Flute Choir for all ages


join FlutesUSA at the 16th annual

Italy & USA Music Festival in Alba, Italy

May 22 – June 2, 2018


  • a flute choir for advanced adult amateurs

  • led by Karen Johnson, Washington DC Metro artist & teacher

  • performs at this professional, established, international music festival

  • celebrates our 3rd year at the festival

At daily rehearsals in Alba Karen coaches our newly-gathered flute choir to prepare for our festival performances. After rehearsals, relax! Each day offers several Festival concert choices for your listening pleasure. The city of Alba is charming and historic.  Discover its medieval and Roman origins. Try to decide which gelateria is your favorite. Enjoy dinner at a sidewalk café. Learn more about this unique flute adventure in Alba.


Contact us: flutesusa@gmail.com


More about FlutesUSA in Alba 2018


Here are some observations based on our 2016 and 2017 FlutesUSA experiences. 


WHY go to Alba?  Because we love the site and the experience.  Here’s an opportunity to spend nearly two weeks in an interesting little city within sight of the Alps as we work to prepare ourselves for a unique opportunity:  performing as part of an established professional music festival.  One of our 2017 flutists wrote “What I did not expect from participating in the FlutesUSA tour is that I am a better player now [June] than I was in March…. FlutesUSA had a solid rehearsal schedule in Alba, usually 3 hours every morning, supplemented by individual practice, and practicing with a friend as needed….[our] performances in a local square and at the Chiesa della Maddalena were challenging and exciting for me….I plan to go back.”


The WHERE of Alba:  Alba is not Rome!  The current city is built on Roman ruins (many still visible and carefully preserved by the local archaeological society). It is famous for its towers.  You’ll find ancient buildings and modern shops.  Music is not the only festival in Alba! In October Alba hosts a famous “Truffle Festival,” featuring the area’s world-renowned white truffles. The Piedmont region, where Alba is located, is largely agricultural and the source of some of Italy’s most famous wines (Barolo, Asti, for starters).  Alba’s main old-city street is now closed to vehicular traffic so you can stroll along in comfort and may find yourself at a café table in what used to be the middle of the avenue.  Walking is the way to get everywhere.  You’ll find numerous bakeries and gelato shops.   On Saturday morning, that pedestrian area is taken over by the “Market,” but this one offers everything you might find at Walmart and more.  Shortly after noon, all the vendors disappear and the street is yours again. Want to explore nearby, without a car?  Try the train, which is inexpensive and offers frequent service to Turin and many smaller villages worth exploring in between.  There is also bus service to areas not on the train route. The very helpful tourist office in the cathedral square offers sightseeing advice and can pull up all the train schedules.  A half-day trip to a vineyard has been an optional excursion organized and enjoyed by several of us.


Is this a VACATION?  Yes and no.  Certainly it is a different way to “be in” Italy.  FlutesUSA is here to participate in the Italy & USA Alba Music Festival, and that means work.  But we try to arrange rehearsals so you’ll have time to relax and explore the area, too. Several of us have been part of this group for two  or more years and plan to return again. Look on a map of Italy—you’ll see Alba is a little dot south of Turin and north of Genoa, not far from the French border.  Its location makes it difficult to visit the more famous cities and regions of Italy while we are preparing for the music festival. If you’d like to explore more of Italy, make arrangements to travel before or after the program.  Rail and air service to many parts of Italy and Europe are available from Turin.  Please check with us before you book your flights to Italy.

What do I need to bring along?  Alba’s weather at the end of May can be cool, but by June it’s pretty warm or even hot.  Layers of spring/summer clothing will be comfortable.  Packable, washable, versatile clothes are highly recommended.  Casual is the norm. If you like to dress up a little more for an evening concert, that’s great, but most performances are in historic churches, not concert halls. Concert dress for FlutesUSA is black, top to toe, and need not be fancy.  Bring your flute(s), of course, and an instrument stand if you need one.  Rent a folding music stand from our Italian partners (last year the deposit was €20, refunded upon return of the stand).  Six or more clothespins are very helpful.  You’ll want them for our outdoor concert and they prove useful if you want to do some laundry.  Bring an adaptor to plug in your charging device—be sure the adaptor is designed for use in Italy, because Italian electrical outlets are unique. An umbrella and/or raincoat may be needed.  Comfortable walking shoes are a must.  Two pair are even better.  We really do walk everywhere.  There’s a supermarket near the hotel where you’ll find delicious Italian fruits, snacks, etc.


Walking in Alba:  Expect to do a lot of walking.  According to my fitness device, I walked an average of 4 miles daily going from one place to another.  But I loved it!  There are several routes to all our events, and each one is unique. Our rehearsal site is about half a mile from the hotel.  Our rehearsal space is up one flight of stairs—no elevator.  Restaurants/cafes are nearby. The recital/concert venues are mostly convenient to the central pedestrian zones.  Uneven pavement is frequent, as are steps and stairs.  The hotel has an elevator. The train station is just a few blocks from the hotel. You’ll receive a helpful map of Alba during orientation.  You’ll feel at home very soon.


What to expect when we arrive in Alba:

¨      An hour or so to settle into your hotel on Wednesday afternoon

¨      A comfortable private room with bath

¨      Orientation, later on Wednesday afternoon, to introduce us to Alba and Festival events, rehearsal location and times, etc.

¨      Daily 3-4 hour ensemble rehearsals, beginning on Thursday morning

¨      Personal practice time

¨      Your choice of several daily concerts/recitals (beginning on Friday)

¨      Time to explore Alba

¨      Evening pre-concert suppers at your choice of several restaurants/cafes

¨      New friends

Questions?  Please contact us at FlutesUSA@gmail.com