The Boulder Cello Project


I have been a member of the Boulder Cello Project almost since its inception in June 2012, and I think this group is doing great things and want to share a little about it.

What is the Boulder Cello Project? The Boulder Cello Project is a group of beginning through advanced cellists who meet once a month to learn about the cello and make music together. In addition to their monthly meetings, members can attend classes led by local experts on specific subjects of interest related to the cello. The group also gives back to the community and gains performing experience by doing regular concerts at retirement communities.

What to Expect The Boulder Cello Project is a friendly and supportive group and no audition is needed to join. When you come to a meet-up, you can expect to meet cellists and eat snacks during our optional socializing time, then play lots of cello music during our organized play-in sessions. The group consists of over 60 members, and typically about 15-30 attend each play-in. The music we play is written by local and national composers who collaborate with us to provide a wide range of parts of varying difficulty so there is something that everyone will enjoy playing.

How to Join Joining the Boulder Cello Project is free, but donations are encouraged to assist in keeping up with expenses and maintaining the quality of the meetups. You can learn more about the Boulder Cello Project and join the group on the The Boulder Cello Project Meetup Page or the Boulder Cello Project Website.

Boulder Cello Project Holiday Recital at the Academy Retirement Community

The 2012 National Flute Association Convention - Las Vegas, NV


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.

Professional Flute Choir Concerts, Las Vegas, NV

I have been chosen in competition to be a member of the 2012 Professional Flute Choir, and will be performing in concert with other flutists from across the nation at this year’s National Flute Association Convention in Las Vegas, NV. If you are attending the convention, or live in Las Vegas, this is a chance to hear a one of a kind concert of challenging music. We will play at the Pompeian Ballroom in Ceasars Palace on Saturday, August 11th at 10:00am and for the closing ceremonies at the Augustus Ballroom in Ceasars Palace on Saturday, August 11th at 4:00pm.

Colorado Flute Forum


I am one of the presenters for this month's Colorado Flute Forum meeting, where I will give a presentation on how to play Celtic flute music, specifically music of the Irish tradition. There will be two other presentations, one of which will be given by Greg LaLiberte on the Brazilian Choro. This meeting will be held in held at Chris Potter's house in Boulder, CO on Friday, April 13th from 10am to 12pm.

The Colorado Flute Choir Festival 2012


Don’t miss the upcoming Colorado Flute Choir Festival which will be held on Saturday, April 28th. The festival is presented by the Colorado Flute Association and open to all association members. Attendance is free and open to all flutists from middle school through adults. The festival will be held at Longs Peak United Methodist Church, 1421 Elmhurst Drive in Longmont, CO from 9am – 5pm. The festival will have workshops for piccolo, c flutes, alto flutes, and bass flutes. There will also be a low flutes reading session, mass flute choirs, a class on contemporary techniques for c flutes, and a festival recital. Clinicians include Christina Jennings, Kay W. Lloyd, Christine Potter, and Michelle Stanley.

Colorado Flute Fair 2012

Carol Wincenc
Carol Wincenc

I attended the Colorado Flute Fair at the University of Colorado in Boulder this past weekend and it was a great day packed full of instructional classes, masterclasses, and concerts. The fair featured guest artist Carol Wincenc, professor of music at Julliard School of Music.

The day began with a warm-up class that focused on relaxation techniques for comfortable and injury free practice. Following that was a tone development class which focused on the importance of breath control. Then Carol Wincenc gave a surburb masterclass. She has a flair for the stage and spreads her enthusiasm to those she teaches. She also has a knack for pushing her students to reach their highest potential while allowing them to remain true to their personal musical style.

After lunch we heard a demonstration of Carol Wincenc’s edition of Andersen’s Op. 15. Anderson’s original etudes are combined with a duet part that Ms. Wincenc wrote for the teacher to play. The duet part highlights the chord structure of each etude, and is a valuable resource for flute teachers.

Following the demonstration was a Flute Association members recital and then a fabulous performance featuring Carol Wincenc. Carol chose an engaging variety of songs from different time periods, in different styles, and with a variety of instrumentation. Her playing is suburb and her technique flawless, and her performance was much enjoyed.

