I live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina with my husband, Tommy, and our three dogs. Our home is located at the base of Spivey Mountain and surrounded by woods, brooks and wildflowers. Since I was brought up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, I am right at home living in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains.
I started my studies in flute when I was about ten years old and went on after high school to major in music at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, New York. I didn’t finish my college years there, though. I left Crane and college life after my first year and it was not until I was almost 40 years old that I finished my Bachelor of Music degree at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. On the way to finishing that degree I became interested in biology and so went on after my music degree to complete a master’s degree in biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I taught college biology for a short while and then my husband retired from his career as an electrical engineer with Duke Energy, and we moved to our home in Asheville. The house we live in had been Tommy’s parents’ home during their retirement. We added a large post and beam great room (see picture below) and we’re sure we’ll live in this wonderful house for the rest of our lives.
In Asheville, I tried to take a different approach to flute playing. I was tired of the music world and the competitive spirit which pervaded it, especially among flutists, although I had been as much a part of this as any flute player. I decided I would play my flute again, but only if I really, truly enjoyed it. I started looking for places where I could play for free. I played at church services, in the community band, for musicals, and didn’t worry so much about whether I was “the best,” or whether I was paid, but instead concentrated on enjoying it and letting others enjoy my playing.
Little by little my playing skills returned and I began to wonder, what would happen if I actually practiced a little bit? (Instead of sight reading everything!) I had made the mistake in previous years of “forcing” myself to practice for hours on end and it had instilled in me the idea that practicing was distasteful.
I heard of a teacher at Western Carolina University, Dr. Eldred Spell, who was Professor of Flute and taught flute repair. After attending a masterclass of his, I decided to enroll in the Master’s program at WCU. Little did I know what this would lead to! Under Dr. Spell’s teaching and encouragement I improved my flute playing and performance demeanor and I studied flute repair with him for two years. He is a marvellously patient, kind, and generous teacher. I started working as a flute tech while I was still at WCU and that is how Flutestar began.
I am now involved in many varied flute activities. Flutestar has grown constantly and is a big part of my life. I am the president and founder of the Mountains of Asheville Flute Ensemble which performs several concerts a year. I perform regularly with the flute ensemble, at Biltmore House, sometimes with Kingsport Symphony of the Mountains or other local orchestras, and volunteer (playing flute) at the local Mountain Area Hospice. I paint watercolors of flutes and piccolos, have a few flute students, sell flutes, and repair flutes. I will travel to Hungary in May with four other flutists from the eastern U.S. to tour and perform.
It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be able to provide customers with the finest used flutes anywhere. My repair work on flutes and piccolos must stand up to my own rigorous standards and since I’m a flutist myself, I’m not happy until the flutes I work on respond to a light touch with full breath support.
Anybody who knows me, knows George, my springer spaniel. He greets everyone who comes for repair or to look at instruments.
Darion, my grandson
|Amanda and Andy|
|These are my two children at Amanda’s graduation. She
graduated Summa Cum Laude at the University of Central
Florida at Orlando. Got her brains from me. Andy, who
looks like an escaped convict in this picture, is a personal
trainer in Washington D.C. He’s just applying for admission
to grad school.
Here I am with Morningstar Flutes, June 2006, in Szeged, Hungary. Left to right are me, Roberta Beckler, Janet Reinholz and Georgia Dimaano.