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Monday, September 12, 2005

Sep 18 - Trillium Flute Ensemble at St Christopher's Kingsport




In their upcoming concert series Trillium Flute Ensemble will premier an arrangement of an original composition by well-known area musician Beth Perkinson McCoy of Abingdon.  This arrangement of Canzona con variazioni, which means ‘song with variations,’ was especially commissioned for Trillium by Charlotte Ellis for her fellow flutists to honor them and express her appreciation for their dedication to the group’s musical commitment.  “I wanted them to know how special they are to me both individually and as a group,” said Ellis.


Canzona had its birth in 2003, when Elizabeth Upton, who was preparing for her piano juries at Concord College and wished to include her grandchildren, Robert and Eva Kling, on the program, commissioned Beth McCoy to write a duet for each of them.  Canzona, a dreamy song with variations, was the composition for Eva.


When Ellis heard the song performed on the piano at the “Artistic Reflections” program held at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol last year, her fancy was captured by its flowing and poignant melody.  “How lovely this would be arranged for the flute family!” she thought.


So she contacted McCoy, founder and director of the East Tennessee Children’s Choir and the Highlands Youth Ensemble and member of the Greater Tri-Cities Area Composers’ Consortium, and the commission was arranged.


“When Charlotte commissioned me to arrange Eva’s Canzona, I was immediately intrigued because I could do many more things around this melody when writing for ten hands instead of two, though I felt some trepidation because I had never written for a flute ensemble.  I attended a composition workshop taught by Kenton Coe, read lots in Walter Piston’s book, “Orchestration,” and searched the web for information about bass and alto flutes,” said McCoy.  The resulting composition uses piccolo, two C-flutes, alto and bass flutes.


“To arrange it for five flutes I wanted to stay within their range and yet give all the flutists interesting things to play so it would be fun for each one,” reports McCoy.  “The challenge was taking the pianist’s left hand accompaniment figure and rewriting it for six hands!  The joy was adding many more notes and variations – something I could do all day!”


“The main theme of Canzona begins in 7/8 time, then moves to 8/8 and ends in 9/8,” says McCoy.  “To the music aficionado what I have done is ‘remove the 8th beat’ for several measures, then appear to ‘add them back’ in the later measures.  The feeling is one of foreshortened, then extended penultimate beats.  To the listener it seems to match the phrases:  ‘Please don’t go, please don’t go, . . . I have to go, . . . yes, I have to go,’ as if always adding more words before the final word ‘go.’  The melody captures the sadness of this phrase as well, but I never thought of this until after I finished the flute arrangement.”


“It has been very enjoyable for me to write for Trillium Flute Ensemble,” adds McCoy.  “Getting to be a living composer hearing a living group play my music live is a rare treat!  Often composers have no one wanting to play their pieces, and the reverse is even more true – usually musicians are playing the works of deceased composers and cannot ask them about interpretation or tempo.”


“Trillium is delighted with the work and eager to perform it,” said Ellis.


Canzona will be premiered by Trillium Flute Ensemble in their four-concert series and can be heard at the following times and locations:  Sunday, September 18, 3 p.m., at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Kingsport; Friday, September 23, 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Bristol TN; Sunday, September 25, 3 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, Johnson City; and Sunday, October 2, 3 p.m., at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Abingdon VA. 


For more information, contact Charlotte Ellis, coordinator of the group, at 423-323-4933.



Kingsport is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.