The National Flute Association (NFA) Convention comes to Las Vegas, Nevada

Whether you are flute player or a flute enthusiast, start planning now to attend the 2012 NFA Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada from August 9th - 12th. The NFA consists of over 6,000 members from over 50 countries and is the largest flute organization in the world. Come to learn and watch or enter one of the competitions including solo, flute choir, masterclasses, and non-performance competitions. I am looking forward to attending this convention and also seeing Vegas for the first time! Visit the National Flute Association website if you would like more information.

The Irish Session in Colorado

An Irish session is an informal gathering of people to play traditional Irish music. If you live in Charlotte, NC you will have a very hard time finding a traditional Irish session. In fact, I’ve lived there for almost twenty years without finding a single regular session closer than the two hour drive to Asheville. So imagine my happy surprise when I moved to Colorado a few months ago and found over ten Irish Sessions less than thirty minutes from where I live!

I was classically trained in flute, but what really sparked my interest in traditional music was an old-time/bluegrass jam session I found in a nearby small town in North Carolina. After the group broke up a year later, I continued to explore on my own, and fell in love with traditional Irish music. I found that my extensive experience with improvisation and playing by ear was a great asset when learning Irish music.

And so my adventure began in Colorado. I began going to Irish sessions in Denver, CO and Boulder, CO and my appetite was whet for more. I still play Irish music on my classical flute and various whistles, but I’m going to start saving my money and realize my long time dream of buying an Irish flute.

If you are interested in listening to or playing Irish music, you can visit these local Irish Sessions in ColoradoSwallow Hill in Denver also has regular sessions. Each session is a bit different so there is something for everyone, from beginners to advanced musicians, or music lovers who come to listen.

Two Concerts


This past week, I had the pleasure of attending two great concerts – one by the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra, and the other by the Broomfield Symphony Orchestra. As a flute player, I enjoyed that both concerts had some great flute solos. As usual, I also loved watching the cello and bass sections, given that I play cello and my husband plays bass.

The Jefferson Symphony played at the Colorado School of Music in Golden, CO. They performed a lively and engaging concert featuring works by Brahms and Richard Strauss. The concert ended with an impressive performance of Ravel’s “La Valse” featuring Peggy Lyon on piano.

The Broomfield Symphony performed to a packed Broomfield Auditorium, just minutes from my home. They played an enjoyable selection of pieces by Haydn and Tchaikovsky to an enthusiastic audience. The second half of the program featured solo pianist David Korevaar playing Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto. David’s passionate playing and flawless technique had me riveted, and his inspiring performance elicited a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the concert.

The National Flute Association Convention in Charlotte, NC

Just before I headed out to my new home in Colorado, I attended the National Flute Association’s annual convention, held in Charlotte, NC this year.

I attended numerous masterclasses and competitions,  and a number of educational classes that featured topics ranging from correct breathing to beginning lessons on a Baroque flute. I was particularly inspired by William Westney’s class “How can a wrong note be perfect”.  His premise is that music should be fun, but the way we tend to teach music leads students to aspire for perfection  rather than playing their instrument with life and expression.  At the exhibits, I got to try out different flutes including Celtic flutes, Chinese flutes, and contrabass flutes.

I also saw a number of concerts including several flute and cello concerts, a French music concert, and a concert given by the Charlotte Symphony Flutists that used fascinating modern techniques to create unique sounds. One of my favorite concerts was Trevor Wye’s “50 Variations on the Carnival of Venice for 60 flutes and piano”  where he showed us how to make a flute out of a carrot, played a flute made out of a human bone, and played on his own creations that lit up in humorous ways as he played.

The day following the convention, I attended an inspiring masterclass  given by Jean Ferrandis, who focused on playing the flute with a relaxed and natural posture as if you were saying “hello” to a friend. The convention was inspiring and refreshing and I’m glad I took time to attend even though I was busy with the move.

