Sherry Finzer & Mark Holland – FLUTE FLIGHT:  I reviewed another CD from Sherry back inissue # 135…. was impressed then, and am even moreso on this new release with Mark (he plays Native American flute, while she is doing silver flutes).  As I told her when she sent this one, the work here reminds me of some of the work from the Makoche label I reviewed many years ago.  Tunes like “Planetary Drift” immediately reveal the high talent and ability of these two great artists… make sure you’re listening with your headphones for this one, as you will want to catch every nuance.  Of the thirteen songs, it was one of the shorter pieces (2:48) that got my vote for personal favorite – “Luna’s Dance” will put you right out there in the desert, and the percussion will have you dancing ’round the fire in no time!  I give Sherry and Mark a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) of a (perfect) 5.00; meaning that his also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best flute duo work”.  Get more information (and purchase the tunes or the album) at the CD Baby page for this release.       Rotcod Zzaj

There are some things in life worth waiting for, and there are some artists who you just hope and yearn for to release another album to placate your musical desire to be satisfied, Sherry Finzer is one of those rare musicians, who are so beautiful in their approach to their art, that you just cannot wait for new material to hit your senses.


The new album Sanctuary 3 (Beyond the Dream) is a step forward in her career, and this is an album dear reader that I would advise you to take a lot of time over, it is sublime, it’s moving, it’s simply delightful, like track one, entitled The Way, a slow and ponderous thought provoking composition, with a under pinned gentle beat that takes you on a journey into the very heart of this majestically performed album.


Finzer isn’t just a good flute player, she is a woman who truly has found her calling, something about her reminds me of a female Deuter, listen to track two and you may see a comparison, the beautiful floating flute hovers over our senses, like the mist over a lake at dawn in summer. She then goes on to give us the most haunting rendition of the classic Hallelujah, an emotive piece in its self, but in my opinion Finzer has added a new level of passion to this arrangement.


With a deft hand we arrive at the location of the title track, it’s of course called Beyond the Dream and here Finzer creates a real arrangement of ambient bliss, filled with such melodic and memory filled playing, there is just something special about her style, it is as if she can make time stand still with her instrument and in this sumptuous title track she does just that, the tempo is unique and almost inner dimensional, a truly peace filled performance.


The subject of winter is always a fine instrument to give any artist a palette to work with, within the piece Frost Runes, Finzer creates a moody and crisp composition, not only does she do this extremely well, she also uses some divine instrumentation to give an almost static feel to the arrangement, through the chimes and sombre refrains, she produces a track of a silvery presence, the dreaming fields and January sunrise, are all catered for in this almost Pink Floyd like harmonic arrangement, without doubt one of the finest tracks on the album, or perhaps of all time?


From Hallelujah to Amazing Grace, and this brought back a mountain full of memories for me, I lay in bed last night dear constant reader, and I trawled through various tracks that had been my very first induction into the world of music and this is one of them. Traditional pieces can sometimes be fraught with danger to rework, but Sherry Finzer has some very powerful magic in her flute, that somehow creates a musical wisdom that captures the sprawling wake of many years, and transforms a much worked composition into a soulful and almost southern style flute exploration of this classic.


With a natural soundscape we enter dear reader and listener, into the world of the next track, called Another time and Place, Finzer’s flute is always the catalyst for greatness, and yet again, were treated to a piece that pours a timeless barrage of brilliance, upon every cell of our musical light bodies. This is a track that captures in essence, a moment of time, that is in fact out of time, this is both sensual and graceful, and a composition that has such a soft and tender feeling to it, perhaps with the sounds that accompany it, a meditation moment can be found here?


We now move to Wayfaring. My first thoughts when I heard this piece was, that it took me way back to the 1991, and an album called Zen by flute legend Terry Oldfield. There is a real feeling of energy here, and with the storm sounds creates probably the most powerful track off the album, there is an almost latent narrative of movement across lands un-travelled here, and possible dangers yet to find. This is one amazingly powerful and outstanding arrangement, and reminds me of a more intense version of the music that was featured on the film “Picnic at Hanging Rock”


One of the words I found bouncing around in my head, whilst writing this review was “Wow”, when we move dear reader and listener to the track Grace, you will see why, this is the penultimate track off the album and it is so emotional I can truthfully feel a tear forming in my eye, and my loving heart is now beating much deeper than before, with such a deftness of skill, Finzer performs a track that has such depth, it takes me back to the days of Tim Wheater, and I have an almost insatiable desire to recite one of my poems to this beautiful piece.


