August 2018 Convention
Orlando, FL

High School Flute Choir Concert

The NFA High School Flute Choir, whose 25 members were selected by audition, presented a delightfully varied program. George Pope conducted and Dan Paraskey was the coordinator.

The concert opened with a lush arrangement of “The Death of Mélisande” from Sibelius’ Pelléas et Mélisande. It was performed with great sensitivity by the young musicians.

The next piece—“The Fountain” by June Kirlin—featured bubbly water effects in the upper voices, while the lower instruments carried the melodic line. Next up was Till MacIvor Meyn’s Preludio y Tango, with a fun dance section toward the end.

This was followed by Jonathan Cohen’s newest composition I May be Down but the Jig is Up (how does he come up with these creative titles?), which was commissioned for the convention by conductor George Pope. The three-movement work featured a Celtic theme and included quite a work-out for the contrabass players (including Cohen), who sometimes carried the melody. The second movement showcased the piccolo over a drone chord. The final movement was a joyful jig.

Daniel Dorff’s Fireworks gave the players a chance to flex their musical muscle, with myriad dovetailing runs, flashy brilliance, and shimmery chords. Pontchartrain by flutist/composer Valerie Coleman was featured next, with the opening melody introduced by altos and basses before being passed to lower C flutes, while the remaining ensemble softly played background harmony. The piece then shifted into a blues section before accelerating into an upbeat, jazzy finale, with lots of challenging rhythms in true Coleman form. It was obvious the students were having fun!

The group cooled down with Kelly Via’s hauntingly beautiful By Kells Water. This work again featured the lower instruments in the opening motif before being joined by the alto’s countermelody and additional gorgeous harmony provided by the upper flutes. Lovely!

The final piece, Single Yellow Line, offered another change of pace as the award-winning composer/flutist Gareth McLearnon joined them (on contra) to rock and roll with special effects. The audience quickly rose to its feet in rousing applause, which was well-earned by these talented musicians and their conductor.

—Rosene Rohrer