It started when two Native American flutists, teacher and performer Betty Acker and new flute player and aficionado Tom Russell, decided to form a Native American Flute Circle in Rim Country to promote interest in the instrument by presenting monthly programs/meetings. As word got around, more of Betty’s students came, as well as folks who attended just to enjoy the music. The programs were held in Tom’s Highway 260 office.
Last month’s meeting brought 25 people to the limited space.
Good neighbor Majestic Mountain Inn came to the rescue by offering the use of its meeting room and future meetings will be held at 2 p.m. the first Sunday of each month (next program this coming Sunday, July 7) at Majestic Mountain Inn, 602 E. Highway 260. There is no admission charge, but a donation of $1 per person is suggested to cover set up and cleaning costs.
Highlight of the programs, of course, is the music. Not only is the Native American flute known for its hauntingly beautiful traditional sounds, but the versatile instrument is also used in numerous other musical programs, such as jazz, country and western, blues and classical.
“This is one of the easiest instruments to learn to play,” Tom says. “There are only a few notes on the flute, but by using half hole techniques, you can get even more out of the instrument.”
Betty was trained on the classical flute and became interested in the Native American flute 10 years ago. “On the classic flute, I always felt restrained because I had to play what was written on the page. I first heard the native instrument at a farmers market, and was immediately intrigued. When I began playing the native flute, it opened up the whole world to me. Whatever you have inside of you that you want to come out, people will hear,” she explains.
Learning begins with one on one private lessons aided by “Understanding The Gift,” a textbook with CD written by John Bames. Betty also gives brief lessons at the monthly meetings. Among other features of the program are discussions of history of the centuries-old flute and flute making.
Native American drummers are invited to attend and participate in the music-making.
To learn more about lessons or the Flute Circle, call Betty at (602) 625-1696 or Tom at (928) 474-1233.
Enjoy playing Mexican Train? Join the fun from noon to 3 p.m. every Tuesday at the Senior Circle, 215 N. Beeline Highway. If Mahjong is your game, set aside 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
Pinochle is played from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Circle. Bridge lessons will resume in the fall.
An AARP Driver Safety Training class will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, July 13 at the Circle. To register for the class or for information about the above or other activities, call (928) 472-9290.
Payson Senior Center
The Senior Center will be closed July 4 and 5 in observance of the holiday.
Legal assistance for seniors provided by Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens offers legal services beginning at 9 a.m., Tuesday, July 9. Advance appointments are required and may be made by calling (928) 474-4876 or at the Center Lobby, 514 W. Main St. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
What is one of the best things to do on a summer day? How about a picnic in the park? That’s what the Senior Center has planned for Friday, July 12. Put on your sun visor, cool and comfortable summer clothing and get ready to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch outdoors! Advance reservations required. No lunch will be served at the Center that day.
New players are always welcome at the noon to 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and Friday pinochle games at the Senior Center. For information, call Len at (928) 472-9302.
Harry and Joan Young are July’s Volunteers of the Month.
Think about it: You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. (Erma Bombeck)
Happy 4th of July, everyone!