By Abby Wooster | Staff Writer
With the 2022 fall semester coming to an end and the Christmas season approaching, Whitworth’s Recorder Ensemble is preparing to go Christmas caroling at off-campus students’ houses, as well as President Scott McQuilkin’s house.
Senior Drew Bair started the Recorder Ensemble in Spring of 2020, right before Whitworth students were sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, only four people were in the ensemble.
Bair returned to Whitworth in Fall of 2021, and “didn’t even think” about restarting the ensemble. But some students had heard about it and were interested in re-starting it. “And so, we got it going again; We learned a lot of classical music from the 17th and 18th centuries, even as early as the 14th century. . . some Renaissance music, some Baroque music, music from England and also some Lord of the Rings [music] by ear.”
Now, the group of ten musicians gather each Monday night to rehearse their caroling repertoire, which includes “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”.
Known for its cheap make and high pitch, many people do not take the recorder seriously, but that is exactly what brings students together in Whitworth’s Recorder Ensemble.
The life of a music student can be hectic with rehearsals, practicing, lessons and performances—not to mention other numerous academic responsibilities that all Whitworth students manage. So, during Recorder Ensemble rehearsals, music students can play music without the pressure of proving their virtuoso.
“Recorder Ensemble is a place where music can be more relaxing and fun than it usually is,” explained Bair. “The pressure is off because no one expects recorders to sound good.”
However, Recorder Ensemble goes beyond providing a place where students create music in a light-hearted manner together. “[It] is meant to be something where people are free to express themselves humorously and creatively and have fun,” explained Bair. “I consider it a ministry in humor.”
Looking forward to the spring semester, Bair hopes to hand over his leadership responsibilities to an underclassman musician, so that the Recorder Ensemble can live on after he graduates. “I want our decisions about what to do to be group decisions.”
Thus, he is keeping an open mind about what the next few months hold for the ensemble. “We could do an outdoor concert [or] we could do something really goofy like go Christmas caroling on April Fool’s Day,” said Bair. “There are many options, and it will be a decision largely for other people to make [about] what we will do in the spring.”
For more information regarding the recorder ensemble, contact Drew Bair at email@example.com.