By Peggy Doerrie, UMFA Historian
(last updated: Nov 2014)
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. A listing of past programs provides a sampling of the quality of activities that this exceptional organization has presented. 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. Initial 1979 Honorary Lifetime Memberships were awarded to Donald Berglund of St. Olaf College, Emil Opava, principal flute emeritus of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Emil Niosi, flute/piccolo with Minnesota Orchestra. For their contributions to UMFA other Lifetime Memberships have since been awarded to Cyrille DeCosse, Russell Dedrick, Susan DeJong, David Eagle (in memory of), Elaine Eagle, Adele Lorraine, Polly Meyerding, Family of Laudie Porter (in memory of), Mary Roberts Wilson, and Peggy Doerrie.
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, and activities for students such as the Laudie Porter Memorial Competition, a Young Artist Competition, and Honors Flute Choirs. UMFA developed an annual “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. UMFA works to enable performances of new and unusual repertoire for the flute as well as traditional literature, and the organization has occasionally commissioned and premiered new works for flute, often by local composers. Currently the board is building a scholarship program to help support local flute students in their musical studies. We hope to continue providing wonderful opportunities and resources for this region’s flutists for years to come!