Flûte Alors!, an ensemble of four new-generation recorder players from Montreal, will perform in Kindersley on Feb. 27.

Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

Jeanette Jackson of Kindersley has worked with local groups to bring a quartet of musicians to town that she says will have people thinking twice about the recorder.

Flûte Alors!, an ensemble of four new-generation recorder players from Montreal, is scheduled to perform at the Norman Ritchie Community Centre on Feb. 27 starting at 7 p.m. The evening performance is being presented by the Kindersley Rotary Club.

There will also be a performance in the afternoon for the students at Westberry Elementary School. The school has a Grade 4 recorder program, and members of Flûte Alors! are running a special recorder workshop for the school’s Grade 4 students after they finish their afternoon performance.

The evening performance is open to the general public while the afternoon performance is just for the students.

Any proceeds from the evening performance will help support projects for the school and Rotary Club.

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Jackson, who spearheaded the effort to bring Flûte Alors! to Kindersley, said the group’s music is interesting because it helps to legitimize the recorder as a musical instrument. The members are dedicated to pushing the limits of the recorder and expanding the instrument’s repertoire, according to their website.

There are no advanced ticket sales, so people must pay at the door.

As told by Jackson, the story of how the concert came to fruition began in February 2017 when she was in Saskatoon and she attended a Flûte Alors! concert with her daughter. Her daughter was a part of the Grade 4 recorder program at Westberry, so she thought it would be nice to take her to see professional recorder players after seeing a poster about the concert earlier in the day.

The ensemble was performing its Bach ‘N’ Jazz concert – the same show they are presenting at next week’s performances. Jackson said the ensemble is called Flûte Alors!, but the group’s members all play recorders. She said it might be surprising to people, but the musicians play recorders for a living.

“There are four people in Canada who make a living playing recorders,” she said, recognizing the group’s members are those four people and she thought it would be nice to bring them to Kindersley, in part, due to the school’s recorder program.

Jackson said she bought an album and the group’s members signed it, and they were very personable. The group’s members talked to her daughter, who had been playing a recorder, and she said it changed her daughter’s perspective.

Her daughter went from playing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Hot Cross Buns to playing music by composers including Handel and Mozart after seeing Flûte Alors! in Saskatoon, Jackson said. Her daughter is also starting to play popular modern selections by ear since being inspired by the concert, so she no longer sees the recorder as a starter instrument and she is exploring it as a real instrument, she said.

The group’s performance in Saskatoon was being sponsored by Prairie Debut, an organization that works to bring classical musicians to the prairies to help promote the genre. The group was a Prairie Debut selection for Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils members in 2016-17.

Jackson said she contacted Flûte Alors! by email to ask if the group would consider coming to Kindersley to perform for local students. One of the members told her the group had shows booked in Edmonton for February 2018.

She was told the group was looking for another show and members are happy to perform at schools. She said she attended a Kindersley Culture Plan meeting where a town official told her she could apply for a Kindersley Community Initiatives Program (KCIP) grant to help cover the cost to get Flûte Alors!.

However, a non-profit organization had to apply for the KCIP grant. Jackson said after talking to various organizations, the Kindersley Rotary Club agreed to apply for the KCIP grant. The club was awarded the grant.

The Kindersley and District Arts Council agreed to provide funds to help pay for the school performance along with the KCIP grant, Jackson said. She noted that the school could not help with the costs, but the school’s administrators supported the idea and the School Community Council for Westberry is covering the costs of the recorder workshop.

Jackson said people could look up Flûte Alors! tour dates and the group tends to perform in places such as Edmonton, Vancouver, Banff and Jasper, so it is a rarity for the ensemble to perform a one-off concert in a smaller community.

“If you think that the recorder is a cheap, plastic instrument that sounds bad, come watch Flûte Alors!,” she added, noting that a recorder is just as much an instrument as a piano or guitar and the group uses various types of recorders. “They were entertaining. It was fascinating.”