Every August, flutists from all over the United States and the world gather for the biggest annual flute event in this country. The National Flute Association Convention meets in a different city each year with recent locations including Anaheim, New York City, Kansas City and Albuquerque.
This year, however, the convention was held in Charlotte, N.C., a mere 100 miles from BJU. Because of its proximity, I thought that this would be the perfect year to encourage our students to attend—and perhaps do even more than attend!
Early last year I talked with Mrs. Faye Lopez of the BJU piano faculty and Mr. Alan Lohr of SoundForth about the possibility of producing a new flute choir book based on shape-note tunes with the hopes of performing selections at the Charlotte convention. Mrs. Lopez completed the arrangements in the summer of 2010 and SoundForth published them this summer just in time for the convention.
The Southern Harmony Flute Choir was formed in September of 2010 with most of the flutists coming from the BJU woodwind department. (The members of the choir are BJU students Jessica Bowers, Lydia Carroll, Charity Distad, Brittany Estelle, Laura Hayden, Ashlyn Huggins, Colleen James and Rachel Kristin Van Besouw; BJU faculty on leave Esther Waite; and Greenvillians Martha Kitterman and Constance Petersen).
An audition CD was completed and submitted in late September, and in February of 2011 we were notified that we were selected to perform at the convention. The program consisted of three of Mrs. Lopez’s new arrangements and two secular pieces based on Southern folk tunes.
For the past several years, I have been researching the Charles F. Kurth Manuscript Collection, owned by the Moravian Music Foundation in Winston-Salem, N.C. Kurth was a flutist and composer who lived and worked in New York City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which is an obscure period in the history of the flute in America. The collection contains Kurth’s own compositions and other gems which are now out of print but worthy of reintroduction into the flute repertoire, and it also offers a treasure of information on this period of flute history.
Tadeu Coelho and I joined forces for a lecture-recital where I presented a look at Kurth’s life and he performed three works from the collection. The event was well attended and well received, and plans are underway to publish works from the collection and an article about Kurth’s life and the collection.