In celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Hot Springs Flute Ensemble will host a Gala Concert with guests from Sigma Alpha Iota and the Village Chorale on Sunday at the Oaklawn Event Center.
"Getting to 40 years with an ensemble like this in a small town is really incredible, and we decided we really wanted to celebrate," Jackie Flowers, executive director and president of the flute ensemble, said Tuesday.
The concert will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the guests from Sigma Alpha Iota singing novelty numbers about tea, according to a news release from the flute ensemble. The flute ensemble and chorus will follow with performances of "Magic Chords" by F. Buchtell, Mozart's "The Magic Flute Overture," and "Eternal Springs" composed by Lewis Kocher on commission from the flute ensemble for the group's 30th anniversary.
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"We had ('Eternal Springs') commissioned for us for the 30th anniversary, and that's the only time it's been performed," Flowers said. "And we wanted the public to hear it again, and it's very representative of how we started as a group.
"Because it starts with only three flutes, and that's what we started with, and then it adds some more C flutes because the alto flute weren't hardly even invented yet. And then the bigger flutes started to come in, so they're added more in the piece as we go along. And then the bass flutes are added, and then contrabass flutes are added. So, it's quite an experience hearing all of that blend together and grow and grow," she said.
Flowers was one of the founding members of the flute ensemble 40 years ago, when she had first moved to Hot Springs, she said. She and her husband owned a music store and taught music, with her teaching the flute.
"Some of my students were better and were able to play harder music, so we got a couple adults in the community organized," she said. "And for a while, we had two separate groups. We had a student group and an adult group. ... And then we combined the two groups, and we started to play for nursing homes. And that was one of my goals was to do non-profit work in the community since I'm a nurse also."
The ensemble will also pay tribute to Oaklawn with a number called "Horse Park" by Sonny Burnette, and the grand finale will include both the ensemble and chorus performing "The Sound of Music" together, the release said.
Money raised from the event will go toward the flute ensemble's student scholarship fund, from which at least one student is awarded a waive of membership fees and mentorship from the ensemble. The organization recently received an endowment donation of $10,000, which the group is trying to match with fundraising efforts by the date of the concert, Flowers said.
"We'd like to have an endowment so that the interest on it would pay for the student each year," she said.
Tickets to the concert are priced at $30 and can be purchased on the ensemble's website at https://www.hotspringsflutes.com or at the door, Flowers said.