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Gerald Carey

2008 Distinguished Service Award


Gerald Carey is principal flute of the Quad City Symphony—a position he has held since 1978. He retired from Western Illinois University in 1999, where he was professor of flute and a founding member of the Camerata Woodwind Quintet. Internationally, Carey has presented concerts, recitals, and masterclasses in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Taiwan, and the former Yugoslavia. He has recorded for Coronet, Mercury, Everest, Music Minus One, and Opus One Records.

As an active and lifetime member of the NFA, he has served as president (1990–91), convention program chair for the New Orleans Convention (1989), member and chair of the board, competitions coordinator, exhibits coordinator, and program book editor. He is also a lifetime member of the Chicago Flute Club, and has been a board member and editor of the CFC newsletter, Pipeline.

Since we are all flutists and used to the challenge of playing long phrases, let’s see if we can list Gerald Carey’s service to the NFA in one breath: life member since 1982, Student Competitions coordinator, ’82–’87, General Competition coordinator, ’87–’90, board of directors, ’85–’87, NFA Delegation to China, 1987, program chair, 1989, program book co-editor, ’89-94, vice president, ’89–’90, president, ’90–’91, chair of the board, ’91–’92, exhibits coordinator, ’94–’98, Information/Technology committee, l997.

Jerry’s strong commitment to the NFA first emerged in the l980s, when he served as the first-ever General Competitions coordinator. As coordinator of the High School Soloist competition, he initiated its annual commissions, and many of these pieces have become staples in the repertoire. He was program chair for the 1989 convention in New Orleans, at a time when there was much less support from a well-developed professional staff. He did much of the work himself, producing the program book with the collaboration of Nancy Toff. Jerry and Nancy went on to produce the program book for five years, setting the basic format that is used to this day.

As a flutist, Jerry has had a remarkable career. He studied at Eastman with Joseph Mariano and performed alongside him in the Rochester Philharmonic, became the first full-time principal flutist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, then joined the faculty at Western Illinois University, where he was a founding member of the Camerata Woodwind Quintet, a fantastic group that has released many recordings and toured throughout the world.

Jerry demonstrated courageous leadership soon after he became president in November 1990. NFA’s beloved executive coordinator, Myrna Brown, died in her home in Denton, Texas, on November 25, after a brief illness. Jerry led the team that went to Denton to straighten out NFA records and close the office. Two months later, he led the board in interviewing candidates and hiring a new executive coordinator, Phyllis Pemberton. Jerry has a gift for choosing the right person for the right job!

With his warmth and love of life, Jerry Carey truly embodies the NFA’s motto, “Inspiring Flutists, Enriching Lives.” Congratulations, Jerry!