A Review of Flute Haven 2011
by Randy Motz, Pat Smith, and Bob Gonder, LCPC,
with additional comments by Jeff Svengsouk and Jackie Rogers
- Randy Motz — Weekend Program
- Pat Smith — Six-Day Program
- Bob Gonder, LCPC, Jeff Svengsouk, Jackie Rogers — Leader Program
[Bob] What I came to Flute Haven with was a desire to learn some new facilitation skills and an open mind to receive whatever showed up. What I left with was an overwhelming feeling of capriciousness and an understanding that this is what life could be like all of the time if I didn’t take it so seriously.
[Randy] Amidst the eclectic setting of the small hamlet of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Flute Haven fit right in. In small groups, housed in intimate settings, we were not only taught the intricacies of the Native American flute, but were encouraged to experiment with a wide array of world percussion instruments. It was here that I discovered the Hang, a hauntingly resonant form of drum that, as I played, lulled me into prolonged moments of peace and relaxation with its dulcet tones.
[Pat] Think of it. Ear candy for eight hours a day!! Flutes (solos, duets, ensembles), drums, percussion for accents, guitars, didgeridoo, saxophone, voices – all accompanied with body motion! Truly a total mind, body and spirit experience for a week. Wow! The icing on the cake: the friendships and camaraderie of like-minded Native American flute players fostered through informal breakout sessions, informal jam sessions and fun-filled exploration in facilitated sessions. What is not to love??
[Bob] I arrived on Sunday evening for the facilitators track. Within hours of registration I was given permission to be child-like, encouraged to act silly, and told that no matter what I did this week; it would be okay. The goal was to get comfortable leading groups, increase our skill sets, and to work with whatever energy showed up. The staff at Flute Haven was amazingly gifted in their ability to not only teach us a variety of techniques and methods, but also at modeling the behaviors that they were preaching so vehemently. There was just an air of patience, tolerance, and total acceptance that I haven’t found in too many places. And of course everyone was always smiling!
The people that you meet at flute gatherings are almost always genuine and trusting souls, and the folks that came to Flute Haven were no exception. By the end of the first evening of the facilitators track there was already a strong sense of cohesion. This feeling carried into the week and permeated into the groups that joined us on Tuesday and Friday. People were taking risks, being supported, and laughing … lots of laughing! I particularly enjoyed being able to learn a new skill at 1pm and then turn around and use it on stage at 7pm. Talk about on-the-job training!
[Pat] The incredible talent of the staff enables each person, regardless of playing level, to learn, explore, discover, and grow in a positive, supportive, non-judgmental environment. Why wouldn’t I want to create in this place and time with all of these fellow musicians?
[Randy] Clint Goss, Vera Shanov, Ron Kravitz, Eric and Lynn Miller, and their accomplished staff of instructors and facilitators brought a special magic to Flute Haven. Through their combined efforts, we were taught to not only play the music, but to feel the music and become part of what we were playing. The end result was that our music became a reflection of who were are and what we were feeling at the time.
The crowning achievement of Flute Haven, along with the camaraderie that grew among the attendees, was the comfort we all felt in performing at the Open Mic events. After hours of developing our skills in the non-threatening and non-judgmental environment fostered by the staff, the music simply flowed from our souls, through our fingers, and off the stage. There were simply too many memorable performances to count.
[Pat] Each year I come away with new ideas, better developed techniques, more freedom to step out of the box and create my own musical voice, and greater confidence to share this remarkable instrument with others. My sharing includes playing background music for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network events, American Cancer Society Relay for Life Luminaria ceremonies (remembering and honoring cancer survivors), playing at church services and retirement communities, assembles for school children, teaching children who have a family member with cancer how to play the flute, most recently planning and securing funds to teach blind veterans at Hines Hospital to play flute and finally working with three friends to create and release a CD – Spirits on the Wind.
Native American flute is a big part of my life. Again, what is not to love about Flute Haven and the Native American flute? Flute Haven draws me in every year and releases me with music in my heart and new friends in my life.
[Randy] Though I was only able to attend a shortened, weekend version of Flute Haven, I came away with an abundance of knowledge and a wealth of new techniques to perfect. I can only imagine how much I would have learned had I been able to attend all week. I cannot wait until Flute Haven 2012.
[Bob] By the end of the week we were completely exhausted. There was a sense of sadness that Flute Haven was ending. We had made new friends, grown together in both spirit and musicality, and created peace through music. It doesn’t get much better than that … I would recommend Flute Haven to anyone!
[Jeff] A week after Flute Haven, we had our first Finger Lakes Flute Circle meeting using my newly acquired facilitator skills. My wife, Lisa, said it was a lot better compared to prior meetings, with more activities and involvement, and ending with people energized and wanting more after an hour session.
Tracks from past participants: