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.
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.
Ruth Murata-Eisen is the owner of the Maui Music Conservatory. Ruth graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a piano major and has been teaching piano for 32 years. Her students have been soloist with the Honolulu Symphony and the Maui Pops. In addition, two of her students performed on the programs, “From the Top.” Ruth’s passion for the flute began in her middle school years and carried over when she continued to study the flute at Oberlin.
Ron Schecter plays cello for the flute choir in place of the traditional Bass flute, providing a rich and balanced sound to the ensemble. Ron’s primary teachers were Robert Gardner, principal cellist of the New York City Opera, and Frederick Zlotkin, principal cellist of the New York City Ballet. Ron performed for over thirty years in the New York City area, with organizations such as the Caecilian Chamber Orchestra, Trio Classico, the New Jersey State Opera, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, and the Waterloo Festival Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Schwarz.
Ron’s versatility is reflected in his own arrangement and performance (with actor) of the poetry of T.S. Eliot to the music of J.S. Bach’s Suites for unaccompanied cello, his string quartet appearances as the opening act for the rock group “Meat Loaf” at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and his appearances at such venues as New York City’s Hard Rock Cafe. His early music background includes jazz piano, accordion, and bass. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and New York University School of Law. Currently Ron is a member of the Maui Pops Orchestra, the Haleakala Chamber Orchestra, the Maui Chamber Ensemble, the Maui Chamber Orchestra, and actively freelances and teaches cello privately.