Check to view full bios on all
members (more to come).
In the fall of 2002, I was
attending a Heritage Festival in Old Town Spring when
I heard the most beautiful music. I was captured completely
by its haunting sound. I don't remember the name of
the Native American gentleman that played that afternoon,
but my husband and I sat for about 3 hours on the
sidewalk just listening to him play. That Christmas,
I received my first Native American flute. The flute
maker was Raymond Redfeather. My Native American flute
journey began. . I've been involved in music for most
of my life. I began playing classical silver flute
when I was a young teen. Music is something that comes
from deep in your soul. The simplicity of the NAF
opened up a new realm of creativity for me. It broke
all those inhibitions and allowed me the
express what is inside my heart. My music is inspired by
family and friends and stories that have been shared
with me about some of their life experiences. Sometimes
it is just a thought or feeling that spurs a new
song but my music always tells a story. I know that
as long as I can draw a breath, I will continue
A few years ago, I ran across a quote that sums
up how I feel....
"With my breath my flute makes sound,
But it is the breath of God
that gives it voice
to touch the hearts of those who will listen" .
As a teenager I played trumpet.
In college I took up the classical guitar. I received my first Native
American flute Flute in 1992. One of
the attractions to the flute was finding that I could
improvise, play what I felt, and create my own songs.
I got together with my friend, Gene Fritts who plays
guitar,and we made our first CD, "Spirits of the Canyon".
We call our group Anhinga. The CD was a dream come
true for me. A couple years later our second CD, "Turquoise
Visions", came out and we are now in the process of
making our third CD. Our first 2 Cd's can be found
Talking Taco Music label or you will find them on
ITunes. Samples to our third CD "Morning"
can be found on our website
I've been very excited about the CDs.
I stopped keeping track of sales after we hit the
40,000 sold mark. Playing the Native American flute was really only
a start as it lead me to other world instruments.
I also play the Shakuhachi, the Didgeridoo, the
transverse Bamboo Flute and the Bansuri. I am most grateful to what the
Native American flute has opened up for me. The
"Spring Cypress Flute Circle" has given
me a chance to join with others who love the sound
of the flute, to play the other instruments I love,
and to make friendships that are brought together
by the love of music.
I was given my first Native American flutes by my cousin Eleanor, in 2001. She gave me some of her beginner flutes, and also gave me my own new turtle flute for my birthday. I didn't "get it" at first. Eleanor was in Colorado, I was in Oklahoma- there was no one to guide me. I was a piano player as a child- very visual- reading music. I am not Native American so I had no relationship to the traditional songs or ceremonies. I didn't seem to be able to play from my heart....
Then I heard Mary Youngblood's Beneath the Raven Moon
and attended her weekend concert/workshop in Norman,
OK. I also got to meet Dr. Richard Payne and see his
flute collection that weekend.The flutes have made
sense to me ever since!
have attended many workshops and retreats that have
helped my technique. I have been able to take classes
with famous great players and flute makers. The
NAF community is really special that way- famous
recording artists are still accessible at workshops.
Talk about inspiration! I have learned so much about
the history and revival of the flutes from academically-inclined
researchers. The members of our flute circle also
spark inspiration in me. Each player truly shares
their heart in their playing, and we all appreciate
the songs that emerge- from beginners to experienced.
We all play differently, like our lives have all
been different. That is the fun of the flute circle-
it is a completely mixed-up group (pun intended~!)
I thank my cousin Eleanor, the great teachers I have met at workshops, and cherish the players in our flute circle for encouraging me to take up the flute and let my own music emerge!
My name is Heather Stacy
Byford and I am a new member to the flute circle. I was born
in Houston, Texas, and have lived in an around the
city my whole life. I am 33 years old and have had
a lifetime of experiences for my age. I have two boys
that I love very much.
My flute journey began with my marriage to my late
husband Chris Byford, who died in 2003. Chris loved
music. He played a guitar and opened my heart to music.
I found peace in the sound of the NAF. I decided to buy a small
ten dollar flute while me and my kids were away on
a road trip from the gift shop of Natural Bridge Caverns.
It was only an assembly line replica but I tried to
make it sound beautiful. I went online and found other flutes and decided to order one from Cedar Spirit Flutes.
When I received my flute from Cedar Spirit Flutes,
it was like a veil had been lifted. Never having any
formal training, I just played...it was magic. My
dream was that
we could grow closer by playing together. Less than
a month later Chris passed away at the age of 29.