So we are once again at the end of another album, Sherry Finzer has taken us on a journey through sight and sound and her map has been Sanctuary 3 (Beyond the Dream). She finishes with a gentle and loving composition called Song for Rex, another sublimely performed track that really says it all about this album and about the artist.


Sherry Finzer is a woman who has beauty within every note of every album she has ever produced, she is a woman who knows her musical heart, and has produced an album here of outstanding natural beauty, and as such dear constant reader and listener, you would be very wise to make this part of your ever growing collection.

Transformation by Sherry Finzer & Darin Mahoney July 23, 2013

CD: Transformation Artist: Sherry Finzer & Darin Mahoney

Contact: www.sherryfinzer.com

I’m sure that the idea of metamorphosis or transformation is one that most people can relate to on a personal level. Flutist Sherry Finzer and acoustic guitarist Darin Mahoney certainly can, and have chosen this as the theme for their first recording together. They describe this music as having been created to encourage listeners “to walk through the next door and change your life for the better.” Sherry is an award winning classical flutist who became drawn to new age music for the uplifting effect it can have on listeners. I’ve been a fan of her recordings and have had the pleasure of writing about three of them: Sanctuary, Sanctuary ll: Earth, and Christmas Picante. Darin Mahoney is a masterful guitarist who grew up playing folk, country, and rock music before moving into mellow Windham Hill-inspired instrumental sounds. The concept of transformation is something Darin can speak to with authority having survived and overcome a life-threatening illness over 20 years ago. In addition to being an excellent musician, he is also a trained luthier, who builds fine quality acoustic guitars, including the one he played on this album.

Although they have performed and recorded with numerous other musical artists, Sherry and Darin deeply appreciate Sherry Finzerthe acoustic alchemy they create together. In Sherry’s words: “We have a special musical connection when we perform together. We really understand each other musically. There is great chemistry. Neither of us is trying to outshine the other. We want to compliment what the other is doing.” And after listening to the beautiful songs on this album, I can truly say they have done a wonderful job of doing just that. On the opening track, a whisper of dreamy synthesizer sets the stage for Darin’s guitar intro. As a guitarist myself, I was immediately impressed with the rich reverberant tone of his instrument, as well as the nostalgic ambience his finger-style playing evoked. Entitled “Alger St,” the piece is a tribute to the memories of his boyhood home in Michigan. At just the right moment, Sherry’s flute glides in gracefully, accentuating Darin’s delicate phrasing.

The title of the next track, “Confused,” harkens back to the aforementioned dark time in Darin’s life when he barely survived extensive stage-four cancer. While in a medically induced coma for weeks, Darin’s parents came to the hospital and played music in his room by Grammy-winning Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman. As Darin tells it: “Will’s tune ‘The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit’ really affected me in a positive way when I was in the coma and recovering. I listened to it over and over and I am convinced it helped me get better.” In an interesting turn of events, it was ten years to the day after getting out of the hospital that Will flew in to produce a track for Darin’s solo album. I’m sure it will come as no surprise when I say that people who enjoy Will Ackerman’s music will sense a kindred spirit in Darin’s playing. Interestingly, the piece opens with Sherry’s flute followed by sparse strummed guitar chords in counterpoint. There is a far-away feel to the beginning of the song that is perhaps reminiscent of hearing the music in a coma. The next composition, “Reflection,” is one of Sherry’s pieces, of which she relates: “Every time I play it I think about memories and events of my life, especially moments with my children when they were young.” Like the first track, there is also an air of nostalgia about it, with perhaps a trace of wistfulness. It is a lovely haunting melody that speaks to Sherry’s talents as a composer and her ability to imbue a song with deep emotion.

The seasons are represented in a pair of tunes that are as different from each other as yin and yang – an appropriate comparison. “Early Spring” is another tune inspired by Darin’s childhood memories that include “forests, creeks, and wood smoke on the wind.” I liked the way reverb and delay effects were added to the acoustic guitar to give it a more dimensional feel. And once again – lovely interplay between the flute and guitar. By contrast, “White Sky In November,” composed by Tom Febonio and arranged by Sherry, paints an impressionistic portrait in hushed tones of winter. Long sustained flute notes wander a stark guitar landscape with a mist of melancholy in the air. On a track called “Jane’s Song, the duo is joined by Jane Merial Hilton on viola, adding warm woody string tones that flowed like honey. The final song on the album, entitled “The Door,” brings us back full circle to the aforementioned theme, and is also represented visually on the back cover of the CD. As Sherry explains: “The music symbolizes the different choices and opportunities we have in life. It is important to overcome fear, open the next door and step through.” The piece opens with a spacious and expansive intro with faint ethereal synthesizer in the background. Picking up momentum as it goes along, the music radiates a heartfelt quality made this one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Having greatly enjoyed Sherry’s previous solo CD’s, I was equally impressed with her role as a musical partner in this duo. Never overplaying, her notes and phrases are exquisitely chosen to synergize with Darin’s tasteful and expressive guitar work. The earthiness of the acoustic guitar combined with the airy quality of the flute blend in sweet harmony creating a musical atmosphere that lends itself to relaxation, meditation, yoga, intimate moments, etc. This is music that would work equally well for active listening or as a background soundtrack, and could appeal to listeners who enjoy ambient, new age, classical, jazz, and more. I’m sure that Transformation, by Sherry Finzer and Darin Mahoney, is an album I’ll listen to for years to come.

Organic Drift Just when I thought I knew what New Age flautist Sherry Finzer was up to, she changed on me. I had reviewed an album of hers a few years ago and was quite pleased with what I had heard. Now she changes her tune and goes somewhat minimalist of me and, it works wonderfully. Her echoing flute compositions have become dreamy, almost fantasias in the truer sense, but they still maintains an organic element that is usually not common in acoustic music. Her latest is called Sanctuary II Earth, the second album in her Sanctuary Series, containing six tracks of placid guitar and flute combinations that are as peaceful as cool, flowing water or pale, afternoon sunlight. The word "relaxing" seems to float around every track making it perfect for meditation, yoga, reiki, or just plain thinking.

Imagine a long camera shot of our planet from space. The sun seeps over the horizon like a timely guest. Swirling white clouds eddy almost imperceptibly above the rumpled, buff mountains and cerulean oceans. As I get closer I hear the tune Earth with its gentle guitar by Darin Mahoney and Sherry's mournful flute. The clouds disappear and the ruggedness of the terrain becomes substantial and I am witness to the green hills of earth. In my mind, the song produces color from the hands of some unseen Artist.

If I were a bird, I would not have to work hard to be uplifted into the heavens by the sound of Dream Flight. The musical thermals produced by a soft, continuous drone and the flute would lift me high into the sky and take me on a journey that lasted the whole day. Below me, life would carry on and I would be privy to the changes, the action and the excitement.

Tranquil Waters starts with a burbling sound of liquid. It accompanies the flute like a friend and, together, their journey down stream begins. The sound not only produces the sense of calmness, but evokes images of all that water symbolizes; a steady flow, life-giving nourishment, coolness, and the passing of time.

Leafy, green-tinged sunlight and an azure sky is the background my favorite tune on Earth II called Woodlands. I guess it goes back to one of my first and favorite 1980's New Age albums by Lanz, Tingstad and Rumbel of the same name. In Sherry's resonant tune I can sense dappled light in the tree tops. I walk on cool forest paths silent with a carpet of pine needles and I can smell the fresh earth as I travel in my mind.

Redwoods (Remix) is from her Desert Journey album and a welcomed remake. It is the epitome of placidity. Like the ancient tress there is height and girth to the tune and a sense that once you look up, there is no end to the loftiness. But above all else, these sequoia sentinels retain a sense of strength that is unsurpassed by anything mortal.

If the sound of peace seems to escape, then you put on Sherry Finzer's album and find just what you are looking for. It is music that produces a feeling of quietude that lets you dream, grow, think or heal with the press of the PLAY button.

Sanctuary II: Earth

Sherry Finzer

Heart Dance Records (2011)

http://www.sherryfinzer.com/

This is flutist Sherry Finzer's second Sanctuary release of New Age relaxation music and it's another excellent collection of ambient-like soundscapes, anchored by her sublime alto flute playing. Featuring the plaintive guitar playing of Darin Mahoney on two tracks (including the brilliant opening "Earth"), the six songs are also enhanced by subtle synthesizer textures, flowing underneath Finzer's near-ethereal flute ("Dream Flight" illustrates this aspect perfectly). "Tranquil Waters" soothes with the sound of a bubbling brook while the forest creature chorus on "Woodlands" counterpoints the gently wafting flute notes and Mahoney's minimal guitar work. Be sure to recommend this one to your massage therapist customers!

