A GROUP of friends who all share a love of playing the recorder, are eager to spread a message that the instrument is on the up.

The recorder is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world, and at the time of his death, King Henry VIII owned 76 of them.

Three years ago, husband and wife, Moira Fraser-Cook, 65 and Brian Fraser-Cook, 81, created Divertimenti Consort, a group of friends who all share the same passion of playing the recorder.

Mrs Fraser-Cook said she came up with the idea of making a group after making friendships whilst hosting recorder classes at her home in Chepstow.

She said: "I've been teaching people how to play the recorder for 35 years now and the group was merely formed out of making friendships with people who enjoyed playing the instrument.

"I met a group of friends who were musicians and we formed the group with an overall aim to spread a message that the recorder is still a popular instrument in today’s society."

“We decided to name the group Divertimenti Consort because it means we play a diverse amount of music, which we believe makes us different from any other recorder groups out there.

The group of five, who all reside in Chepstow, enjoy playing and performing a variety of music, from the classic Renaissance through to jazz and swing, which many people would not consider natural territory for the instrument, according to Mrs Fraser-Cook.

She said: “Since forming, we have been lucky enough to have played at a number of different venues and to a number of different crowds all across Gwent.

“We play all sorts of jazz, swing and any other modern arrangement, which we find tends to bring in a wider audience and people are usually surprised at the variety of music that we perform.”

With ages ranging from 47 to 81, the Consort have been delighting audiences since it formed by performing at local cathedrals and churches, all while raising money for various good causes.

Mrs Fraser-Cook added: "We have already performed at three Christmas charity events this month and have been fortunate enough to have played to some big crowds.

"We are extremely busy within the Chepstow area at the moment and have made somewhat made a name for ourselves since we formed."

In recent years, the popularity of the flute-like instrument has spiked with recorder classes becoming more frequently taught in schools across the UK.

Mrs Fraser-Cook said: “In 2014, a young girl who played the recorder, featured on the BBC Young Musician of the Year awards where she progressed through to the finals.

“It’s wonderful to see so many youngsters out there taking an interest in the instrument and it’s great to see so many schools across the UK teaching their pupils how to play the recorder because it can led to many going on to play other instruments too.”

After meeting his wife at a recorder playing class over 30 years ago, Mr Fraser-Cook said he fell in love with the recorder from the word go.

He said: "My teacher was so passionate about playing the recorder and that led to me wanting to take the instrument further.

"The beauty of the recorder is that anyone can play it and it is just as well respected as a guitar or piano too."

In 2015, Divertimenti Consort had their busiest year so far and by the end of the year, they will have performed on nine separate occasions with the Caldicot Male Voice choir and Kempton Strings.

Mr Fraser-Cook said he is looking forward to ending 2015 on a high.

He added: “We’re looking forward to ending the year on a high as we are performing a concert of Christmas music at St James Church alongside the Flying Shepherds choir on Sunday, December 20.

We will also be taking part in festivities by playing alongside people singing Christmas carols at St James on Christmas Eve.