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My Instruments, part 1

As flute players, we are so fortunate to be able to play on the same instrument all of the time, unlike pianists who never have that luxury. Between 3rd and 4th year university, I travelled to Victoria, BC to attend masterclasses with Julius Baker, Principal Flautist of New York Philharmonic, in the early 1980's.

Mr. Baker believed I needed an upgrade, that I'd outgrown my current instrument. During the 2 weeks that I was there, he had gone back to New York, and when he returned, he gave me this old Powell flute to try. "Hey kid, try this!", he said. Well, that was quite the eye-opener! I found out that the instrument had originally been owned by Nick Fiore, who had played it as Principal Flautist of the Toronto Symphony for years, and that Julius Baker had bought it from his estate after he died.

When I first tried it, I was thrilled. It was as if the instrument had a soul and it knew all of the music I was playing. I spent hours playing it on that first day; all of the repertoire I could think of, and of course, orchestral excerpts. With those especially, there seemed to be 'memory' in the instrument, like it was imprinted with those excerpts. So very special. Mr. Baker took pity on a poor student and sold it to me for well under its value.

Later, I wrote to the Powell Company and received the Pedigree from them, finding out that it had been made by the original Verne Powell, and was made in the very year that I was born! Destiny. I performed exclusively on this instrument until just a few years ago.

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