Bill Binkelman

Retailing Insight

“Sherry is a fantastic and versatile musician that can adapt to any event and musical style. She is very personable, professional and presents herself and her work beautifully. I would recommend her highly for any musical venue from a wedding, a party or a corporate event. She will delight you!”

“Sherry is the consummate professional. Her creativity is unmatched and this carries throughout her work along with the charities she is involved in. It has been a pleasure in all aspects working with her as well as getting to know her. I highly recommend Sherry for any endeavor you may be thinking about.”

“Sherry is a GREAT Flautist, and puts everything into whatever she does. I have worked with Sherry in both live performances and recordings, and she is great to work with not only in her actual playing and performing, but also in her professionalism and integrity about her work.”

“Sherry Finzer is a thoroughly professional and personable musician. An elite talent, she delivers to the audience not only musical excellence but also a restless quest for new forms of musical expression. Her mastery of tone and latitude of musical styles will delight the audience; her professionalism and enthusiasm will please the promoter. Highly recommended for a standalone concert or as part of a concert series.” June 3, 2011

“Sherry Finzer’s technical mastery was matched by her depth of expression. The program was inventive and engaging. The audience responded enthusiastically and wanted more!” - David Kruse Coste, Friday Night Out concert series.

 

The photo of Sherry with angel wings on the cover of her latest release is certainly appropriate, since the music contained within could well be described as “heavenly.” Entitled “Sanctuary ll: Earth” it marks the second in her series of new age relaxation music. I had the pleasure of reviewing the first release, “Sanctuary” here in Music and Media Focus, and I’m happy to spread the word about her latest offering. While there are some things in common with the original recording, there are also some differences. Sherry is well known for her talent and versatility on the flute and she plays a variety of them, both in her live performances with a number of different ensembles, as well as on her recordings. However on this album, it is the alto flute in particular that is heard on all the tracks.

 

The ambience of this CD is very meditative, almost Zen-like in its simplicity and spaciousness, and forgoes the rhythmic and ethnic elements that made occasional appearances on her previous release. The goal of the album is to provide a gentle soundtrack for relaxation, meditation, and yoga. In Sherry’s words: “This CD reaches deep into the soul to bring about an emotional release and healing.” With song titles like “Earth,” “Tranquil Waters,” “Woodlands,” “Dawn’s First Light,” and “Redwoods” it’s clear that the music is inspired by and reflects the beauty of the natural world.

 

Opening with the title song, Sherry is accompanied by Darin Mahoney on acoustic guitar played through a delay effect, which allows the notes to hang suspended in space momentarily before trailing off into the distance like echoes through a canyon. Long lingering flute phrases float gracefully over and in between the spaces. A music video of this song paired with beautiful nature photography can be seen at Sherry’s website. As the title of the second track, “Dream Flight” implies, the feeling of flying in a dream was the inspiration for this piece, which is the longest on the album at over nine and a half minutes. Taking wings over a subtle synthesizer soundscape, Sherry’s flute glides and soars on drifting musical air currents. Throughout the album I was aware of how delicate and supportive the accompanying instrumentation was, never drawing your attention away from the flute’s sweet song.

 

Spirits having flown, the sound of a babbling brook brings the listener back to earth as track three, “Tranquil Waters” begins to flow. The aforementioned understated keyboards provide a languid liquid undercurrent to the track which feature the alto flute enhanced with ethereal echo and reverb. Sounds of birds and crickets greet us as we depart the waters for “Woodlands” on the fourth track. A subdued electronic background blends interestingly as Sherry is joined once again by Darin Mahoney on acoustic guitar. The interplay is sublime and for me, conjured a picture of shafts of light filtering through the leaves onto lush ferns and moss on the forest floor.

 

“Dawn’s First Light” illuminates a more minimalistic yet expansive musical vision that is sculpted of equal parts space and sound… a peaceful portrayal of the early morning sky beginning to lighten as the rays of the sun, ascend over the horizon. Bringing the album to an appropriately majestic ending is “Redwoods,” which was composed and performed by Ric Flauding for Sherry’s Desert Journey CD, and has been specially remixed for “Sanctuary ll: Earth.”  It was a perfect artistic decision to save this one for last in that it has the most melodic and textural content, and features a bit more instrumental interplay with keyboard strings and choirs, acoustic guitar, and flute, exhibiting a sense of grandeur befitting its name.

