This past week, I attended this year’s National Flute Association conference held in Las Vegas, NV. The weather was extremely hot with highs ranging from 106 – 110 degrees F, so I was happy to spend most of my time inside the massive (and air-conditioned) Caesar’s Palace.
This year I played with the Professional Flute Choir in a concert featuring the two winning songs from the Flute Choir Composition Competition, Alberto Guidobaldi’s “Tarantella for 12 Flutes”, and David Gunn’s “The Fifth Universal Principle of Alignment”. Peter Sheridan, bass flute extraordinaire, supported our flute choir with the rich low sounds of his various bass flutes. He also did an amazing job playing “Nuestro Pueblo”, a piece that highlights three different bass flutes and includes some wonderful improvisatory sections.
I also attended various concerts, masterclasses and instructional classes during the convention. Perhaps one of the most interesting classes was the one on circular breathing, a technique I have been interested in learning for a long time but never had the opportunity. With a great sense of humor, Robert Dick gave us step by step instructions on how to achieve circular breathing, along with several impressive and fun demonstrations of his own circular breathing.
Another class I really enjoyed was taught by Phyllis Avidan Louke, who delved into the details of teaching beginning flute students. It was refreshing to learn new ways to explain the very basics of flute playing, and I learned a number of cute ways to help children learn and remember new concepts and techniques.
This was also the first year I was able to attend the closing ceremonies, entitled “All the Things You Are”. The event featured a variety of musical styles ranging from Celtic to rock music, serious classical pieces to some lighthearted and humorous numbers - all featuring the flute. The final performance was ”Bumble Boogie”, a fun and very fast piece performed by four amazing soloists accompanied by our professional flute choir.