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UW-Eau Claire to Host International Native American Flute Association Convention

RELEASED: June 3, 2008

INAFA logoEAU CLAIRE — The 2008 International Native American Flute Association Convention will be held July 9-13 at the Haas Fine Arts Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The five-day event will be sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire department of music and theatre arts and hosted by Eau Claire's Clear Water Flute Circle.

The goal of INAFA is to foster the preservation, appreciation and advancement of Native American flute. INAFA members, musicians, music enthusiasts, educators, members of the Native American community and the general public are invited to the multicultural musical and educational event.

The convention will feature performances by Grammy-caliber performing artists and day classes with recognized specialists, as well as vendors offering flutes, percussion instruments, music, crafts and more. Vendor areas will be open to the public at no charge.

Evening concerts will feature several acclaimed artists per night, including R. Carlos Nakai, Bill Miller, Frank Montano (Anadwad), Kevin Locke, Joseph Firecrow, Coyote Oldman (Michael Graham Allen and Barry Stramp), the Peter Phippen Quartet and others.

The convention will be a huge international event, said Peter Phippen, an Eau Claire resident who has attracted a national audience in the 10-plus years he has played ethnic flutes.

"Some of the heaviest hitters in the Native American flute world will be here, along with the best of the up-and-comers," Phippen said, noting this will be his fourth INAFA convention.

Among the artists who will appear are three performers that Phippen considers the most important innovators in the Native American flute world.

"If it weren't for R. Carlos Nikai, Coyote Oldman and Kevin Locke, most people would never have heard of Native American flute music," Phippen said.

In addition to performing with his quartet, Phippen will give a lecture on world flutes, a subject on which he has become an authority. He credited one of his teachers, the late Dr. Richard Payne of Oklahoma City, with instilling in him a passion for learning about the history of flutes. Payne — a physician, avid collector and historian, and an author of papers and books on the Native American flute — is credited with saving the Native American flute from extinction by returning flutes from his collection to Native Americans.

A rock musician for years before encountering native flutes, Phippen credits UW-Eau Claire emeritus professor of art Tiit Raid with first getting him interested in the instrument.

Jane Wolf, owner of The Silver Feather in Eau Claire and a member of the Clearwater Flute Circle, said she is excited about the convention.

"Two years ago, a group of us went to the convention in California because I never dreamed it would eventually come to Eau Claire," Wolf said. "The performers are so incredible and when we were there I was blown away by the way they could get up together on stage in an impromptu way and just play together. They were just so good."

Wolf said she's also excited that Wisconsin will be well represented in this international gathering by Phippen, Bill Miller and Frank Montano.

Tim Lane, a flutist and professor of music at UW-Eau Claire, invited INAFA to have the convention in Eau Claire, Phippen said.

A $75 advance registration fee will allow access to all day classes and performances, including evening performances, throughout the convention. Per day attendance options also are available. Evening concert tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

For a complete schedule of events or to register or purchase tickets in advance, visit their Web site or contact Dr. Kathleen Joyce-Grendahl of INAFA at 757-651-8328 or



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