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Recorder Workshop with Piers Adams - 26 May 2012

The Georgian Courtroom of Beverley Guildhall provided the delightful setting for an inspirational morning workshop which took place on Saturday 26 May 2012 as part of the Beverley and East Riding Early Music Festival.  The leader was legendary recorder virtuoso Piers Adams, one of the greatest recorder players of our time, whose playing has been described as "beyond virtuosity into the realms of improbability".  The accompanist was the brilliant harpsichordist David Wright.

The workshop attracted 28 participants of all ages, from children to senior citizens, who also spanned a wide range of abilities from beginner to experienced player.  They included a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother, who are learning to play the recorder together, and a student who had travelled all the way from Dundee to Beverley for the opportunity to work with Piers. 
Piers succeeded in enthusing and inspiring them all as they tackled a wide range of music.  He offered tips on technique as the players quickly whistled through the pieces they had learnt in advance - the lively Cheerful Charleston, Winding Waltz and Roaring Rag by composer Beverley Wragg who was there in person throughout the morning.  They then progressed to the music that Piers had brought with him on the day, which spanned centuries and techniques from Bach to contemporary music and improvisatory pieces. 
The morning ended with a flourish as the players were led by Piers through the streets of Beverley, weaving amongst the Saturday shoppers in the sunshine while accompanying him with a simple tune they had learnt by heart.  Even the busking Cuban street band stopped playing and applauded enthusiastically as they passed.  The procession wound its way into Toll Gavel United Church where the players rounded off the morning with a polished performance of their new pieces to an appreciative audience, as part of the all-day Games in the Park activities.
Many of the participants stayed on until the evening to hear Piers and David perform in Toll Gavel United Church with their dynamic ensemble, Red Priest.

Some comments from the participants: 
"This was an amazing opportunity for a raw amateur like me.  I imagine that, whatever your skill level, you would have picked up tips to last a lifetime.  A wonderful experience..." 
"It really was an inspirational morning and I hope will encourage others to regard the recorder as a 'proper instrument', not just something every school child plays for a few weeks." 
"I really enjoyed learning from Piers Adams, particularly about the different modern methods of playing the recorder and exploring the other sounds the instrument can produce."
"Thank you for arranging such a memorable workshop." 
"We thoroughly enjoyed it and have brought a lot away with us.  Piers is certainly an inspirational teacher.  It was a delight just to listen to his playing."