Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Memories of Dr Richard Payne

One of my favorite workshops/sessions at INAFA 2006 was the panel discussion about Dr Richard Payne and his flute collection. The panel for this workshop included the following folks (L to R in the first picture):

The awesome element to this workshop was that these 6 folks had a personal relationship with Dr. Richard Payne and they recounted some of their favorite memories about Doc Payne for those of us who didn't get the chance to met him while he was alive. If you're not familiar with Doc Payne and his contribution to the preservation of the Native American style flute, then I highly recommend that you get a copy of either "Songkeepers" or the "Toubat" video. The songkeepers video is a standard part of all of my Beginners Classes. Doc Payne had the most extensive collection of World flutes, including the largest collection of Native American style flutes. When he passed away, his collection was sold at auction and this is where our story starts:

Michael Graham Allen recounted his memories of Doc Payne and the painstaking measurements of which he took of some of Doc's historical flutes. Michael had a replica of the "Pima flute" in Doc's collection and he pulled it out to show the audience. It was then that our very own Frankie Sierra pulled out the orignal Pima flute which Frankie had purchased at the auction. Here's a picture of Michael playing the replica Pima flute:

Peter Phippen then got up and recounted his first meeting with Doc Payne and the relationship which he had with Doc over the following years. Peter told stories of Doc challenging Peter to play the different flutes in his collection and the gifting of a Anasazi flute from Doc to Peter. Peter was clearly emotional about remembering and retelling these stories, but we were all tounched by them.

Julia and Robert Gatliff then talked about some of their experiences at Doc's house. They were fortunate to live in the same town as Doc Payne, so they had one of the closest relationships to Doc. They told about the estate sale and how Robert rescued an important flute from the "pity pile" of inexpensive flutes. They were also present at the flute auction, and talked about how this brought closure for them on Doc's passing.

Finally, Jeff Calavan recounted his story of meeting Doc Payne for the first time and Jeff's filming of the Toubat video, which is a story of Doc life. Jeff says that a DVD version is coming out some with additional footage not on the original video.

Everyone recounted the colorful personality which was Doc Payne, his flutes and his influence on the Native American Flute today.

I hope that these folks and others will continue to have this panel discussion about Doc Payne at every future INAFA event. Doc's flutes are all over the world now, hopefully being played and passed around. I hope that we get to see many of them in the future.

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