Last updated on: June 23, 2021
The Seattle Recorder Society
Port Townsend Early Music Workshop
The Port Townsend Early Music Workshop
will be held remotely this year in the comfort of your own home!
July 6–August 1, 2021

This year’s workshop offers over three weeks of opportunity for players of recorder, early winds, singers, and viol players to immerse themselves in music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Brazilian and much, much more. Classes will be conducted virtually over the Zoom platform in collaboration with the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS).

All classes are 90 minutes in length. Most will start at 1:00 PM PDT (4:00 PM EDT), with the exception of those hosted from Europe starting at 10:00 AM PDT (1:00 PM EDT). There are no scheduling conflicts, so you may select as many as you wish!

We know there is a fierce desire to get off screen and back to in-person music making, but we must maintain caution and take baby steps while emerging out of the pandemic, especially with any kind of large gathering of players of wind instruments. We continue to be in awe of everyone’s adaptability and the power of remote teaching and learning. The willingness and creativity from faculty to offer unique topics has been over-whelmingly positive. They all love teaching and there is truly something for everyone.

We can boast four mini-workshops, which will provide greater immersion on the same topic over several consecutive days, and six single one-off classes. Mini workshops will be with Eric Mentzel from the Medieval Women’s Choir who will illuminate the many facets of medieval song; recorder virtuosi Eva Legene and Astrid Andersson will help us unravel and adapt Telemann’s own ornamentation from the methodical sonatas to his duets; the inimitable Mary Springfels will gently coax us to jump headfirst into the importance of rhetoric in the Baroque; and Anna Mansbridge will infectiously encourage us to kick up our feet and dance! Single class instructors will include Saskia Coolen from Holland, Frances Blaker and Tish Berlin from California, Phil and Gayle Newman from Oregon, and our own rising stars Caroline Nicolas and Isabella Pagel from Seattle. We are especially excited for Isabella to offer two fascinating classes for kids with indigenous music from around the world!

See the listing below from session dates and start times.  The Mini Workshops and Single Classes are listed in separate sections by order of the date on which they occur (or the first "start" date for the mini workshops).

We are excited to embark on this collaboration and hope to see you there! Please don’t hesitate to write to us with questions or concerns. Vicki will be available to help with questions regarding faculty and class content, and Jo will be available to help with any registration or other practical questions.

Four Mini Workshops:
Attendees are encouraged and expected to participate in all sessions of a particular Mini Workshop, except the dance classes.
Mini Workshop - Singing Medieval Song
July 6, 7, and 8 at 1:00 pm PDT
with Eric Mentzel

Performing medieval song can be challenging for the modern singer. Often lacking the familiar organizing elements of harmony and unambiguous rhythm, how do we imbue such music with life and succeed in engaging the listener? How can instrumentalists gain an understanding of how singers think about shaping song phrases, or accompany monophonic song? Challenges can become opportunities. If we accept medieval song on its own terms and succeed in decoding its inner logic, we can unlock a world of subtle musical expression free from many of the strictures that govern later music. We will start with some of the earliest notated song and examine what the sources can and cannot tell us. What decisions are left in the hands of the singer, or instrumentalist, and how do we make them? As we develop a performance-oriented approach we will see to what extent it can be applied across a range of genres, as well as how those genres may differ. Finally, we will study the techniques of improvisation that led to the polyphonic masterworks preserved in such important musical centers as Notre Dame and Santiago de Compostela.  Singers and instrumentalists of all levels welcome.

Mini Workshop - Take a Lesson with Telemann!
July 13, 14, 15 at 10:00 am PDT
with Eva Legêne and Astrid Andersson
In each of the Twelve Methodical Sonatas (published in 1728 and 1732), Telemann composed one slow movement with a simple melody line and added exquisite examples of ornamentation to the same melody line. By adapting these ornaments to the slow movements of his duets Eva Legêne and Astrid Andersson will shed light on how Telemann inspires us to learn his beautiful ornamentation method. This mini workshop will encourage interaction and ask individual students to play un-muted if they feel comfortable. Open to recorder and flute players of all levels, but un-muted players must be secure on their instrument. Pitch: A=440

Mini workshop – The Voice of the Baroque
July 19, 20, 21, 22 at 1:00 pm PDT
With Mary Springfels
Western music has, since the days of the ancients, formed a bridge between the study of science and the spoken word.  By the late 17th Century, oratory became musical, and music became oratorical.  We’ll spend a bit of each session discussing this interrelationship, listening to examples, and playing or singing. You will find that even a short introduction to the art of Rhetoric will hone your analytical skills and help you to play more expressively.  Have no fears, this will be fun!  Open to singers and players of all instruments.

