I attended my first NFA convention in Boston in 1993. I had just finished my freshman year in college, and my private instructor, Barbara Davis Chao, suggested I attend. I was completely overwhelmed by the level of artistry I heard at the concerts and by the exhibit hall. The next year I volunteered for the convention and I was hooked.
Since that first convention in 1993 I have only missed two (both times were in between degrees when I just simply could not afford to attend). In 2000, the convention was in Columbus, Ohio, and I was finishing my MM degree at Ohio State with Katherine Borst Jones. Kathy suggested that I serve as the Equipment Manager, which I did. The role of the Equipment Manager is to provide all equipment for every aspect of the annual NFA convention. The Equipment Manager works closely with the Program Chair to facilitate all the requests by performers and presenters at the convention.
My admiration and love for the organization extended even further after that convention in 2000. At that time the Equipment Manager position was a yearly assignment. That summer I worked with George Pope and so admired the thousands of hours every program chair donates to create a four-day flute extravaganza.
A few years passed and I was asked by Madeline Neumann (former Convention Manager) to return in the position of Equipment Manager but as a recurring role. Note: Madeline later sang in my wedding
I returned to the Equipment Manager role for the Kansas City convention in 2007, which was led magnificently by Jonathan Keeble. We started to solidify the role and streamline the activities, orders, and plans related to equipment.
In 2009 the New York City convention hit the NFA like a whirlwind. We had 5,000 flutists in attendance that year. The role of Equipment Manager had become untenable by one person so my boyfriend (now husband) Jack was brought on as my assistant.
Fast forward to the 2012 convention in Las Vegas. The next year’s Program Chair, Tadeu Coehlo, shadowed me to see what my job entailed. He watched me running around the mammoth convention hall and then asked, "You have a doctorate correct? Why are you moving chairs and stands? You should have interns.” This was a game changer. Two years later, in Chicago, I launched the internship program. Equipment interns assist the Equipment Manager with providing the chairs, stands, percussion equipment, and A/V needs to the performers and presenters at the convention. These interns also assist with the annual gala dinner.
Now, with six years of interns having passed through the program, those very flutists are becoming leaders of the organization and leaders in the arts field at large. This is probably my biggest source of pride, which goes well beyond more than a decade of hauling chairs and stands :)
Convention intern applications are due April 1. Please see the internship webpage for more information.