Julie Sooy, Director of the West Michigan Flute Orchestra and Great Lakes Flutes, brings conducting experience, excellent flute skills, musical depth and effective leadership. After earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from Bowling Green State University, she has taught at the elementary, middle school and college levels. Since 1998, she has been teaching at Hope College in courses including flute choir, flute lessons, music theory, aural skills, world music and a first-year-seminar.
As a flutist, she has performed with various groups including the West Shore Symphony, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and the Holland Symphony as well as in many recitals and solo performances. She also published an article on tuning flute choirs in Flute Talk Magazine.
Julie is devoted to enjoying music through flute and to helping others do the same.
Founder and former director of the West Michigan Flute Orchestra’s Chamber Choir (now Great Lakes Flutes), and founder and former director of the West Michigan Flute Orchestra for 20 years, Darlene now instructs adult students in her Grand Rapids studio. Former principal flute of the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Amarillo Symphony Orchestras, she has taught flute at Interlochen, the Western Michigan University Summer Seminars and Kalamazoo Chamber Music Workshops. She has been an adjudicator for the Society of American Musicians in Chicago. Her music theory teaching experience includes Grand Rapids Community College, Amarillo College and Bethel College. She is the composer of “Patchwork Christmas”, "Reflections on Bonnie Doon", and “Flint Hills Memories”.
Darlene has performed annually with the Colorado Flute Orchestra and has toured Ireland, France, England/Wales and Eastern Europe with the International Flute Orchestra. She was the conductor of the GRCC and Calvin College flute choirs, conducted NFA convention flute choir master classes, and in 1997, 2000, 2004, and 2008, was the director of the showcased West Michigan Flute Orchestra at NFA conventions. During 2000 – 2006, she was a director of the flute orchestra for Jeanne Baxtresser’s International Master Classes at Juilliard and Carnegie Mellon University. In 2002, Darlene was guest conductor for the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair in Alexandria, VA and conducted a Master Class and concert for five flute choirs at Slippery Rock University (PA). At the 2004 NFA convention, she conducted the National High School Flute Choir. In 2006, she was the guest conductor/clinician for the Raleigh, NC, Flute Choir Day and in 2009 she guest conducted the flute choir at Oakland University. For the 37th National Flute Association convention in New York City, she was selected to conduct the Times Square Flute Orchestra of 200+ that served as the "kickoff" for the four day event. She has studied with Albert Tipton and John Wummer. Other major influences have been Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser and Geoffrey Gilbert.