I was broken. After the funeral, I did not play again
for at least a year. I would not play my flute, I
would not even turn the radio on. About a year later
I picked my flute up and began to play, putting all
my sorrow and pain into the notes. After the song
was over and tears had ceased, I began to heal. The
music healed my heart and made me happy again. Now
I play it all the time. My kids love it. I enjoy it
and it gives me a connection to Chris as well as my
own Native American Heritage. It has become part of
my life. I am getting better every day about playing
where people can hear me. .
I was born and raised in New
Jersey. I attended Bucknell University for 2 years
to study Psychology/philosophy. I was also trained
in secretarial work at Katherine Gibbs Secretarial
School in N.Y.C. In my lifetime, I've had the opporunity
to travel to over 60 countries. I am very active in
my retirement. I swim at the Y about four times a
week and walk 2-3 miles almost every day. I am also
secretary of a book club, have a music video group
of which we study the great masters like Mozart, play
bridge once a week, and I'm in a once a month mah
jong group. I am just starting my Native American
flute journey. When I read the recent article in the
newspaper about the Native American flute Circle,
I decided to see what it was all about. It sounded
like a lot of fun and
I would enjoy. After one meeting with this group I
was hooked and knew that I had found something beautiful.
So, although I'm just starting my journey on the Native
American flute, I'm really looking forward to see
where the journey takes me.
I began playing the silver
flute at the age of 12. In 1994, we met Butch Hall
at the Trade Days Sale in Weatherford, Texas. That
day my Mom bought me my first Native American style flute...a Butch Hall Gm.
several years I played the flute at my church and then in 2006
I found this flute circle. I now have a very nice
collection of flutes including tin whistles, Native American styled
flutes, silver flutes, and a new toy- the electronic
WX5. I am a Jesus-freak home-schooling' mama.
Jerome Poyer - Flute Maker
The first time I heard the
flute I was in my 20's. My Mom had gone back to the
reservation. She brought back 2 CD's: Douglas Spotted
Eagle "PRAY" and "Red Thunder". As I heard the Navajo
chanting, I could feel the power of my traditional
music with the flutes. The first flute I heard live
was while I was in Louisiana with an Apache girlfriend.
When the guitar was added I knew that was the music
I wanted to be part of. After 20 years of admiring
the flutes, and about 15 years of playing I've started
to make flutes. The first flutes I made won 2 awards
at the Sunwatch Flute festival in Idaho in 2008. (Thanks
to Larry of Mockingbird who helped me). I have been
making Navajo jewelry and now making flutes for about
I received the Richard W. Payne Scholarship 3 year's
in a row and was able to study Music Theory at Richland
College, Richardson TX.
I'm originally from Arizona and moved to Texas in 1986. I am married and work as a Police dispatcher. I love music and play lots of different instruments. I am not good at any of them but when I picked up the bamboo flute I was in love. I want very much to learn to play better. I enjoy everyone else's playing.
I've been playing the flute for about 4 years. I also teach Tai Chi and I love to play the flute as my students practice their Tai Chi.
Music has always been an important
part of my life. I especially enjoy folk music and
playing the various instruments that go with it, which
include the Native flutes. I first heard the NAF being
played, some years ago, at the Texas Folk Festival
in Huntsville, TX. I immediately fell in love with
the NAF and I knew it was an instrument that I really
wanted to learn to play. It's so easy to play and
you play from the heart, which makes it very peaceful.
I grew up playing recorders and piano in Germany. I discovered American folk music several years ago when my mother-in-law gave me her mountain dulcimer. After reading an article about the Spring Cypress NAF Circle in the local paper, I became intrigued and bought my first native American flute, a Butch Hall "Little Horse" A minor.
Felker - picture to follow
I'm a retired United Methodist Minster. Two years ago I filled in for a preacher in NW lower MI at a Native American United Methodist Church called Greensky. After preaching there, a member of the church made me a flute. I have been learning the flute ever since. I spend my summer in Michigan and my winters in Texas. My six grandchildren and eight step-grandchildren are the light of life.
I began playing the flute after I met Cindy Scott and heard her play the flutes at Carrie's Coffee Mill in Conroe TX In 2006. It was an intense experience. I purchased my first flute from Butch Hall. I drove up to Butch's shop in Weatherford Tx twice before I purchased a flute. Butch helped me find the right flute in the right key. I got one of his concert G's. I play a lot at home.I love the challenge to master the subtleties of the NAF. I transposed a number of songs and hymns that I love and they are on Flutetree.com. I recently bought a second Butch Hall GM flute. I work in the pharmaceutical industry.
Mike Jones - Flute Maker
"I only make flutes from
several types bamboo and cane. I also make ocarinas.
