Subscription Increase from January 1st 2020

Increase in Subscriptions from 1st January 2020

As advised in the cover letter to the last Double Reed News (DRN) subscriptions are increasing in January 2020 (not January 2019 as stated in error). Both Standard and Student annual subscription rates are increasing by £5 to £30 for Standard and £20 Student (excluding any relevant additional charges for overseas postage – £5 for the EU and £10 for the rest of the world). Life Membership is now £250.

This is the first increase since 2007 and is driven by the need to ensure our income continues to cover costs and help provide funds to support new activities the society wishes to undertake.

If you pay by Standing Order please take action now to tell your bank of the new amount which is effective for all subscriptions due for renewal from 1st January 2020. For many this can be quickly accomplished using your online banking facilities.

Even at the increased rates, which will be less than RPI measured inflation, subscriptions are excellent value giving you 3 issues of DRN, reduced rates to BDRS events and discounts at specialist retailers and insurers. Your subscription of course also helps BDRS’s aims of encouraging and fostering the study, performance and enjoyment of orchestral double reeds.

There will be further communication with the Spring DRN to ensure all members, particularly those for whom we don’t have an effective email address, know about the subscription increase and what to do. However please don’t delay, act now to make the change to your Standing Order.

Please mention BDRS to your oboe and bassoon friends and colleagues and encourage those who aren’t members to join. The website has details:

With best wishes for Christmas and a happy and musically active New Year.


Geoffrey Bridge

BDRS Chair

Brief Job Descriptions of Required Office Holders – NOW FILLED

LATEST NEWS – I am delighted to announce that at the AGM on December 1st 2019 each of these vital positions on the committee has been filled. Thank you to all the volunteers and welcome aboard.
Geoffrey Bridge, Chair to the BDRS Committee.

BDRS – Secretary to the Committee – Paul Hubbard

This position is similar in scope to any committee secretary.
The responsibilities in outline include:

Take minutes at committee meetings – about three per year.
Take minutes and organise the AGM and distribute papers before hand.
Organise a venue in which to hold the meetings and distribute papers to the committee prior to these. Set up a Doodle Poll to agree a suitable date.
Liaise with the chairman and treasurer – sometimes over matters of policy.
Keep records of correspondence and pass on information to committee.
Basic knowledge of MS Word or Apple Pages needed

BDRS – Treasurer to the Society – Stephen Fuller

This position is similar in scope to any committee treasurer.
The responsibilities in outline include:

Keep accurate records of income and expenditure
Make cheque payments to and monitor, bank accounts.
Make due payments by BACS
Liaise with the membership secretary over paid up members prior to publication of the Double Reed News each issue. (Three issues per year)
Help membership secretary with lapsed and slow subscriptions
Liaise with the chairman and secretary over policy, particularly regarding expenditure
Accounting system used is straightforward “cash accounting.” Accrual method not required.
Prepare accounts for inspection at the year-end and have them agreed by the independent examiner.
Report to committee meetings about the current state of affairs
Basic knowledge of MS Excel or Apple Numbers needed

BDRS – Advertising Manager for the Society – Alison Wathey

Seek advertising from the music trade – especially aligned to double reeds
Monitor publication of advertisements in the Double Reed News magazine.
Seek and liaise with music trade about attendance at Convention Days and ascertain display table requirements.
Liaise with event co-ordinator referencing suitable trade presence.
Issue invoices for advertising and trader presence and reconcile payments
Basic knowledge of MS Word and Excel would be an advantage.

BDRS – Membership Secretary – Donal Flynn

Maintain and update the Membership Database in MS Excel or Apple Numbers including any notified address and email changes.
Members join and renew at four quarterly points in the year: January, April, July and October.
Reconcile membership by liaising with the Treasurer paid up, late paying and lapsed members.
Send any membership cheques to the treasurer for banking. Encourage members to pay by Standing Order!
Produce the DRN distribution covering letter in a Mail-merge file and send to the printers for insertion printing and insertion. This is three times per year.

