Flute societies do a great job of linking flutists the greater flute community. These flute clubs offer members numerous opportunities throughout the year to perform and enjoy flute music. For a reasonable fee you can join a network of hundreds of regional flute players, receive the club’s newsletter and attend sponsored events.
The mission of a flute club is to promote flute playing among students, adult amateurs and professionals. That mission is born out in various initiatives throughout the year. The showcase event for most flute clubs is the annual flute festival. This event typically includes one or more guest artists that present master classes and workshops for the members. Often these artists are of regional renown, but don’t be surprised to see a big name pop up every few years. My own local flute club has been hosting guest artists for over thirty years. Their list of past guest artists includes Jean Pierre Rampal, James Galway, Emmanuel Pahud, Jeanne Baxtresser, Julius Baker and Trevor Wye. The names don’t get any bigger than that.
Another mainstay of a flute festival is the flute choir showcase. Many of the area flute choirs perform for their fellow flutists showing off a wide variety of the repertoire. And it’s always fun to see your friends bring out the big flutes. The lower voices of the alto, bass and even contra bass flutes are wonderful and add some much needed balance to the choir. Often the day’s activities will include a group sight reading session of choir music. Flute choir repertoire isn’t heard all that often and seldom recorded. The showcase is a great opportunity to hear what’s out there before you buy. Besides, playing with a flash mob of flutes is a real trip. Only at Flute Fest do such things happen.
Flute societies nurture players of all levels, including the very young. Youth competitions are an important way that flute clubs pay it forward. Competitions are generally aimed at high school flutists, but many clubs offer a category for younger players as well. Some clubs predetermine the competition pieces while others allow the student to choose. Scholarships and prize money are awarded to the winners in amounts that vary depending on the size and prestige of the club. But the real value of these competitions is the confidence that these young musicians gain from the experience.
Between major events, many smaller events are promoted by the flute society. Some clubs offer recitals by and for their membership in private homes. If a major artist comes to town, they may arrange for a master class. Most importantly, the members are there to support each other in their individual musical endeavors.
Membership in your regional Flute Club is a great way to connect with other flute players, find additional opportunities to perform and become part of the greater flute community. If you’re not already a member, I encourage you to find a Flute Club near you and check it out. Not sure where to start? Click here for a list of Flute Societies, Clubs and Associations throughout the U.S.
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