I personally harvest and prepare locally grown bamboo.
In 2004 I started by making a flute from native local-grown
rivercane as a special Christmas gift for my sister-in-law.
Since then I have made and gifted numerous flutes
around the world and have taught bamboo flute making
workshops. I actively participate in online groups
to assist new flute makers to improve their craft,
as well as mine. I consider James Gilliland as a friend
and mentor to me in this craft. I am a local member
of the Spring/Houston Flute Circle. I am always open
to making customized flutes, especially to accommodate
special needs of the player as I see this as a way
to aid in
the proliferation of this wonderful instrument to
Bill Warner - Flute Maker
In 1995 while on a trip to
Taos, New Mexico I visited a store that sold drums
and flutes. The sound and the fine woodworking of
the flute caught my attention. This began my journey
with the Native American flute. Upon returning home
I researched many information sources on the making
of the flute. I ordered numerous books and purchase
tools. The first ten years I honed my skills as a
flute maker. I sold flutes and made many others. My
main interest was starting a business of making and
selling flutes. In 2008 I met flute maker Maurice
Bigham and he shared his philosophy on making and
selling flutes. Since that meeting, my main interest
has been on making flutes for myself. now have flutes in
every place in
the house and shop! I still sell a few flutes but
my main emphasis is on making the flutes for me. It
gives me a lot of joy to gift flutes to other flute
lovers. My hope for anyone who has one of my flutes
or for any flute maker is to enjoy the journey of
the Native American flute.
Larry Evans - Flute Maker
I first discovered NAF's
at my oldest daughter's wedding. Art Running Bear
was playing the flute at dawn after an all-night tipi
ceremony. He pulled out another flute and just offered
- " Do you want to try?" The wedding was at dawn and
the sounds of the flute as he played at the lodge
prior to the wedding ceremony sparked a new passion
in me. The passion grew from there. Later, since I
couldn't afford to buy a flute, I made one and I have
been making them full time ever since! I played bass
in high school and later played in rock and roll bands.
Music has always been my passion, but for 30 years
I couldn't find a way to make a living at it- now
I get to live my passion!
Dave Heckart - Flute Maker
While vacationing through
Utah and Arizona in 2008 with my wife Lois and friends,
we drove to Monument Valley to take in the stunning
desert scenery. Afterwards, we stopped to visit a
gift shop located on a Navajo reservation. As I entered
the shop, I could hear a flutist playing in the background
on a CD. The music was so soothing, that I had to
check out the instruments that produced such hypnotic
music. I don't remember who made them for that shop
but they were beautiful looking and also very expensive.
As I studied one, and since I'm a woodworker, I said
to myself, "I bet I could make one of these and save
myself a lot of money". The idea stuck with me. I
returned home, and after a lot of research and talking
with other flute makers, I began
to make my first
flute in the key of "G". After many hours of frustration
and time, I was finally able to produce a playable
flute. Making that first flute gave me a whole new
appreciation and respect for the flute makers of the
flutes that I saw in that shop on the Navajo reservation.
Since then, I've been hooked on making flutes and
continuing to improve the process. Fortunately for
me, I found a flute circle right in my home town of
Spring, Texas where I have been able to meet other
players, share ideas, and enjoy the music of some
really talented people.
A few years back, my varied
hobbies and studies led me to wanting to learn to
craft and play Native American type flutes. My first
flute was built from a mail order kit. With no one
to teach me, the flute "adopted me" and taught me
to "play from the heart" Through the internet NAF
Flute Forums, I was able to meet fellow Flute Circle
member and neighbor Mike Jones. Mike was mentored
in his craft by Jim Gilliland. While the basics are
the same, Mike and Jim specialize in bamboo flutes,
while I decided to specialize in branch type flutes,
made from natural tree limbs. My further mentoring
in branch flutes came under the hands of the OzarkGuru,
John Suttles. Mike introduced me to the
the Spring Cypress Flute circle and it has been a
wonderful journey of fellowship and learning. My flutes
are engraved with the name Tejas Medicineman. Though
not a drop of American Indian blood in me, the nickname
came from being an Army Medic and noted for carrying
a huge medicine pouch in the field. That was followed
by a life time of work in the medical field as a physician
sales person. That, along with the healing studies
of the Spiritualist Church and a long association
with Native American history and cultural studies.
Today, flutes from my hands by law cannot be called
Native American Type, but by other names, such as
North American style flutes. This is done to respect
the great heritage of the people that were the origin
of the Native American Flute which is unique in construction
in all the world to only the American Continent.