Choctaw artist holds flute-making workshop at the Museum of the Red River

native American Flute

Idabel, OK (March 7, 2019)—Presley Byington will lead a flute-making workshop on March 23, from 10 am to 3:00 pm. Byington is an accomplished Choctaw dancer, flutist, and flute maker. The class will break at noon for a potluck lunch and resume at 1:00 pm. The workshop is capped at 10 people and cost $45. Interested individuals register online or by calling (580) 286 – 3616.

Humans used flutes as early as 40,000 years ago—if not sooner. Archaeologists are unsure when they were first used in North America. It’s possible they were introduced by external groups. However, it’s also possible that they were developed independently of any external influence. For example, several legends reference birds who drilled holes into branches. When the wind blew along the holes, people heard music and eventually, created flutes.

Flutes played an important role in traditional native American culture. Native American chiefs used them to welcome or entertain guests. Flutes were also used during sporting and courting events, on the battlefield, and by medicine men. The late 1960s saw an increased interest in native American music. This gave rise to several prominent flutists, including Doc Tate Nevaquaya, R. Carlos Nakai, and Mary Youngblood. The latter is the first native American women to win two Grammy Awards.

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