August 2007 Convention
Albuquerque, NM

Flute Choir Performances

Flute Choir events were again prominent at the 2007 NFA Convention in Albuquerque. Flute Choir venues were excellent this year—brava to program chair Nancy Andrew for putting so much thought into providing ample performance opportunities for the flute choirs. The room assigned to flute choir events was spacious, serving as the site for the Sunday concerts of the NFA Professional Flute Choir and the NFA High School Flute Choir, as well as daily flute choir reading sessions and flute choir showcase concerts. In addition, the third floor foyer concert venue was very nice, with an open configuration allowing the music to waft down to the first and second floors. Many tables and chairs were provided on each floor of the foyer, where convention attendees could sit comfortably resting their tired feet, enjoy a meal or a snack, or check their e-mail using the free wireless Internet available at the Convention Center. In general, there were two foyer concerts per day: one during the lunch hour and another during the hour preceding the evening concert. Two flute choirs shared each of the one-hour time slots for these concerts, and the quality of the performances was excellent! I attended many of the flute choir events, but certainly not all of them. Here is a report on those concerts I was able to attend.

The Fiesta Flute Orchestra, 250 players strong and directed by Gwen Powell, opened the convention on Thursday morning. This group is comprised of convention attendees rehearsing for a few hours the day before the convention opens. Powell chose a challenging program that included “Siyahamba,” a South African Folk Song arranged by Amy Rice-Young Blumenthal; “Wind Dance,” by Todd Coleman; Danza Mexicana No. 2, by Datschkovsky, arranged by Arthur Ephross; “Kyrie,” by Katherine Hoover; Four Pieces by Todd Malicoate (also conducted by the composer); two movements of Catherine McMichael’s new James Towne Trilogy, the world premiere of Bossa Chica by Glenn Bowen, Alex Wilder’s Suite for Flute Choir, and the world premiere of Flute Fiesta (a Spanish march) by Phyllis Avidan Louke.

The Fiesta Flute Orchestra, 250 players, directed by Gwen Powell

The Desert Echoes Flute Project, conducted by Robert Hunter, performed on Thursday’s noon lobby concert. This program included “Adventures in Space,” by Ricky Lombardo, “Bright and Early,” by Christopher Caliendo, and “Of Wizards and Witches,” by Phyllis Avidan Louke. For the last piece, many of the flute choir members donned witch’s or wizard’s caps—even the contrabass flute was festooned with a black witch’s hat.

Phyllis Avidan Louke and

Phyllis Avidan Louke and
Leslie Etzel

On Friday, the New Mexico State University Flute Ensemble, directed by Lisa Van Winkle, performed Nancy W. Wood’s “Pedazitos,” Cecil Effinger’s “Cloud Forms,” “The Balcony,” by Kathleen Mayne, “Echoes in the Wind,” by Phyllis Avidan Louke, and one movement of A Gaelic Offering, by Catherine McMichael. This performance was followed by Patricia George’s group Suite 212, whose program, called “Chestnuts,” included Telemann’s Concerto Four Flutes, one movement of Phyllis Avidan Louke’s Temple of Heaven, Thom Ritter George’s Cimerosa Suite, Kelly Via’s arrangement of “By Kells Waters,” and Colin Cowles’ arrangement of The Drunken Sailor. Also performing on Friday was the Pikes Peak Flute Choir, directed by Karen Morsch. Its performance featured Catherine McMichael’s new piece Suite de Montagne, commissioned by this group, as well as a brand new Ricky Lombardo arrangement of Jay Ungar’s Ashoken Farewell.

On Saturday, the Austin Flute Choir, directed by Penny Griffy, performed “I’ll Love My Love,” arranged by Phyllis Avidan Louke, Ricky Lombardo’s arrangement of Smetana’s “Dance of the Comedians,” Kelly Via’s arrangement of “Arirang,” from Three Korean Folk Songs, Catherine McMichael’s “Hill Country Sketches,” Caplan-Stonefield’s arrangement of Delibes’ Flower Duet from Lakme, and Amy Rice-Young’s arrangement of Mancini’s “Shades of Sennett.”

Flauto Badinage

Flauto Badinage

This group was followed by the Southern California group Flauto Badinage performing its program “From Brazil to Birdland” while decked out in brightly colored feather boas: Primeiro Amor, op. 4 by Patapio Silva, Luiza by Jobim, Apanhei-te Cavaquinho by Ernesto Nazareth, Autumn Reunion by Raymond Gariglio, and Ricky Lombardo’s arrangement of Josef Zawinul’s Birdland.

Also on Saturday, the Texas Woman’s University & Brookhaven Flute Choir directed by Pamela Youngblood presented its multi-media performance of “Fresh Perspectives for Flute Choir.” Visual art images were projected on a screen during “Serenade,” by Lawrence Ink, and Sonny Burnette’s “Stained Glass Images.” Their final piece was the world premiere of Plains and Petticoats: A Prairie Passage, composed by group member Nancy W. Wood, which included readings from diaries of women who traveled west by covered wagon. This ensemble was followed by the Silver Winds: Colorado Flute Orchestra directed by Nancy Spidel. This group meets annually in December in Longmont, Colorado, to rehearse and perform a Christmas concert. Its program included many pieces that had been commissioned for the group, and included “Mountain Song,” by Andrew Downes, “Fantasy on Coventry Carol,” by Catherine McMichael, “Parade of Wooden Soldiers,” by Jessel, Lopez’s arrangement of “Aguinaldo Indigena,” Jim Self’s arrangement of “We Three Kings of Orient R,” and Jackson Berkey’s “Silver Winds in the Night.”

Saturday evening’s foyer concert was performed by the Sonora Flute Ensemble, comprised of flutists from several central Texas universities. Conducted by Adah Toland Jones, this group performed Boismortier’sConcerto No. 2 in A Minor, “Paramecium,” by Michael Twomey, John W. N. Palmer’s Sylvan Suite, Richard D. Hall’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Garota de Ipanema,” by Jobim, and Arantes’s arrangement of Zequinha Abreu’s Tico-Tico No Fuba.

On Sunday morning, the Professional Flute Choir, conducted by Angeleita Floyd performed Katherine Hoover’s Concertante Dragon Court, dedicated to the memory of Frayda Oston, which was conducted by the composer. This was followed by Axelsson’s arrangement of Dag Wiren’s Serenade, Peter Schickele’s Monochrome V for Eight Flutes, the world premiere of Oregon composer Robert Kyr’s Winds of Dawn, and a pastiche of South American music which included Manabi (Ecuador), Cuentos de mi Abuelo (Argentina), El Torito (Costa Rica), and Apanhei-te Cavaquinho (Brazil).

Professional Flute Choir, conducted by Angeleita Floyd

Professional Flute Choir, conducted by Angeleita Floyd

Also on Sunday, the San Francisco State University Flute Choir, directed by Gail Edwards, performed Nancy Nourse’s arrangement of “Golliwog’s Cakewalk,” by Debussy, Martha Rearick’s arrangement of the second movement of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, Lambert’s arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, The Prince and the Princess, and Ricky Lombardo’s arrangement of Perrey & Kingsley’s “Baroque Hoedown.”

Sunday afternoon, the National High School Flute Choir, conducted by Jenny Brooks, performed Lynch’s arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee, Parry’s arrangement of Handel’s Concerto for Organ, Andrew Downes’ Symphony for Flute Orchestra, one movement of Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda’s Greek Tableaux, Ian Clarke’s “Within,” and Parry’s arrangement of Strauss’ Pizzicato Polka.

—Phyllis Louke