The Woodbridge Flute Choir, currently directed by Debbie Gilbert and assisted by Lisa Sheldone, has 25 members who play flute, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute and contrabass flute. It was founded in 1996 by Rebecca Jeffreys as an outlet and learning experience for volunteer adult flutists and has progressed from a music group with a modest background to a serious performance ensemble.
Since its inception, the WFC has presented a regular concert series in Northern Virginia and has performed at charitable and gala events, Flute Society of Washington events, and flute choir festivals. The Choir has performed at the Kennedy Center and the White House, and most recently was invited to perform at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 National Flute Association Conventions. In April 2018 the Choir performed at the first International Low Flutes Festival.
As part of its mission to educate its members and the Washington area flute community, the Choir has sponsored masterclasses and performed with internationally acclaimed flutists such as Per Oien, John Barcellona, Tadeu Coelho, Chris Potter, Alexa Still, Thomas Robertello, Aaron Goldman, and piccolo soloist Nan Raphael.
In recognition of the need for new music written specifically for flute choir, the WFC has commissioned and presented world premieres of original works by Gretchen Morse, Nancy Wood, Lee Larsen, Mel Lauf, Jonathan Cohen, Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda, Russell Nadel, and Greg Lutz.
Since March 2009 the Choir has held an annual Concerto Scholarship Competition for high school flutists. The WFC awards the winner with a scholarship and the opportunity to perform a concerto with the flute choir. Applications for the competition can be found on a link on our home page.
The group has produced four commercial CDs – Butterfly, Woodbridge Suite, Passages and A Silver Christmas. All are available for download either on CD Baby, iTunes, or through amazon.com.
A flute is a musical instrument that is shaped like a thin pipe and is played by blowing across a hole near one end of the pipe. The flute is one of the oldest man-made musical instruments. In 1998, archaeologists in Slovenia found a two holed flute made of bone and estimate its age at 50,000 years old. Our modern flutes are now made of silver, gold, platinum, wood and even plastic and have lots of keys.
The piccolo is half the size of the concert flute and is pitched one octave higher. The sound of this little instrument can soar above a 75 piece concert band. You are probably most familiar with the sound of the piccolo from Sousa’s famous march, "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
The concert or C flute is the instrument that most students will start with in band. It is pitched in C and its range is over three octaves, starting from middle C.
The alto flute has a wider and longer tube than the standard C flute so it sounds lower. It is pitched in the key of G. The lowest note of its range is the G below middle C.. The alto flute sound is described as mellow and the alto flute is now a standard in jazz.
The bass flute evolved during the 1930’s and 40’s with the rise in Hollywood music. It is pitched one octave lower than the concert flute. The tube is twice as long as the concert flute so it has a curve in the tube to bring the tone hole closer to the player.
The contrabass flute is a newer addition to the flute family. It is pitched two octaves lower than the concert flute. Its tube is so long that the flute has two curves and the flutist plays the instrument while standing.