Southeastern student experience leads to international flute festival in Colombia

Thursday, June 23, 2016 Andres Chavez
by: Tonya Lowentritt

PIED PIPER - Andres Chavez, a Southeastern Louisiana University music performance graduate student, has organized an international meeting of flutists in Santuario Risaraldo, Colombia, his home town. The meeting is scheduled July 7 – 10.

     HAMMOND – A Southeastern Louisiana University music performance graduate student is a moving force in organizing an international meeting of flutists in Colombia.
     Andres Chavez, principle flutist of the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra, is the coordinator of the International Meeting of Flutists or “El Flautin del Bosque” at the Cultural and Environmental Festival “A la Sombra del Tatama.”
     The festival is scheduled July 7-10 in Santuario Risaraldo, Colombia, Chavez’s hometown. This is the second festival that Chavez has coordinated, where master classes, conferences and concerts will take place.
     “Andres has an enthusiastic passion for music and wishes to share it everywhere he goes,” said Shanna Drescher, Southeastern lecturer of flute. “I’m proud of him and the work he has done as the coordinator of the festival.”
     A student at Southeastern since 2015, Chavez is a tutor of music and is in the process of researching and composing music for flute solo using a soundscape focused on birds in the Andean region.
     In 2010, 2011 and 2012, he participated as a flutist in the orchestra of the International Festival of Pipers in the World Quito-Ecuador Centre. In 2013 he was invited to participate in the “Flute Orchestra of the Americas.”
     “After my initial participation in the International Festival of Pipers in 2010, the idea of starting a festival in Colombia came to my mind,” Chavez said. “While in Colombia in 2013, I started creating cultural events of music and poetry with some friends, and in 2014 we carried out a festival with a non-profit organization. After that, we sent the project to the National Concertation Program of the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, where they accepted and supported the project.”
     The partnering non-profit organization CORPOCAM, Chavez said, promotes sustainable development of agriculture, culture and environment. It is a non-government organization established in the municipality of Santuario Risaralda, Colombia, and is comprised of a diverse team of students and professionals in various fields who meet to work together for culture, agriculture and the environment in the Colombian community. The organization has projects in partnership with municipal, national government and international organizations.
     In 2015, Chavez said, Angela Molina, a member of the organization, suggested he include a flute convention as part of the festival.
     “This was a perfect opportunity to do what I had been thinking for some years,” Chavez said. “For that festival I created an international meeting of flutists called ‘El Flautin del Bosque’ or ‘Piccolo of the Forest,’ which is the common name of a bird from the Andean region. The sound of the bird is similar to the sound of a piccolo.”
     Chavez said that culture is highly centralized in Colombia, and that is a problem for students who have few resources to study. His goal is to help decentralize culture in the nation.
     “For every country, culture plays an important role in society, and festivals, where people go to learn and share, are necessary to improve our skills and relations in the world,” he said. “After years of negotiations, Colombia is closer than ever to achieving peace, and we need these spaces where people can share and work together.”
     Chavez said he believes that music helps students in their social and personal lives. Positive attitudes and ethical, aesthetic and spiritual values are cultivated through music, he added.  Children and adults develop self-esteem, personal security and socializing skills, while acquiring discipline, study habits, and persistence.
     “Music students are constantly working to achieve goals, to be excellent in their endeavors, and to live with their peers in an environment of tolerance and solidarity,” he said. “In the meantime, stimulated by a culture of peace, they develop their abilities in many aspects. We need a culture of peace where everyone can work together joyfully.”
     For more information or to help with economic resources for the festival, contact Chavez at

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