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Wendy Bartlett Compositions - Gather 'Round the Beachfire (2007)

Gather 'Round the Beachfire (2007) – Flute Octet

Gather 'Round the Beachfire is a short flute octet piece about a more innocent time in Wendy's childhood growing up on Fidalgo Island, five miles west of La Conner, Washington, on the Swinomish Indian Reservation.


It depicts a time of family gatherings and barbecues, excursions in her brother's canoe or the family rowboat, paddling across Skagit Bay to Hope or Skagit Islands to camp out overnight, and, at sunset upon the shimmering water, the telling of ghost stories (particularly at Camp Kirby on Samish Island when she was a Camp Fire girl).


All is not quiet, however, on Skagit Bay. It is misleadingly calm. For under what appears to be a still bay lurks an aggressive undercurrent between Skagit Island and the adjacent Kiket Island peninsula immediately to the north. If seafarers aren't careful navigating, they can end up aground or drifting back out to Puget Sound (thus the name Deception Pass)!


Each of the flutes, alto and bass flute, and piccolo, contribute in the telling of the story of Skagit Bay, at dusk on the beach around a campfire. Storytelling gets intense, especially when all flutes abruptly pause (What was that? Did you hear something in the bushes?), after which the alto flute leads everyone back in, and the group resumes spinning tales. There is a rippling echoing effect forming a D-minor chord beginning with the piccolo on down to bass flute to depict the glistening shimmer of the bay at sunset, when the setting sun's reflection offers the image of sparkling diamonds in the water.


Listen to the murmur of the bay.