HistoryIn 1983 flutist Maquette Kuper founded The Davis Youth Flute Choir. It specializes in both classical and jazz music. It began as an ensemble of flute players and grew into two full choirs, a junior high choir and a senior high choir. The younger choir is for students approximately 12-14 years old, and the senior high group is for students about 15-21. (College kids who are alumni of the choir come back to perform every summer as "Alumni Guests.") The choirs meet every summer for an intense ten days of "Flute Camp," where the kids learn the music and perform it in a public concert at the end of the session. A year- round senior choir meets weekly to prepare for upcoming concerts and tours.
In 1995, Fredrick Lange, retired Director of Bands at Davis High School, added the jazz element to the program. He has coached the students in the jazz style and conducted as well as arranged jazz pieces for the group. Big-band style flute choirs were introduced in 2007 at the National Flute Convention by jazz flutist Ali Ryerson. Ahead of the national movement, The Davis Flute Choir had already been performing big-band numbers for years.
The flute choir also has performed several classical premieres. Director Maquette Kuper persuaded the Gemeinhardt Flute Company of Indiana to commission a piece for flute choir and band. It was premiered in November 1997. In 2003 Fredrick Lange arranged the J.S. Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, which was premiered on the July 2003 concert, and ALRY Press subsequently published the piece. In 2008 the choir premiered a second arrangement by Fredrick Lange, the Cimarosa Concerto for Two Flutes. In 2011 the choir premiered Fredrick Lange's jazz arrangement of Hefti's Your Cute. In 2013 the flute choir premiered Lange’s flute choir arrangement of the J.S. Bach‘s violin Concerto in E Major. Another composer, Lawrence Frank, wrote a few original works for the choir including California National Park Suite and Jewish Holiday Suite (2011) and The Channel Island Boat Trip (2012).
The choir toured Japan in June of 2008 representing the city of Davis in its first cultural exchange between Davis and sister-city, Inuyama. The choir performed several concerts in venues as the Inuyama High School, the Meija Mura Museum and at the Cultural Hall where they were joined by local performing groups including the Nagoya University Flute Orchestra, the Southern Inuyama Jr. High Band, and native performers on Japanese instruments as the shakuhachi, koto and shamisen. In 2010 the choir was one of three youth choirs invited to perform at the National Flute Association Convention in Anaheim. The choir to toured South Korea in June of 2012 where they represented the United States and were sponsored by the American Pavilion for a performance at the World’s Fair EXPO 2012 in Yeosu. They also toured and performed in Sangju, another sister city of Davis, CA, and Daejon, the “educational capital” with its many fine universities. The flute choir performed at the National Flute Convention in August 2013 in New Orleans.
In 2015 the choir toured China visiting Shanghai, sister-city Wuxi, and Beijing. The cultural exchange performance in Wuxi was at the Big Bridge Academy. Chinese students offered performances with their string and flute ensembles, a solo bamboo flute player, traditional dancers and a Pipa duo. A Pipa is a Chinese stringed instrument looking like an upright mandolin.