(The covering letter includes the current address of the member for the distribution envelope window. This is already in existence and can be continued as it stands presently.)

Park Place Rates for 2020

Here is the comprehensive list of the rates to attend the excellent course for oboists and bassoonists organised by the British Double Reed Society
from:  21st to 25th of April 2020 at Park Place, Wickham.

Apply by going to the BDRS Courses page on this website.

Member Single Ensuite £640
Non-Member Single Ensuite £693
Member Standard Single £607
Non-Member Standard Single £667

Two players sharing a twin en-suite room:
(You must name the person you are sharing with at the time of booking)
Member £615 
Non member £668

One player plus one non-playing partner in double or twin room:
Member player £615
Non member player £668
£426 non playing partner 

Student residential places:
Student places (18 or older only) – shared twin-bedded room, full board and all course fees:

BDRS student member: £460 per person
Non-BDRS member student: £491 per person 

Non-residential (5-day course):
Lunch and evening meals, plus course fees:
BDRS member: £514
Non-BDRS member: £588 

Come and take part in a special Handel celebration!

*From 23rd March 2019 places are only available on a waiting list basis, but there is another opportunity to perform this music at our Double Reed Day in Hampshire on Saturday 4th May 2019.

It was on 27th April 1749 that the ‘Musick for the Royal Fireworks’ composed by Mr Handel was first performed in Green Park in London. This was a major event in the city – even the rehearsal, held a week earlier in Vauxhall Gardens, attracted more than 12,000 people, each paying half-a-crown (12½ pence – just over £15 in current-day money value), and the event caused major traffic jams on London Bridge! If only classical concerts attracted the same attention nowadays – but this astonishing response was because the music was indeed the ‘pop music’ of its time. With our modern categories of ‘classical’, ‘pop’ and numerous other genres, this work is now firmly in the classical category, but it remains one of the most popular of all works from the baroque era.

It is a major piece for double-reed players – the original performance featured 24 oboes and 12 bassoons (multiple players on each part), and the work is one of the earliest to incorporate the contrabassoon. Exactly 270 years (to the day) after this legendary first performance, BDRS will be promoting a performance of this great music in London to commemorate the anniversary – and if you play oboe or bassoon, YOU could be a part of this historic event!

This will be on Saturday 27th April and it will be held in the Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. There will of course be the original Handel oboe and bassoon parts, which are suitable for players of around grade 7-8 upwards, but if you are not quite at this level, you can still come and play. The performing edition which I have prepared for this from Handel’s original also includes some easier parts for players of between grades 3-6 standard. All parts will be put up on the BDRS website in March for you to download, print and practice in advance.

Please note: this performance will be on modern instruments playing at A=440

Here is the outline timetable for the day:

Saturday 27th April

1300    Arrive at Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5HT

1315    Sectional rehearsals (oboes with Sarah Francis, bassoons with Roger Birnstingl)

1445    Break

1500    Those not taking part in sectionals arrive, we are not able to access Dukes hall before 3.00pm

1530    Set up and Rehearsal of Handel ‘Musick for the Royal Fireworks’

1700    Break

1730    Informal public performance (free admission to audience)

1800    Event ends

This schedule enables players from many parts of the UK to travel and take part – the start and end times fit with  train services to and from many destinations.

Event fees: There are of course numerous costs involved in promoting an event of this kind, but we have kept fees down to a minimum – and interestingly, they are fairly similar to what people paid to come and listen in 1749!

Adult non-members £20

Adult members £15 ( including those joining on the day)

Full-time students £5 (no BDRS discount, as this is already subsidised)

Application: You may apply but you will be placed in the queue on our waiting list. You will not be able to turn up on the day and play. There is an opportunity to perform this music at our Double Reed Day on Saturday 4th May, another opportunity to perform and join in!

Please go to the menu options at the top of the BDRS home page, click on BDRS MUSIC COURSES and in the drop-down options click ‘Music Course Application Form’. Places on this event are limited by the size of the Dukes Hall platform, so book soon! Places need to be booked in advance – for security reasons, you need to be on the players list. If you turn up on the day without prior booking, you may not be able to take part – sorry!

