Reece Bleakley, junior at Thunder Mountain High School, will perform with Juneau Symphony at the upcoming Flutes From Around the World event in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s clan house and at the symphony’s upcoming concert. (Courtesy Photo | Denny Corson)

Reece Bleakley, junior at Thunder Mountain High School, will perform with Juneau Symphony at the upcoming Flutes From Around the World event in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s clan house and at the symphony’s upcoming concert. (Courtesy Photo | Denny Corson)

Flute event coming to Sealaska Heritage’s clan house

It will be the venue’s first-ever orchestral performance.

There will be woodwinds in the cedar room.

Juneau Symphony and Sealaska Heritage Institute are collaborating to bring an orchestral performance Saturday, Jan. 19, to the Walter Soboleff Building’s clan house.

“It’s really a neat opportunity and a first for Juneau,” said Juneau Symphony Vice President Beth Pendleton. “This is the first time Sealaska Heritage Institute and Juneau Symphony have worked together.”

The clan house, called Shuká Hít which translates to Ancestors’ House in the Tlingit language, is modeled after traditional clan houses and includes a central area as well as tiers for communal activities. It is planked in cedar and features work by Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary.

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“It’s going to provide a really unique venue,” Pendleton said.

Sealaska Heritage Institute development officer Bobbie Meszaros said the acoustics of the room have been compared to a music box.

It’s also a relatively small venue, and only 100 tickets will be sold for the event. As of Thursday afternoon, 40 of those tickets had already been sold.

“It’s going to be an intimate setting,” Meszaros said.

Flutes From Around the World will feature guest flautist and conductor Tigran Arakelyan, symphony 2018 Youth Solo competition winner Reece Bleakley and other flautists. It draws its name from Arakelyan, who will present Armenian pieces during the performance.

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Additionally, Bobbie Meszaros, development officer for SHI, said there is a possibility Alaska Native instruments will be featured in the performance. However, flutes are not a traditional Alaska Native instrument, Meszaros said.

Some of the performers will be Alaska Natives, and Meszaros said and hors d’oeuvres will draw inspiration from Native culture.

“We’ll infuse some Alaska Native elements throughout the evening,” she said.

The event is meant to be the first in the Shuká Hít Series, which could become an avenue for collaborations with other performance arts groups and future orchestral performances.

“We’re looking for this to be a launchpad for different ideas for using the clan house,” Meszaros said.

[Story time in the clan house]

It came about, Meszaros said, as an opportunity for two organizations with appreciation for arts and culture to collaborate.

“It’s one of our opportunities to highlight and show Juneau as a community,” Meszaros said.

It will also showcase Bleakley, a Thunder Mountain High School junior, and other talented flautists.

Bleakley, whose flute is currently being cleaned in Anchorage, said she’s never played with the full symphony before and is almost intimidated by the opportunity and special venue.

“There’s a lot of amazing flutes in Juneau,” Bleakley said. “I’m nervous, but I’m trying to turn that into excitement.”

More symphonic fun

The Flutes Around the World event also acts as an appetizer for a pair of Juneau Symphony concerts.

On Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, Bleakley and Arakelyan will be part of the symphony’s Russian Romantics concerts, which will explore the works of Russian composers at Juneau-Douglas High School.

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Bleakley, who in addition to being the being the youth solo competition winner earned first chair and all-state honors at the All-State Music Festival, will perform a flute concerto by Boccherini.

“I’m really excited,” Bleakley said.

Arakelyan will serve as guest conductor.

Know & Go

What: Shuká Hít Series — Flutes From Around the World.

When: 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19.

Where: Sealaska Heritage Institute Clan House, 105 S. Seward St.

Admission: Tickets cost $75 and may be purchased through the Juneau Symphony by calling 586-4676, emailing info@juneausymphony.org, or in person at the symphony’s office at 522 W. 10th St.between 7-11 a.m., Monday through Friday.


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


Guests view the Clan House inside the new Walter Soboleff Center and home of the Sealaska Heritage Institute during a Sneak Peak event held on Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Guests view the Clan House inside the new Walter Soboleff Center and home of the Sealaska Heritage Institute during a Sneak Peak event held on Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary has installed two house posts designed for the clan house (Shuká Hít) of the Walter Soboleff Building. For the first time ever, the clan house will be the site of an orchestral performance on Jan. 19 through a collaboration between Sealaska Heritage Institute and Juneau Symphony. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary has installed two house posts designed for the clan house (Shuká Hít) of the Walter Soboleff Building. For the first time ever, the clan house will be the site of an orchestral performance on Jan. 19 through a collaboration between Sealaska Heritage Institute and Juneau Symphony. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

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