Regional Flute Ensemble to perform in Hungary05.18.2006
Morningstar Flute Ensemble, a quintet of flutists from four states, will make a concert tour of Hungary this spring. The whole family of flutes — piccolo, C flute, alto and bass flutes — will be showcased in their performances.
Born of a desire to play wonderful music in some of the world's beautiful but distant places, Morningstar was formed by local flutist Charlotte Ellis. "I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to play in other countries with a larger group," said Ellis, "but traveling as part of a small ensemble really makes my heart sing."
Joining forces with Kingsport resident and devotee of fine music, Mike Bus, to make this dream a reality, Ellis formed the group and handled the music details, while Bus, a native Hungarian who is accompanying the group, took care of travel arrangements. "Some of Mike's relatives and friends are musicians in Hungary and have been very helpful to us in our concert arrangements," Ellis said.
Morningstar's other members are Janet Reinholz, Tennessee; Nancy Shinn, North Carolina; Georgia Dimaano, Pennsylvania; and Roberta Beckler, New Jersey. The group will be accompanied by pianist Alice Jane Young, Pennsylvania.
"We began to feel rather like family when we gathered for our first rehearsal in Blountville and Mike told us first hand about this beautiful Eastern European country and cooked us a most delicious Hungarian dinner!" laughed Ellis.
Morningstar's repertoire is quite varied, embracing classical, sacred, Celtic, folk, and contemporary works by both historic and living composers. "One of our 30 repertoire pieces is Canzona con variasiones, a lovely piece arranged by Beth McCoy of Abingdon last year for our local group, Trillium Flute Ensemble. Beth will be traveling with us, and it's nice that she will be along to hear the international debut of her piece," Ellis continued.
In addition to playing in Budapest, Morningstar will perform at music festivals in the cities of Szeged and Pecs. "We will perform one piece jointly with the winners of a Hungarian flute competition," Ellis noted. "Dawn of Peace is a beautiful selection composed by Mark Pope, stepson of my friend Mary Pope, who founded and coordinates Grace Notes Flute Choir in Maryville, Tennessee, with whom I also play. Mary was very supportive to me as I formed a similar group here, and I am most grateful for her encouragement."
"Morningstar is named in honor of my mother, Martha Bird, who, when I was a small child, would wake me and carry me out into the darkness to marvel at the beauty of the morning star. Thanks to her, my life from my earliest memories has been filled with music, and she has always encouraged me in that endeavor," Ellis concluded. "I'm delighted that she and Dad will also be traveling with our little group of 14, which includes a few more family and friends, and I hope that our music will be a small token of thanks for their investment in me."