February 7 to 13, 2000
The highlight of my life as a flutist was this last August (1999) when I premièred Ray E. Luke's Sonata for Flute and Piano. Dr. Luke, former Professor of Composition and Composer-in-Residence at Oklahoma City University and former conductor of the Oklahoma City Symphony, is the recipient of several international awards and numerous commissions. (If you are familiar with bassoon repertoire, you might know his Bassoon Concerto, recorded by Leonard Sharrow.) The commission was generously supported by the Oklahoma Flute Society, The Brannen-Cooper Fund, Oklahoma City University and many flutists and other musicians. The entire process of learning a brand new work, playing it for the composer for the first time, and finally performing the première was an amazing adventure for me! The Sonata is not yet published, but I hope it will be soon as it deserves a substantial place in our repertoire.
Another memorable experience was performing Michael Hennagin's Sonata for Flute and Piano and making a presentation on the Pedagogy Potpourri session at the 1998 NFA Convention in Phoenix. I've been attending conventions regularly since 1992, and to be on the participating side was both daunting and thrilling! I would never have dreamed I'd be doing any of these things with my flute when I began college at Oklahoma City University as a piano major with flute "only for fun." I'm sure it shocked my teachers when I wanted to change majors (and many times later I wondered if it had been a mistake, but I don't wonder about that any more.) I owe so much to my teacher there, Eleanor Duncan Armstrong (now at Penn State University) who has continued to be a supportive friend and mentor.
I met my husband, percussionist Lee Overstreet, in college and we moved to Chicago for a year so he could get his master's at Northwestern. While there I worked in a record store, studied Alexander Technique and studied flute with Zart Dombourian-Eby (piccoloist, Seattle Symphony) who was a doctoral student at that time. Then we moved to New Mexico where I had the privilege of studying with Frank Bowen for my master's degree. Frank was an amazing performer and teacher who exposed me to Moyse's teachings and taught me how to listen. His untimely death in 1991 tore my heart.
We moved back to Oklahoma to be near Lee's children, and my piano background proved to be the lifesaving skill! I built a large private studio of mostly piano students, did a bit of accompanying and freelancing, and became very active in local music teachers' associations. We began adopting cats and I learned to play tennis. Lee played a variety of jobs and became a regular with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, but when management killed the orchestra (in it's 50th year!), he went back to school to learn computer programming. About this time I began teaching piano part-time at a university and realized two things: I really enjoyed college teaching and I really wanted to be teaching/performing flute, not piano! So, ten years after I finished my master's, I was back in school working on a doctorate! I'm indebted to Valerie Watts at the University of Oklahoma for supporting my work there and helping me make some major changes in my teaching and playing.
So that brings us to where we are today, here in Oklahoma with the aforementioned children grown and living in California! We now have six cats and enjoy playing tennis at every opportunity. I'm fortunate that my parents are still in good health and live nearby, and I love that they come to all my performances. I still feel like my career is on the verge of beginning--there is always something new to practice and learn!