Ingrid White and Reece Bleakley practice their duet for the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert Saturday, Jan.19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Ingrid White and Reece Bleakley practice their duet for the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert Saturday, Jan.19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Flute concert brings classical, Armenian and indigenous music to clan house

Sealaska Heritage and Juneau Symphony collaborate for new event

There was harmony in the Shuká Hít.

Artists from different backgrounds and their international, multicultural music mingled in the cedar clan house in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Walter Soboleff Building Saturday night for the Flutes From Around the World concert.

“We are so happy to have everyone here,” said SHI President Rosita Worl. “We are so honored to have this first-ever concert here.”

The event, which was a joint fundraiser for the Juneau Symphony and SHI, featured Tlingit flautist George Montero, Armenian flautist Tigran Arakelyan and Juneau flautists Reece Bleakley, Kathryn Kurtz and Ingrid White.

[Remembering the Alaska Native Literary Renaissance]

Worl said she was glad to have Western music in the space designed to emulate the ancestral homes of Alaska Natives. She shared her recollection of first hearing classical music as an adult and purchasing as many cassette tapes of it as she could find.

“We here in Juneau can lead by example with what we’re doing tonight,” Worl said. “We can show the rest of the world that we can live in harmony.”

The multicultural unity and collaboration stood in stark contrast to a video of teens jeering a Native American man that was gaining attention online over the weekend.

Worl said after the concert while she did not address it directly, the video was on her mind during her opening remarks.

“I was absolutely thinking about that,” Worl said “I really am proud of Juneau.”

The event began with a short performance by Montero, who carves and plays Native American flutes.

“Whether I have an audience of one or an audience of 3,000 it is a blessing,” Montero said. “I think anytime I go before anyone and play it’s huge. It’s sharing part of my heart.”

[How award-winning artists pursued their art]

He said he was pleased to play with Arakelyan.

“I have some friends down here (in Seattle), and they said, ‘Oh my God George, you have hit another level to be playing with Tigran,’” Montero said in an interview ahead of the show.

Next up were Bleakley, White and Kurtz.

First Bleakley played a solo piece. Then she was joined by White for a Haydn duet. Finally, White and Kurtz played themes from Mozart’s “Magic Flute.”

Arakelyan was the night’s last scheduled performer.

He took the stage wearing a western Armenian vest and eastern Armenian Hat.

Arakelyan played an original composition as well as a handful of Armenian songs, including one that required what Arakelyan dubbed “Rock’n’Roll flute.” The technique involved singing while simultaneously playing the flute.

The flautist, conductor and music director from Seattle said he was encouraged to incorporate more flair into his flute playing when he wanted to emulate rocking flute players like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

Arakelyan spoke highly of the intimate performance space.

“I just want to stay and play for a couple hours,” Arakelyan said. “Not only is the space beautiful, the acoustics are fantastic.”

[Shuká Hít story time]

Arakelyan’s time in Shuká Hít was extended by an impromptu collaboration with Montero that came about after the night’s performers had taken their bows.

While Montero danced and his wooden flute wailed, Arakelyan worked to find the complimentary space in between notes and harmonize his Western instrument with Montero’s Native one.

“That was hard,” Arakelyan said after their spontaneous duet ended. “I learned a lot.”

While the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert was the first of its kind, it is hoped there will be more, similar events.

“Let’s make this evening grow for all of us,” Worl said.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


Kathryn Kurtz and Ingrid White rehearse before the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Kathryn Kurtz and Ingrid White rehearse before the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Tlingit flautist George Montero and Armenian flautist Tigran Arakelyan perform an impromptu duet at the end of the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Tlingit flautist George Montero and Armenian flautist Tigran Arakelyan perform an impromptu duet at the end of the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Tlingit flautist George Montero and Armenian flautist Tigran Arakelyan talk in the Walter Soboleff building before heading to the clan house that gave Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert its name, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Tlingit flautist George Montero and Armenian flautist Tigran Arakelyan talk in the Walter Soboleff building before heading to the clan house that gave Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert its name, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Rosita Worl, Sealaska Heritage Institute President, and Beth Pendleton, Vice President for the Juneau Symphony Board of Directors, speak at the opening of the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Rosita Worl, Sealaska Heritage Institute President, and Beth Pendleton, Vice President for the Juneau Symphony Board of Directors, speak at the opening of the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Tlingit flautist George Montero performs to open the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Tlingit flautist George Montero performs to open the Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World concert, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

Wreath bearers present wreaths for fallen comrades, brothers and sisters in arms during a Memorial Day ceremony at Alaskan Memorial Park on Monday. Laying wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes is a way to honor and remember the sacrifices made. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Traditional Memorial Day ceremonies offer new ways to ‘never forget’ those who served

New installations at memorial sites, fresh words of reminder shared by hundreds gathering in Juneau.

Thunder Mountain High School graduates celebrate after moving their tassels to the left, their newly received diplomas in hand, at the end of Sunday’s commencement ceremony. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
‘Forever a Falcon’: Thunder Mountain High School celebrates final graduating class

147 seniors get soaring sendoff during 16th annual commencement full of heightened emotions.

Seniors at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé enter the gymnasium for their commencement ceremony on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
JDHS graduates celebrate journey from virtual ‘pajama class’ freshmen to virtuous camaraderie

Resolve in overcoming struggles a lifelong lesson for future, seniors told at commencement ceremony.

Sierra Guerro-Flores (right) listens to her advisor Electra Gardinier after being presented with her diploma at Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School’s graduation ceremony Sunday in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé auditorium. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Alternatives are vast for Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School’s graduating class

31 students take center stage during ceremony revisiting their paths at the school and what’s next.

The LeConte state ferry in 2023. (Lex Treinen / Chilkat Valley News)
Stranded Beerfest travelers scramble to rebook after LeConte ferry breakdown

Loss of 225-passenger ferry leaves many Juneau-bound revelers looking for other ways home.

Thunder Mountain High School pitcher Jack Lovejoy catches a line-drive hit to end the Region V softball championship game against Sitka High School on Saturday at Melvin Park. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain High School Falcons are conference champs, heading to state softball title tournament

TMHS rebounds from 19-12 loss in back-to-back Saturday games against Sitka, wins finale 9-3.

A Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé player tries to control the ball during a May 3 game at Adair-Kennedy Field. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
JDHS comes up short in state soccer title games

Boys fall behind early in 4-1 loss to Soldotna, girls miss opportunities in 2-0 loss to Kenai.

A photo taken from the terminal roof shows the extent of the first phase of paving to accommodate large aircraft. (Mike Greene / City and Borough of Juneau)
Large-scale repaving project plants itself at Juneau International Airport

Work may take two to three years, schedule seeks to limit impact on operations.

Capital Transit buses wait to depart from the downtown transit center on Thursday. Route number 8 was adjusted this spring. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
More service, visitor information helping Capital Transit to keep up with extra cruise passenger traffic

Remedies made after residents unable to board full buses last year seem to be working, officials say

Most Read