With the recent purchase of a $9,999, eight-foot-tall contrabass flute, the music department has been busy and will continue to get busier with the multitude of music performances scheduled in February.
“I’ve asked for one of these every year hoping that we could somehow get ahold of one,” said Catherine Bergman, professor of music and flute instructor. “I think we are the only college in the state now to have a contrabass flute which is pretty exciting.”
As she begins her 18th year of teaching at Emporia State, Bergman said she’s incredibly excited to see what the students can do with the unique challenge the contrabass flute poses. Bergman said the flute was purchased from Flute World so they could guarantee the bid for the instrument since appropriations above 10K have a more complicated process.
”It has the same fingerings as a flute…about two octaves lower,” Bergman said. “Only one student a semester will probably be able to use it so we are having students practice with it to see what they can do.”
While not all the flute ensemble has had a chance to play the instrument, Kayla Leiber, senior flute performance major was able to practice after assembling it with Bergman.
“I’m so excited to have it finally be here,” Leiber said. “We already have other alto and bass flutes, but this is nothing like those.”
Other band members have also heard news of the musical treasure and are excited to have it added to the college’s repertoire.
“I’ve been playing trumpet since sixth grade, and I definitely think music is under-appreciated,” said Maycee Kingsley, freshman elementary ed. major. “It’s really neat that the (music) department was able to get something like this… Other departments get to spend so much money, so I think it's totally worth the money to have something like this.”
While the contrabass flute costs nearly ten thousand dollars, instruments like professor Dawn McConkie’s bass clarinet can cost up to twelve thousand.
“It’s a priceless experience,” McConkie said. “The homogeny that is created by having solely wind instruments perform instead of having to rely on strings for a bass line is incredible...upkeep can be very expensive, so the college usually provides instruments to the students. I wish the cost wasn’t a barrier to their learning.”
According to professor Bergman, the contrabass flute may make its musical debut as early as the Spring Flute Fling at 7:30 p.m., April 23 in Heath Recital Hall.