FLUTE Member Of The Week
April 12 to 18, 1999
Hello everyone! As a charter member of the FLUTE list, I am happy to introduce myself to the wonderful folks who've been an inspiration to me for the past few years. I could write a testimonial about "how the FLUTE list has changed my life," for I truly have been inspired by all of you to do greater things as a performer and teacher. In return, I'm happy to help with reference questions. I live in Tallahassee, Florida, the state capital and home to Florida State University, where I am employed as a library music cataloger.


I grew up in LaGrange, Georgia, with a father who was an enthusiastic amateur musician and a mother who describes herself as a "good listener." We always had classical recordings in the house, and I was encouraged to begin piano lessons at age seven. Four years later I joined the school band and added the flute to my practice schedule. LaGrange didn't have a flute teacher then, so I worked through the Rubank books on my own and listened to Rampal records. Apart from the occasional lesson at a music camp, I didn't study privately until college.

When I entered the FSU School of Music, I knew that I had many bad habits to overcome. I tried to soak up every bit of information I could find. My teachers, mostly graduate students, included Steve Geibel, Debbie Harris, and Hal Ott. In addition, I studied for two years with Carl Bjerregaard and for one semester with Charles Delaney.

After receiving my Bachelor of Music Education degree from FSU in 1987, I taught band in two Georgia school systems, then returned to Tallahassee to work on my Masters degree. After graduating the second time, I realized that I wasn't terribly eager to return to public school teaching, so I took this library job and discovered that I loved the work. What does a cataloger do? I make sure that the scores and sound recordings in our extensive music library are properly referenced in the online catalog. Since I work at a computer terminal 8 hours a day I have instant access to our catalog and other references. That's how I come up with those names and dates so quickly!

When I leave the office every afternoon I begin my "other life." I have a tiny studio, which fluctuates between 5 and 10 students, and I also coach once a week at a high school. My goal as a teacher is to help my students avoid the bad habits I developed while learning on my own. Also, I have been performing with Ethan Schaffner, a guitarist, for the past two years. We perform at weddings and receptions and have developed a sizeable repertoire. You can visit our embryonic web site at www.pd.net/duo.

In addition, I am the musical director for Theatre a la Carte, and have conducted many shows, including "Me and my Girl," "1776," "The Secret Garden," "Company," and "La Cage aux Folles." When I have an opportunity, I also enjoy performing for musicals. Obviously, it's difficult to conduct and play at the same time, so I play in the pit for other companies. Yes, I'm one of those weird people who actually enjoys playing in odd keys, schlepping around 4 or 5 instruments, and coming home late at night. I just love the excitement of putting together many disparate elements to create a live performance. Sometimes it's just short of total chaos, but that's what creates the adrenaline rush.

In my free time, I like to create original recipes (which are often edible,) read, sew, swim, attend theater productions, and provide a lap for my large tabby cat. My boyfriend is also a creative type, who owns a mail-order yo-yo and juggling equipment business. I can't juggle worth a darn, but I can "walk the dog" and go "around the world" with a yo-yo. As I often say, I don't lead a "normal life," but it's certainly an interesting one.

Sarah Hess


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