Flute Choir Fun by Paula Buermele
We are all familiar with musical ensembles ranging in size from the duet to the symphony orchestra. We listen to many combinations of instruments and vocalists creating beautiful sounds that please our ears, lift our spirits, and stir our emotions.
The flute choir is an often hidden treasure in the musical ensemble world. When I mention that I play in a flute choir, people are often surprised and intrigued that flutes come in more than one size and sound range. After all, it is rare to see an alto, bass or contrabass flute in a concert band or orchestra performance.
When a flutist discovers a flute choir, a new dimension of music opens to them. I joined the Flute Specialists Flute Ensemble when I first began taking lessons from Kasey Martin, who directs the flute choirs at Flute Specialists. There are two groups, an intermediate and an advanced group. They alternate Saturday rehearsals at Flute Specialists but combine when we have an opportunity to play somewhere.
At first I was hesitant to participate because the flute was a new instrument for me and I was concerned I would hold the group back. But I soon learned that every skill level is accommodated and Kasey is very adept at finding ways for everyone to participate comfortably.
There are many things I enjoy about playing in the flute choirs. There is no pressure to attend every rehearsal and you are always welcome whenever you can come. I have been participating for five years and really enjoy meeting new people and seeing the core members semi-regularly. I switch between the intermediate and advanced groups depending on my schedule and that is perfectly acceptable.
We also have the opportunity to try the alto and bass flutes provided by Flute Specialists during the rehearsals. I enjoyed playing the alto flute so much that I eventually bought my own.
There is a rich library of music that takes advantage of the voices of the piccolo, concert flute, alto flute and bass flute. The Flute Specialists Flute Ensembles have built a repertoire suitable for playing venues ranging from candle lighting ceremonies for cancer awareness, to playing for various churches, to entertaining at local farmers’ markets.
I have found that participating in flute choir has really helped me grow as a musician. Much like participating in a vocal choir, you learn to hear the other voices in relation to your own voice and that really helps build intonation skills, sharpen rhythmic awareness, and grow your self confidence.
The primary reason, though, that I participate in the Flute Specialists Flute Ensembles is because it is fun.
Paula Buermele is a member of the Canton Concert Band, the SE Michigan WELS Band, and the Flute Specialists' Flute Ensemble and studies privately with Kasey Martin.