 

Whether performing or recording as a solo artist on her own Phoenix-based Heart Dance Record label or playing with her two groups: Radiant Sky and dulce Vas, Sherry paints from an eclectic musical palette. In addition to being a Pearl Flute Performing Artist, and Grammy nominee, she travels nationally and internationally, to perform at diverse venues. They say that good things come in threes, so I’ll be looking forward to soul-soothing sounds of “Sanctuary lll” in the hopefully not too distant future.

On Woodlands from Sanctuary II: Earth

I felt an out of body experience twice the first time and needed to settle my thoughts before I replayed it. If we could hear the Trees of a most deep forest talk in giving an expression of discerning observations to all foolish activity about them during a moment of prayer’ this is what their conversation would sound like. A lovely work in which a great imagination wherein meaningful expression abounds.

Ron Emmerton

 

REVIEW by MICHAEL DIAMOND

If you are looking for Sanctuary, you’ve come to the right place. Sherry Finzer is a multi-talented musician and recording artist, who breathes life into a variety of flutes including the modern C flute, the alto flute, and the Native American flute. She not only does studio recording, but also performs in a wide variety of musical contexts including solo, duo, trio, and larger ensembles ranging from classical…to new age, world, jazz, and pop music. In addition, she runs her own music label, Heart Dance Records, which is an appropriate name given how much heart energy comes through in her music.

Another way that Sherry shares her love and passion is though the creation of her Arizona World Music Initiative (www.azwmi.org) which is an interactive music program for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and seeks to introduce children to music early in life and give them an opportunity to participate with performers and hopefully create an interest that will last a lifetime. Living in the beauty of Arizona, much of the influence of that particular landscape finds it’s way into her sound.

Her recent album “Sanctuary,” which was a 2010 Grammy semi finalist for best new age album, often reflects the colors and feel not only of the Southwest, but of more subtle dimensions as well. In her own words, “The music’s imagery will awaken your senses while you are traveling through distant lands and ethereal worlds outside of this realm.” And travel you will.

From the beginning of the first track, “Awakenings” you get the feeling that a journey is about to unfold. In an unexpected intro, the song opens with the sound of wind and surprisingly electronic percussion creating a mid tempo ambient groove and laying down a rhythmic foundation for her graceful flutes to glide over. Another surprise unfolds as the sound of Gregorian chanting begins to be heard softly in the background. Which brings me to an aspect of the album I feel deserves mentioning – the mix. While various musical elements weave in and out throughout the album, they are often mixed in very subtly and tastefully, allowing the flute to shine. Sherry’s playing is exquisite as she shows her versatility in the various compositions.

Track two, “Celestial Voyage,” begins with a sensuous wash of keyboards overlaid with softly chiming bells and an electronic texture that sounds like water dripping in a cave. Her music makes wonderful use of synthesizers and electronic effects that set a mood and compliment the sound without pushing the music too much in that direction.

And speaking of directions, the album takes an obvious turn to the East on the next song “Mystic Haze”, with it’s drone background, Indian tabla drums, and something that sounds like a Santur – a Persian hammer dulcimer-like instrument. Sherry’s flute casts an exotic spell using Eastern scales and melodies to evoke an air of mystery and intrigue. This vibe carries over into the next song as well.

The fifth track, “Fortitude” brings us back to earth a bit with only the sound of water and a thunderstorm off in the distance providing a sonic landscape for Sherry to color with her flute. This song, which reminded me of the aural equivalent of a Georgia O’Keefe painting, is the most minimalist track on the album and is a nice shift from the previous two pieces.

The nature sounds continue on the last composition, “Peaceful Drift,” which couldn’t be more appropriately titled, as the sound of ocean waves and seagulls create a relaxed ambience for the other instruments to float on. This is perhaps the most melodically adventurous piece on the CD featuring some unexpected chord changes and directions.

I appreciated that the compositions were extended – mostly from around eight to ten minutes in length, giving the listener ample time to become absorbed in the meditative spaces created.

“Sanctuary” takes in diverse elements of music, nature sounds, and electronic textures and provides a sheltered creative space for them to blend. It’s a place I look forward to seeking refuge in again.


 

From the Winds of the Desert

Citizens of Phoenix, Arizona are very fortunate to have a talent like Sherry Finzer in their midst. She is an extraordinary flute player with an exceptional imagination. I am fortunate to be telling you about her most recent offering called Sanctuary. She bills it as meditative and relaxing and she is correct, but it is so much more. It is a sonic cocoon that I was able to wrap myself in and just exist. The music was a positive embrace to the spirit that allowed me to roam boundlessly free and dream exuberantly in my mind. I have to admit I was a little disappointed after I heard the first cut. I wanted more and the liners notes said just six tracks. Providentially, they were long cuts (total 52 minutes) and eventually, I was satisfied.

