The history of Recorder Players West (RPW) begins in the Ensemble Recorder Class at Santa Monica College. The class began in 1980 and lasted until budget cuts forced its cancellation in 1995.
During the period 1980-1995, the class gave free performances at many venues during the spring and winter holiday seasons. These venues included The Children's Orthopedic Hospital in Hollywood, Westwood Horizons (senior living quarters), The Berkeley East Convalescent Hospital, the mall in North Hollywood, Promenade in Santa Monica, Music Auditorium at Santa Monica College, Clover Elementary School, McBride Special Education School, and the streets of Westwood Village. The class also performed many times, in costume, at the Renaissance Faire.
When the recorder program was cancelled at Santa Monica College, the students decided to continue the class on their own in rented space at the United Methodist Church in Westwood. RPW was fortunate to have Anne Young as its instructor/conductor at Santa Monica College. When the students decided to continue the class on their own, Ann Young agreed to continue to be their instructor/conductor. During this time, the class gave free performances during the spring and winter holiday seasons at the United Methodist Church, and at other venues including the public library. In the fall of 2001, the class moved to its present location, at St. Bede's Episcopal Church in West Los Angeles.
After the retirement of Anne Young in the spring of 2003, Inga Funck became the class’ new instructor/conductor. Her tenure lasted from September 2003 until June 2006 when she moved to San Diego. In September of 2006, Rotem Gilbert became the new teacher/conductor. Her tenure lasted from September 2006 until the spring of 2011. In the spring of 2011, Rotem Gilbert determined she had become too busy to continue as the class’ instructor/conductor. Fortunately, Inga Funck had moved back to the LA area by this time and agreed to resume her role and instructor/conductor of RPW. Her tenure has lasted from the spring of 2011 until the present.
-- Updated Fall 2016 by Suellen Eslinger based on the documented history from 1980 until August 2006 by Bernice Burton (the RPW historian at that time) and on information from Ida Muellner (long-term RPW member) on the RPW history from fall 2006 until the present.