Sheila Richards

Conducting the Society of Recorder Players…


As a member of the Society of Recorder Players, I am regularly invited to conduct SRP branches across the UK. The Society of Recorder Players (SRP) brings together recorder players of all ages all over the UK.

At ‘ground level’, it operates as a network of branches – groups of (mostly amateur) recorder players who meet together once a month to make music on an informal basis. There is a large social element to the branches, which can act as a sort of ‘musical dating agency’ for newcomers to an area – recorder players are a friendly lot!

As a visiting conductor, I often find myself in different parts of the country where I know few people in the branches – but I always know that I will be made very welcome. There is a element of mystery to these visits: How many people will there be? At what level do they play? Are there any bass players/people who only play descant? What sort of music do they like?

I always try to take a real mixture of music with me, with enough parts to cover all eventualities. My hope is that there will always be at least one piece that each player enjoys – hopefully, more than one… My most recent visit was to the Essex branch, where I was delighted by the standard of playing from a good-sized group. We played music ranging from the 15th to 20th Century, including the music of Handel and Brahms in between! I had a fantastic afternoon, and I’m already looking forward to my visit to West Riding branch, later this month…