Who Has Influenced You For Good?

I’m thankful for each of my flute teachers who were so influential in my progress.  Our lives are like a quilt or tapestry.  Each person, or in this case – teacher, adds something to make the quilt or tapestry of our musicality and our lives more colorful and interesting and beautiful.  I’ve learned something from each teacher I’ve had, whether it’s one lesson in a masterclass setting or years of study with that person.  Here is a highlight of my prominent teachers that I studied with for months and years.  

Dee Ann McAllister

Aside from my elementary school band teacher, I considered Mrs. McAllister my first flute teacher.  I studied with her in Junior High and High School.   She was very punctual with lessons and had an extremely kind personality.  Her husband, now the late Bob McAllister, was a trombone teacher.  There would often be flute lessons on one side of the house and trombone lessons on the other side. 

Mrs. McAllister took me from playing intermediate level music to college level repertoire.  She taught me vibrato, helped build my confidence, encouraged me to attend summer music camps, and provided performance opportunities which led me to soloing with ensembles and earning flute scholarships for college. 

Jilene Burger

My first two years of college I studied with Jilene Burger at Ricks College, which is now called BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho. Jilene was so supportive while I learned how to adjust to college life.  While studying with her, I learned how to practice more and studied a lot of solo repertoire such as the Handel and Bach Sonatas, Mozart Concerti, French and Contemporary flute music and other repertoire which would later help me as a teacher. She lined me up with a local junior high where I started teaching the flute students after school. 

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Musical Memories with My Sister

Rehearsing for our Aunt and Uncle’s 60th wedding anniversary

I grew up in a musical family where my mother was a piano, organ, and voice teacher and also the church choir director for over 50 years.  Each Christmas, while growing up, the choir would prepare a special musical program to perform the Sunday before Christmas.  This usually also consisted of a small chamber orchestra comprised of musicians from our local congregation.  My mother would have me write out orchestral parts to enhance the special choir worship service commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of my efforts to arrange hymns for small groups of random musicians.  

My younger sister wanted to play a different instrument from her siblings and at age eight, began playing the cello. Just as soon as she could play a whole note, she was, naturally, added to the Christmas orchestra.  Aside from our family singing time, this was the beginning of making music together.

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Symphony Season…wait for it

September marks the beginning of symphony season, but not this year.  Usually the Utah Valley Symphony would start rehearsing this month, but like many other symphonies all around the world, we are putting our season on hold or finding alternate ways to move forward in order to keep everyone safe.  I’ll keep you posted as to when we actually start rehearsing and you can look forward to our upcoming concerts at the Covey Center once again.  

I first substituted with the symphony while attending college.  It was under the direction of Dr. Clyn Barrus at the time.  I substituted for many years before a permanent position opened up.  I auditioned and, under the direction of Dr. Bryce Rytting, was appointed principal flute in 2002.   

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What’s Your Song?

“In Summer…” Ahhhh, Summer.  It brings thoughts of watermelon, swimming pools, ice cream and fun.  While each season encompases beauty and brings its own enjoyment, I have to admit that I love summer!! Being born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, I love the sun and the heat.  Even though I moved away years ago, the summer heat brings back pleasant, carefree, childhood memories.

“The song sings itself.”  People sing.  Birds sing.  Flutes sing.  What song?  What is it singing?  What songs do you hear?  Famous French flutist, Marcel Moyse, once said that the flute is an extension of the voice.  If so, what song does your flute have to sing this summer?  

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