Matthews performs for hometown crowd

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST – His sound has made Matthews a must have musician.

“I told him to join us. I recruited him,” said Karin Aurell, director of the Wind Masters Workshop Flute Choir. “I recruited him because I needed his sound.”

Aurell recently recruited Amherst Regional High School’s Travis Matthews for her flute choir, and they played their first public performance Sunday afternoon at Trinity-St. Stephens Church in Amherst.

Asked to describe his sound Aurell said it soars.

“It’s full, it’s very rich and he plays very well in tune,” she said. “The slightly less advanced students will look to that and make the whole group sound better."

Matthews was one of 10 flutists taking part in the performance.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said after Sunday’s performance.

About 30 people came out for the performance, many of who were relatives and friends of Matthews, including Stephanie Mizuik, his music teacher at ARHS.

“Relatives came from Dartmouth as well, so it was really nice to play in front of my family,” said Matthews.

Besides being a member of the flute choir and the ARHS band, Matthews is also a member of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra.

Sunday’s concert was a fundraiser for the Amherst Food Bank and a fundraiser for a trip the NBYO is taking to Europe.

Aurell was shocked when she first heard how much was raised for the trip.

“For the kids going to Europe we raised $600,” said Aurell. “That brought tears to my eyes because a lot of these kids are struggling financially, so I’m overwhelmed by peoples generosity.”

Aurell calls herself a freelance flute player.

“I also teach flute in the music departments at Mount Allison University and the Universite de Moncton, and in the summertime I play in the Charlottetown Festival,” she said. “That means I play the Anne of Green Gables show. I’ve been doing that for years.”

She says Matthews shows a lot of potential.

“He’s almost completely self taught, so he’s a little all over the place but he makes an incredibly beautiful sound on the instrument and he’s very, very musical, so those things make me really excited about working with him.”

Matthews is finishing at ARHS this year. Next year he will take music at Mount Allison where Aurell will teach him.

“He seems to have worked on the things that are easy to work on, so we’re going to work on some technical things. He’s also going to have to work hard on his music theory,” said Aurell. “Travis will do fine. I’m not worried about him but I’m looking forward to working with him regularly.”

Matthews long-term goal is to someday join an orchestra.

“I wouldn’t mind staying in Canada but it would be cool to travel. There’s a lot of good orchestra’s in the States and Europe,” he said.

Asked if she envisions Matthews playing in an orchestra some day, Aurell said music can be a tough business.

“Music as a career is such a hard thing that I never make those predictions,” she said. “You have to be good at what you do and you have to be really passionate about it, and not just about playing your instrument, you have to be able to put yourself out there.”

Matthews is somewhat reserved, but he put himself out there when organizing Sunday’s concert, doing much of the publicity himself.

Aurell said the church was a great place to play a concert.

“It’s a fantastic venue because it sounds so good in here. It’s exactly what you want with this kind of group because you want a place where the sound just kind of soars.”

She hopes they can come back sometime soon.

“I’d love to come back here and play,” she said.

“We were supposed to be 19 flutes on stage. I couldn’t bring my Mount Allison flute ensemble because of the strike (at Mount A). That’s OK, I’ll bring them next time.”

Matthews thanked everybody for coming out to the concert, “and I thank Karin, Ms. Mizuik and thank my parents.”



Organizations: Amherst Regional High School, Wind Masters Workshop Flute Choir, New Brunswick Youth Orchestra Stephens Church Amherst Food Bank Mount Allison University Universite de Moncton

Geographic location: AMHERST, Europe, Dartmouth Charlottetown Canada

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