Photo: Anthony Rao
The haunting tones of the Native American flute can bring peace, comfort, and joy.
Deb Almy is a musician who has been playing the Native American flute since 2011. She became familiar with the instrument while working at Justamere Trading Post in Leesburg many years ago.
Deb says with a laugh that she originally had to practice on the back porch because one of the family dogs didn’t care for the tones.
“The sound of it will draw you,” Deb says. “You either love it or hate it. I’ve never found anyone in between.”
Dave McCullum and Joann Fuller owned the store, and Dave helped Deb learn to play. After practicing and developing her skills, Deb has her own CDs and participates regularly in festivals and other events.
“Dave is our mentor of the flute circle at the (Leesburg) arts center. He had to quit playing with us due to health problems, but we have visiting members that go to the homes of those who can no longer get out. It’s never more than two or three, and we play for them because the flute circle is a family,” says Deb, who has a large family of her own that includes her husband, Tom, six children, and nine grandchildren from infants to age 20.
One program of the Leesburg Center for the Arts that Deb especially enjoys is Artist Way. A program designed by Julia Cameron, Artist Way helps artists of any type “unleash their inner creativity.” Deb has participated in the class three times, and one of the exercises is writing three pages of whatever comes to mind every day. Deb says some of the stories that she shares on her CD, “Musings,” came from those writing exercises.
“The Artist Way is a spiritual path, and it helps all genres discover or rediscover their art,” Deb says.
Deb uses her flute to help others in many ways. She and other members of the flute circle play in nursing homes and for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. She will also play at the bedside of hospice patients to offer comfort and peace.
Riverwind Flute Circle meets at 6pm the second Thursday and from 10am-1pm the first Saturday of each month at the Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St.
“The Saturday session is more like an improv jam session, and we invite everyone to bring their instruments,” Deb says.