your skills. NYRG has had success with this program in starting consorts meeting in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  

Subscribe to the New York Recorder Guild Mailing List and get the latest news on NYRG happenings as well as keeping up to date on the Metro New York Recorder scene. Contact: newyorkrecorders@gmail.com

Visit our Events page for photos of recent playing meetings as well as listings of playing sessions of other local ARS Chapters, concerts and other early music and recorder events..

Visit our Archives Page to keep up with all of the music played at our Monthly Meetings. Music listings of workshops and other events will be added as they occur.

Our Workshops page has all the information on Recorder and Early Music Workshops taking place in the area.

Recorders need repairs; looking for music downloads? Visit our Resources page for information on everything recorder-related.

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