The Hippo


Jun 2, 2020








Kay Lane, Kathy Dallaire and Carol Sanders of the New Hampshire Recorder Consort. Courtesy photo.

New Hampshire Recorder Consort

Meets Mondays at the Manchester Community Music School, 2291 Elm St., Manchester, from noon to 1 p.m. Visit or call 644-4548.

Bringing the recorder back
Year-old recorder consort joins national society

By Kelly Sennott

 When Kay Lane first moved to Goffstown to be closer to family four and a half years ago, she assumed she’d find a variety of nearby recorder groups to play with if she ever got the urge.

But Lane, who previously played with recorder orchestras in Iowa, discovered she’d assumed wrong when she started looking for activities to fill her time after her husband died in 2014. She began taking beginner piano lessons at the Manchester Community Music School because she had a harpsichord sitting around her house that wasn’t being played. As she became more immersed in that music scene, she decided to try to find other recorder players, too. She had some luck at the school’s 2015 adult recital.
“[At the recital] I played some beginning piano pieces, and I brought one of my recorders along. I thought, maybe I’ll see somebody I’ll talk into playing the recorder with me,” Lane said during an interview at the Bridge Cafe last week.
It’s how she met Kathy Dallaire, a vocal music school student from Chester, who was interested right away. (“I’m always looking to play anything, anytime, anywhere,” Dallaire said via phone. “I thought, why the heck not?”) Music school Executive Director Judy Teehan helped them find another recorder player, Carol Sanders, a Merrimack music school cello student. The trio hit it off and began rehearsing on Mondays at MCMS.
A year later, their group, New Hampshire Recorder Consort, has been accepted into the American Recorder Society — the only one associated with ARS in the state.
All the women are 70 or older and have varying degrees of recorder experience. Sanders, who sings with the Manchester Choral Society and studied music with the New England Conservatory, taught herself in college because she found demand for beginner recorder lessons. Before she moved to New Hampshire, she played with a recorder consort in Dallas.
Lane taught herself to play about 30 years ago, and Dallaire learned as a kid. She got back into it a few years back and began playing the recorder at hospital bedsides as a Certified Music Practitioner.
They all said it’s one of the easiest instruments to learn — particularly if you’ve played the saxophone or clarinet or can read music — and with its low cost, is one of the most accessible. 
“With the recorder, I can get up to performance grade in probably three rehearsals,” Dallaire said via phone.
But it’s also an instrument better played with other people, which is hard, because many people stopped playing when they were kids. Ideally, a group would have players performing different recorders — a soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
“It only plays one line, a recorder, whereas with a keyboard, you have chords. So in order for the melody to switch around and be more interesting, you need at least two players,” Lane said. “People think of it as how third-graders learned about music. And that’s it. But there are a few of us who like to do more than that.”
With the ARS recognition, they look to draw more recorder players out of the woodwork and into their consort. They hope to set up music gigs, at weddings, wine tastings, nursing homes and galleries. 
Most of the time, they play music appropriate to the recorder, music that dates back to the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, when it was prominent. 
“Henry VIII, he was a mean son of a gun, but a great recorder player. He had 60 recorders when he died, and he wrote some really amazing pieces,” Sanders said.
They’re also building their repertoire to include contemporary and dance music. 
“We’re not too bad! We’re playing all kinds of things,” Sanders said. 

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