"Hello, my name is Revan Spratt, and this small autobiography was last updated in August-2009.
I am a sophomore college student at Pensacola Christian College. My first introduction to the panflute was in a Christmas music album of my mothers when I was seventeen, and I quickly found that I love the sound of the panpipes. Later, while surfing the Internet and YouTube, I came across Mr. Douglas Bishop's tutorials on how to play the panflute. Interested right away, I got a cheap bamboo 18-pipe panflute off of Ebay and started to mess around with it. It was not long before I was introduced to Panflutefriends, the Yahoo music group created by Mr. Bishop. Through the music group and Mr. Bishop, I received the encouragement and helpful training tips to get me started. To the aching ears of my parents, I began to play the panflute. You can see my videos on YouTube under the channel of my Internet alias name, "Delkaoth". There you will find videos of my first days with the pipes, as well as a few after I got started.
I had a great deal of fun, though I knew that my Ebay-bought panflute was not a true instrument, but a makeshift toy designed after the real thing. Through my time spent with the Panflutefriends, I came into contact with a good man by the name of Sean Koreski, who was and is an active and skilled performer. Sean Koreski was also on a voyage into the world of handcrafting superb instruments, and his website has the results of his hard work. I saved up my paychecks and was soon able to purchase two of his panflutes, custom made for me as a left-hander, he crafted a 29-pipe beauty, and a smaller but just as beautiful 12-pipe panflute. The beauty of the instruments and their clean, powerful tones instantly made me fall in love with the panflute. Now empowered with the real thing, I began playing in earnest, up to three or four hours a day. This period also began training me to not push the panflute into my lip, but to slide over them with as little friction as possible. While learning this skill, I gained a raw lip several times before becoming more graceful with the flute and playing it correctly. Unfortunately since I entered college, I have not been able to keep up an active relationship with the music group, and am no longer an active member.
"What with classes and the hectic college life in general, I have had little time to have fun, but I did gain two amazing opportunities at college, in the form of a senior recital and band classes. I wanted to minor in music, and on registration day I auditioned with "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" for the college orchestra director. However, when I finished, he said that he enjoyed the song, but that I couldn't take music as my minor since the only instrument I knew -the panflute- was not a traditional orchestral instrument. I was lucky, though, because the college Symphonic Band director and conductor happened to be in the room during my audition, and he fell in love with the sound of the panflute right away.
Before I left the audition room, Mr. Kozar intercepted me and asked with a big smile if I would like to join the Symphonic Band. Excited, I accepted and was soon playing in the band. I got many stares and odd looks from the other musicians, but Mr. Kozar had a place for me, with the position of reinforcing the band's only oboe player. Despite the fact that I knew only the rudiments of reading music from a 6th grade band class, he helped me to learn the music, and I played with them in the Christmas Lights band performance, on the front row of the stage before 6000 college students. Overjoyed with the success, I knew that music would always be a part of my life. While I couldn't officially get into the orchestra, Mr. Kozar showed me the volunteer's back door. From that point on, I played almost every Wednesday night with the college orchestra, before the entire 6000+ student body and college guests. Occasionally the cameras would focus on the orchestra rather than the choir behind us, and every time they did, I would get a flurry of questions from random students about my "weird looking instrument". This was a great experience, but little did I know that one of the musicians who sat behind me in both band and orchestra, a senior playing her basoon for the band and orchestra, was keeping an eye on me.
Towards the end of my first semester, that senior approached me and said, "I am a graduating senior this semester, and will be conducting my senior music recital. I wanted to have a musician with a bagpipe play Amazing Grace for me, but my teachers rejected the idea. I have watched you play, and would now like to invite you to take the role." Stunned by the invitation, I began to practice the song with the senior's chosen pianist and his assistant, who happened to already be friends of mine. Together we practiced until I was able to achieve a perfect pitch on every note, and then the performance day came. I sweated in the back room despite the air conditioning as I waited for my part, the final song of the performance, which I would play without any accompaniment. The music quieted and it was time. I stepped out onto the stage, again before the massive student body. It was different than anything I had ever done before, because now every eye and video camera was on me alone, and if I slipped up, everyone would hear and the senior would be docked performance points. For the first time in my life, my knees shook so hard they actually knocked together a few times, and I played.