Updates: Plans and details are still evolving for this event, so please do keep a close eye on the BDRS website for updates and any possible changes. The one detail that will not change is the finishing time – it will not go beyond 6pm on that day.

Be there! This is arguably one of the most important historical events in the calendar for oboe and bassoon players. It’s a fantastic celebratory piece to play, and will undoubtedly be a unique, special and very memorable day for everyone involved. So, make sure that YOU are a part of this!


We are very grateful to the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department for kindly hosting this event.

Photo credit © Gerald Coke Handel Foundation

Annual General Meeting

Attention all members of the British Double Reed Society
The Annual General Meeting will be held on
Thursday 6th December 2018, 2.00pm
at Siobhan Davies Studios, 85 St. George’s Road, LONDON SE1 6ER
(Next to the Imperial War Museum – Elephant & Castle)
Come along with your mind brimming full of ideas for the way ahead!!
The AGM will be followed by a meeting of the newly elected committee.

GDPR: The data we hold about you.

The data we have is (a) your title, given name and surname (b) your postal address (c) your telephone numbers and email address(es) (d) an indication (if relevant) that you are under 18 years of age (but no other specific details such as date of birth, etc.) (e) musical details (the instrument you play, etc.) and other similar information (f) any other miscellaneous information that you have voluntarily sent to me in email(s) and via other on-line systems.
We do not have your bank details, date of birth or other sensitive information of this kind.
Also, we will not pass on your data to any other organisation, unless that is a necessary part of an entirely relevant process such as your application for a music course, where I need to send your details to the venue hosting the event.
Our system is safe – All Membership details are stored on encrypted removable media solely for this purpose.
Further information about the Data Protection regulations that apply after May 25th 2018 can be found at the Information Commission’s website:

Simmonds Music Closes

Simmonds Music in Grantham Closes its Doors

imageIt is with great regret that we have to announce that bassoonist Tom Simmonds’ business, known as Simmonds Music in Grantham, has had to cease trading. Tom has suffered from a serious neuromuscular illness over the last two years and with that and a lack of footfall in the High Street he has been unable to sustain a viable concern. The receivers have been called in.
Tom has been a staunch supporter of the BDRS for many years since he worked for John Myatt in Hitchen as their bassoon specialist.

For further information go to this link to the Grantham Journal.

Anthony McColl – Former Chairman BDRS

DSCN0260We are very sad to announce that a former Chairman of the Society Anthony McColl passed away on December 21st after a short illness. He was for over thirty years the sub principal oboist at the Royal Opera House. He also taught for many years at Eton College. These were posts that he was so proud to have held and which he performed with grace and skill.

His funeral service was held at St Barnabas Roman Catholic Church in Vine Road, Molesey at 1.30pm on Wednesday January 10th. It was a very well attended occasion including his brother Colin and a large number of family members. A younger relative Samuel McColl, played beautifully in part of Bach’s Partita No 2 during the service.

The oboe world was strongly represented, and amongst those with strong connections with the BDRS and the ROH, Celia Nicklin, David Presly, David Theodore, Graham Salter, David Thomas were there, also Deirdre Dundas-Grant – a former Chairman – and two former secretaries, Jefferey Cox and David Moore.

The Catholic Mass was led by Fr John Horn and the programme had the following information on the back – donations in Anthony’s memory can be made to “Leonard Cheshire Disability” and “Music for All.” Cheques may be sent c/o the Funeral Directors – Lodge Brothers, 156 WaltonRoad, East Molesey KT8 0HP (T. 020 8941 1412)

In the photograph Anthony is shown at a BDRS Dinner Party given for Lady Evelyn Barbirolli in 2001 on the occasion of her 90th birthday.  Alongside him are bassoonist Deirdre Dundas- Grant and oboist Sarah Francis (and the hand of Bill Waterhouse!)