The album opens with the tune Awakenings that began with an industrial background, thunderous and frightening. Soon however I was soothed by the echoing sounds of the multilayered flute, the ancient voices and the captivating melody. After several listens, I was almost mesmerized and I began to sway with the music. Very powerful, very hypnotic. I was energized.

Celestial Voyage is one of my favorites. A nighttime desert sky is a breathtaking experience with countless pinpoints of light that make you feel very small. In the southwest, each star represents an individual story told by numerous ancient cultures. Stories about man’s journey on the planet, how he came to be, or why the stars exist in the night sky. It maybe the story of Kotcimanyako accidentally scattering the stars or how Coyote let the stars escape or even more profoundly, the Celestial Sisters. Sherry offers a twinkling ballad of deeply haunting flute that calms and yet piques the senses.

It was three years ago. We started our vacation in mid-January. It was cold and Tucson received ten inches of snow. The city was at a standstill. No one knew what to do. Luckily, I am from hardy New England stock and I found back roads that eventually took us north to Sedona. Sherry’s flute sings of a Mystic Haze and I can only deduce that it is the mist that surrounds Sedona. We climbed the mountains and as the clouds parted, we were blessed by a crimson vision of the mystical place. To say Sedona is awe-inspiring just does not cover it. To me it is an important part of the history of humankind carved by Nature in red sandstone. Sherry’s song brilliantly adds dimension to the magic and power of that hallowed site.

The electric droning in the tune Ethereal Journey sometimes sounds like the rush of water in a desert gorge. Or perhaps it is the same sound that comets or asteroids produce as they zoom through space, vacuum notwithstanding. The song has a delicate Oriental feel that maybe is a voyage through silk covered dreams. In any case, the music is a springboard for a plethora of playful fantasies.

With undoubtedly strong southwestern roots, the song Fortitude rekindles the flame of Native American flute with its beautiful and haunting approach. The song is a testament to the strength of countless generations of desert dwellers who survived the harsh conditions of the relentless sun and the lack of resources and still managed to make an indelible mark in man’s history.

Peaceful Drift is a tune that keeps its promise as it provides muted nature ambiance and a timeless melody. There is a wonderful current of sound that pulls you along and it takes the calmest route possible.

Sherry released her first album in 2006 called Desert Journey as part of a compilation CD. Since then she has released several other albums. She is partnered with some of the biggest names in the Arizona music scene such as John Calvert, Diego Andres and VeeRonna Ragone. She also plays in a group called Trillium Flute Trio. In addition, when she is not appearing all over the southwest or winning numerous music awards she actually has time to teach. Obviously, she is way past multi-tasking and her efforts substantiate her amazing work. Although Sanctuary is a cross between New Age and contemporary, it would feel right at home in many other genres. This luscious music is highly recommended.

Rating: Very Good+

R J Lannan, independent reviewer for the Zone Music Reporter

For a sample of my work go to www.zonemusicreporter.com and click on the Sounding Board