Mini Workshop – Kick up your Feet and Dance!
July 26, 27, 28 at 1:00 pm PDT
with Anna Mansbridge
Participants can sign up 1, 2 or all 3 classes below depending on period(s) of interest.
  • Monday July 26: English Country Dancing
  • Tuesday July 27: Dances from Thoinot Arbeau Orchesography (1589), and The Inns of Court, London (1570-1675)
  • Wednesday July 28: Italian Renaissance: Villanella from Fabritio Caroso, Il Ballarino, 1581
The Program
& Schedule
July 6 - Aug 1
Single Classes:
Saturday July 10 10:00 am PDT (this class has been canceled - see below)
Brazilian music! From Colonial to Current Brazil
with Cléa Galhano
Class is canceled due to unforeseen family health issues.

Sunday, July 11 10:00 am PDT
Another New English Ground
With Saskia Coolen
The pieces in The Division Flute (1706) are transpositions from The Division-Violin. Saskia will transpose one of the violin divisions which is not in the division-flute, to create some new repertoire for the recorder. The class will examine the different variations and talk about the technical focuses each one has. At the end of class we will put it together and play our new piece! If you would like to be one of the performers, please contact Saskia to get your copy of the piece early. When you register, indicate that you would like to be a performer. You’ll be notified a few days before class if you have one of the performing spots or not.  Upper-intermediate to advanced recorders. Pitch: A=440

Sunday July 11, 1:00 pm PDT
“Uncommon Early Instruments”
with Phil and Gayle Neuman
Learn all about and play along with a delightful selection of unusual early instruments of the Medieval and Renaissance periods from instrument builder-musicians Phil and Gayle Neuman.  The duo will discuss how the various wind and stringed instruments were researched and built, and then you will be invited to listen and play along with
them live in real time.  Instruments will include medieval recorders, vielle, douçaines, bass rebec, carnival whistles, bassanelli, rackett, tartold, serpent and more.  Composers will include Johannes Simon de Haspre, Pierre de la Rue, Pierre Certon, and John Playford, with music provided

Saturday July 17, 1:00 pm PDT
Nurturing your inner voice (Learning to rely on yourself in the practice room)
With Caroline Nicolas - viol
Great musicians are always good at practicing. As a teacher, it is my goal to teach my students to be mindful and effective in the practice room. This means that you are able to both identify and fix your weaknesses. Additionally, you must trust yourself enough to confidently make interpretive decisions when looking at a musical score. For this class, we will be looking at popular madrigals to learn how to make the most of your practice time. We will explore a variety of practice techniques to get you started on your path of productive practice! I look forward to seeing you all soon!  All levels of viol players welcome. Pitch: A=415

Sunday July 18, 1:00 pm PDT – For Kids!
Indigenous Songs from Around the Americas to New Zealand
With Isabella Pagel

This class will explore Indigenous songs from the Americas and New Zealand. Students will have the opportunity to explore music from all over the world and experience the joy of playing music. We will play recorder, learn body percussion, and make music together (virtually of course)! This class is intended for kids who are able to comfortably play at least a full octave (low D to high D) on the recorder.

Sunday July 25, 1:00 pm PDT – For Kids!
Musical Journeys through Kenya and Ghana
With Isabella Pagel

Let’s take a musical journey through Kenya and Ghana! Kenyan and Ghanaian music is filled with captivating rhythms that we will learn to play by ear and with some sheet music. We will play recorder, use body percussion, and other interactive musical activities. . This class is intended for kids who are able to comfortably play at least a full octave (low D to high D) on the recorder.

Saturday July 31, 1:00 pm PDT
By the Rivers of Babylon: Super Flumina Babylonis
With Letitia Berlin
Psalm 137, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion”, expresses the yearnings of the Jewish people during their Babylonian exile. This text, so universal in its anguish, has been set by numerous composers for centuries, up to the 20th century with the famous Reggae version by the Melodians. We will explore versions by, Lasso, Palestrina, and Sweelinck.
Upper-Intermediate to advanced recorders, viols and singers welcome.  Pitch: A=440

Sunday August 1, 1:00 pm PDT
Baroque Sonatas
With Frances Blaker
As the Baroque period developed, so did the Sonata. At first, sonatas were a loose collection of sections in various moods and characters, but as the 17th century went on those sections became separate movements, and by the end of the 1600's a whole language of composition - and of performance - had evolved. We will examine movements from three sonatas, discovering common features of Baroque writing and learning to recognize which elements are expected and which are surprising. All the while we will discuss how our recorder techniques will help us to bring out the various features. Lots of playing, lots of learning! Players of upper-intermediate to advanced level may get the most out of this class, however players of a lower level who want to give it a try are welcome. Pitch: A=440
We recommend that you download and print the Handy Self Planner (PDF) to organize which Port Townsend Early Music Workshop classes you want to register for so you can take full advantage of the multiple class discounts available.