Musical performance: In the Woods by William Reger

Photo of the inside of a flute by William Reger
(Photo of the inside of a flute by William Reger)

Besides being an excellent poet, William Reger plays Native American style flutes. William says that this piece, titled “In the Woods” was “recorded in the woods with the birds and squirrels and some unnamed individual crashing through the weeds on his way to somewhere.  It uses a High Spirits high E “Kestrel” flute.” “In the Woods” is a spontaneous improvisation.

Of his introduction to flute playing, William writes, “I was first introduced to the Native American flute in 2005 when my children gave me a Jonah Thompson flute for Father’s Day.  It was a small flute made of pine with a carved eagle on the block.  After two years of lessons and practice with the bagpipe chanter with its harsh double reed sound, the sound of the flute was so pleasing I could not get enough of it.  It led me to become interested in the history and culture of aerophones around the world.  There are surprising similarities in the traditions and practices surrounding flutes wherever they are played.  The Native American flute is unique, however, in its construction.  It is one of the few flutes that utilizes a second, slow air chamber which helps give it its more meditative sound.  Since picking up the Native American flute, I have also played around with the quena from South America, the bansuri from India, the zhaleika (not strictly a flute because it has a reed) from Russia (Siberia), the xiao, bawu (also a reed flute), and hulusi from China, the melodica (more of a piano you blow into), and the Irish whistle.  Of all of these, however, I would have to say that the Native American flute has been the easiest and most satisfying flute to play improvisationally.”

Click here to listen to “In The Woods”

Enjoy.

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Will Reger was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area.  He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois and currently teaches history at Illinois State University.  He lives in Champaign, Illinois, with his wife and two youngest children.  He began writing poetry in the 7th grade and never quite stopped.  As this post demonstrates, he also plays the Native American Flute. He has recently had poems published in Fire in the Pasture and songs /cycles.

[Edited 11:02 am 8/13 to include bio]

2 thoughts on “Musical performance: In the Woods by William Reger”

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Will. It’s lovely and I enjoyed it very much. In case you didn’t know, it got a like over on WIZ’s Facebook page, too. Also FYI, for everyday, meditative music, I prefer Native American flute over anything else I’ve heard. One of the qualities that especially affects me is the flute’s ability to catch both the echos of, say, a canyon, and also echoing silence that frames sounds that come to the ear. On my first trip to the desert, I was lying in my sleeping bag, half-asleep, when the quiet was shattered by a boulder sheering off a ledge and banging its way down to its next resting place. The echoes flew off like auditory sparks, then died away, and then the silence rushed up to frame the sound, making even more profound the auditory effects. I hear this commonly when canyon wrens pipe on a quiet day. Quiet–piping in a descending scale–quiet. Then, repeat. NA flutes can recreate that mind-stunning space.

  2. Very lovely, indeed. And a much healthier hobby than, say, watching television.

    I became quite adept at the recorder when I was a child, and used to fool around with my tongue, trying to duplicate the kinds of stops and releases you perform here, but nothing nearly as natural and beautiful as this.

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