NewBassoon Workshop

NewBassoon Workshop

To Bassoonists interested in NEW MUSIC –
Bassoonists — from students to seasoned pros — interested in exploring contemporary bassoon literature and techniques, and hearing and playing in truly special performances on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, can secure their place in this summer’s NewBassoon Workshop with Dark in the Song and special guest Rebekah Heller. The workshop is June 4-11, 2022 in Chestertown, MD. Spots are filling on a first-come, first-served basis.
To apply, simply email Mike Harley ( a resume and a short statement of interest. We will require a $225 downpayment ($200 plus a $25 processing fee) made no later than 5pm on May 1, payable online.
Players might also consider entering our Performance Competition, deadline April 15. There is no fee to enter; prizes include tuition reimbursement (the winner gets a full refund), and the first round entry is a choice piece. We waive the $25 processing fee for all applicants! More details can be found here.
I also want to notify you of a couple of free online masterclasses Dark in the Song members are offering in the next few weeks. Spread the word!

Masterclass #1
Friday, April 1st at 4 pm EST

Masterclass #2

Saturday, April 16th at 11am EST

Each masterclass is limited to 3 performers and up to 40 observers. Spots will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Participation is free and open to all bassoonists and teachers. To attend as a performer or as an observer, please fill out the registration form. A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants shortly before each masterclass.



Hosted by Jo Ann Simpson, May 4 is the 13th  annual Paul Buttemer Day to honour our memories of this wonderful Canadian bassoonist and reedmaker by making reeds as a community.

Since 2009, bassoonists from Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Winnipeg, Ohio and New York states have met annually at the Conservatoire de Musique de Gatineau, Quebec to share their reed trials and successes.

The 2021 event takes place entirely online from 9 am to 9 pm. People are welcome to drop in and out (and in again) as they please.

Highlights of the 13th Edition will include cameo appearances by some of our favourite reed experts.



Paul Buttemer Bassoonist and Reed maker

Paul Buttemer 1956 – 2008

SCHEDULE: (subject to change) All times are EDT.

9:30 am        ANDREW BURN – Historic Bassoon and Reed Maker – Two Styles of Hand Shaped Reeds

11:00 am      GARETH THOMAS – Cleveland Orchestra – The Cleveland Orchestra Reed

2:00 pm        JAMES MCKAY – Co-author of The Bassoon Reed Manual: Lou Skinner’s Theories and Techniques –

                       Lou Skinner’s Concept of Linear Enhancements

4:00 pm         CHRISTOPHER MILLARD – National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada and University of Ottawa – Symmetry

5:30 pm         GLENN EINSCHLAG – Buffalo Philharmonic and Glenn Gould School, Toronto. – Reed Chit Chat

7:00 pm         CHRISTOPHER WEAIT – Composer, bassoonist, teacher, author. Finishing Reeds

Join any time on Tuesday May 4th for reed making, conversation and camaraderie.

Follow the event on Facebook

Here is the Zoom login. The room will be open from 9 am to 9 pm. You can join at any time and come and go as you please.

Topic:  Paul Buttemer Day 2021
Time: May 4, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 838 3728 1110

Passcode: 953153

Hosted by Jo Ann Simpson

Bassoonist and bassoon pedagogue

613 290 7462

Founder and Co-Director Brooke Valley Bassoon Days

Contact Us

  • If you are a bassoon student of any age and looking for information.
  • If you wish to donate money, reeds, or a bassoon to the COCB.
  • If you are a corporation that would like to sponsor a Bassoon Day or special concert by major artists.
  • If you have ANY questions at all or comments to make on blog, write to us!

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Richard Hoenich and Brooke Valley Bassoon Days

Richard Hoenich and Brooke Valley Bassoon Days

Philip Morehead - Council of Canadian Bassoonists

Brooke Valley Bassoon Days

By Richard Hoenich

Canada’s first and only bassoon camp for all ages.

Established in 2012, Brooke Valley Bassoon Days is Canada’s  first and only bassoon camp. Not surprisingly, BVBD 2020 is going “virtual.” For our 9th season, my co-director Jo Ann Simpson and I have scheduled online versions of many of our regular activities, including masterclasses, group warm-ups, and reed making get-togethers, that have packed the seven days and six nights of previous years. Participants will record and upload their parts for the “Rackett,” our bassoon and contrabassoon ‘orchestra’ that always performs at our final concert. We’ll be joined remotely by a large and well-known international and Canadian bassoon faculty who are happy to have this opportunity. We’re all excited by the possibilities a virtual session will present and are looking forward to seeing how the old will blend with the new.

Brooke Valley Bassoon Days (BVBD) had its start in Jo Ann Simpson’s imagination. As Ottawa’s “go-to” teacher of middle- and high-school- aged bassoonists, she had long dreamed of an August multi-day event that would ready her students for the coming year’s lessons and ensembles. After many years of pursuing our respective careers, we happened to meet at a local church production of Bach’s B minor mass. I invited Jo Ann for lunch at my home, which is on an unpaved road in Brooke Valley, Ontario. She was instantly smitten. Taking in the country ambience in one breath, she said, “This is where an August bassoon blast could be amazing. Wanna do it together?” “Sure,” I replied. “Just not at the house. There has to be something nearby that would work better.” And with a little searching, there it was…Providence Point in Lanark Village, about ninety kilometers from Ottawa.

We started in 2012 with just 13 participants. Last summer we had 45. We’ve welcomed players of all levels of experience and interest from across Canada, the US and the European Union, and we remain unique as the only residential bassoon event in the country. Our days are filled with all things bassoon; our evenings (often into the wee hours) are spent making reeds, examining orchestral excerpts in great detail, or just enjoying one another’s company. Jo Ann and I believe that discovering the joys and challenges of growing as bassoonists and musicians is best served in a setting that’s fun, focused, and supportive. Judging by the numbers of folks who return year after year, I would say they agree.

Brooke Valley Bassoon Days


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