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The Magic Flute Society for Young Musicians
Learning the Basics
Inspired by Mozart
Inspired by Mozart's famous composition, the Magic Flute, a group of young children began taking lessons from two then-high school boys, Mateo Narančić and Vinko Tomić. Based in Croatia, the official title of the group is "Čarobna Frula" (Char-ob-na Froo-la) which translates to mean the Magic Flute.
The two friends were musically inclined and wanted to offer a vehicle for young talented musicians to perfect their skills while being somewhat culturally isolated on an island two hours away from the nearest large city.
The First Instrument for Many
Small but Proud
Recorders and More
Starting out with one of the easiest instruments to learn, the recorder, the two boys began holding classes on the weekends.
Instruments were scarce and practice rooms were even scarcer. Neighbors seems antagonistic towards the group, saying they were noisy and disruptive. The young musicians found old garages and wine cellars to hold their practice sessions in - choosing times of the day that no one would be normally sleeping (like from 11 am to 12:30).
After losing one practice place after another, the group was about to lose hope. But things are always darkest before the dawn.
Power to the People
The Mayor Saves the Day
When the mayor was invited to attend one of the group's first concerts, he was frankly impressed. The band played some Croatian folk tunes, popular music, and even an Elvis Presley hit, "Love Me Tender". When he asked what they needed, the boys told him "A practice room!" he gave them the key to the upstairs loft of the public library. Hot and stuffy, it was also far from people's homes and they were free to leave their sheet music and instruments there under lock and key.
One of the band's greatest supporters, the mayor attends the group's concerts and leaves generous donations.
Christmas Concert 2011 - The Magic Flute
Musical Instruments and Economics
One of the mothers knew a friend in America who would be willing to act as a go-between for the group. After looking on the internet for musical instruments, the leaders were amazed to discover that they could buy the instruments in the United States for 1/3 the cost. Her father was from Croatia and she very kindly acted as the "godmother" to arrange the shipment of instruments from America to Croatia.
Fund raising concerts followed, and the children were amazed to quickly earn the necessary funds to buy a set of recorders - from a piccolo version (like the recorder solo on the Titanic sound track) to the bass version.
A month to six weeks later, the first of the packages arrived. The instruments had made it to the "old country" in one piece!. Smaller packaging was used to avoid having to pay taxes or customs fees, which was out of the students' budget.
The Čarobna Frula - Summer 2012 concert
You Tube and A CD
The group has come a long way in the past few years. Some of the older members who started out as third graders are now in puberty and acting as mentors for the junior members.
The oldest of the founders now attends school in the city, which is two hours away - but during summer and the school year, the Magic Flute meets nearly every day for an hour or so.
The blog - Kut-Vis-bloger has covered the group on many occasions. They wear white T-shirts with the blue lettering - an inexpensive but effective uniform for performances. They graciously perform for the many international tourists and vacationing visitors to the island, as well as to the old people's home and other well frequented locations on the island.
This year they'll cut their first CD, whose proceeds will fund the purchase of more new instruments.