FLUTE Member Of The Week
December 20 to 26, 1999
While I am a Materials Engineer by profession for a faucet manufacturer, Moen, my avocation is music and the flute. In many ways, I feel that this is the best of both worlds for me. I am able to make my living in a field that always held scientific appeal for me and can fully enjoy my music, as I am not dependent upon it as a source of income.

I started playing the flute when I was in the fifth grade. For unknown reasons, my parents were convinced that I wouldn't stick with it and required quite a bit of convincing before they would allow me to try it. I Guess they were mistaken on that account, as I am still playing 20+ years later!

I continued to play the flute throughout high school and into college. However, during my undergraduate years, I began to dislike playing in ensemble due to conductor issues, and finally quit playing altogether, choosing to focus entirely on obtaining a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Several years later, I began to realize how much I missed playing and decided to pick up the flute again, only to be very disappointed at how poorly I played at that point! I later returned to Cleveland for graduate school and began working on M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science, focusing on the area of corrosion. During this time, I cautiously contacted the Music Dept. at the university about ensemble opportunities. I was fortunate to meet Dr. Gary Ciepluch, who restored my interest in participating in ensembles, my faith in conductors and gave me the opportunity to participate in the CWRU Symphonic Wind Ensemble throughout my graduate school years. Taking a break from the lab to go to rehearsal was a welcome change and probably kept me sane through grad school!

In the midst of graduate school, I saw a reference to the National Flute Association. I found the Flutist Quarterly in the college library and saw that they had a convention. I set off for my first NFA convention in Boston, not knowing a single soul. Helen Spielman and I met there and she graciously let me tag along with her at the convention. We've been friends ever since and I've been at every convention since thenůmeeting more and more nice folks every year, including many Flute List members at the annual dinners.

I continue to take flute lessons as I love learning new music, skills, etc. I have been very fortunate to study with Heidi Ruby-Kushious for the last several years, which has allowed me to advance my skills further and most importantly, to focus on playing musically. Far too many times, the analytical side of me takes over and the result is not necessarily musically appealing!

I was also searching for performing opportunities following graduation since I then had more "free" time. I am playing 2nd flute in the Lorain Civic Orchestra and have played in the Flautrageous flute choir, and various trios, as well as a duo called the "Shrinking Material Girls" with fellow list member Dr. Tyson Merrill. I attended William Bennett's masterclasses at Wildacres as an observer and participated in the Skidmore Summer Flute Institute at Saratoga Springs, NY this year. It was a wonderfully "flutey" summer. Additionally, I recently purchased a used Powell piccolo (~20 years old) and am now delving into the wonders (or perhaps horrors?) of picc playing. I have also recently taken on the position of newsletter editor for the Greater Cleveland Flute Society (GCFS) and am thus becoming interested in the workings of MS Publisher and of other flute clubs/societies.

Brenda Trautman


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