Sanctuary Sherry Finzer 2009 52 minutes Sanctuary is the second release of the award-winning flutist Sherry Finzer, an artist who has shared the stage with great musicians: guitarists, duos wind, pianists, harpists ... much more. Using various types of flutes, Finzer has created six pieces of long duration, where the soft and gentle sound of these wind instruments are mixed with Gregorian chants, ethereal sounds, natural and other ethnic instruments that help create a state of absolute relaxation. Perfect compositions that manage to immerse the listener in a pleasant trip. The first track on the CD is entitled "Awakenings." The beginning of percussion and a haunting Gregorian chants accompanying the flute Sherry. The melody of this piece has an incredible power of sedation, the extensive sound that plays the flute with distant percussion, hypnotic vocals, and above all, the linear course of it, without surprises or changes make this issue be difficult to listen to the end, entering a deep sleep. I like it!. In "Celestial Voyage", Sherry mixing electronic sounds with ethnic sounds, but always without breaking the peace and calm that characterized its parts. Of course very slow, Sherry is committed to a start of synthesizer, like drops of water falling and relaxing sound of which is attached to a curtain of "sweet dreams". In this composition, Sherry dispenses with percussion and uses a background, almost imperceptible and mysterious synth pad that serves as the basis for The flute appears intermittently, drawing a soft and tender melody. Pure quiet!. The largest part of this work is "Mystic Haze", more than ten minutes. The ethnic piece of the CD, has a mysterious touch with strong oriental. Sherry's flute, more present on this topic, it is accompanied by tables and a stringed instrument that, together, give life to an issue that moves the listener to the Far East, but with a quiet melody, confusing and unclear. My favorite without a doubt!. The soothing sound of the sea is the background music of "Ethereal Journey". A lonely journey through a maritime environment, where thoughts are the only company in this journey. The melody is disconcerting, so relaxed that comes to disturb the listener and where the sound of the flute enhances the feeling of loneliness, showing a scenario where only the blue color predominates. A very distressing piece!. In "Fortitude" rain makes its appearance with the sound of a storm, a storm that overwhelms with its strong thunder, just the opposite, calm. Sherry dispenses with any instrument and only relies on the sounds of nature to improvise a melody on his flute cozy. Sometimes the flute makes a break to give prominence to the soothing power of water. Although it is a piece devoid of musicality, rather the environment, the soothing power of this is surprising. Another of my favorites!. Again, comes the sound of the sea, but in this case, accompanied by the singing of seagulls, wind ... "Peaceful Drift" combines two instruments with ambient sound, the beautiful Sherry flute and a stringed instrument. Perhaps the warmest part of the whole album, which despite being reassuring, it is easy to imagine a clear sky and sunshine. A perfect ending to this CD, making a special welfare. I like it!. Sanctuary is peace, relaxation, tranquility, relaxation ... Any adjective that appeals to well-being is included in this CD. The mixture of sweet sound of the flute Finzer Sherry, along with environmental sounds of the sea, wind, birds and ethnic instruments, make it one of the CDs suitable for enjoying the more relaxed moments of the day, helping to find the desired state of relaxation. Sanctuary is a fascinating journey and introspective, recommended to soothe the soul. Available at: Amazon CDBaby iTunes

Flutist Sherry Finzer's latest release, Sanctuory, is an intoxicating voyage of sensual and transportive soundscapes in which her C, alto, and Native flutes float, course, and wend their way over a bed of rhythms, ambient effects, Gregorian chants, and nature sounds. The six tracks each explore a different segment of a sonic map. 'Awakenings" is more tribal in nature, while "Celestial Voyage" has a quasi-subterranean aspect to it. "Mystic Haze" conveys a strong East Indian influence and "Ethereal Journey" presents a haunting, subtly disquieting electronica evocation. The burbling brook, muted thunderstorm, and lilting wooden flute of "Fortitude" meld into an amorphous "Peaceful Drift" buoyed by the sound of waves and gulls.

Review of "Sanctuary":

 

Sherry Finzer’s latest CD, Sanctuary, is not a place to seek emotional refuge. Its opening percussive rhythms induce, rather, a state of unrest—like the feeling of electricity in the air before the first lightning strike of a summer storm. Perhaps that’s what Finzer intended; after all, the first track is titled “Awakenings,” and once we are roused by the insistent thumping, Finzer’s flute leads us on a gorgeous meditative journey. After the five-second intro, Finzer’s soulful woodwind, accompanied by Gregorian chants and tinkling bells, produces an almost hypnotic alertness, the sort that comes with listening to rain pound a tin roof—and the sort that inspires new awareness, if not comfort. From there, however, it’s an easy lapse, finally, into the soothing, ethereal notes of “Celestial Voyage.” But this disc is no standard New Age lullaby. Finzer, who is based in Phoenix, has clearly been influenced by Native American flute masters such as R. Carlos Nakai, as well as more synthesized forms of ambient music—but she brings greater diversity to her sound. For example, the third song, “Mystic Haze,” begins with melancholy notes reminiscent of Eastern Europe, then seamlessly transitions into a more upbeat melody with Indian elements, reminding us of our interconnectedness. The fourth and fifth tracks, “Ethereal Journey” and “Fortitude,” incorporate the sound of ocean surf, yet when Finzer adds in her longing, lyrical flute playing, she somehow captures the solitude and spirituality of desolate canyons and deserts. The liner notes say that Finzer plays a trio of different flutes on Sanctuary: a modern C flute, an alto flute and a Native American flute. Her unmistakable talent extends equally to each instrument, and people who think they dislike flute music—whether based on bad experiences with junior high band or Jethro Tull—may well be amazed at how multidimensional and deep the instruments sound under Finzer’s command. Rather than providing a 51-minute refuge, Sanctuary beautifully mirrors the multiple layers of the human experience and, gently but persistently, challenges listeners to explore them. —Laurie Budgar

I just wanted to thank you for your CD. It is beautiful music and I have used it many times already when giving massages. It is very relaxing and calming. I think it would be perfect not only for massages but also for doing yoga or meditating with, or just to have as back ground music to calm the soul from a hectic day. I wish you great success with it and I know you will bring a lot of joy and peace to those who listen to your music.

