What is the most important lesson you have learned from trapeze? In my very first flying trapeze class, I noticed that approaching the bar stimulated feelings very similar to performance anxiety. Having the opportunity to experience this many times over the course of a couple hours allowed me a unique opportunity to become familiar and comfortable with my responses as soon as they would start to arise. Eventually, I learned how to calm my level of arousal, or utilize the energy to heighten my performance.
Why did you choose to play the flute? Initially, I wanted to play saxophone or cello, but I wasn’t very good at either of them. Though reluctant to try the flute, I knew instantly where to place all of my fingers and was able to create a beautiful sound without any instruction. Since then I have grown to LOVE the flute and can’t imagine ever playing anything else.
Are other people in your family musicians? My father was an extremely talented, rock ‘n roll drummer who toured heavily through the midwest and performed with a handful of famous artists, including Hank Williams Jr.. While I am now the only living musician on my side of the family, I married into an extremely musical family that I have been performing with since high school. Diana Sherry (mother in-law) teaches at MacPhail School of Music, Wes Luke (brother in-law) is Concert Master with LaCrosse Symphony, Jesse Luke (brother in-law) plays cello with Cedar Falls Waterloo Symphony, Ginny Luke (sister in-law) is a recording artist in LA.
Why did you start studying Body Mapping? As an undergraduate music major, I was struggling with pain and discomfort early on; to the point where I felt like I was spending as much time stretching my neck or shaking out my hands as I was playing my flute. When Barbara Conable came to my school and presented the course, “What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body,”® I experienced immediate and profound results. I knew immediately that I had to learn as much as I could about Body Mapping.
Who is your favorite composer? Claude Debussy. I love the colors that Debussy creates with his orchestration; and the way that orchestration allows us, as performers on modern flutes, to play with many different tone colors. One of my dreams has always been to play Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune with an orchestra.
What quality do you admire most in your Fying Flutistas partner? I have always admired Vanessa’s unrelenting optimism & her insistence on reaching for the stars. She never loses sight of the big picture and what’s most important. She also has crazy, rocket-speed fingers that keep me in awe.
When you’re not playing flute or flying on the trapeze, what is your favorite thing to do? I love to create and I love to move; be it work or play. I really get into cooking large meals or mixing exotic cocktails for friends & family, practicing Bikram (hot) Yoga, and playing around with my first niece, who I moved halfway across the country to be near.
A funny fact that most people would be surprised to learn about you: Even though I’m a fantastic cook, I couldn’t make a decent pot of coffee if my life depended on it.
Degrees: Bachelor of Music in Performance, magna cum laude, University of Northern Iowa, Dr. Angeleita Floyd. Master of Music in Performance, with distinction, Royal Northern College of Music, Peter Lloyd.