Have flute, will travel

DeWayne Bartels

The basement of the Dingledine Center for the Arts at Bradley University was a cacophony of noise at 6:45 p.m. May 24.

Musicians with every instrument imaginable were turning up before a practice of the Peoria Municipal Band. Among those tuning up was Metamora resident Angela Loring. She plays the flute.

At 7 p.m., the din turned into a mellow and rich sound as practice got underway. Loring’s eyes flickered from the page of music before her to the conductor.

It marked the beginning of her 11th season with the Peoria Municipal Band.

Not too busy

Loring, 33, works part-time at Kidder Music in Peoria and gives private flute lessons in her home.

She is going to be busy this summer with her private lessons.  

“For the summer, I will have 18 flute students as well as a junior high flute choir and beginning flute class,” she said.   

Despite that busy schedule, she makes time for the band.

“While attending Bradley University, I participated in Symphonic Winds.  Dr. David Vroman was the conductor for Symphonic Winds, and he would talk about the municipal band at the end of the school year and invite us to attend the summer concerts,” Loring said.  

“I successfully auditioned for an opening while still in college and played for three years. My husband and I moved out of the area for music teaching positions, so I left the municipal band for those years. But I was fortunate that there was another opening the summer after we returned back to Peoria, enabling me to audition again and re-enter the municipal band.”

She said playing has always been a joy, but is intensified in the municipal band because she sees family and friends at the concerts, including her two young children.  

She said, it is a commitment.

“Our season runs from late May to early June through mid-August. We rehearse for three hours on Monday evenings and perform on Wednesday and Sunday evenings throughout the summer and sometimes on Friday evenings for special performances,” she said.

But, the work and sacrifice, is worth while to her.

“I enjoy making music, so it is fun to be able to play in an ensemble that works hard and is full of people that love music,” Loring said.

“Playing throughout the summer strengthens my personal playing and provides an outlet for me to play and still spend time with my family and friends.”

The beginning

Loring started playing the flute in fifth grade in the Pekin Grade School Band Program.  

“I participated in concert band, marching band and jazz band throughout junior high and high school. I started taking flute lessons my junior year in high school from Denise Cooksey,” Loring said.

“I now have the opportunity to sit next to Denise the entire summer with the municipal band. I continued studying flute at Bradley University with Dr. Kyle Dzapo, majoring in music education and flute performance.”

She chose the flute for family reasons.

“Being from Pekin and having two older brothers participate in band meant attending many parades with my parents and always the Marigold Festival Parade,” she said.  

“I remember the marching bands being my favorite part of the parades, and I always focused on the flute players as they marched by.  When I had the chance to try the flute I immediately loved it and knew it was the wind instrument that I wanted to play.  I will always remember my first school lesson and opening the case for the first time.”

Favorite music?

Asking Loring to name her favorite type of music is a question she cannot answer.

“I can honestly say that I don’t have a favorite type of music, as I listen to many different styles of music, from classical and jazz to movie and Broadway sound tracks to rock and contemporary Christian.  I never quite know what to expect when my iPod shuffles through the library,” she said.

But, she can say she has grown as a musician through her municipal band experience.

“The musicians and our conductor set high expectations for the performance quality of our ensemble, and I really enjoy expanding my abilities as we rehearse and perform together,” Loring said.

“I really enjoy playing with the Peoria Municipal Band. I believe this is such a great offering for our entire community, both for players and audience members.”