Is it flutist or flautist?
Thanks to the casualness of American English, either is correct. I prefer flautist but I'm not picky about it. Read more on this naming controvery in Wikipedia.
Is Silver Nightingale your real name?
Silver Nightingale is the name of my act, or perhaps my title - I am The Silver Nightingale! My name is Laura Sue. My friends call me Laura or Laura Sue or Laura Belle or Belle or Nightingale. I will answer to any of these names! I like the growing popularity of Nightingale as my nickname.
I called myself Laura Legwarmer during the days of Laura and the Legwarmers, and other band members also used Legwarmer as their last name for fun. Some people still know me by this name and I like that one too! For more on Laura and the Legwarmers and my musical history, see How Silver Nightingale Got Her Name.
Where did the name Silver Nightingale come from?
Please see How Silver Nightingale Got Her Name
Who is your favorite flautist?
Please see My Favorite Things
Who designed your website?
I did, with valuable technical support from Greg Steiger of OnTechLive. It is not widely know that I hold a B.S. in Systems and Information Science (now called Computer Science) from Syracuse University, and worked as a computer programmer, computer graphic designer, font designer, computer consultant and desktop publisher for a number of years. I even worked at IBM for a while, so when I say I prefer Macintosh computers, it's an informed opinion. (Working at IBM, I discovered people working there who also preferred Macs and even had them in their offices.) I enjoy computers and design all my own publicity materials, though I don't do computer work for others anymore. Music is my first love!
How long have you been playing the flute?
Since third grade. I took piano lessons in second grade, and can play a pretty good Chopsticks and Heart and Soul as a result. My not-so-secret dream is to play the guitar, and every couple years I buy a guitar and start lessons. I've also picked up some percussion, autoharp, bass clarinet and ocarina skills along the way. I'm quite fond of playing the spoons, which the fabulous Judy Waters taught me to play lo these many years ago. However, I feel my best instrument by far is the kazoo.
Do you sing?
Yes, I used to sing lead and harmony in all the bands I played in in Upstate New York, as well in choirs and such. I miss it a lot and I plan to start singing more!
People who see me before a gig with my flute and ask: "Oh, are you going to sing for us?" Yes, people, women do play instruments! Other pet peeves: War, Intolerance, Racism, Greed, Nuclear Plants, Media that makes us think things are worse than they are by focusing on all the bad stuff....
Are you Brazilian/Irish/East Indian/Native American? (yes,
people actually ask me these questions frequently)
No. My ancestors as far back as I know are Polish and Russian Jews. Musically however, I feel a strong connection with all the aforementioned cultural traditions, and consider myself a world citizen.
Is that your natural hair color?
It is now!
Who does your hair?
My dear friend Patti Gray at Les Collins in Fort Lauderdale and Allure Day Spa in Davie - she's a highly-experienced color expert and will never cut off more hair than you want! She also wears the coolest outfits. I highly recommend her!
Where did you get your flute? What kind of flute is it? Do you play any other instruments?
My flute is a most excellent hand-made French model silver Haynes flute. I feel so lucky to have such a great instrument! It is an open hole flute with a B-foot, I love that extra low B. To get this flute, my flute teacher signed me up to a list, and I waited a year or two until my flute was ready! When it was, I went to the Haynes factory in Boston to get it, in the summer of 1972, on my way to join my family for a year in England.
Some people play a lot of different kinds of instruments to get different sounds and feels. I like to try to get different kinds of sounds out of one instrument. So whether I am playing classical, Irish, Brazilian, rock and roll, or perhaps an Asian or African or Native American-style improv, I usually use my principal flute. I do have a number of other lovely wind and percussion instruments, as people like to bring me gifts of flutes, ocarinas, pennywhistles and such from all over the world, and those are lots of fun to play as well.
I also have an accordion (one of two bought for my twin cousins who do not play them!), an autoharp, a cool antique enamel washboard (which I have played in some of my bands), and some other musical doodads. I used to have a very cool harmonium given to me by the wonderful spiritual teacher Joanna Macy when we both lived in Syracuse down the block from one another, which I unfortunately lent to someone, who unfortunately left it behind during a bad breakup. It's probably somewhere around South Florida so maybe I will see it again someday.
My not-so-secret dream is to play the guitar, and I recently got a basic acoustic from a dear friend who was moving to North Carolina. I periodically buy a guitar, take just enough lessons to build up my calluses, and then quit and sell the guitar. I have done this several times now and greatly regret all the times I have quit. I am determined to start the guitar again and keep going! It really is my favorite instrument!
Besides flute and piccolo, I sing and can play decent hand percussion, Chopsticks on the piano, and that's about it. I did once pick up a bass clarinet, and found much to my surprise that I could play it instantly! Which is odd because I cannot play a regular clarinet or saxophone. So maybe I will acquire a bass clarinet one of these days and add that to my CV/repertoire.
I used to have a closed hole student silver Haynes flute when I was growing up, which my parents got for me. I was lucky to have such a great flute as a student, most young flautists get to learn on lesser flutes. My first flute was beautiful, and had the name "C. Thomas last name I forget" engraved on the side in the most beautiful ornate letters! I had to sell it in order to afford the flute I have now, and sold it to a lovely young man I met on Portobello Road when I was in England. He was a great flautist, and I always wondered what happened to him! I think he was from Australia, if I'm remembering correctly, and he was a traveller. It was his first Haynes and he was thrilled to have it! I still hope to find him and my old flute again someday. Of course, if I could remember his name, that would help, unfortunately, I don't. Hey, it was the 70's!
My other flute dream is to have a great alto flute someday.... I had a bad one once, and eventually got rid of it because it was so hard to play. But I've played other altos and those low tones are just gorgeous! Someday I will have one!
Where can I get a flute for my child?
Bruce Bailey in Miami is my great flute repair guy, and also sells a wide range of flutes. He can advise you on a variety of options for your beginning or intermediate flute student. Contact Bruce at 305.667.4925.
When will your Sacred Sites CD be out?
When I secure further funding and/or in-kind donations to complete the mixing and production process. This is your chance to become a Patron of the Arts! See my Sacred Sites page for more info on this exciting project!
Are you in the Philharmonic?
No, but thanks for the compliment!
Why aren't you in the Philharmonic?
Well, for one, they haven't offered me the job! (of course I didn't audition for it either....) Also, while I played in band and orchestra in high school and it's a fun way to play, that kind of performing has never been what I envisioned for myself musically. I have my own duo, trio and quartet ensembles in addition to my solo performances. I prefer to do my own thing musically, and playing in an orchestra requires you to play music other people have chosen (and written) and to follow other people's scheduling as well. Orchestra playing is very competitive and there are few jobs available, and for me, playing music has never been a competitive pursuit. While I love playing classical music and have the greatest respect for orchestra players - and play with several Philharmonic players in my ensembles - I'd rather decide what I play and where I play in collaboration with my clients and my wonderful musical colleagues. I also compose and perform many other genres of music in addition to classical.