Rock Bridge, Hickman flute trio raises money for extracurriculars fund

Sunday, May 20, 2012 | 6:05 p.m. CDT; updated 2:51 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Leyna Craigmile, 17, Christina Wang, 17, and Allison Wigger, 18, practice with their instructor, Lisa Thill Franck, on Sunday for their Monday evening concert benefiting the Voluntary Action Center.

*The flute trio's concert is intended to benefit the Voluntary Action Center's Youth Enrichment Fund. An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the organization.

UPDATE: The flute-only benefit concert for the Voluntary Action Center raised about $200 on Monday night. The group raised an additional $100 by selling T-shirts to the flutists involved. In addition to soloists at the concert, more than 40 flutists played "Pomp and Circumstance" at the concert.

COLUMBIA — Three state-qualifying Columbia high school flutists will take the stage Monday night for a charity concert benefiting the Voluntary Action Center*.

If you go

The performance is at 7 p.m. Monday at the Evangelical Free Church of Columbia on 600 Silvey St. 

Donations to the Youth Enrichment Fund will be accepted during the event.

An ice cream social will follow the performance.

Leyna Craigmile, 17,  Christina Wang, 17, and Allison Wigger, 18,  the self-proclaimed Alpha Flute Trio, will join their flute teacher and a 40-member flute choir for a fundraising event that puts the finishing touches on their senior project.

The trio, recent graduates of Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools, have been raising money for the center's Youth Enrichment Fund since July 2011. The enrichment fund benefits children of low-income families who wish to participate in extracurricular activities. Together, the trio has raised more than $4,500 for the center.

The project started in July when the trio decided to help out the Columbia community for their senior project. Their flute teacher, Lisa Thill Franck, has worked on projects with her students in previous years, and said she is very proud of the three students' work. 

"The enthusiasm has been there from the get-go," Franck said. 

Franck has taught Craigmile, Wang and Wigger since they began their careers as student flutists in sixth grade. 

"I'm actually the one who taught them to put their flutes together," Franck said.

As their weekly private-lesson instructor, Franck said she has gotten to know each of them on an individual level and has watched them grow in their musical and personal lives.

Franck said she will perform "Anouchka, Quatuor de Flutes" by Pierre Paubon in a quartet with the students Monday night. In addition, each "Alpha" will have her own solo performance, and the 40-member flute choir, comprised of alto and soprano flutes, will play a rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance."

The members of the trio are each accomplished flutists in their own right, having all made the Missouri state band during their high school careers, a process that includes months of practice and an all-day audition.

Monday's performance is one of several charity events the trio has organized for the Voluntary Action Center, whose funding benefits the students of Columbia who would otherwise not be able to participate in sports and arts outside class.

The trio put together an all-night “flute-a-thon” in December, where flute students from sixth grade to 12th grade stayed up from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. participating in clinics and flute-related activities like "pin the clef on the staff," and "flute-flute-piccolo," a flute-enthusiast's version of "Duck-Duck-Goose." The event raised about $2,000. 

Also in December, the trio held a benefit concert with performances by professional flute players that accumulated about $400 for the fund. 

In February, the trio organized a "practice-a-thon," where sponsors pledged money based on how many hours each of Franck's students practiced for a month, raising about $1,500.

Through the fundraising, Craigmile said she learned the intricacies of event planning, specifically organization and preparation.

"I've learned to make sure you know exactly what needs to be done," Craigmile said.

The most rewarding experience is “knowing that we helped Columbia through our efforts,” Wang said.

With the fundraising project and her high school career winding down at the same time, Craigmile said the finality of it all hasn't quite hit her yet.

"It's been a great year," Craigmile said. "It will definitely be a good ending. Wow, I'm done."

Supervising editor is Dan Burley.

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