Review by Mary O’Brien, Organizer
Exploring the fun of flute ensembles recently with the elite Arctic Wind Flute Choir from Anchorage, Alaska was for me one of the highlights of the year!
That's a whole lot of flutists! Photo Grant Neuhauser
This day-long event was led by flute teacher and conductor, Barbara Eberhart, and her elite performing ensemble featuring south central Alaska’s best high school and university flutists. With a keen crowd of 70 flutists from all over the greater Auckland area, we had a wonderful mix of young to mature, beginner to advanced and professional level. Starting at 9am, Barbara and her group dazzled us with a short concert and then gave a demonstration of their alto, bass and contrabass flutes. It is very uncommon to have a contrabass flute perform at a concert in NZ so many eyes were opened to this especially amazing flute and the magnificent low, beautiful sound it produces.
Team Still pulls their flute apart. Photo Grant Neuhauser
We then moved onto ‘hands on’ improvisation, making weird and exciting sounds both on and off the flutes, which warmed up everyone. Then the gloves came off and the demolition/ reconstruction derby competition commenced. Flutists were assigned groups, named after famous flutists, each being given an old flute and a few screwdrivers and the fun started.The winners and runners up received $20 Music Works vouchers, along with other prizes supplied by Flute Focus, which helped make the victory even sweeter.
During the day there was much rehearsing, both en masse and in smaller groups to accommodate different ability levels. All groups worked on Wind Dance (2000) by Todd Coleman, Zig – Zag – Zoo by Ian Clarke, and Serendipity and Kalaedoscope by Ann Cameron Pearce. This was followed by a wonderful afternoon tea put together by Mary-Kate Thomson, re-fuelling everyone for the spectacular joint concert of all the Flute Day participants performing with the Arctic Wind Flute Choir to a big crowd of appreciative and enthusiastic family and friends.
We have some reviews below from some of the participants – it was a spectacular day!
If you would like to email me a comment we would love the feedback.
My sincere thanks to Westlake Girls High School, to Barbara and the Arctic Wind Flute Choir, and to the heaps of people who helped on the day – it was an event to remember.
My name is Ashley Vujcich and I went to the flute day. One of my main hobbies is the flute:-D .
I enjoyed the flute day because we destroyed and rebuilt some old flutes!! We practised with the Artic Flute Choir all the way from Alaska!!!!!
It was so much fun, we made whale, wind and rain and other cool noises!!! The Alaskan teacher takes her flute everywhere and I mean everywhere - she took it on a raft and tramp trip in the Grand Canyon and she played it while its sound rebounded off the walls!!!!!
I am really happy as well because I won $100 towards a new flute!!!!!!!!:-D
I'm so much happier playing the flute, it has become so much more easier since I went there and Mary has been such a supportive and fun teacher!!!
The Flute Focus day was brilliant!!! I hope that you talented flute players out there read this and want to come next time - it's awesome!!!!
Ashley Vujcich, 12
I had a wonderful day at Flute Day. It was so much fun, demolishing and putting the flutes back together was the best part of the day!
I have never been to a flute day before, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other workshop. It was the most fun I had ever had.
It was so cool to try out different types of flutes, as I had never seen such a wide variety all in one building. The Contra Bass Flute was the largest and most exciting to try out; I had never seen such a huge flute before, so trying it was like an unimaginable thing for me.
The one flute that attracted the most attention to me was the bass flute, it look just like a alto flute just an different pitch. I had so much fun trying it; in the future I would love to play it.
Meeting other enthusiastic flautists was a great experience; I have made some friends from other local schools and some even all the way from Alaska!
I would love to have another opportunity like this.
Westlake Girls High School
Emily Chan, 14, started learning flute at the age of 8. Currently in her fifth year learning flute, under the guidance of Mary O’Brien, her other hobbies include basketball and cooking. Favourite subject is graphics, and may want to be an architect as a career.
My name is Angela, and i am 15 years old. I am in year 11at Orewa College where I get taught by Mary O'Brien :)
I am only a beginner, having lessons since only half way through last term and haven't gotten that far yet. But I went to Mary's Alaskan Flute Day on the 11th of June and it helped me a lot.
I got to meet heaps of new people who like me are playing flute and stuff. We got to do tonnes of fun activities!! And played in a concert!!!! Best of all we got to try out lots of weird kinds of flutes which were really cool!!!! We also learnt how to make weird noises like wind and rain drop noises!
I had lots of fun and I would totally go again if there was another!!:)
Angela Chapman, 15