"Sanctuary" is a sure prescription to forget the worries of your day! As soon as I began listening to these six expertly composed and performed pieces… I found myself effortlessly transported to a dimension rich with textures and hues I have never experienced before. This is a gorgeous set of compositions with an intoxicating range and depth – sure to help you forget whatever was bothering you before you started to listen!

YMCA employee helps raise funds for Strong Kids Campaign

The Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA Strong Kids Campaign didn’t raise enough money this year. Because of the bad economy, the demand for the campaign, which helps needy children and families afford programs at the YMCA, was much higher than expected. Directors at the Ahwatukee branch were worried they would be forced to turn down numerous families.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Sherry Finzer didn’t like the sound of that at all.

A full-time professional flutist, philanthropist and part-time aerobics instructor at the Y, Finzer felt she needed to do something to help the Strong Kids Campaign.

So she is doing what all musicians hope to do: use her musical talents to benefit the lives of others.

Finzer is selling her six albums: Sanctuary, Desert Journey, Watercolors, Unleashed, Christmas Picante and Passion and Roses at the Ahwatukee Foothills YMCA for $20 each. Fifty percent of all proceeds made will go towards funding the campaign.

“I’m selling my CDs to raise funds so they (YMCA) don’t have to turn anyone away,” she said.

Each full-length CD features Finzer on the flute and a variety of other musicians, including guitarists, pianists, percussionists and harpists. After playing classical music for years, Finzer wanted to explore different genres and sounds of the flute. Therefore, each album has a distinct, unique sound. Her latest album, Sanctuary, is a relaxing and meditative CD featuring a Native American flute. Desert Journey and Christmas Picante are both upbeat, Latin-themed works, while Watercolors and Unleashed are flute duets and Passion and Roses features flamenco music.

Finzer was born to play the flute. She began her career as a flutist in the forth grade in New York and continued all through high school, participating in community orchestras and winning competitions along the way. Life after high school became hectic and she was forced to put her flute aside as she raised her children, who became musicians as well.

“When my kids started getting to the age to be in band, I really missed playing myself,” she said.

After years of rarely practicing her flute, she picked it up again and hasn’t put it down since.

Finzer plays with a number of groups and ensembles, including dulce VAS, a Southwestern, Latin-style band, Desert Fusion, Radiant Sky, Trillium Flute Trio, Phoenicia and the Central Arizona Flute Ensemble. With these groups, Finzer performs at weddings, parties, special events and concert series. She has also won many prestigious national awards for her playing, like the Arizona Flute Society Competition, the Great Southwest Flute Fair Competition and the Rochester Flute Association’s Competition.

While obviously a seasoned performer, Finzer said she gets her greatest satisfaction from teaching others.

“Teaching helps you learn yourself… I’ve seen students who never practiced before, then suddenly something sparks within them and they love it.”

Training young children to appreciate the power of music is what Finzer is all about. She recently founded the Arizona World Music Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting music awareness in elementary-aged children.

“Kids in Arizona start music too late. I believe children should be introduced to music at a young age,” she said.

Her mission with the AZWMI is to inspire a love for music in young children by exposing them to instruments and having them learn to play by participating in an interactive music program.

The AZWMI is still in its developing stages, but Finzer plans to travel to local elementary schools to perform with children.

“The kids will get to participate with the performers and hopefully that will spark an interest so they continue studying music,” she said.

While she continues to work on the AZWMI, Finzer is keeping busy performing with dulce VAS. Their next performance will be to honor the veterans on Nov. 11 at Tuscany Falls at Pebble Creek in Goodyear. They will also be playing at the Corks & Cactus wine-tasting event at the Desert Botanical Gardens on Nov. 13.

For those interested in purchasing a CD to benefit the Strong Kids Campaign, the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA is located at 1030 E. Liberty Lane.

 

Leslie D’Ambrosio is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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