Hampshire wins first prize in first national Flutewise competition

Hampshire County Council’s Music Service Flute Choir wowed the judges at the first ever ‘Flutewise’ national competition, beating off stiff competition from three other finalists to scoop the top prize of £300, in the school age category

Aug 2 2017

In the photograph are nine members of Hampshire's flute choir with (back row) Liz Goodwin (director of Flutewise and organiser of event) Carrie Hensel (musical director of Hampshire Flute Choir); and (front row) Gareth Davies (London Symphony Orchestra principal flautist), Gareth McLearnon (flautist, composer and arranger), Clare Jefferis (professional flautist and one half of flute duo, Flute Loops), Abbie Burrows (professional flautist and other half of the Flute Loops duo).
The judging panel, that deemed the 13 strong Hampshire Flute Choir to be the best in the country, included celebrated professional flautists Gareth McLearnon and Ana Pucihar, as well as renowned composer/pianist Blaž Pucihar.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar, said: “Congratulations to our young flautists, who have worked so hard for many months on their set pieces. My congratulations extend to the dedicated staff and teachers of the County Council’s Music Service, who support so many young musicians to take up wonderful opportunities like this. Few areas have the breadth and quality of music tuition, and the range of performance opportunities, that Hampshire schools are so lucky to enjoy.”

Conducted by Hampshire Music Service flute teacher Carrie Hensel, the Hampshire Flute Choir’s winning performances were: ‘The Dolphin’ by Blaž Pucihar, and ‘Walk Like This!’ by Ian Clarke. The prize money awarded is a contribution towards the purchase of a new ‘Trevor James low flute’, which will enable the choir to expand its range of different sounds.

Anya, from Locks Heath said: "I had an amazing time, particularly as I got to chat with the composer of one of our set pieces, Blaž Pucihar, which was very exciting.”

Organised by Flutewise (a volunteer based charity that creates events and courses for young flute players) and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM, a music examinations board), the final took place at the London Oratory School’s John MacIntosh Arts Centre.

The day also included some workshops and activities for the young flautists to take part in, with plenty of opportunities to play music alongside professional flautists and learn from examiners.