National Flute Association Convention (NFA) comes to Charlotte, NC

Consisting of over 6,000 members from over 5o countries, The NFA is the largest flute organization in the world. Flutists from across the globe will be gathering in Charlotte, NC for this momentous first in the city's history. Visit the National Flute Association's website for more information on competitions, masterclasses, and flute choirs. Mark Thomas, who was my flute teacher for many years, is the founder and first president of the National Flute Association. I am so excited that the convention will finally be coming to my hometown! If you are a flute player in the Charlotte, NC area, attending this event is a must.

Upcoming Studio Events and Competitions

Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteer to help the Charlotte Piano Teacher’s Forum with the Concerto Auditions or the Solo Auditions and receive lots of volunteer hours for school and the satisfaction of helping the music community.  Let me know if you would like to volunteer or have any questions about what it involves.

Christen’s Music Studio Flute and Piano Winter Recital (required for all students): DATE: Saturday, December 11 PLACE: Held at Harvest Chapel in Indian Trail TIME: 2:00pm, with the practice for flutists beginning at 1:00pm

Festival Hymn Playing Event: DATE: Saturday, February 5, 2010 PLACE: Matthews United Methodist Church, 801 South Trade Street, Matthews, NC TIME: Your child's time to play will be announced one week before the Festival. REPERTOIRE: The student will perform two hymns from the required Federation List (with music) for the judge.

Federation Hymn Playing is a NON-COMPETITIVE event, meaning that students are not compared with each other, they are simply critiqued on how accurately they express details of the music as it is printed.

Festival Piano Scholarship (Charlotte District): DATE: Saturday, February 12, 2010 PLACE: Queens University of Charlotte E.H. Little Fine Arts Center, corner of Selwyn and Wellesley Avenues TIME: Your child's time to play will be announced one week before the Festival. REPERTOIRE: The student will perform two pieces from memory. One piece is from the required Federation List, the second piece from a non-American composer. Student must play a piece from the higher levels of the Federation list, beginning with the Moderately Difficult I. SCHOLARSHIP: Students who place (1st or 2nd in their category) at the District Level have the opportunity to compete for a scholarship on the state level on April 17th at UNC Greensboro.

Festival Piano Solo Event: DATE: Saturday, February 26, 2010 PLACE: First Baptist Church, Queens University, and CPCC TIME: Your time to play will be announced one week before the Festival. REPERTOIRE: The student will perform two pieces from memory. One piece is from the required Federation List, the other is taken from appropriate classical repertoire chosen by the teacher and student.

Federation Festival is a NON-COMPETITVE event, meaning that students are not compared with each other, they are simply critiqued on how well they express what the composer has written on the page.

Charlotte Piano Teachers Forum Auditions: DATE: Saturday, March 12, 2011 (Auditions and Theory Test) PLACE: Queens University of Charlotte, E.H. Little Fine Arts Building (corner of Selwyn and Wellesley Avenues) Finals: Sunday, March 13, 2011 Place: Queens University TIME: To be announced one week before the Auditions DIVISIONS: Grades K-12 REPERTOIRE REQUIREMENTS: Students must perform from memory three compositions from the required Piano Teacher's Forum List (one piece from each of three musical eras). THEORY TEST: All entrants are required to take a theory test, either before or after they perform for the judge(s). The entrants must take the test in the same division in which they played. The theory test must be taken by 1:00 PM. FINALS: Students who have won top scores in their studio on Saturday are eligible to compete in a finals competition the following day. Theory test scores are used to break ties in playing scores. AWARDS: The Forum recognizes the three top winners of each division in the Auditions by awarding Scholarships to those entrants at the May Honors Recital. At the discretion of the judges all available scholarships may not be awarded. Winners must perform in the honors recital in order to receive monetary awards. HONORS RECITAL: The three Forum Auditions winners in each of the six divisions shall be eligible to perform in the Honors Recital on May 6, 2011 at Sharon United Methodist Church

Christen’s Music Studio Flute and Piano Spring Recital (Required for all students): DATE: May - TBA PLACE: Harvest Chapel in Indian Trail