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Carey Hurst conducts members of the Brentwood's Beautiful Flute Choir during a practice session at Liberty Union High School in Brentwood, Calif., on Monday, March 31, 2014. The flute choir will perform a concert on April 12th at 1 p.m. at Byron's United Methodist Church. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

BRENTWOOD -- Music enthusiasts who have attended performances by the Brentwood Concert Band are already familiar with the flute choir that is part of the band and plays one or two of its own musical selections.

Those who have enjoyed the flute choir but have left wishing for more are in for a treat because on Saturday, April 12, Brentwood's Beautiful Flute Choir will hold its first solo concert, sharing the program with the bell choir from Byron Methodist Church. The free concert is at 2 p.m. at the church.

The idea behind the concert is to hear a selection of pieces written and arranged specifically for piccolo, flute and alto flute, and the community-based group has been working on the music since last summer, led by conductor Carey Hurst, who also is co-conductor of the Brentwood Concert Band, band director at Liberty High School and choir director at Heritage High School.

"Our purpose is to share our music, and this will be the first time our group has put on a separate concert," Hurst said.

"We just thought it would be nice to do a lot of flute songs at a concert for people who say they'd like to hear more."

The flute choir was started about 10 years ago by Melody Sever, and Hurst took over as conductor almost eight years ago, when Sever moved out of the area.

The size of the group varies but averages eight to 10 members who range in age from high school students to those who are retired, and all come from the Brentwood area.

"They all just come together and want to play flute music. It's just playing some really beautiful music, and it sounds so nice," Hurst said.


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"You have all the different timbres; the piccolo is the really high sound, the flute is the middle range, and the alto is just a little bit lower."

The music for the concert was selected based on the ability levels of the choir members and the kinds of sounds and mixes of music that people like.

One piece will be "Four London Trios" by Joseph Haydn, a classical piece Hurst described as "very bouncy, toe-tapping, fun music that's very predictable."

An impressionistic piece, "Madrigal" by Philippe Gaubert, is written in four- part harmony with beautiful sonorous blended harmonies.

"After you hear this piece, you just go, 'Wow, I didn't know flutes could sound that amazing,' " Hurst said.

The six members performing April 12 include charter member Dorothy Strauch, Lynn Tiemeyer, Tamara Dayton, Julie Hubbard, Marsha Hamacher and Erika McNeal.

They will also perform several pieces by contemporary composer Catherine McMichael, including two movements from "Falconer."

"McMichael writes some really nice flute choir music that covers all the different flutes; really folksy things," Hurst said. "We'll be doing 'On Seeing Castle Stalker' and 'Snow on Ben Nevis.' "

Sharing the concert will be the Celebration Ringers, a handbell choir founded

in 2008 by Rose Marie Forment. The eight ringers include Julie Aumock,

Jan Hewitt, Bonnie Larrabee, Cyndy Lemyre, Stephanie Lemyre, Lolly Miller-

Branda, Sandy Ring, and Dort Strauch, who use Malmark handbells created in

Pennsylvania. Each bell is a different size, resulting in a different note

and the bells are tuned chromatically, from one to six octaves or more, depending on the size.

"The thing about participating in a handbell choir is that most of the time any given note is played by only one person, as opposed to a choral choir where notes are sung by a group of people, so a good performance relies on each person playing quite precisely in coordination with the rest of the choir," Marsha Hamacher, the director, said. "This is a challenge, but one we enjoy and we have great fun rehearsing and performing."

The ringers will perform "Let All Things Now Living," a traditional Welsh melody, "Celtic Farewell" by Linda Lamb, "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," and two movements from the Woodland Suite by John Dare, "The Haunted Forest" and "Dancing Spirits."

Brentwood's Beautiful Flute Choir hopes some in the audience might be encouraged to root out their flutes and join the group.

All that's necessary is confidence and willingness to practice.

"A couple of people in the group hadn't played their flutes for years, since high school.

They heard about the group and asked if they could join," Hurst said. "They got their flutes out, and now they're playing in the group, they practice, and they're awesome!"

IF YOU GO

What: Brentwood's Beautiful Flute Choir and Celebration Ringers handbell choir

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 12

Where: Byron Methodist Church, 14671 Byron Highway

Cost: Free

Info: 925-634-1411. The choir rehearses from 6-7 p.m. every Monday in the Choir Room at Liberty High School, 850 Second St., Brentwood. Anyone interested in joining the group should call Carey Hurst at 209-627-5105.

if you go
What: Brentwood's Beautiful Flute Choir and Celebration Ringers handbell choir
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 12
Where: Byron Methodist Church, 14671 Byron Highway
Cost: Free
Info: 925-634-1411. The choir rehearses from 6-7 p.m. every Monday in the Choir Room at Liberty High School, 850 Second St., Brentwood. Anyone interested in joining the group should call Carey Hurst at 209-627-5105.