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Flutist performs duet with nature, ruins

Artist-in-residence inspired by Canyons of the Ancients
Courtesy photo<br><br>Flutist Bonnie Schmader is an artist-in-residence at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

A flutist from New Mexico is recording a soundtrack for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument as part of an artist-in-residence program.

Bonnie Schmader is an accomplished flute and harp player, and a certified music therapist and educator.

This summer, she has been taking forays into the monument for some creative flute playing that is being produced for a special CD release.

“I’m also recording the natural sounds — the birds, crickets, wind and just the quietness. That will be mixed in with the music,” Schmader said. “It’s been really inspiring.”

She’s been to Sand Canyon, and the Painted Hand Pueblo and Lowry Pueblo ruins, and is returning for more recordings. Schmader carries several flutes in a backpack, including traditional Native American flutes.

Coming across an alcove, canyon or ruin, careful to go only where the public is allowed, she breaks out her instruments and begins to play. Her husband, Matt, records and takes photos.

“The acoustics and reverb are really beautiful,” Schmader said.

Occasionally she encounters hikers, who pause to listen to her flute and learn about the project.

Playing near ruins has a spiritual affect, she said.

“My tone changes, I get more introspective and come up with different ideas,” she said.

She plans to talk with Native Americans with ancestral ties to the monument for additional cultural perspective.

And the harp? Well, it is not easy to carry, but Schmader would like to haul it up the Sand Canyon trail a ways, or to an inspiring point on the monument and perform for the birds, and lizards and perhaps a passing hiker or cyclist.

She will share her recordings during a live, multimedia performance on Sept. 23 at the Anasazi Heritage Center, 27501 Colorado Highway 184.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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