Flute choir with strong Towson-area connection readies for Orlando, Fla., performance next month
By Courtney McGee
Jul 18, 2018 | 5:00 AM
A local group of talented musicians, the Baltimore Flute Choir (BFC), will perform next month at the National Flute Association convention in Orlando, Fla. Chosen from a field of more than 500 entries, BFC has proposed a program titled “Music from Baltimore: Our Reply,” inspired by eminent composer Leonard Bernstein, who once wrote, “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
The program will feature selections by Baltimore composers, including a premiere by Douglas Buchanan, who was commissioned to compose a work to honor the flute choir’s founder; Brian Balmages, a Lutherville-based composer with prominent national recognition, and former Baltimore resident Chris Norman.
BFC was founded in 2004 by Laura Weatherington, who’d been taught by Sara Nichols at Towson University. In 2014, Weatherington brought in Nichols as director.
“Many members are my former students,” says Nichols. “I’m thrilled they have continued to perform and grow as we share our gift of music with the Greater Baltimore community and beyond. The choir has grown tremendously, both in size and artistry.” Collectively, the group has more than 600 years of flute experience.
Most of the ensemble’s members live in the Towson area or attended Towson University. They rehearse at St. Ursula’s Catholic Church in Parkville, and perform at area churches, retirement homes, festivals and benefits for organizations such as the Humane Society and Towson Library. A recent performance for Johns Hopkins Children’s Center was particularly moving.
Headed to Orlando are: Kristi Aho, Myra Brosius, Laurel Ewell, Alisa Fried, Nancy Haney-Mudd, Klodina Kabashi Morina, Erin Mellott, Jessica Merrey, Janet Zeisler Miller, Stephanie Moore, Sara Nichols, Russ Osborn, Lori Ramser, Martha Seay, Michael Snead, Erin Villamizar, Laura Weatherington and Daniel Weyandt.
Among the group are flute teachers and university music faculty, a cyber-security expert, an environmental planner, a grad student, an annual fund manager, a pharmacist, a mammography technologist, a theater director, an actuary, a medical coder, a minister, a physicist, a retired engineer and a retired budget analyst. They form a diverse family, bonded through music.
Many members repeat similar sentiments about the choir. Aho says, “I enjoy the great camaraderie with a high professional standard.” Brosius adds, “The BFC is a nurturing place to share the joy of making music together.” For Fried, “it’s a creative and accepting space.” Haney-Mudd says, “It’s meaningful to perform at fun places while continuing to grow musically.” Moore calls BFC “a great way to keep up my flute skills and keep music in my life.” Merrey notes, “It allows me to improve a skill that I started in the fifth grade.”
The group is ready for the Orlando conference. Seay is anxious “to show everyone that Baltimore is a big-hearted, resilient, arts-oriented city that is working hard to offset the violence with our passion for music.” Ramser quips, “It’s an honor to represent Baltimore, and share our talent with fellow flute nerds!”