In January 1981 the Manchester Recorder orchestra was founded by Dennis Bamforth, and we celebrate over 35 years of existence. Rehearsals are normally the last Saturday in each month (see members information page for details)
. Players are mainly from the Greater Manchester conurbation but as many as a fifth of the forty plus players travel long distances to take part. The instrumentation of the group is currently about 1 Sopranino, 6 Descants, 12 Trebles, 12 Tenors, 9 Basses, 5 Great Basses and 3 Contra Basses. The descants, trebles and tenors are further divided into two sections each; basses are also divided occasionally. Each section has a principal, responsible for any solo work that comes along. Since 1982 the Orchestra has given regular public concerts. In 1986 we gave our first of the annual concerts at the Royal Northern College of Music. There is a policy of playing by invitation at various other venues. These have included concerts in Bradford, Buxton, Coventry, Stretford, Manchester Cathedral, Salvation Army Church at Sale, and for the Heptonstall Festival of Music. The orchestra also gives an annual concert in Stretford in St Matthew's Hall, which is our rehearsal venue
. Each year a further concert is given for a charitable fund.
The Orchestra is currently conducted by Ian Chesters and David Walsh and its repertoire is made up of both original compositions and arrangements including symphonies as well as concertante items for many different instruments. The considerable number of arrangements range from Handel opera overtures to ballades of the 1960s. There are some one hundred and sixty titles in the library, including modern works by Colin Touchin, Ian Farquhar, Michael Sammons and Paul Clark.
For each concert the orchestra invites one or more soloists to play with them. This offers valuable contrast to the recorder sound. Soloists are chosen to give experience to young performers as well as more established local players. Among the instruments used have been violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, tuba, tenor and soprano singers, piano and organ. The orchestra has also held concerts with the Longford Singers of Stretford, Bury Choral Society, the University of Warwick Chamber Choir, the Vale Royal Singers of Chester and the Glen Singers of Bradford.