I just got back from Flute Quest and thought I'd talk a little about my experience at the festival. Sorry I don't have any photos. There are some in the forum from the event. I'll put a link at the end of this post.
I flew into Sea-Tac airport last Thursday, August 19th after a two hour flight from LAX. Ironically from the side of the jet that I was on I could see Yosemite National Park, near where the Yosemite Flute Festival will be happening next month. We also flew over Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, Mt Saint Helens and the ginormous Mt. Rainier, which poked it's cone above the clouds that obscured the ground below. At the last moment as we descended toward the airport we broke through the cloud cover and there below us was downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, the waterfront and beautiful Puget Sound.
Waiting for me as I approached the luggage carousel was Chris and Carole. Two volunteers that had the task of driving me around. (I am not using last names to protect the innocent.) They helped me get my bag and then took me out to a nice lunch of fish and chips at a restaurant on the water in the town of Des Monies. Then it was off to see the festival's day ground in Saltwater State Park.
Saltwater State Park lies in a tiny canyon created by the McSorley creek. This made the area nice and tucked away from the rest of the world. The steep hillsides that lined the valley were tree covered and the valley itself emptied into Puget Sound at a lovely sand covered beach lined with cool sun bleached driftwood logs. Just a few yards inland from this was the park. A nice grassy park with big shade trees, now lined with the white booths of vendors. There was Butch and Laura Hall, Nash, Tom Steward, Michael Graham Allen, Brent Haines, Rick and Linda of Vision Hawk with their two new puppies Chaco and Pecos and many more. In fact there were so great vendors I never made it to all their booths when I had the time between workshops. Finally, there were some great food vendors. Los Agaves had really authentic taco and other Mexican food and the doughnut vendors whose fresh little doughnuts I'll be thinking about for a while!
Set in one corner was a very nice, large stage for day performers. The whole festival was laid out well. It was big but intimate at the same time. As a cornerstone to the event was the WA Flute Circle booth, the hosts and facilitator of Flute Quest. I got a chance to say Hi to Lisa, who was my point person for the event and did so much of the publicity and arrangements for the festival. I also met many of the volunteers who's hard work and dedication was making this all possible. Later that night everyone there was invited to a get together of food, including some great chicken and salmon. Then it was off to the hotel to rest before the first day.
The first day of the festival was nice and cool. A perfect break from the heat of LA. Up first for me was a workshop on the Anasazi flute. I had at least 10 people attending and they all did great! Everyone, from the more experienced to the beginner, got a tone. We went over ways to help get a sound, exercises to improve one's tone and looked at three of this flute scales. I felt everyone did very well and hope they all keep playing, especially those that had less experience. After the workshop I gave a couple private lessons right by the water. It was really one of the most picturesque setting I've ever given a lesson in. Not unlike Musical Echoes, with the water right there.
Before I knew it, it was time to get to the Knutzen Family Theatre where the evening concerts were to be. There I meet Laura, Steve, Amy and Bret who helped myself and Rona Yellow Robe set up and get our "act" together. The venue was really nice. It held 250 persons but was still very intimate in it's layout. The seats come right down to the stage. Both Rona and myself had video presentations for our respective sets and the screen was very big, while the lighting could still be put on both of us during our performances. Most venues only have a strip of lights and either I'm in the dark or the screen is washed out. So this was a welcome perk.
There was a great audience that night. Very enthusiastic and warm. I had a great time during my performance and with the great feedback coming from the crowd I really got into the music. I don't know if anyone got photos of my performance, but if they did I'd love to see them.
The second day I had the first of a two part Songwriting/Improvisation workshop. We began by talking about one of the more common ways to quickly come up with a tune by using building blocks derived from the very first notes that come out of your flute. We also discussed how to balance new musical thoughts with repeated ones and some of the basic shapes that a melody can take. I enjoy giving this workshop as a lot of people think that writing a song for their flute is a big giant challenge. But it's really not if you know how to break it down into small components.
After the workshop I gave a couple lessons and sat at the table where the artists could sell their stuff. That gave me the chance to meet some people and talk a little with them.
That night was Joe Young and Mary Youngblood's performances.
The last day had a little drizzle in the morning but the sun broke through by the middle of the day. For me it was part two of my Songwriting/Improvisation workshop. We continued where we left off and expanded the small melody that we looked at the day before into a full, short tune for NAF. We also talked a little about rhythm and tempo, and more ways to easily grow ideas into full songs. All the while I was illustrating the concepts on a white board, which, as is normally the case, became a big messy doodle. Some mention was also made about northern Kokopellis vs. southern ones but we won't talk about that here...
When the festival ended at 3 pm Joe, his wife LaRee, Ken, our friend Sharon, (who was kind enough to help me sell my CDs during my performance) and myself went off to Seattle to visit Pike Place Market, the Experience Music Project and the Space Needle. We had a great time even though Lark in the Morning has closed the store in Pike's Place. I also wanted to visit the original Starbucks store too. A pilgrimage for my caffeine habit. There were a lot of very talented and unusual musicians playing throughout the market. The Experience Music Project was interesting especially if you're into electric guitar. There is also a Sci-Fi museum in the building too. The big bummer, for me anyway, was that the Space Needle was closed for a private event! Maybe next trip.
I posted a few photos on flicker
Here are the photos from others in a forum on the portal
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