by Amanda Sparfeld
It’s that time of year again, when the colorful lights twinkle on the trees and cozy little houses all around the world. Snowfall, snowmen, menorahs, Christmas trees, singing carols– all of the beautiful holiday events for the month of December.
As I write this, I am in-between performing two shows of Wicked which is currently at the Detroit Opera House. Though not necessarily a Christmas story, it is a fun show the whole family can enjoy!
Previous to this, I performed Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” with the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra at the Detroit Opera House.
This piece is a real staple of the flute diet in the month of December, and each year I am reminded what a delightfully challenging piece it is. I still remember my teacher, Robert Langevin, liking the Principal Flute part to that of an étude book. Throughout the ballet, the flute spins out scales, rapid octaves, various articulations, trills, rhythmical patterns, and melodious solos. I always find myself in peak shape when preparing for The Nutcracker, and I can’t emphasize enough to my students the importance of learning and practicing the part. It will undoubtedly make you a better flutist, and you will be ready if you are ever called to substitute with an orchestra in an emergency.
One other piece I’d like to bring to your attention is “Christmas Images” by Michigan composer Terry Herald. It is a gorgeous piece scored for flute duet and harp (or guitar), with beautiful harmonies in a lilting 6/8 pattern. I recently performed this with Jeff Zook of the Detroit Symphony and it was received with great applause. You can find a recording of it on Jeff’s CD entitled “Comfort and Joy” featuring flutist Sharon Sparrow and harpist Kerstin Allvin.
So enjoy the holiday season– Grab some friends, learn some holiday music, and perform it for your friends, family, and community. After all, being a musician is about sharing the art with which we devote ourselves to everyday. Best of holidays to you all and happy fluting!
Amanda Sparfeld is the Principal Flutist with the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra at the Detroit Opera House, Principal Flutist of the Sarasota Opera, and also the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra. She is the former Principal Flutist of the Miami City Ballet, and has substituted with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
As a chamber musician and soloist, Amanda performs with organizations including New Music Detroit and Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, performed concerti with the Sibelius Camerata and Allegro Chamber Orchestra, and gives solo recitals around the country. Amanda maintains a private flute studio outside of Detroit and has served as Interim Flute Instructor at Oakland University in Michigan.
Amanda studied at Manhattan School of Music where she earned a Professional Studies Certificate from the prestigious Orchestral Performance Program. Other degrees received include a M.M. in Flute Performance from the University of Miami and a B.A. in Music from Principia College. Her primary teachers include Robert Langevin, Marie Jureit-Beamish, Jenny Robinson, and Christine Nield-Capote.