Like many Boston College student arts groups, the BC Flute Ensemble saw its performance schedule end abruptly last spring with the COVID-19 lockdown—an immense letdown to graduating seniors like Alyson Wong, who had looked forward to capping her satisfying stint as a member of the group (also known as the Flute Choir) with one last performance.
“We had already decided on our repertoire for our final concerts and had a piece specifically featuring us three seniors,” said Wong, a Needham, Mass., native. “It was disappointing not being able to do that and enjoy the culmination of four years of playing together in this group.”
But Wong, along with fellow 2020 grads Cassandra Pearson and Maryana Dulmaska, got a measure of redemption recently when they joined the ensemble and its director, Judy Grant, to put together a performance for the World’s Largest Flute Choir Showcase, sponsored by The Flute Society of Washington as part of its annual Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention. BC was among more than 50 ensembles from across the United States to take part in the showcase, which was presented via the Flute Society of Washington’s YouTube page.
With each member playing remotely, the BC Flute Choir recorded an approximately 15-minute set that included Pachelbel’s famous “Canon in D” and Boismortier’s “Concerto in A Minor.”
Grant said being one of only seven collegiate flute ensembles chosen for the Flute Choir Showcase, and having Wong, Pearson, and Dulmaska involved made the experience even more rewarding.
“The confidence and leadership of the returning alumni was very helpful for the freshmen and other new members of the flute ensemble. The alums are wonderful role models as players and as people. To bring this group together was definitely a silver lining to the pandemic.”
Aside from its remote video performances of holiday music last semester, the showcase was the BC Flute Choir’s first virtual recording project of more complex classical music, Grant noted. “It was a leap of faith, it was hard work, and it was also fun. Although nothing can replace the magic of in-person music making, we were grateful to make music together in this capacity. It was absolutely rewarding on so many levels, and brought much joy to this challenging year. The BC Flute Ensemble players did a superb job, my hat is off to them.”
“Being able to take part in the showcase definitely provided some closure and satisfaction,” said Wong, now working as a lab coordinator in BC’s Psychology and Neuroscience Department. “It provided us with the opportunity to play together one last time and was an absolutely wonderful and enjoyable experience.”
Not having played her flute for nearly a year, Wong found the preparation for the showcase challenging, especially since the showcase required a performance-quality level. The group had little time to prepare and do their recordings, she added, “but everything came together very nicely in the end.”
“The showcase video warms my heart because it represents how important music is in a time like this,” said Pearson, a Chatham, NY, native now working at the Berkshire Music School. “Even if we are worlds apart, music still has the power to bring us together.”
Sean Smith | University Communications | March 2021