By Zach Mosca
Flutists got their time to shine last weekend as the Dana School of Music hosted the 26th Annual Flute Festival March 30 in Bliss Hall. The event consisted of numerous activities and opportunities for young flutists in the Mahoning Valley.
There was a performance and masterclass from Lorna McGhee, the principal flutist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has also played with many other symphonies from around the world.
Kathryn Umble, associate flute professor for the Dana School of Music and piccolo player in the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, said she views McGhee’s appearance at this festival as an opportunity for flutists.
“It’s just an opportunity for YSU students to hear her play and to participate in a master class with her teaching. That’s really the heart of what the festival is,” she said.
Umble has been teaching flute at YSU for 18 years and has been organizing the flute festival ever since. She said the main reason she keeps doing it is for students to grow and form a deeper connection with the flute world.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to play for internationally known flutists, and also form some connections with the larger flute world. We learn by hearing the music and also by being taught,” Umble said.
She also conducted a workshop of her own in which guests can learn more about different aspects of playing the flute.
“This year, I’m going to be talking about the relationship between rhythm and phrasing and direction in the musical line,” Umble said.
Andrew Kovaleski, a graduate assistant, also helped out with the event. He is a saxophonist, but also helped with the saxophone section and Umble.
“Half of my assistantship is with the saxophone studio, but the other half is with Umble planning this flute festival,” he said.
In addition to the performances and classes, there were also vendors at the festival selling various flutes and flute accessories for flutists to purchase.
“There will be vendors bringing flute supplies, flutes and flute accessories. All the good stuff you’d need if you play the flute,” Kovaleski said.
There was also a flute choir performance featuring the YSU Flute Society along with many other flute ensembles from around the Mahoning Valley. Senior YSU flutist Morgan Frederick performed. She said she’s been playing the flute since the fifth grade and she’s loved it ever since.
“I was in fifth grade and I went to an instrument fitting at my school. I picked flute that night, and it just kinda happened,” she said.
Frederick also said she believes the festival is a great way to get younger flutists in the area motivated to play more professionally and learn from world-renowned flutists.