Flute Choir: Gifting a Dose of Flute and Fun

(Left to Right) Ayla Marvasti, Elsa Krol, and Sonoka Takahashi playing “Married Life” from “Up” at Flute Choir.
(Left to Right) Ayla Marvasti, Elsa Krol, and Sonoka Takahashi playing “Married Life” from “Up” at Flute Choir.
Lisa Wang

Every Tuesday morning, a group flautists meet in the PAC or the practice rooms in ArtSmart to play music together. Recently created this year, the choir already has a healthy number of members and already had the opportunity to perform at multiple events.

Founder Grace Yang explained what the choir is and what they do. 

“Flute Choir is basically an instrumental group, or like, instrumental choir, composed of flutes. We meet on Tuesday mornings every week,” Yang said. “Sometimes if we have [performances], it’s flexible really. We’re open to all the flutes at State High, or other instrument people that want to learn. I came up with the idea at the beginning of the school year because we noticed that there’s Clarinet Choir, there’s Trumpet Choir, there’s now Trombone Choir too. And we know we have a lot of flutes in the music department, so we thought we might as well just start one.”

She went on to explain the process of creating the choir.

“First it was just an idea. Because I’m a sophomore, and I don’t know the instrument people that well, or I’m not a marching band kid, I just told Abby, cause she’s [a] top tier musician, you know?” Yang said. “So, I was like, ‘oh Abby, we should start one’, kind of as a joke at first, but I wasn’t opposed to it either. And so Abby told Mr. Clayton, and then that’s how we got started.” 

“When we tell [sic] Mr. Clayton, it’s basically he just gives us the name, we get the title of Flute Choir, and then we become a group. But we had to collect the emails of all the flutes. Since me and Abby aren’t marching band people, that was the number one step to get all the flutes on board. Then we sent out an interest form and then we had replies and then people started coming.”

Once the primary interest collection was complete, the group could begin meeting and start playing music. Freshman Sonoka Takahashi was one of the flautists that joined the group.

“At the beginning, I think [sic] it was a good opportunity to get to know a lot of other flutes in different grades, even though I knew a few from marching band. It also sounded fun and it was also in the morning, so I could actually do it,” Takahashi said.

Junior Abby Chen echoed Takahashi’s reasons for joining the choir while noting an opportunity to improve her playing skills. 

“I thought it could enhance my music abilities and deepen my interests with flute,” Chen said. “Also, my main instrument isn’t actually flute, so I wanted more than just what I was getting in band. I thought it might be nice to work with just like a specific group of instruments.”

To be able to play as a group, there are two major components: the music and the conducting. For the music, the group is able to buy music through Tri-M fund. Yang explained the music choosing process.

“They [members] will tell us if they have any songs they they want to play and we’ll look for songs on our own […] it’s kind of just whatever we see, whatever we like, we pick and we play,” Yang said.

“Most of us want to play popular songs, or fun songs, or holiday songs, or songs from movies and stuff like that,” Takahashi echoed. “ So I think because it’s student led, if half the people are like, ‘I want to play this song’, then we end up playing it. So, in that sense, it is very different.”

Abby Chen conjucts the Flute Choir (Lisa Wang)

As for conducting, Chen is in charge of ensuring the group stays together. “I kind of conduct the ensemble, I don’t play along. Mostly it’s just me pointing out and then sometimes Grace will give suggestions because she knows more about flute technique than I do.”

Aside from playing music together, the environment draws members back every week for meetings. 

“I like how they’re [the members] all pretty invested in Flute Choir,” Chen said. “They go out of their way [to attend]. We have to wake up for school already, [and] they’re committing to waking up even earlier just to play music with some other people.  Everyone’s really nice.”

Yang echoed the same sentiment. “The underclassmen — the freshmen — they’re really fun, welcoming, chill. It’s just having that Flute Choir community, kind of [that’s my favorite].”

Anastasia Huncik marks in notes into her sheet music. (Lisa Wang)

Takahashi expressed how much fun she has at meetings. 

“It’s always very fun, I think.  We get to do some playing, obviously, and some fun shenanigans […]“ Takahashi said. “I’m really glad I joined. I met a lot of new people. […] It’s like a good way to start out school day, when you have something to look forward to.”

In the future, the Flute Choir intends to perform more at school functions like at concerts or during Mental Health Summit days. They are also working with other instrument choirs in the school to plan events which they can perform at. If anyone knows how to play the flute or wants to learn how and have fun with other flutes, Yang says, “come to flute choir. We’re always open to more members.”

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