Chicago Flute Club History

Prior to the existence of the Chicago Flute Club, an unrelated organization known as the Chicago Flute Society (founded by Janet Bergman) was an amateur flute choir in the Chicagoland area. The CFS had enjoyed a long and wonderful run as a club by the time it officially closed its doors.

Later, in the Spring of 1988, Sarah Cifani, Kay Ragsdale, and Mary Stolper, flutists working together in the pit orchestra of the Nutcracker ballet at Chicago’s Arie Crown Theater, dreamed of a forum where they could discuss flute issues, teaching methods, and current events outside of work. These flutists, along with Kaye Clements and Carlyn Lloyd, formed the steering committee to lay the foundations for a new flute organization. They met several times before going forward with its creation. 

They considered various names for the new organization, including the "Chicago Flute Exchange," "Chicago Flute Crossroads," and "Chicago Flute Association." ("Chicago Flute [or Flutists’] Forum" was eliminated because the name Flute Forum was already in use; "Chicago Flute Network" was not used because Flute Network was already associated with a publication; and "Chicago Flute Society" was decided against because of its previous use.) In the end, they chose the name that we are familiar with today: Chicago Flute Club (or CFC).

The Chicago Flute Club became official on September 12, 1989 after the office of Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar recognized the CFC’s status as a Not-For-Profit organization. The original founding five members also served as the initial five members of the board of directors, with Sarah Cifani as the first president. The first meeting of this board of directors took place on September 29, 1989. With this organizational foundation, the CFC began hosting events. The very first Chicago Flute Club event was a lecture recital featuring Chicago flutist/piccoloist Walfrid Kujala on October 1, 1989. 

Since that first event, the CFC continues to grow. The initial Statement of Purpose created by the steering committee established that the Chicago Flute Club was "an organization founded by area performers/teachers to provide a forum for activities of interest to flutists." To honor this, the Chicago Flute Club's official Mission Statement, first recorded in the Spring of 2005, reads, "The Chicago Flute Club is a community of flutists in the greater Chicago area that fosters the highest artistic potential of all its members through teaching, listening and performing." From its inception, the Chicago Flute Club has continually strived to bring flute-related events of interest to its membership and the general public.

First Commission Concert

When the Chicago Flute Club was first incorporated in 1991, one of the stated objectives was to commission new compositions for the flute. This objective was first realized March 14, 2004, at the world premiere of the very first Chicago Flute Club Commission Concert. Martin Amlin was chosen from among a group of 22 juried composers, and was commissioned to write a piece of music for flute and piano specifically for the Chicago Flute Club. From this endeavor Martin Amlin's Sonata No. 2 for Flute and Piano was realized. Mary Stolper, a founding member and past president of the CFC, premiered the piece with Mr. Amlin himself accompanying her on the piano. The program for this concert consisted not just of the performance of the piece, but a medley of small presentations by historically important members of the Chicago Flute Club. Susan Phelps, the president at the time, gave an introduction, followed by Kaye Clements, another founding member and past president, presenting the History of the Chicago Flute Club. Jennifer Oh-Brown, then the vice president, presented the founding members and past and current presidents, almost all of whom were present. After Mary Stolper and Martin Amlin's performances of the work (it was played twice back-to-back), Ms. Stolper instructed the audience on how she worked through the new commission, and Mr. Amlin discussed the process of creating a new work, and answered audience questions. This gala event was held at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago, with a dinner reception immediately following at the nearby Opera restaurant. That evening was both an important and memorable night in the history of the Chicago Flute Club.

It is the goal of the Chicago Flute Club to establish a $50,000 endowment to ensure future commissions. An endowment fund was created in 2003 to support this project, and the Club's first effort brought in over $3,000 in contributions. What an amazing start! This proved something the board has known all along – that the Chicago Flute Club's members have incredibly generous hearts. Since then, members have continued to support and contribute to this fund, though the Club is still far from its $50,000 goal.

If you are interested in making a donation to our Special Projects Fund, please click here. You can help to ensure that the Chicago Flute Club can continue to commission new works in the future, contributing to the repertoire of modern flute music. Since the Chicago Flute Club is a non-profit organization, ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. We thank you for considering contributing to this historic effort.

 

Chicago Flute Club Founding Members:
Sarah Cifani
Kaye Clements
Carlyn Lloyd
Kay Ragsdale
Mary Stolper

Chicago Flute Club Past Presidents:
1989-1990 Sarah Cifani
1990-1991 Kaye Clements
1991-1992 Diane Horban
1992-1993 Lisha McDuff
1993-1996 Susan Phelps
1996-1997 Mary Stolper
1997-1998 Victoria Jicha
1998-1999 Anita Miller Reider
1999-2000 Cynara Cima Pierzina
2000-2002 Jodi Taylor
2002-2003 Scott Metlicka
2003-2004 Susan Phelps
2004-2005 Jennifer Oh-Brown
2005-2006 Polly Hansen
2006-2007 Jessica Garcia
2007-2008 Barbara Klipp
2008-2009 Erin Murphy
2009-2010 Florence Nelson
2010-2011 Jennifer Reiff
2011-2012 Florence Nelson
2012-2013 Jan Frank
2013-2014 Valerie Simosko
2014-Present Jan Frank