Arts / Margaret can’t stop loving recorders

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Margaret Wright and her recorders, photo by Kim Pham
“IF you cringe at the word ’recorder’, do please think again,” says Canberra recorder teacher Margaret Wright.

Wright is convening the second annual National Eight Foot Pitch Recorder Orchestra — NEFPRO —this weekend, which she’ll be conducting. At nearly 78 and after a lifetime of working with people and recorders, Wright says, “I just can’t seem to stop.”

The name “eight feet” is based on the approximate length of an organ pipe sounding the bottom note on an organ keyboard and music from Renaissance to contemporary has been written for recorders to imitate the sound of the deep organ pipes.

Wright stresses that she’s not looking more participants or even an audience, but says she believes it is such a different take on recorders, that “people may be fascinated by them”.

And although they’re mostly played by adults, this year they will be joined by a 12-year-old boy from Bathurst.

Eight Foot Pitch Day last year
Wright says she got the idea from a composer friend in England who writes music for only deep recorders, and who also writes music especially for the 60-strong Canberra Recorder Orchestra.

Last year she contacted recorder groups in the ACT, Ballarat, Bathurst, Brisbane, Goulburn, the South Coast and Sydney, asking for “deep voices” only. 46 players turned up for the “NEFPRO” and this year enrolments have reached 58.

Three local region composer-arrangers, Lance Eccles from Goulburn, Graham Ranft from Canberra and Graham Lyons from Ulladulla, have contributed to the playlist of deep, mellow music.

National Eight Foot Pitch Recorder Orchestra, at the Woden Seniors’ Club, 10am–4pm, Sunday, March 4.


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Helen Musa
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