Say “rauschpfeife.” Now say “gemshorn,” and now say “recorder.” These terms are music
to the ears of Gerald “Gerry” Pearson. Gerry, a UU member since 1966, started teaching himself to play recorders in 1962. It was a pleasant diversion while he was working on his PhD in physical chemistry. After earning his terminal degree, Gerry decided to study
renaissance woodwinds more seriously and began taking private lessons. Soon he found himself playing many different medieval and Renaissance woodwinds in concerts given by the Collegium Musicum at the University of Iowa. Honing his skills on additional early instruments, Gerry has performed as a street minstrel at Renaissance faires playing instruments and singing, and recently he has been invited to provide music for “Renaissance” weddings. He is a member of the American Recorder Society. He is also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and has played music for their dances. In addition to his interest in early instruments, the italic script used in the late Middle Ages, called Chancery Cursive, caught his interest, and he has used that style off and on since 1960.
Before retiring in 1997, Gerry managed the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy facilities in the University of Iowa Chemistry Department and served as scientific support staff and adjunct assistant professor. Even before retirement, Gerry found time to join the Popular Astronomy Club in Rock Island, IL.
A long-time member of the Fireside Choir, Gerry sings tenor and, until recently, was a one-man section. He is also often called upon to enhance worship services by playing one of his many early instruments. Gerry also sings in the Iowa City Senior Center Choir, cleverly named the “Voices of Experience.”
Gerry and his late wife, Sue, traveled, towing a folding trailer, to visit national parks, national monuments, state parks, and other points of interest. Sue particularly enjoyed bird-watching, while Gerry particularly enjoyed photographing the birds, other animals, and the scenery.
When Gerry conducts seminars on his medieval and Renaissance woodwind instruments (including 6 sizes of recorders, gemshorn, tabor pipe, crumhorn and rauschpfeife), he dresses in renaissance garb. He reports it takes an hour to get into the clothing and to attach the numerous essentials, including a drinking cup, drum, purses, and holders for a gemshorn and 3 sizes of recorders.
The listing of his favorite genres of music is long. Gerry likes Indian classical, Native American and Andean, Celtic, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, classical (“romantic”), some pop, jazz, and folk music from around the world. Note two genres are not in the list—he said, “Just a little bit of country or rap music goes a very long way with me.” A “pop” tune, The Boar’s Head Carol, from 1521 is one of Gerry’s favorites. Perhaps you can sing along:
The boar’s head in hand bear I
Bedeck’d with bays and rosemary.
And I pray you my masters be merry
Quod estis in conviveo. (As many as are in the feast.)
Caput apri defero, (The boar’s head I offer,)
Reddens laudes Domino. (Giving praises to the Lord.)
– Submitted by your Music Director, Gloria Corbin