Amazing Grace was a favorite song of mine, and my hands, lips, and lungs remembered their places. While we were in the back room getting ready for the reception, the pianist congratulated me and said that it was a flawless performance. Afterwards, at the reception and for weeks afterwards, I lost count of the number of people who wanted to know about my panflute. It was a new instrument to them and no one seemed to know about some guy named Zamfir, but they had seen me and wanted to know more. I can't remember what I sounded like in the recital because I was too terrified, though now I can laugh about the experience and how scared but exhilerated I was. (I will have to return to the PCC college library someday and watch the recordings of all my performances with the recital and band.) This was my introduction into real performance playing. I am happy to say that the senior passed her recital with flying colors, and I am happy to have helped her graduate. After all the excitement of my first semester at college, I decided to continue playing in my second semester with the band and volunteer orchestra. I even earned credits that semester for playing in the band. The last semester of my freshman year contained two band performances, and I was surprised when Mr. Kozar asked me if I would do a solo for him, backed by some other instruments. I agreed, and began practicing, again with no small amount of trepidation, as each day the band heard me mess up my part over and over again. But I didn't give up, and Mr. Kozar believed in me. The big performance played the songs of Symphony 3, "Don Quixote", arranged by Robert W. Smith, and I played the flute and oboe solo of the song entitled, "The Quest", at four minutes into the song. I also joined the oboe player for another solo at one minute into "The Illumination" also from Don Quixote by Robert W. Smith. Again I was terrified, but played my parts well, only ending my last note of the second solo part (In the Illumination) a quarter beat early since I ran out of breath.
The second performance of my second semester was a more casual western-genre style, and was more for fun as the complementary part of a college western themed event that was going on around the band on our central stage platform. My first two semesters were a combination of crash course learning and exciting and terrifying performances. I am now far more comfortable with the panflute, and my Koreski panflutes are still singing for me whenever I play them. I may not be able to join the band again for the remainder of my college years due to mandatory classes that are now in the way, but I will always remember my teachers Mr. Douglas Bishop and Mr. Kozar, and am ever grateful for the help and support of the members of the outstandingly friendly Panflutefriends music group. I am now entering my sophomore year, and intend to keep playing my beautiful panflutes for many years to come. My minor is no longer music, but I still played my heart out, in my case, to the delight of thousands of others, regardless of my rejection from the "Music Authority".
"I am still majoring in Speech Communications, and my chosen minor has now become Graphic Design. I have been enjoying the busy college life, and the pretty girl I met in art class my first semester has now become very close to my heart as my girlfriend, whom I have now been dating for almost a year. Together we will be taking photography classes, since she chose the same minor as I, and I very much look forward to that. Though I am an amateur at professional photography, just like with my panflute I am yet again flying under the Professional's Radar, selling my best photos on microstock photography websites (Like www.bigstockphoto.com) under the internet alias name "Delkaoth", and also posting some of my photos --taken by my brand new Nikon DX5000-- on my own little photography website.
I am looking forward to a good college experience, and my involvement in music has made the
experience even better, and will for many years to come. I thank Mr. Douglas Bishop for getting me
started and supporting me all the way through. It may be a while before you hear from me
again since I will be going to college in the semesters and also staying on campus in the summers
and winters for inter-term classes, but fear not, this story has not ended, no indeed, I have only begun.
Fare thee well, and never give up. Determination to overcome all trials, an unshakeable decision to
dedicate yourself and make it work regardless of how difficult something may be, is a huge key to
surviving and prospering in any situation, from marriage to wilderness survival, to something as
simple as playing a panflute or taking high quality photos.
Good luck on your own life's journey, and I hope to see you at the finish line"! -- Revan Spratt, a musician, student, son, servant, and dedicated lover.