Here is an example of a Girl Scout Gold Award project for those of you wanting to encourage your girls to continue in scouting. It was done by my daughter, so I’m not prejudiced at all about how wonderful it was. Below is part of her final report to the Austin Flute Society describing her finished project for them.
YOUTH FLUTE ENSEMBLE TRIAL PROGRAM REPORT
By Catherine Ott
This fall semester, I organized a group of young flutists from Westwood High School into a trial flute choir program as my Girl Scout Gold Award project. The purpose of this trial program was to see if having a general youth flute choir was workable for the Austin Flute Society. My conclusion is that the program is both practical and valuable with a few adjustments from my original plan.
There were five participants in the trial program. Other students were interested in joining but could not commit time on a regular basis due to academic requirements or transportation issues. We had rehearsals every Tuesday morning at Westwood High School in the band hall. Immediately before our four performances in December and January, we also had a few afternoon rehearsals at my house. We performed an assortment of Christmas ensembles, primarily duet and trio arrangements in different groupings, at the Renaissance Austin Nursing Home, Austin North Assisted Living Home, and Heartland Health Care Center. Our audiences ranged from twelve to twenty people.
Several aspects of my trial program went really well. The nursing homes really enjoyed having us perform and they all wanted us to come play for them again. All the students who participated had a great time and loved being able to play fun arrangements. It gave students who otherwise didn’t have a way to continue performing on the flute, usually because they no longer fit into the band program at school, an opportunity to play. Everyone improved her performing skills. These students all joined the Flute Society and are now members. In addition, they all got service credit for the IB or NHS programs at school. The band directors generously supported my program by letting us use the band hall and coordinating with me on times for rehearsals.
There were some challenges I had to overcome in managing this test program. Many of them were the result of the fact that this program is meant for teenagers, who have incredibly busy schedules, both during the day and evening, and often can’t transport themselves from place to place. Planning performance dates that would work for everyone in the group was difficult as was arranging transportation to and from the performances. Some students who wanted to join couldn’t because it took rehearsal time to prepare for performances or they could not make rehearsal times. The fact that we all attended the same school with similar schedules and relatively convenient rehearsal and performance sites was extremely valuable. In spite of that, I had to be very flexible in order to make it work at all. I do not believe that one large flute choir for the entire city would be possible given these constraints. More flexibility is needed. In addition, none of the nursing homes we performed in had large meeting rooms, so our small group fit the space and audience size well. A large citywide flute choir would not have been able to perform in these local venues.
The youth flute ensemble test program was a huge success and I hope that it can be continued as a permanent part of the Austin Flute Society. Everyone involved benefited. However my original concept of a citywide flute choir, which works well with adults, would be more attractive, practical, and beneficial implemented as smaller, more localized youth ensembles. I recommend organizing the youth flute choir program by having private lesson instructors run smaller flute ensembles in their own areas of the city. There could then be one mass performance of all the ensembles at the end of the school year. Students may not be able to travel across town for regular rehearsals but they would probably be able to do one performance that was far away each year.
© 2014, Margaret. All rights reserved.