By Peggy Doerrie, UMFA Historian
In January of 1979, flutists from the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, the Minneapolis and St. Paul Civic Orchestras, as well as freelance flutists, flute teachers and flute students met to form an association which would bring flutists together for concerts, workshops, and other programs of particular interest to flutists. The association provides a common meeting ground for professional, student and amateur flutists, and it works to support and enrich the local flute and music communities. The name “Upper Midwest Flute Association” was chosen so as to include a broader base than simply the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The organization is entirely volunteer-run with an Executive Board of Directors voted in by the membership. The activities of the organization are supported by membership dues, individual and corporate donations, and grants. UMFA is incorporated as a tax-exempt organization.
So much has happened over the years within the Upper Midwest Flute Association. There was a logo contest during the first year. An UMFA Ensemble Music Library, consisting of trios, quartets, quintets and music for larger combinations of flutes was also set up. UMFA owns alto, bass, and contrabass flutes for use at UMFA events and can be rented out by members. UMFA has presented a wide variety of activities throughout the years, and it has built collaborative relationships with other arts organizations to build the local flute community. Throughout the year, the board works to provide events and programs such as lectures, demonstrations, workshops, recitals, master classes, Flute Choir Showcases, parlor concerts, pedagogy panels, and activities for students such as the Laudie Porter Memorial Competition, a Young Artist Competition, and Honors Flute Choirs.
In 1987 the Upper Midwest Flute Association developed an annual day long “Flute Fest” featuring an outstanding guest artist who offers both a Master Class and Recital. The Flute Fest also includes other educational and performance events, as well as flute-related exhibits by our corporate sponsors. Many members of the organization share their professional expertise by leading and participating in UMFA sponsored events. We are fortunate to have incredible local flute talent within this community. UMFA’s lifetime members have earned this distinction through sustained exemplary service or contributions to UMFA and the art of flute playing.
UMFA works to enable performances of new and unusual repertoire for the flute as well as traditional literature. The organization has commissioned and premiered new works for flute, often by local composers. The board is building a scholarship program to help support local flute students in their musical studies. This includes special Marathon Concerts at the Mall of America. We hope to continue providing wonderful opportunities and resources for this region’s flutists for years to come!