FLUTE Member Of The Week
January 24 to 30, 2000

First of all, I'd like to join the choir of flutists thanking Larry, Helen, John and Nelson for making this list possible. You have all been quite an encouragement to me since I joined a year and a half ago, and I thank each of you for sharing your knowledge. Due to the list and new friendships forged here, terrific things are happening. Several members and I (fellow migraine sufferers) have formed a migraine support group -- the TorturedTooters. Other listers have sparked my interest in baroque flute, which I have now taken up with a vengeance.

But to start at the beginning, I'm a Southern California product. I went to school in Orange County, completing my education at the University of Southern California, where I obtained my Bachelor of Music degree. My teachers included Roger Stevens, Louise DiTullio, Burnett Atkinson, Roland Moritz, and later, as circumstances permitted, several lessons with Jim Walker, Walfrid Kujala in Chicago, and Scott Goff in Seattle.


College at USC afforded me the opportunity to do some recording studio and movie work. At that time I became the piccolo player of the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra and played regularly in various other community symphonies. Upon graduating from USC, I played music festivals for several months: the Carmel Bach Festival; the Anchorage, Alaska Festival of Music; and the Peter Britt Music and Arts Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon.

I was swept away with love for Oregon (of course!) that summer, so in September I went up to Portland State University on a graduate assistantship to teach flute and music theory. A more thoughtful person with the kind of start I had in the Los Angeles studios and those orchestras would have remained closer to home. When I returned to Los Angeles, those early opportunities had been taken by others, and I quickly realized that starting over here would be neither quick nor easy. The demands of earning a living were met by taking a job at the Olds Band Instrument Factory in Fullerton, where I coordinated the repair work that came in.

A steady income proved attractive, and I parlayed my music degree and my trusty high school typing class into a series of higher-paying (and ever less music related) jobs. I kept playing the flute, but it was relegated to an on-again-off-again status. This inconsistency was punctuated with furious bouts of practicing as I took auditions for the Denver Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Though I did not make the finals for the L.A. Phil, Zubin Mehta liked my audition enough to specifically request me for extra call work with that orchestra. Thus, some Los Angeles playing contacts became reestablished.

After that I spent a year on the road with the national tour of the musical Pirates of Penzance after having played it here at the Ahmanson Theater. That tour was a truly incredible time, with 4 to 6-week stints in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, San Antonio and New Orleans. That Pirate voyage had its share of storms, and I returned to Los Angeles with faith in Jesus Christ -- a new spiritual identity garnered in a hotel room with a Gideons Bible.

My current fluting consists of playing in a professional-level orchestra at Grace Community Church, acting as leader of the not-yet-famous Kensington Woodwind Quintet, being half of a flute and guitar duo, and playing whatever gigs come my way within several hours' drive of Los Angeles. My other life as a full-time legal secretary, which I resumed after the Pirates tour, has provided a nice financial foundation for me.

At the top of the list of encouraging influences on my decidedly sporadic flute career is my husband, composer Allen Davis. Besides writing for films, stage shows, commercials and flutes, he teaches college here in Los Angeles.

My hope for aspiring flutists who read this is that your career will be marked by consistency in your practice, true encouragement from friends, teachers and family, one or more great flutes to play on, a very personal relationship with God, and *maybe* some sort of second means of earning a living as a fall-back measure -- just in case your very biggest flute dreams don't come true exactly as you had planned!

Paulie Davis


Return to Featured Member Archive