Flute Haven 2014 ended September 14. On one hand it seems a while ago but on the other it takes time to drive home, unpack and decompress. The experience of meeting up with old friends and meeting new friends rivals any good workshop experience.
With workshops during the day and meeting lots of new people, it was great to share and meet new folks who were trying my flutes and kanteles. There was ample to keep one busy. I also enjoyed meeting and having time to talk with my fellow flute makers. And there were opportunities for all to perform on stage or jam.
I was particularly impressed with the sounds that came from people playing — for their first time — the pentatonic Bm wood ocarinas I’d made for a class I led. Within minutes of instruction and a little practice, the class members were eager to perform by a mic with reverb (thanks to Frank who set it up). The sounds were stunning. So by the last night, at Pickering Creek, we performed as a class but also each member played a short solo. Because the ocarina is a closed flute and has no harmonics, the tones and vibratos are beautiful. You can see, in the slide show below, Pat, Glen and Randy performing their solos on the ocarina. Interestingly, they all wore clothing that night that matched the color of the ocarina they had chosen.
Another event I enjoyed immensely was performing at Camphor Village as a “flute choir.” One of the photos shows Lynn Miller conducting the flute choir. We were well received and all of the music was impromptu yet beautiful. After the concert, we toured the grounds, and I was most taken with the weaving studio. The store had beautiful woven goods for very reasonable prices.
Near the end of the week, I was delighted to hear several women share in different group settings how playing my WrenSong flutes made flute playing less painful and more accessible for them. I did not ask any of these women to speak out. Their reports were spontaneous and relevant to the topic being discussed in the group. I was pleased to hear that how I made the flutes made a difference for these women. As a result of their comments, a few other women came to ask for modifications that could address making the flute more accessible for them. I will be working on such modifications.
It was Jeanne, who now has one of my cherry six-string kanteles, who started me on the path to devising yet another way to play the kantele. She used an ink pen at first and then I toyed with the idea she had planted while I was driving home. A little experimentation and I am now developing a little wand, call it magic if you like, that produces a great sound on the larger kanteles. Thanks, Jeanne!
As my first “invited flute maker” experience, this was indeed a memorable time.