Former performer, teacher giving flute recital
Event is first in 50 years for Tulsa Philharmonic player
On Saturday evening, Cassville residents will have the opportunity to see something that has not happened for nearly half a century.
Jo Ellen (Beeson) Fielding is performing a flute recital, her first in nearly 50 years, on Saturday at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church. The event is free of charge, and there will be a reception immediately following in the fellowship hall.
Fielding said she has not performed a recital since college, and she is more than excited to do so on Saturday, her 70th birthday.
"About a year ago, I awoke at night and had this sense from God that he wanted me to do a flute recital," she said. "It's not like he was audibly speaking to me, and I would not have taken this on, but I had this sense that [playing flute] was such a gift and talent God gave me. It gave me the desire to work hard, practice and accomplish things.
"The whole purpose of the recital is to honor God, to thank him for this gift and to glorify him. I'm turning 70 and will celebrate with this recital to honor Him."
Fielding first picked up a flute in the sixth grade, she said, hoping to accompany her older sister on the harp.
"My sister and I started piano lessons when each of us were 5," Fielding said. "She was always good at it, and I was not. She went on to play the oboe, and in high school, started playing harp. I wanted to play something that could go with her harp, and I always thought the flute was pretty. So, that was my choice."
In high school, Fielding was the principal flutist with the Oklahoma All-State Orchestra for all her three years. She also played Handel's "Messiah" all three years. She was also a soloist with the American Youth Performs organization.
In college, she was assistant principal flutist her freshman year, soloed with the Tulsa University Orchestra her senior year and played the alto flute solo in Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe" with the Tulsa Philharmonic, under Maestro Franco Autori.
It was with the Tulsa Philharmonic that she also played Mozart's "Concerto in D Major," which she will be performing at Saturday's recital, along with pieces by Telemann, Bach, and an arrangement of "Amazing Grace."
During her time in Missouri, Fielding was a band and choir teacher at the Southwest school district for eight years before getting her Master's in counseling and finishing her career at Cassville elementary, where she taught for about 11 years.
She was a member of The Show, playing flute, percussion and singing for the first 20 years of its existence.
Fielding said when she picked up that flute in sixth grade, she had no idea where it would take her.
"I didn't know at the time, but when I started, I loved playing and practicing all the time," she said.
Fielding's recital will not be entirely formal, she said.
"It won't be so formal that I will not speak," she said. "I will do some talking about the reasons for the recital and the pieces I will play. [he whole recital] will last about 45 minutes, and then we'll have the reception afterward."
Accompanying Fielding for this recital will be Mary Richmiller, on piano, and Carol House, on organ.
Attending the show will be Fielding's children and step-children, who will travel in from Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Fayetteville, Ark., and Tulsa, Okla. Fielding said along with her family, she expects a decent turnout.
"Any more than just my children will be really good," she said. "I have no idea how many will come, but it's been in the church newsletter and several people have told me they are excited for it and planning to come."
First Baptist Church is located at 602 West. St. in Cassville.