Sally Daganzo began playing the flute in the 4th grade when she joined her elementary school band. She quickly took to it and was invited to be a founding member of the school’s woodwind quintet. She studied privately from grade 5-12 and along the way played in the Bay Area Wind Symphony, attended the Hayward La Honda music camp, competed in the Mendelssohn Youth Flute competition and played first chair in the band at Bishop O’Dowd High School. She moved on to study Physics and Chemistry at UC Berkeley where she earned her BS and MA, and then attended medical school at UCSF. In 2011 she moved with her family to Maui where she practices internal medicine as part of the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group. Sally was ecstatic to find the Maui Flute Choir in her backyard!
The Maui Flute Choir was founded in July 2011 with the intent of giving Maui flutists of all ages the opportunity to play in a unique-sounding ensemble. The group usually performs without a conductor, a unique experience unlike that of a band or orchestra. It requires that the musicians watch each other and give cues or downbeats, as well as tempo changes. Parts are rotated so that there is no one musician designated as first flute, providing everyone a chance to become a well-rounded ensemble musician as well as a confident soloist and leader. Repertoire ranges from arrangements of classical and jazz works to original pieces composed for flute choirs. In 2012, the flute choir was invited to play at the Romero Family Foundation concert at the Steppingstone Theater; the same year, they performed at the Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra’s winter concert. More recently, in 2014 they played at the first TedxYouth@SeaburyHall event, as well as the main stage of Queen Ka’ahumanu for a winter performance. Each year the flute choir puts on two open rehearsals or casual concerts.
Peggy Schecter, founder and director of the Maui Flute Choir, earned her Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Julius Baker, principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Schecter, recipient of a Fulbright award, continued her education at the Paris Conservatory, as well as studying privately with the international soloist Jean-Pierre Rampal and with the acclaimed French soloist and pedagogue Marcel Moyse.
She has made multiple recordings, including “The Art of Bel Canto” with Richard Tucker for Columbia Records, and has participated in the Marlboro, Spoleto, Casals, Grand Teton, Rockport and Mostly Mozart Festivals.
She was a founder and artistic director of the N.J. Chamber Society, and served on the Board of the N.Y. Flute Club, for which she directed their Young Flutist’s Competition.
Additionally, Ms. Schecter served as principal flutist with the Queens Symphony Orchestra and performed with such groups as the New York City Opera, N.Y. Metropolitan Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New Jersey State Opera. She was a guest artist with the Guarneri String Quartet at Lincoln Center.
For 20 years Ms. Schecter was a visiting Specialist at Montclair State University where she taught flute and founded and directed the MSU Flute Choir. Ms. Schecter can be heard on the Columbia, Nonesuch, Pantheon, Premier, and Opus One labels. She currently serves as principal flutist with the Maui Pops Orchestra, the Haleakala Chamber Orchestra, the Maui Chamber Ensemble, and the Maui Chamber Orchestra, while maintaining a class of private flute students. In July of 2011 Peggy founded the Maui Flute Choir.
Karina Bhattacharya, influenced by her older siblings, began to learn music at the age of nine. She participated in the summer music program at Doris Todd, and performed with the school’s intermediate band under the direction of Mr. Noel Kuraya. Karina was first chair in the Maui Intermediate Select band for the 2011 to 2012 season. She attends Baldwin High School, where she plays in the Wind Ensemble. She joined the Maui Flute Choir in January of 2013. Along with the flute, Karina plays piccolo, clarinet, and is beginning to learn piano.
Alesha Menor is a 18 year old first year at University of Hawaii at Manoa, and has played flute for six years. Alesha was a member of MYPO (Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra) from 2009 to 2013, and joined the Maui Flute Choir in 2011. Her main instruments are piccolo and flute, but she also plays piano and alto saxophone. She was a member in King Kekaulike’s Wind Ensemble, Na Ali’i Big Band, and Marching Band, for which she was assistant drum major. She played percussion and flute in the King Kekaulike Drama department’s production of Footloose. In 2014 she was a member of the Hawaii All State Marching Band, which included marching in Disneyland, the Tournament of Roses, and the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.